Lochs in Scotland (you might not have heard of)

things to do Ardnamurchan

Scotland’s abundance of water (and I’m not just talking about the rain!) gives it some of its most spectacular and famous scenery; think of Scotland and you think of Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. But with over 32,000 lochs in Scotland to visit and hundreds of miles of fjord-like sea inlets, there are thousands of lochs which you’ve probably never heard of.  Here are five of my favourites.

Loch Shiel, Lochaber


Harry Potter fans might usually visit Loch Shiel to fulfil their fantasies of travelling to Hogwarts on the Jacobite Steam Train and crossing the Black Lake, but in my opinion, the loch itself is just as dramatic as the Viaduct.

Climb up the Glenfinnan Monument to the fallen who fought in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie for a 360-degree view of the loch and learn about the loch’s connection to the ill-fated Jacobite rebellion by visiting the National Trust for Scotland centre. Behind the viaduct, the Glenfinnan Viaduct Trail gives great views of the loch. The Jacobite Steam Train crosses the viaduct Monday to Fridays at around 11 am and 3 pm. The best time to see the train is 11 am, at 3 pm the engine is backwards!

Visit Loch Shiel

  • Loch Shiel is located on the A830, around 12 miles west of Fort William.
  • Parking is available at the Glenfinnan Monument for £2.
  • Entry to the monument is £3.50 for adults, free for National Trust for Scotland Members.


Loch Harport, Isle of Skye

You might think it strange that a small, unassuming sea loch on the west coast of Skye would make it onto the list of my favourite lochs in Scotland… however, Loch Harport is home to the both the Talisker Distillery and The Oyster Shed – two of my favourite things. Climb up the hill behind Carbost to find a tiny seafood shack with great views over the loch and across to the Cullins. After stuffing yourself full of oysters and fresh langoustines, head down to the Old Inn in Carbost, grab a bench right on the water and a dram of Talisker sherry cask.

lochs in Scotland

lochs in Scotland

Once the midgies have died down, it is a little piece of Scottish Highlands heaven.

Visit Loch Harport

  • Once you have left the civilisation of Broadford behind, turn left at The Cullins and just keep going and going and going until you reach the village of Carbost.

Read more in my guide to the Isle of Skye

Loch Voil, Perthshire

Deep in the heart of Perthshire lies Loch Voil, a small loch just 8km in length. At the head of the loch is Balquidder (pronounced Balwhidder) sits a small village with a famous resident in the graveyard, Scottish folk hero Rob Roy McGregor. However, this was not always Red Robert’s land, for it was once Clan MacClaren country; the lands around the loch were a battleground for ownership with Clan MacGregor. For a true taste climb Creag an Turic above the village – it was once the rallying point for the MacClarens. You can see why it was used as a lookout – you can see for miles.

Visit Loch Voil

  • Loch Voil is just off the A84 by Balquidder.
  • Find out more about this beautiful area via Rob Roy Country.  
  • By Balquidder Mhor 84 serves food all day (and has amazing cakes)

lochs in Scotland

Loch Eil, Lochaber

Those travelling from Fort William to Loch Shiel and Glenfinnan will know this loch rather well, for the Road to the Isles travels along its banks. However, it is the beauty of the west side of the loch that puts it on my list of favourite lochs in Scotland.

The west side of Loch Eli is best discovered by ferry, by car take the trip from Corran (£8.20 per car) or by foot hop on the Camusnagaul ferry (£1.50 for adults) which will take you across Loch Eli, where you will discover a stunning view of Ben Nevis. On the east side of Loch Eli, visit the village of Banavie and the Neptune’s Staircase, a system of 8 lochs which lift seacraft 50 feet to the Caledonian Canal. Visit Loch Eil at Fort William, just north of Glencoe.

lochs in Scotland

Loch Awe, Argyll

Famous for one of Scotland’s most photographed castles, Kilchurn, Loch Awe certainly lives up to its name; it is the longest of the lochs in Scotland, Loch Awe stretches for 41km, across the length of Argyll and Bute.

Kilchurn isn’t the only castle on the loch, it has four.  However, it is Kilchurn Castle that you will want to see. Once the main seat of one of Scotland’s most controversial clans, the Campbell’s of Glenorchy – the bad guys of the Scottish highlands! A long-running feud which ended with the chief of Clan Campbell, saw Grey Colin cut off the head of the chief of Clan McGregor in front of his wife… Kilchurn castle is now managed by Historic Scotland and is free to visit.

Visit Loch Awe

  • the loch is located on the A85 between Tyndrum and Oban.
  • Make sure you stop by the Green Welly Stop on your way, it is a Scottish Institution.

lochs in Scotland

What are your favourite lochs in Scotland, I might have never heard of?


Love from, Scotland x


  • Denzil 15/11/2016 at 1:04 pm

    All of them so beautiful!

  • ananyah 15/11/2016 at 3:58 pm

    The only one I heard of within your list is Loch Awe but I can’t quite remember if I’ve ever seen.

    A few favourites of mine are Loch Riddon and the views of Loch Fyne as you drive around it!

  • Reading Scotland 15/11/2016 at 5:40 pm

    Such beautiful photos of those Lochs!!!! On my list is Loch Awe because I want to see Kilchurn Castle in person!!!!! I suppose I have the most experience with Loch Lomond and Loch Ness. My favorite thing about Scottish lochs is the way the mountains always appear in layers.

