Loch Fyne, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - Scotland - Central -

Also known as:  Lake Fyne

Loch Fyne is a sea loch (lake) on the west coast of Argyll and Bute, Scotland. It extends 40 miles (65 kilometers) inland from the Sound of Bute, making it the longest sea loch in Scotland. The loch is a popular body of water for sport diving, boating, and fishing and is also well known for its oysters. Loch Fyne Oysters and the associated Loch Fyne Restaurant chain, popular throughout the UK, got its start in Lock Fyne. The loch is also a favorite tourist destination with many unique attractions such as Inveraray Castle and the nearby ruins of Castle MacEwan and Castle Lachlan.

Loch Fyne is located entirely within Argyll, a beautiful, unspoiled area known for its coastal towns and ancient history. The loch is divided into two main sections – upper and lower. Upper Loch Fyne runs approximately 24 miles (39 kilometers) from Otter Spit, a large sand bar that juts across the loch from the eastern shore. Above this area, Loch Fyne is approximately one mile (1.6 kilometers) wide and drops to a depth of over 427 feet (130 meters). Two small sea lochs, Loch Gair and Loch Shira, adjoin the main loch. Lower Loch Fyne is the wider section of the loch, up to four miles (6.4 kilometers) across in spots, and is over 590 feet (180 meters) in depth. Lower Loch Fyne incorporates Loch Gilp and East Loch Tarbert. Much of the shoreline of the lower section is easily accessible from public roads.

Water-related activities on Loch Fyne include fishing, diving and sailing. Loch Fyne is particularly noted for its sea trout fishing. A pier in the town of Inveraray, towards the top of the loch, is a popular spot with sea trout anglers. A jetty in the village of Furnace is a great spot for mackerel and cod. For those who prefer boat fishing, fishing trips and boats for hire are available. Fish in Loch Fyne include cod, pollack, coalfish, conger, plaice, turbot, sea trout, mackerel and ling. Loch Fyne is also a rich feeding ground for herring which once formed vast shoals in its sheltered areas. In the past, herring fishing was the main industry in Inveraray, but in recent decades, the herring population in the loch has dwindled due to overfishing.

Dive charters are available to take divers to the calmer areas of Loch Fyne where visibility of up to 50 feet (15 meters) is possible nearly year round. The scenery both above and below water is phenomenal with many wreck sites to visit and incredible marine life to observe. As well as being the longest sea loch in Scotland, Loch Fyne also has the honor of being the deepest sea loch in Scotland. Formed by glaciers over 10,000 yeas ago, its U-shaped valley bottom reaches a maximum depth of 656 feet (200 meters). The shape of sea lochs and the climatic conditions in western Scotland combine to create unique environments which allow a variety of marine life and flora and fauna to thrive. Loch Fyne’s shape creates sheltered areas away from the strong tides of the open ocean. Dolphins, seals, and basking sharks are common visitors to these calmer waters in the summer months.

For sailors, Loch Fyne is connected to the Sound of Jura by the Crinan Canal. The Sound of Jura is a beautiful stretch of water famous for its numerous islands. Boat charters are available from Crinan Harbor with cruises around the coast and water taxi service to the neighboring islands.

Tourists will find a number of interesting communities and sites around Loch Fyne. The town of Inveraray, which dates back to 1453, is a charming, lakefront town located near the top end of the loch on its western shore. Inveraray Castle is a highlight of the town. On the eastern shore, approximately four miles (6.4 kilometers) from Inveraray, are the ancient ruins of Castle Lachlan. Further south, the loch joins Loch Goil, where Lochgilphead, the administrative center of Argyll and Bute is located. Near the mouth of Loch Fyne lies Tarbert, a beautiful, sheltered harbor for sailing craft and an interesting town for sightseeing. The Tarbert Folk Festival, held annually in mid-September, is a well known even in Argyll. There are also many fine dining establishments, a golf course and some excellent walking trails in the area. No holiday to Loch Fyne would be complete without a visit to the birth place of Loch Fyne Oysters which has a restaurant, gift shop and garden center. The village of Portavadie, on the eastern shore of the loch, is a stop for a passenger ferry which travels the loch and connected waterways.

