Loch Lomond, Scotland, United Kingdom

Lake Locations:

United Kingdom - Scotland - Central -

Also known as:  Lake Lomond

Due to its stunningly beautiful location, Loch Lomond is one of the more popular lochs or lakes in Western Scotland. Although not the longest lake at 24 miles (39 kilometers) in length, it is the largest expanse of fresh water in Scotland. With a surface area of 17,544 acres (71 square kilometers), the loch touches the districts of Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, and Stirling. The loch is crossed by the Highland Boundary Fault, a break in the earth’s crust which occurred millions of years ago, and as a result, exhibits physical characteristics of both Highland and Lowland Scotland. The wide, shallow, southern end of the lake is home to numerous wooded islands. The narrow, deep, fjord-like northern end sits in the shadow of Ben Lomond, a very distinctive mountain in the Scottish Highlands at a height of 3,196 feet (974 meters). With its sparkling water, inviting villages and unlimited outdoor activities, there is little wonder why people travel from around the globe to visit this breathtaking lake.

Boating and fishing are the most popular water sports on Loch Lomond. Sailboats of all sizes dot the lake as well as canoes, kayaks, fishing boats and a number of personal watercraft. Cruise boats also make their way around the lake and are available for charter. Cruising is a great way to tour the 38 islands at the southern end of the lake. Some of the islands are inhabited, some contain the ruins of castles, monasteries and ancient burial grounds and one is home to an elegant hotel. Ferries can be taken from the waterfront communities of Tarbet, Balloch, Balmaha and Luss to visit the many areas around and across the lake.

Anglers will find salmon, sea trout and pike in the tranquil waters of Loch Lomond. The record salmon from the depths of the loch is 44 pounds, 8 ounces (20.18 kilograms). The record sea trout is 22 pounds, 8 ounces (10.20 kilograms), and the record for pike currently stands at 47 pounds, 11 ounces (21.63 kilograms). Boats can be rented from marinas and lodges around the lake. Pike and salmon chartered fishing trips are also a great way to enjoy the water and the spectacular scenery. A public launch facility can be found in the town of Balloch, and there is also a public launch for smaller boats and a picnic area at Milarrochy Bay on the eastern side of the lake.

In addition to recreation, a hydro-electric power plant at the northwestern end of the lake provides power to the area and is one of the largest conventional hydroelectric plants in Britain. Operated by Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE), a massive dam on Loch Sloy holds water which passes through a tunnel to a valve house above the power station. Pipes from the valve house feed into the powerhouse at Inveruglas Bay on Loch Lomond to create power.

The varied terrain around Loch Lomond offers great walking, hiking and cycling paths for outdoor enthusiasts of all ability levels. Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, designated as Scotland’s first National Park in 2002, cover approximately 460,800 acres (1865 square kilometers). Located 40 minutes from Glasgow, and 90 minutes from Edinburgh, the pristine park attracts thousands of visitors. Trossachs is the central section of the Park. The scenery in this area features tree-covered mountains, crags, glens, and many sparkling lakes. Park activities include hiking, biking, fishing, boating, camping, pony trekking, golfing, and wildlife watching. Over 200 species of birds and over 25% of Britain’s wild plants have been recorded in the area. Argyll Forest Park, at the northern end of the loch, and Queen Elizabeth Forest Park to the east of the loch, offer additional mountains, glens, lochs and woodlands for exploration. Toward the northern end of the lake sits Ben Lomond, the most climbed mountain in Scotland. The town of Rowardennan is a favored starting point for the ascent of this mountain reaching 3,196 feet (974 meters). At the southern end of the lake, the farming community of Gartocharn offers an incredible panoramic view of the area from a short climb up Duncryne Hill, or “the Dumpling” as locals call it.

Accommodations and vacation rentals on Loch Lomond are plentiful in the many small villages and settlements that surround the lake. For those on holiday, hotels, bed and breakfasts and a wide variety of self-catering holiday homes can be found in Balloch, Ardlui, Balmaha, Luss, Rowardennan, and Tarbet. Further north, the tiny hamlet of Inverbeg features some of the finest art galleries in the area. The town of Drymen is a wonderful community clustered around a traditional village square. Located just east of Loch Lomond, the town offers beautiful scenery and the chance to browse local craft shops. Camping and caravan parks can be found in the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and on the eastern shore near Milarrochy Bay. At the northern end of the loch, where the River Falloch flows from its Highland source into the lake, sits the tiny village of Ardlui. Narrow, deep and surrounded by mountains, this end of the loch is often preferred by those who enjoy quiet and seclusion. Ardlui is also home to a railroad station for those who would like to visit other communities and lochs in the region.

From gentle rolling hills to towering peaks, Loch Lomond is an area rich in contrasts. Whether you enjoy walking, climbing, fishing or exploring ancient history, the lake offers a multitude of outdoor activities. With its charming mountain and farmland communities, you’ll soon discover why so many people return year after year to this truly unique Scottish paradise.

Things to do at Loch Lomond

  • Vacation Rentals
  • Fishing
  • Boating
  • Sailing
  • Canoeing
  • Kayaking
  • Golf
  • Camping
  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Wildlife Viewing
  • Birding
  • National Park
  • Ruins

Fish species found at Loch Lomond

  • Pike
  • Salmon
  • Trout

Loch Lomond Photo Gallery

Loch Lomond Statistics & Helpful Links

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Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed

Surface Area: 17,544 acres

Shoreline Length: 95 miles

Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 25 feet

Average Depth: 121 feet

Maximum Depth: 620 feet

Water Volume: 2,095,104 acre-feet

Water Residence Time: 1.9 years

Lake Area-Population: 12,218

Drainage Area: 269 sq. miles

Trophic State: Oligotrophic at northern end; mesotrophic at southern

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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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