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Queen Elizabeth Forest Park

Queen Elizabeth Forest ParkQueen Elizabeth Forest Park View slideshow
Queen Elizabeth Forest Park is a large area of land between Loch Lomond and the Trossachs that has been in the hands of the Forestry Commission since 1928. Footpaths, cycleways, nature trails and shelters are just some of the facilities available for those wishing to explore the beautiful countryside (Information center 1mi/1.6km north of Aberfoyle). The splendid woodland areas of Ardgartan, Benmore and Glenbranter encompass about 60,000 acres/24,000 ha.
Official site: www.forestry.gov.uk/qefp
Address: Trossachs Road, Aberfoyle FK8 3UX, Scotland

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond, the largest of Britain's lakes, is situated in picturesque surroundings northwest of Glasgow. The lake serves as the ideal attraction for fishing enthusiasts, hikers and water-sport lovers.

Trossachs

Sunset over a loch in the Trossachs.
To the northeast of Loch Lomond lie the Trossachs, a recreational area that is popular with Glaswegians. This picturesque valley that nestles between Loch Katrine and Loch Achray and the peaks of Ben An and Ben Venue is only an hour's drive from Scotland's most densely populated region. "Trossachs" means something like "bristly area". At the beginning of the 19th century the English poets Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy visited the valley and found inspiration for their romantic verse. In 1803 Dorothy Wordsworth wrote in her diary: "Here we were completely alone and everything that we saw was loveliness and beauty in perfection". Seven years later the historic novelist Sir Walter Scott was bewitched by the beauty of the Trossachs.

Lady of the Lake

The densely wooded gorges and the history of the MacGregors provided Sir Walter Scott with the setting for the "Lady of the Lake". The lady in question was Ellen Douglas who while fleeing from the king's sheriffs with her father seeks refuge with Roderick, the MacGregor clan chief, on an island in Loch Katrine. While out on a hunting expedition King James loses his way and finds shelter with Ellen who is not aware of his identity. A bitter struggle between the king and Roderick ensues but, despite all the intrigues, the story has a happy ending. The romance became a bestseller for Scott and Queen Victoria's visit to the valley has ensured that the Trossachs and Lake Katrine would remain universally popular.

Rob Roy & Trossachs Visitor Centre

The Rob Roy and Trossachs Visitor Centre is situated at Ancaster Square in Callander to the east of Loch Venachar. Displays in the center provide a detailed explanation of the background to the Rob Roy legend and also the history of the Trossachs.

Loch Katrine

Blue water of Loch Katrine.
This lake's name is probably derived from the lawless "Catterin" family who once brought fear to the lakeside's inhabitants. The tiny island at the eastern end is known as Ellen's Island after the heroine in Scott's "Lady of the Lake". "Sir Walter Scott", a steamer that made its maiden voyage in 1900, links Stronachlachar in the west with the Trossachs Pier and this point is a popular base for walks up into the hills from which there are spectacular views. Greater Glasgow's drinking water is supplied by this lake and consequently windsurfing, swimming, fishing and boating are not permitted. Some rare breeds of waterfowl have taken advantage of the peace and quiet along the banks and they should not be disturbed.
Rob Roy is another historical figure who is closely linked with the Trossachs. Thanks to Scott's novel, the red-haired outlaw by the name of Robert MacGregor, or Rob Roy, became a sort of Scottish Robin Hood who like his English counterpart stole from the rich and gave to the poor.
MacGregor was actually a cattle dealer but as he owed money to the Duke of Montrose, the latter seized MacGregor's house and evicted the family. Rob Roy was forced to flee into the mountains and was initially despised by the people, but he won respect as he roamed the countryside symbolically avenging the dispossessed. Contrary to most assumptions, Rob Roy died peacefully in his bed in 1734 and he is buried in the cemetery at Balquhidder by Loch Voil a few miles north of the Trossachs.

Aberfoyle, Scotland

Aberfoyle is located between the Loch Ard and Achray Forests north of Glasgow.

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