  • Neha 16/11/2016 at 4:00 am

    All of them are now my favorites.. on a more serious note, really they all look stunning. And I would love to visit them all. You are going to help me with it when I get to Scotland.

  • Juliette | Snorkels To Snow 16/11/2016 at 7:59 am

    I’ve never been to Scotland so I can’t comment which is my favourite other than choose something from what you’ve shared. I have to admit, Loch Shiel looks absolutely stunning! But then again, if Loch Harport is where the whiskey’s at then I’m there too! Beautiful photos.

  • CreativeTravelGuide (@CTGTravelGuide) 16/11/2016 at 6:45 pm

    So I am a huge Harry Potter fan and deffo will want to visit Loch Shiel! Loch Voil looks like a stunning place too! Some beautiful pics too! 🙂

  • Lydia@LifeUntraveled 16/11/2016 at 6:48 pm

    I think my favorite would be Loch Awe for its castle (very cliché I know). Scotland just seems to be so fairy tale-like with beautiful natural landscapes. I’ve yet to go but thanks for making me travel vicariously through your photos!

  • Pinay Flying High 16/11/2016 at 8:51 pm

    Forgive my ignorance but it’s only now, because of your blog, did I realize that loch means lake. Lol. Everything’s beautiful!!! I would love to take Jacobite Steam Train someday. 🙂

  • Kreete 17/11/2016 at 12:51 am

    How Scenic are these photos! Loving the Harry Potter steam train! I would love to go hiking in these places one day! Can’t wait to visit Scotland now! Thanks for sharing!

  • Janine Good 17/11/2016 at 4:59 am

    Wow these are unreal! I hadn’t heard of most of these! I knew of the Isle of Skye previously, but that is it! I think it would be neat to head ot Loch Shiel as a Harry Potter fan 🙂

  • Tanja 17/11/2016 at 11:15 am

    such a beautiful country! so many lakes:)

  • California Globetrotter 17/11/2016 at 11:32 am

    Ooooh thanks for sharing! I hope to thoroughly explore Scotland more as an adult one day! I saw a lot as a kid, but don’t remember much and my new husband an I talk about doing a bit road trip through Scotland, so maybe one day we can hit up some of these incredibly beautiful Lochs! #FarawayFiles

  • katy@untoldmorsels 17/11/2016 at 12:26 pm

    So beautiful. I have fallen in love with Loch Shiel. What a magical place. Your passion for your country shines through Kate. Love this post and so glad you shared it with us on #FarawayFiles

  • Hendrik 17/11/2016 at 3:25 pm

    Such amazing photos, thank you for sharing these. I didnt know yet, that there are so many Lochs and that they are even called like this. Now I feel like even more urgent to visit Scotland very soon.

  • Sabrina Andrea Sachs 17/11/2016 at 9:06 pm

    Wow! stunning pictures and SO sunny! I only visited Scotland once and it never stopped raining for five days! It is true that everything changes when the sun is shining! Thanks to your post I really want to go back now!

  • Alex Muir 17/11/2016 at 10:20 pm

    Amazing – I loved this post. My hubby is from Edinburgh so we often get up to Scotland to see family and know a few of your favourites, its made me home-sick though, I want to get in the car right now and just go! #farawayflies

  • MARINA 18/11/2016 at 10:02 am

    I was living in Ireland for an year and I absolutely loved every landscape I stepped on! I do not have any doubt that I would love Scotland too (although I have never been there).
    The Loch Shiel pic with the train crossing what it seem to be an aqueduct is truly stunning.

    However, I would like to ask you… how many days would you recommend me to backpack/road-trip around Scotland and have a proper idea of the area, its cities and landscapes (including some hikes)?

    Thanks for sharing! You brought me back in time, to Irish times!

  • Clare Thomson 18/11/2016 at 4:24 pm

    Such stunning photos. I’m so enjoying getting to know Scotland a bit better through your wonderful posts for #FarawayFiles. You’re giving me so much inspiration for my next visit. Thanks for sharing.

  • Danielle Wisniewski 19/11/2016 at 9:11 am

    Ugh. This week’s posts are tugging at my Harry Potter heartstrings. That picture of the train is absolutely gorgeous. That area of Scotland is high up on my bucketlist.

  • whereisnoodles 21/11/2016 at 5:34 pm

    Scotland is full of surprises! Beautiful photos by the way!

  • oregongirlaroundtheworld 22/11/2016 at 3:51 pm

    Really very lovely. Loving Scotland through your lens. Thanks for sharing – remember to tag any photos on Instagram #FarawayFiles and spread the love there too, Cheers from Denmark, Erin

  • Natalie 07/12/2016 at 2:03 pm

    Each photo is just impossibly beautiful! We have not visited Scotland yet but it is on the list! We always travel with the kids and Scooby Doo had an episode with Loch Ness so that would need to be on the itinerary 😉 but we’ll add others, too! What about the midges? Do they bite? Do you need repellent?

  • Ziggy 04/01/2017 at 9:52 pm

    Loch Shiel is my favourite and most beloved view in Scotland. It does not get better than that! Love the photos 😉

  • Susan 23/05/2017 at 11:33 pm

    Favorite: Eriboll! Then Garry Clunie and assynt

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