Loch Fyne, Argyll

Loch Fyne
Loch Fyne is Scotland’s longest and deepest sea loch, extending 40 miles inland where it is connected to the Sound of Jura by the Crinan Canal. There are two types of loch in Scotland, the inland freshwater lakes, such as Loch Ness , and the saltwater inlets like Loch Fyne. These inlets would once all have been freshwater lakes but were flooded by rising sea levels after the end of the Ice Age.

Loch Fyne Oysters takes its name from the Loch, which has long been famous for the quality of its oyster beds. The Loch Fyne Oyster company also owns the associated Loch Fyne Restaurants. The Loch also has a historic association with the herring fishing industry. The town of Inveraray has a coat of arms depicting herring in a net and the motto “Semper Tibi Pendeat Halec” which means “May there always be herring in your net”. In recent decades over-fishing has had an impact on fish stocks which have declined alarmingly. Non-commercial sport fishing is still a popular pastime on the loch.

Other marine life in the area include dolphins, seals and otters. Basking sharks can be seen during the summer months and an example of the rare Ross's Gull was spotted there in 2007. The tidal sediments and mud found near the head of the loch provide ideal habitats for marine worms. This means shore birds such as dunlins, curlews and oyster catchers have plenty of food to find as they wade around the mudflats. Below the shoreline kelp forests provide a habitat for a wealth of marine crustaceans and invertebrates.

The land that lies to the north of the loch is mountainous and includes the Arrochar Alps, Glen Croe, Arrochar and Tyndrum. The freshwater Loch Lomond is also nearby. Inveraray Castle and the ruins of Castle MacEwan and Castle Lachlan all draw plenty of visitors to the area.

Cairndow village lies at the head of Loch Fyne, near to the mouth of the River Kinglas and set back from the main Glasgow road. Cairndow boasts one of Scotland’s only two octagonal churches. Kilmorich Parish Church was built in 1820 and can be found at the southern end of this picturesque village. The Stagecoach Inn at Cairndow claims to be one of the oldest coaching inns in Scotland and played host to Queen Victoria who changed her horses there in 1875. The stables at the inn are now the Stagecoach Restaurant.

More British Natural features?

Other Argyll Naturals

Fingals Cave
Loch Awe
Loch Lomond
The Trossachs
River Leven

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