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Ard, Loch

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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Ard, a lake in Aberfoyle parish, Perthshire. It lies in the course of the northern head-stream of the Forth, 5¼ miles E by S of the summit of Ben Lomond (3192 feet), 2¾ miles S of Ben Venue (2393), and 2½ miles W of the hamlet of Aberfoyle. Upper Loch Ard is 2¼ miles long from W to E, and from 3 to 6 furlongs wide; the so-called lower loch, ½ mile to the eastward, is less a lake than a mere expansion of the Avondhn, measuring 5 furlongs in length, but barely 1 in width. The shores are intricate, and finely wooded; two hills, ½ mile to the S, Innis Ard and Bad Dearg, are only 566 and 533 feet high, yet are so broken and bosky as to be more impressive than lofty bare mountains; and the westward background is ever the soaring mass of Ben Lomond. The scene is best described in Scott's Rob Roy, chap. xxx.:-

'On the right, amid a profusion of thickets, knolls, and crags, lay the bed of a broad mountain lake. High hills, rocks, and banks, waving with natural forests of birch and oak, formed the borders of this enchanting sheet of water; and as their leaves rustled to the wind and twinkled in the sun, gave to the depth of solitude a sort of life and vivacity. . . . The road now suddenly emerged, and, winding close by the [northern] margin of the loch, afforded us a full view of its spacious mirror, which reflected in still magnificence the high dark heathy mountains, huge grey rocks, and shaggy banks, by which it is encircled.'

A romantic copse-clad ravine, about ¾ mile below the head of the lake, on its northern side, contains the cascade of Ledard-a double fall of first 12 and then 50 feet, where Captain Waverley met Flora Mac Ivor. A mural rock near the foot, from 30 to 50 feet high, gives a distinct echo, repeating a few words twice, and a gnarled oak trunk, overhanging it, is pointed out as the ` ragged thorn which, catching hold of the skirts of Bailie Nicol Jarvie's riding coat, supported him dangling in mid air, not unlike to the sign of the Golden Fleece.' One rocky islet lies near the upper head, and on the neighbouring southern promontory are the ruins of a castle, built by Murdoch, Duke of Albany, regent of Scotland, and said by tradition to have been the place of his retreat, whence he was taken captive to be executed at Stirling (1425). Loch Ard belongs to the Duke of Montrose, but the hotel-keeper at Aberfoyle has the fishing on it, and lets out boats to anglers. The trout average ¾ lb., and are equal in flavour to Loch Leven trout; there are likewise pike of from 15 to 20 lbs.—Ord. Sur., sh. 38,1871.

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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