Arrochar is situated at the head of Loch Long which is a sea loch and is a popular attraction for tourists in the summer and winter, due to its idyllic location surrounded by mountains (the Arrochar Alps). The village is connected to Tarbet by a low valley which history says Viking raiders dragged boats from the sea to Loch Lomond and this has resulted in a long lasting connection between the ‘twinned’ villages.
The name Arrochar is probably from the Gaelic arachor an ancient scot measurement of land equal to 104 acres. Arrochar has been seen in records from 1248 spelt as ‘arathor’ and in 1350 as ‘arachor’. For over five centuries the area was held by the chiefs of Clan Macfarlane and before that by the barons of Arrochar, an old celtic family. Arrochar was a key target for Viking raiders who would sail to Tarbet to attack the Loch Lomond settlements, before their defeat in 1263 at the Battle of Largs.
Towering above the village are the Arrochar Alps which can be described as a paradise for mountaineering. The most popular peak is ‘The Cobbler‘ and especially during summer season many hill walkers visit this Corbett (mountain between 2500 and 3000ft). The other mountains in the region are Ben Ime, Ben Vane, Ben Vorlich(Loch Lomond) and Ben Narnain, all of which can be started from Arrochar with the possible exception of Ben Vorlich which may be started from Loch Lomond near Inveruglas.
Loch Long being a sea loch was a popular destination for day trippers and holiday makers up the loch from the Firth of Clyde and Glasgow as well as by train on The West Highland Line. Today, Arrochar is still popular with holiday makers, divers, hill walkers and mountaineers due to the variety of the terrain and the stunning scenery and scenic drives.
On the west bank of Loch Long is the site of the Royal Navy Torpedo Testing Station which was in use until 1986 to test torpedoes by firing them along the length of Loch Long. The torpedoes had no warheads fitted and would be collected at the other end of the loch and brought back to the station before being supplied to the navy. As of 2013, the site has been earmarked for a £70 million development to include a marina, hotel and restaurants which will create many jobs for the community and boost the number of tourists to the village.
There is a good campsite just outside Arrochar at Ardgarten which is owned by the Forestry Commission and has great views of the loch and caters for all types of camping and caravanning. The road from Ardgarten leads onto the “Rest and be Thankful” pass which is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland leading to Lochgoilhead and Inveraray. In bad weather the road can be closed with a very long detour to get to your destination.
Arrochar has the following facilities
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