The Loch Katrine Cruises, on the Sir Walter Scott Steamboat, are an institution.
They combine beautiful scenery with an historical boat.
Below is my guide to plan your visit to Loch Katrine in the Trossachs National Park, Scotland.
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Why do the Sir Walter Scott Loch Katrine Cruise?
Loch Katrine is in the heart of the Trossachs National Park. A lake niched in the mountains. It is a beautiful and long loch surrounded by greenery.
Because of the steamboat Sir Walter cruising on it, it is one of the most famous lochs in Scotland.
Below is a short video of my experience on the Sir Walter Scott boat:
About Loch Katrine
- Its Gaelic name is Loch Ceiteirein
- It is a freshwater lake
- It is one of the highlights of the Trossachs National Park
- It is 13km long (8,1mi) and at its widest point it reaches 1km (0,62mi)
- It is the setting of a poem from Walter's Scott: The Lady of the lake
- It is used as a freshwater reservoir for Glasgow (and has been for 150 years)
- It was used as a set or a season 2 episode of Outlander
- It has several small islands including Ellen's Isle and the Black Isle
I am sharing more about the Sir Walter Scott boat further in the article.
Planning Tips - Loch Katrine Cruises
How to get to Loch Katrine Trossachs
- Located on A821, North of Glasgow in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
- 1h15 drive from Glasgow
- 1h40 drive from Edinburgh
- 50min drive from Balloch at the South End of Loch Lomond
- Some day trips from Glasgow include this cruise
The GPS coordinates and location on a practical map are available on my travel guide eBooks. They facilitate the planning of your Scotland road trip:
About the Loch Katrine Cruises
- Loch Katrine Cruises price and timetable can be found on the Loch Katrine website
- Normally there is one in the morning and 2 to 3 in the afternoon
- The boats are either the Sir Walter Scott or the Lady of the Lake. The Steamboat does most of the scenic tour while the lady of the Lake goes from Trossachs pier to the pier at Stronachlachar
- Your Loch Katrine Cruise can be booked online
- You can find a café at the Trossachs pier near the visitor center
- Toilets on board
- If gets really cold on the boat. They provide blankets but make sure to take layers and a hat.
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- Compare prices on my favorite platform: Discovercars.com - one of the best rated comparison sites!
- Choose the car and company you prefer (prefer a compact car for the single-lane roads)
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- Book early to have a large choice of vehicles!
Accommodations in the Trossachs
- You can find accommodations around the Trossachs National park
- Close to Loch Katrine, you can only find rentals
- For more options head to Loch Lomond especially around Balloch
- See the best rated accommodations in the Trossachs National Park
Loch Katrine Map
On the side of the Visitor center, you can find a Loch Katrine map.
You arrive via the road on the right side of the lake at the You Are Here square at the Trossachs Pier
As you can see it is close to Loch Lomond at the West end, but there are no roads along the loch. You have to take the water bus to Stronachlachar.
This map of Loch Katrine identifies the different Loch Katrine cruises.
The red line is the cruise on the Sir Walter Scott boat. It is 1h and turns around in the middle.
The Trossachs Pier
The cruises start at the Trossachs Pier
You can find the Loch Katrine Café and a visitor center about the National Park (but I forgot to take a picture, sorry)
As you wait for the boat you can walk along the Loch Katrine pier and discover the displays with historical photos and a lot of information:
This is the famous Sir Water Scott steamship which take visitors on the main Loch Katrine Cruises:
The Sir Walter Scott Boat
The Steamship Sir Walter Scott has been sailing for over 100 years. It is 33m (110ft) long and 5.8m (19ft) wide.
Imagine how it came to Loch Katrine! It had to be dismantled, transported (for a portion via horse drawn carts) and then reassembled on the shores of Loch Katrine.
Its maiden voyage occurred in 1900.
She still has her original steam engine, which you can admire as they open its cover during the trip:
At the back of the boat, they have set up benches and a covered area (Scottish rain happens...)
You can also go to the lower deck to get warmer and see the views from the porthole at water level.
Views from the Sir Walter Scott Cruise
Wandering what you will see on a Loch Katrine Cruise?
Below are some pictures from my own tour on the Sir Walter Scott boat. The summits around this loch as not very high but remain mostly wild.
The cruise is really peaceful and relaxing. It offers a lot of greenery and interesting hills.
The advantage is that the loch is quite narrow (1km at the widest) so there is always something to look at quite close.
The Sir Walter Scott only cruises on the first half of the loch, but it offers already a lot of views of the landscape.
Below is a picture of the return to the Trossachs Pier:
From the Porthole
If you get cold upstairs, get down to the lower deck and admire the views through the portholes. Imagine the people in the 1900s who were doing the same!
Lady of the Lake - other loch Katrine boat tour
The other boat used for Loch Katrine Cruises is the Lady of the Lake. Less history but the same beautiful views...
Stronachlachar Pier on Loch Katrine
You can reach the other end of the loch by 2 ways:
- Taking the cruise via Lady of the Lake
- Driving on B829 along Loch Ard, Loch Chon and Loch Arklet - a beautiful drive - see my pictures
Loch Katrine Hiking and other activities
Loch Katrine hike
There is no road along the lake, but there is a walking path.
You can do only one way between the piers (5h) and take the water bus the other way around.
Here is more information about the shore hike
And you can find more hikes in the Trossachs National Park - see the list
Loch Katrine Fishing
You can find, among others, brown trouts in the the lake. It is quite deep.
You can rent boats at the Loch Katrine fisheries.
Other places to discover in the Trossachs:
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