Photographers guide to Loch Ard.
Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, Scotland, UK
Described as one of the most photographed lochs in Scotland, Loch Ard belies it size and provides the photographer a multitude of scenes, opportunities and pleasure in all four seasons
Loch Ard has an area of 243 ha (600 acres) and a mean depth of 13.4m (44 feet).
A loch in the Trossachs district of Stirling Council Area, Loch Ard lies to the north of Loch Ard Forest, 3 miles (5 km) west of Aberfoyle.
The loch is in three parts which are joined by beautiful waterways.
I am going to take you on a photographic journey down the loch from the first Small loch just past the conservation village of Milton, to the wider expanse of the views eastward from the other end of this beautiful loch at Kinlochard
Special Photographic Features and Notes
Because of the east /west alignment of Loch Ard, it is a particularly good Loch for early morning and evening light, this coupled with its ability to hold on to mist for longer than normal makes it an excellent photo opportunity, for a longer period. There are adequate vistas to fill a days shooting, and as long as you are prepared to walk a little, parking should not be a problem.
The first part of the loch has been the sanctuary of many photographers, with the boathouse in the first picture being shot many thousands of times over the year from all angles and in many varied lighting conditions and seasons...
This small part of the loch is popular with photographers due, I feel, to its ability to hold on to early morning mist longer than most surrounding areas, as it is a valley and closely penned in by the trees on either side, that, and the very picturesque jetty and boathouse, this is the first stop for most snappers on there journey up the loch...Parking is scarce, so I would suggest you park in the carpark at the forest park area and walk the few hundred yards to this spot.
Moving along the road towards Kinlochard, the next section of the loch is joined by a small channel inaccessible from the road side of the loch, and again limited parking on the verge is usually first come, first served... This is a slightly larger bay, with a collection of boathouses and a boat jetty,
...again very widely photographed and readily accessible, commanding views down the Loch west towards Ben Lomond.this area is particularly beautiful in Autumn when the trees are in full colour and the rising sun providing spectacular options.
This part of the loch also benefits from the lingering mist and calm waters because of the surrounding forest. As you can see, this area delivers in colour and spectacle in all seasons, weathers and times of day and the boathouses provide a splash of colour on those dull rainy days...
..this area gets very wet, so Wellingtons are recommended...
The Loch opens up!
Moving on along the loch, you come to the main body of water, and in my opinion, the most picturesque... it has ample loch-side parking and offers a vista down the Loch, but spectacular views of the far side of the loch, with various promentaries and varieties of forestry...
Another strange attraction from this part of the loch is metal cross in the water of the bay...I had always thought that this cross had some memorial or religious significance... but recently have realised that it is possibly just to mark where a rock cuts the surface in low water and cannot be seen in high water by the many canoeists and water users... I think I like the mystique of the first thoughts...
This part of the loch is particularly stunning in the Autumn with the colours and soft low light rising from the west later in the morning to illuminate the various types of forestry seen in this location...
Running parallel to the south of the loch is the Victorian architecture of the Loch Katrine Aqueduct completed in 1860, the system brings the drinking water to Glasgow, with some amazing viaducts and colossal engineering.
Looking East, early morning is best on the little beach just before the resort with commanding views towards the sunrise and the mist covered forests of the south side of the loch...
A few hundred yards after the resort is a car park which is the main one for those who take to walking up Ben Venue and the surrounding hills, and the base for the fishermen who fish for large pike on the Loch, in front of the Ledard Farm entrance, is a field usually home to several species of geese as well as horses and sheep... please respect the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when using these areas as the environment around here is sensitive.
Kinlochard and the West End of loch Ard
Kinlochard marks the end of the loch, but does not fail to deliver in its views back east down the loch , and becomes the starting point for many who explore the Loch Ard forest trails on the south side of the Loch, with ample parking and well signed tracks.
There is a Car park at the village hall situated as you turn left at the end of the Loch , remember to leave a donation in the honesty box for the upkeep of the field, in order that this facility remains useful. The field in front of the hall is for public use and the views that can be had from this field open up the whole length of the loch looking East. Perfect for the early morning sunrise, particularly when there is mist on the loch...
To see locations, car parks and additional information click on the google map below.
- A tripod for long exposures and sharp shots, and preferably a water resistant camera!
- Wide angle lens
- Telephoto lens for the wildlife
- ND Grad filters, Sunset / sunrise filters / Poloriser
- Waterproofs and Wellington boots.
- Midge repellant (essential after May, sometimes a head net) see midge forecast .
- There are few areas of reception on Loch Ard for mobile phones that I have found (Ledard Farm car park)
Loch Ard is the jewel in the crown of the Trossachs, and can be accessed easily within 1 hour of Glasgow. Accommodation in and around the Trossachs can be found HERE
For comprehensive information on access and activities in this area check out the Forestry Commission website I hope this guide has been useful... If you have any questions or wish to comment, please contact me.