Where the Lowlands Meet the Highlands
The heather-clad hills of the Trossachs and their centerpiece, Loch Lomond, the largest and most famous of Scotland’s fjordlike lakes, have enthralled travelers since novelist Sir Walter Scott’s writings first popularized the area in the early 19th century. Here the Lowlands meet the Highlands of the north and west in an area rich in history thanks to Rob Roy (Red Robert), a real-life 18th-century Highlander, cattle dealer, and outlaw who became a Scottish folk hero akin to England’s Robin Hood. In addition, there is Stirling Castle, the country’s most significant stronghold—whoever held Stirling controlled the Scottish nation.
Dating to the Middle Ages and second only to Edinburgh Castle in grandeur, it was the residence of Mary, Queen of Scots, as an infant monarch. Just north of Glasgow, the Trossachs envelop visitors in the sort of pristine wildness usually associated with the Highlands farther north. The “bonnie, bonnie banks” of Loch Lomond (dotted with thirty-some tiny islands) are bonnie indeed, but Sir Walter Scott also favored the freshwater beauty of Loch Katrine.