The hills surrounding Loch Fyne provide some excellent hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities, and larger munroes or mountains of the Central and Western Highlands are just a short drive away. Forest trails and picnic areas can be found in the wooded sections above Ardrishaig which offer beautiful views of the loch. Towpaths can be found along the Crinan Canal and for those who enjoy the beach, there are many public beaches in the coastal towns along the southern shores of the loch. In 2006, the Kintyre Way was completed which is a 103 mile (1,065 kilometer) scenic trail beginning in Tarbert and ending in Southend.

Loch Fyne boasts numerous types of accommodations to include high-quality hotels, guest houses, bed & breakfasts, self-catering holiday cottages, caravans and camping. The town of Inveraray is a favorite for vacation rentals and real estate. All towns along the shoreline of the loch cater to visitors and feature specialty shops, art galleries and much to see and do.

Whether your interest in Loch Fyne is to catch fish, sail sheltered harbors, dive in crystal clear water, explore castles, or just savor the abundance of nature along unspoiled shores, you’re sure to leave with a lasting memory for years to come.

Things to do at Loch Fyne

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Swimming
  • Beach
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Loch Fyne

  • Cod
  • Mackerel
  • Trout

Loch Fyne Photo Gallery

Loch Fyne Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Saltwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 18,240 acres

Average Depth: 240 feet

Maximum Depth: 656 feet

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Trophic State | LakeLubbers

Trophic State measures the level of algae and nutrients in a lake.

An oligotrophic lake is very clear (blue in color) and does not support much plant or fish life. A hyper-oligotrophic lake is the clearest of all lakes, and is nearly devoid of plants and fish.

A mesotrophic lake is slightly green and supports a moderate degree of plant and fish life. A lake's most desired trophic state is generally this mid-point - the mesotrophic state.

A eutrophic lake is somewhat murky and supports a large amount of plant and fish life. A hypereutrophic lake is clouded with algae, plant life, and fish life. A eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic lake can be difficult to navigate by boat - and is often an unpleasant place to swim.

The use of phosphorus-rich and nitrogen-rich fertilizer on lawns and golf courses surrounding a lake can cause it to become eutrophic or hypereutrophic.


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Catchment or Drainage Area | LakeLubbers

This is the surrounding area that drains into a lake, including land, rivers and their tributaries. This is also known as the lake's "catchment basin".

Small lakes at the highest peaks of mountains have small drainage areas. The world's oceans have the largest drainage areas.


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Lake-Area Population | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated number of people who live in a house with a view of a lake, plus those who self-describe the lake as their home, for example: "I live at Smith Mountain Lake."


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Water Residence Time | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated time that it takes for an amount of water equal to the entire volume of a lake to flow out of - or evaporate from - the lake.

Residence Time can be as short as a few days for fast-flowing small lakes, and can exceed 100 years for slow-flowing large lakes.


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Completion Year | LakeLubbers

This is the year that a reservoir was first filled to the reservoir's normal elevation - or the year that a natural lake was first dammed. A large reservoir can take more than a year to fill after its dam is first closed.

The Grand Anicut in southern India is generally considered the world's oldest dam that still operates. Grand Anicut was constructed in the second century BC. It now impounds an irrigation network that includes roughly one million acres.

You can find many of the the world's newest reservoirs on LakeLubbers. Many of the world's oldest reservoirs appear on the last page of that list.


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Water Volume | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated volume of water that a lake contains -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. By this measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal.

You can find many of the the world's largest lakes (by water volume) on LakeLubbers.

Water Volume can be measured in acre-feet, in cubic miles, or in cubic kilometers. One acre-foot is the amount of water needed to cover one acre (43,560 square feet) to a depth of one foot. One cubic mile equals 3,379,200 acre-feet. One cubic kilometer equals 810,713 acre-feet.

1 acre-foot is equal to 325,851 US gallons. Siberia's Lake Baikal contains about 6,276,367,740,000,000 gallons of freshwater - nearly 1 million gallons for every living person on earth.

The other - and more widely used - measure of a lake's size is the lake's surface acreage. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is North America's Lake Superior.


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Maximum Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated greatest depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. The world's deepest lake is Siberia's Lake Baikal; that lake's maximum depth is estimated at 5,314 feet.

You can find many of the the world's deepest lakes on LakeLubbers. If you select the last page of that list, you will find the (maximum depth of) the shallowest lakes in our database.


