Loch Goil is definitely one of my favourite of the many lochs of Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, there is certainly lots to see and do here.
Loch Goil is a sea loch, flowing from Loch Long and located on the Cowal Peninsula in Argyll and Bute.
Arriving (by land) is an adventure via a single track road. From Glasgow/Loch Lomond direction the turning is just after the Rest and Be Thankful (another dramatic drive!), alternatively it can be reached on the road from Dunoon, if travelling from the Cowal Peninsuala.
Loch Goil has a small population, boosted in the summer by the large amount of accommodation options with hotels, caravans and B&B’s and holiday lets, mostly located at Lochgoilhead. The loch is sometimes used by the Royal Navy’s Nuclear Submarine Fleet, based nearby.
Here are some highlights of Loch Goil, starting at Lochgoilhead and then working down along the western shores to the end of the road at Carrick Castle.
At the head of the loch, the village is home to Drimsynie Holiday Village, which includes a recently renovated hotel, plus lodges and caravans. The village features an attractive loch side public area with gardens, meanwhile the community are developing new outdoor spaces and gardens on what was the site of the old curling rink and rifle range.
Along Loch Goil
The following points of interest can be found along the 5 miles of single track road that connects Lochgoilhead with Carrick Castle. You’ll need to take this road slowly for safety reasons, be prepared to back up for the busses! You also won’t want to miss some of these points of interest along the way. I’ve put them in order as you head towards Carrick Castle.
Ardroy Outdoor Centre has been open for over 50 years. Over that time many thousands of people have been inspired by the outdoor activities organised by the instructors. Many of the participants are primary school children from all across Scotland, some experiencing their first nights away from home and for many it is the first time that they will have taken part in many of the outdoor activities.
These residential experiences are a major part of the curriculum, developing life skills and promoting good team work. One of the favourite and most memorable activities for the attendees is the Jacob’s Ladder experience (pictured below).
The team at Ardroy have battled over the years with the tough financial demands of keeping the centre operational. Currently there is a campaign to help raise much needed funds for the not for profit centre. To find out more and provide support please visit their website.
Loch Goil Cruisers
New for 2019 Loch Goil Cruisers is introducing an extended pontoon to allow their large fleet of motorboats to operate during low tides. Their self-drive boats are available for hire from 3 hours to a day. Boat hires are popular for fishing trips, as well as viewing the lochs wildlife.
Loch Goil Cruisers have also just opened The Boatshed Cafe, a stylish building serving excellent food and drink. Just outside the wooden building are feeders for red squirrels, so you may get lucky and see some of the beautiful animals. The Boatshed’s walls are decorated with a range of boat propellors, the cafe also has some very sensible eco friendly policies.
Lodge on Loch Goil
This five star venue has been created around a private Victorian house, on the banks of Loch Goil. An exclusive use wedding event, venue and hotel has been developed around fine dining and an incredible setting.
Visit Scotland have recently used the lodge’s famous tree house to star in their worldwide TV commercial to promote Scotland.
One of the best places to see red squirrels, thanks to the hides and feeders that have been created by the volunteers behind Cormonachan Community Woodlands. The woodlands is just under 60 ha in size featuring oaks that are around 300 years old. There are good pathways and excellent views over Loch Goil. One of the best views is from the newly created Contemplation Shelter. See our guide to the woodlands via the link below.
The community of Carrick Castle is literally at the end of the road. From here you can walk onto Ardentinny. The small village is dominated by the 14th century castle, which was once visited by Mary Queen of Scots. The castle is now in private ownership. This is one of the most stunning settings in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs and a great way to round off our guide to Loch Goil.
Visit Loch Goil
What I love about Loch Goil is the amount of interesting and picturesque places that are packed into a relatively small area. As you can see from this page there is wildlife, boat cruises, good food and drink, a tree house, outdoor centre and more. There are lots of interesting walks, I have recommended a book, created by a local below. If you’ve visited Loch Goil share your experiences in the comments section below.
Loch Goil local Leonard Gow has produced an excellent book detailing 21 scenic walks around Lochgoilhead. The book is sold at outlets around Loch Goil, priced £5.
This article and accompanying photographs are by Paul Saunders for See Loch Lomond. Visit Paul’s other websites, Paul Saunders Marketing & Paul Saunders Photography, for his marketing, photography & video services in Loch Lomond and beyond.
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