Loch Tay

A historical perspective, drawn from the Ordnance Gazetteer of Scotland: A Survey of Scottish Topography, Statistical, Biographical and Historical, edited by Francis H. Groome and originally published in parts by Thomas C. Jack, Grange Publishing Works, Edinburgh between 1882 and 1885.

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Tay, Loch, a magnificent lake in Breadalbane, Perthshire. Commencing at the foot of Glendochart and Glenlochy, where it receives the united waters of these glens, and lying 355 feet above sea-level, it extends 14½ miles north-eastward from the vicinity of Killin to Kenmore, where it discharges itself by the river Tay. Its breadth ranges between 31/3 furlongs and 11/8 mile, and its depth between 15 and 100 fathoms. It is strictly a Highland lake, similar in character to the lakes of Glenmore-nan'-albin, flanked by mountains and occupying a glen. The mountains on its N side form a bulky chain, rising into bare, lofty, finely-outlined heads, the most conspicuous of which is Ben Lawers (3984 feet), the highest summit in Perthshire. The heights on the S side are soft, regular, and much less lofty; but, like those on the N side, are well clothed with heath and verdure. Good roads are carried along both sides of the lake from end to end. The N road is the best for carriages, and the one most commonly taken by travellers; but it has the disadvantage of being too distant from the lake's margin, too high up the mountain slope, to command as good views as those which are obtained from the other road. Though it generally overlooks almost the entire expanse of the lake, the prospect is unvaried and monotonous, the foregrounds tame or altogether wanting; and there is an almost total absence of those delicious close views which are the delight alike of the artist and the connoisseur. Had this road been carried nearer to the margin of the lake, and amid the windings of the beautiful promontories and bays with which it is bounded, the effect of a ride up the N shore of Loch Tay would have been very different. The man of taste would have selected this line; nor would he have found fault with the additional 2 miles of road which are saved by the straightforward views of Marshal Wade. In taking the S road, however, the case is materially different. This road generally runs near the lake, and follows in numerous instances the sinuosities of its margin and the inequalities of the ground. The declivities of the southern range of mountains are, besides, much more varied and intricate than those on the N; while the general outline of the northern range, being bolder and loftier than the southern, forms a striking termination to the views from this side. Few roads, therefore, are more productive of a succession of picturesque landscapes, or offer greater temptations to the traveller than this. The landscapes here present an ever-varied foreground; are rich and full in the middle distance; while the extreme distance is grand and imposing. Near the foot of the lake, 3 furlongs from Kenmore, is a small wooded islet, with the shapeless ruins of an Augustinian priory, founded in 1122 by Alexander I. for himself and the soul of his queen, Sibylla, a natural daughter of Henry I. of England, who on 12 June of that year had died suddenly at the castle of Loch Tay, and whom he here interred. On 10 Sept. 1842 a splendid flotilla of six gorgeous barges rowed up the lake to Auchmore, bearing Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Marquis of Breadalbane, Sir Robert Peel, etc., etc. Since 1883 a steamer has plied to and fro on Loch Tay, which is the finest salmon lake in Scotland. The fish range from 18 to 48 lbs., and in Feb. 1880 no fewer than 26, together weighing 551 lbs., were caught in five days by a single rod.—Ord. Sur., shs. 46, 47, 55, 1869-72.

An accompanying 19th C. Ordnance Survey map is available, or use the map tab to the right of this page.

Note: This text has been made available using a process of scanning and optical character recognition. Despite manual checking, some typographical errors may remain. Please remember this description dates from the 1880s; names may have changed, administrative divisions will certainly be different and there are known to be occasional errors of fact in the original text, which we have not corrected because we wish to maintain its integrity. This information is provided subject to our standard disclaimer

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