Loch Shiel, Scotland, United Kingdom
Also known as: Loch Seile
Surrounded by one of the few remaining areas of true wilderness in Scotland, the picturesque scenery around Scotland’s Loch Shiel has been featured in movies such as Harry Potter and Highlander. Loch Shiel is a natural freshwater lake formed from a retreating glacier at the end of the last ice age nearly 10,000 years ago. At a length of 17 miles, this lake is one of the…
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Welcome to the ultimate guide to Loch Shiel! Article topics include:
- All About Loch Shiel
- Where to Stay
- Vacation Planning Tools
- Things to Do
- Known Fish Species
- Loch Shiel Map
- Statistics / Weather / Helpful Links
- Loch Shiel Gifts
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All About Loch Shiel, Scotland
Surrounded by one of the few remaining areas of true wilderness in Scotland, the picturesque scenery around Scotland’s Loch Shiel has been featured in movies such as Harry Potter and Highlander. Loch Shiel is a natural freshwater lake formed from a retreating glacier at the end of the last ice age nearly 10,000 years ago. At a length of 17 miles, this lake is one of the longest in Scotland. Its unregulated water levels are fed by the Rivers Finnan, Amhainn Shlatach, Callop, Glenaladale, and Polloch; River Shiel is the primary outlet. The area is a remote and unspoiled part of the Scottish Highlands that you won’t want to miss.
The fluctuating scenery along Loch Shiel’s 4,942-acre surface area attracts many wildlife enthusiasts. Enclosed by mountains to the northwest and surrounded by bog and rough pasture to the southwest, the lake hosts a variety of species. Wildlife such as red deer, black-throated divers, and 10 species of dragonflies and damselflies inhabit the area. Woodlands of oak and birch are also home to rare insects and mammals like the chequered skipper butterfly, wildcat, and red squirrel. Near the lake is an estate where the rare Diapensia Lapponica, a plant that survived the ice age, can be found; however, the location is kept a secret to preserve it. You are guaranteed to see nature at its purest since Loch Shiel has a remarkable concentration of national and international designations for nature conservation.
Visitors to Loch Shiel will find self-catering holiday cottage accommodations and vacation rentals at the northern and southern tips of the lake. Eagle-watch cruises showcase the golden eagle and capture the magnificent and historic scenery of Loch Shiel. With isolated beaches perfect for romantic picnics and family barbecues, this lake provides peaceful privacy on your getaway.
The town of Glenfinnan is located at the north end of Loch Shiel. The town’s train station, most famous for its appearance in the Harry Potter films as the Hogwarts Express, takes you to a railway museum. Acharacle is a town at the southern end of the lake that offers a magnitude of activity ideas. In the summer you can expect water sports, canoeing, kayaking, and a game of golf on some of the most beautiful golf courses in the world. If you visit in the winter you can enjoy the warmth of a cozy cottage with a spectacular view.
Loch Shiel also provides plenty of trout fishing. Trolling, dapping, and fly fishing are permitted along the lake between April and September. Salmon numbers are on the rise, but Loch Shiel is famous for its late runs of sea trout. You will find a plentiful amount of brown trout that in recent years have reached over 13 pounds. A favorite method of fishing is trolling, and later in the season these fish rise eagerly to the fly.
History buffs know that Loch Shiel was once used as a communications route through the mountains during the 1140 battle where Somerled defeated the Norse to found the ruling dynasty of Lord of the Isles. The River Shiel was easily navigated during that time period, but today the depth drops to less than a foot in some areas. There are also historical structures such as St. Finnan’s Church, located on one of Loch Shiel’s islands, and the Glenfinnan Monument in commemoration of Bonnie Prince Charlie (18th century Prince Charles Edward Stuart).
These days it’s hard to find a piece of nature that is unblemished by society, but Loch Shiel is just that with a quaint population of around 350. If you are seeking a trip with exquisite views and ample privacy, Loch Shiel is the perfect place to settle down with plentiful real estate and vacation resorts.
Things to Do at Loch Shiel
These are some activities in the Loch Shiel, Scotland area visitors can enjoy:
- Vacation Rentals
- Wildlife Viewing
What Kind of Fish Are in Loch Shiel?
Loch Shiel has been known to have the following fish species:
- Brown Trout
Find Places to Stay at Loch Shiel
If you’re considering a Loch Shiel lake house rental or hotel, we’ve made it super easy to find the best rates and compare vacation accommodations at a glance. Save time using this interactive map below.
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More Sites to Book a Loch Shiel Vacation
Our interactive Loch Shiel lodging map above is an easy tool for comparing VRBO rental homes and nearby hotels with Booking.com, but there could be times when you need to expand your search for different types of accommodations. Here are some other lake lodging partners we recommend:
Loch Shiel Statistics & Helpful Links
Lake Type: Natural Freshwater Lake, Not Dammed
Surface Area: 4,942 acres
Shoreline Length: 48 miles
Normal Elevation (Full Pond): 15 feet
Minimum Elevation (Min Pond): 12 feet
Maximum Elevation (Max Pond): 16 feet
Average Depth: 133 feet
Maximum Depth: 420 feet
Water Volume: 729,642 acre-feet
Water Residence Time: 1.4 years
Lake Area-Population: 354
Drainage Area: 86 sq. miles
Trophic State: Northern oligotrophic to southern mesotrophic
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