Glamping in the footsteps of literary giants

At the turn of the 19th century literary giants such as Sir Walter Scott, William Wordsworth and Samuel Coleridge ventured north to explore the Highlands and raw beauty of Scotland’s spectacular scenery.

During their epic journeys they sought shelter by the side of Loch Katrine in rudimentary huts with bracken roofs provided by Lady Drummond of Perth, the local landowner.

Bruce Crawford MSP, Lady Drummond of Perth and Dr Michael Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage who were viewing two of the new Eco Lodges at Loch Katrine.

Bruce Crawford MSP, Lady Drummond of Perth and Dr Michael Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage viewing the new Eco Lodges at Loch Katrine.

Now more than a century later, next to the spot where these huts stood, a new cluster of holiday homes have been built to accommodate visitors to the area. However, unlike their predecessors these temporary shelters are much more luxurious than those enjoyed by 18th century tourists.

A total of eight timber lodges have been built on a small camp ground in the shadow of Ben Venue on the lochside, which is part of the Great Trossachs Forest National Nature Reserve, in the heart of the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park.

The new eco camp consists of four en-suite and four standard lodges alone with an extra eight camping pitches, a shower and toilet block. There are also several stands for camper vans to hook up to electricity, water and wifi.

Each of the glamping eco lodges are fully insulated and are available on a year-round basis. Four of them are fitted with en suite facilities, underfloor heating, TVs and wifi and one is suitable for disabled visitors.

The whole site has designed with strong environmentally friendly credentials given its location in an environmentally sensitive site so close to a major reservoir supplying over 150 million gallons of water daily to households in Glasgow and Central Scotland.

Dr Michael Cantlay, Chair of Scottish Natural Heritage welcomed the creation of the much needed high quality glamping facilities in the stunning environmental setting where Scottish tourism began.

“This development demonstrates that contemporary tourist facilities can be developed on an environmentally sensitive site in a sympathetic way while providing great opportunities for people to enjoy Scotland’s outdoors and rich natural heritage,’’ he said.

The project has been created by the Steamship Sir Walter Scott Trust, which has responsibility for control of the visitor facilities at Loch Katrine, to help support the continued operation of the historic steamship. The Sir Walter Scott has provided pleasure cruises on Loch Katrine for more than a century and is the only surviving screw steamer in regular passenger service in Scotland.

Around 300,000 visitors come to Loch Katrine each year, and over 85,000 passengers annually enjoy cruises on the Trust’s Steamship Sir Walter Scott or the Lady of the Lake passenger boat.

Gordon Watson, Chief Executive of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park, said: ‘’Camping is a fantastic way to enjoy the National Park and we are delighted to welcome the addition of the new camping and motorhome pitches as well as the eco lodges at Loch Katrine, alongside the historic Sir Walter Scott steamship, which is one of the area’s most popular tourist attractions.’’