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Average Depth | LakeLubbers

This is the estimated average depth of the water in a lake -- measured at the lake's normal elevation. If the water volume and surface area of a lake are known, an estimate of the lake's average depth can be calculated:

Water volume ÷ Surface Area = Average Depth

Example: 1,000,000 acre-feet ÷ 20,000 acres = 50 feet average depth


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Maximum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's highest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can occur during flooding. A lake's highest possible maximum elevation is usually the top of the lake's dam or spillway.

At lakes that include residential development, government regulations usually forbid the construction of homes below a lake's maximum elevation.


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Minimum Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's lowest water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level, that can be reasonably expected to occur. Low lake levels can occur due to deliberate seasonal draw downs for irrigation or impending snow melt, reduced water inflows, drought and evaporation, residential or commercial water demands, and hydropower generation.

Some lakes' minimum and maximum elevations are virtually the same. Lakes that generate hydropower may vary by several feet - according to power demand. Lakes whose primary purpose is to prevent flooding can seasonally vary by 100 feet or more.

When some lakes reach their minimum elevation, their boat ramps may not be long enough to permit boat access - and boats docked on shallow parts of the lake may end up on dry ground. In those cases, kayakers and shore-based anglers may be among the few happy recreational users of the lake.


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Normal Elevation | LakeLubbers

This is a lake's normal water level, measured by the lake's surface distance above sea level. For a reservoir, this water level is also known as "full pond" or "full pool".

You can find many of the world's highest-elevated lakes on LakeLubbers. Lakes with the lowest elevations (known by LakeLubbers) are shown on the final page of that list.


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Shoreline Length | LakeLubbers

This is the length of the exterior shoreline around a lake - measured at the lake's normal elevation. The shoreline length can be considerably shorter or longer when lake water levels are lower or higher than normal.

A lake with many coves has a much longer shoreline than a lake of similar surface area that is nearly circular in shape.

When known, the shoreline miles that we report in our statistics include only the lake's exterior shoreline, and exclude the shorelines of islands located within a lake's boundaries. In lakes with many islands, those islands' combined shorelines may exceed a lake's exterior shoreline.

You can find many of the world's longest-shoreline lakes on Lakelubbers.


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Surface Area | LakeLubbers

This is the area (acreage, square kilometers, etc.) of the top surface area of a lake - measured at a lake's normal elevation. The surface area can be considerably smaller or larger when lake levels are lower or higher than normal. North America's Lake Superior is the world's largest freshwater lake by this measure.

The other measure of a lake's size is the lake's water volume. By that measure, the world's largest freshwater lake is Lake Baikal in Siberia.

You can find many of the world's largest lakes (acres) on Lakelubbers. There is no widely-accepted minimum surface area that defines a lake. What Lakelubbers describes as a lake, you might call a pond. The smallest lake that Lakelubbers currently includes is Hawaii's 2-acre Lake Waiau.


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Water Level Control | LakeLubbers

This is the organization that controls water releases or outflows from the lake or reservoir. In the USA, this is often the US Army Corps of Engineers, a power company, a municipal water system, an irrigation district, or a paper manufacturing company. In the case of private or gated lakes, a homeowners' association may be the lake's controlling authority.

Many lakes cross borders, including North America's Great Lakes. The control of such lakes and their coveted freshwater may be amicably shared - or hotly disputed.

"Water wars" continue at many lakes as growing populations and crop irrigation needs compete for the freshwater that lakes contain.


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Lake Type | LakeLubbers

There are 3 basic types of lakes that are currently included on LakeLubbers. 2 types may be dammed or not dammed, producing 5 classifications.

- A Reservoir is a man-made freshwater lake that is usually created by damming rivers.

- A Natural Freshwater Lake occurs naturally - often by glacial activity - and has a salinity of less than 30 parts per thousand. It may be dammed to produce electricity or for other reasons.

- A Natural Saltwater Lake occurs naturally and has a salinity of more than 30 parts per thousand (ppt). It may be dammed.

"Brackish" water may be categorized as freshwater or saltwater, depending on its salt content (salinity). Oligohaline water has less than 15 ppt of salt. Mesohaline water has 15-29 ppt. Polyhaline has 30-335 ppt.


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