Knockderry sits just above the shores of the beautiful Loch Long, offering stunning views across the water. With so many interesting facts about the loch and so much to see and do around, on and by the loch it is difficult to know where to start. The name, Loch Long, is actually Gaelic for Ship Lake (‘Long’ being the word for ship). The loch was also once the dividing line between Dunbartonshire and Argyll before this line was redrawn in 1996, ‘moving’ the loch completely within Argyll and Bute.
Loch Long is a sea loch, measuring twenty miles in length and between one and two miles wide, extending from the Firth of Clyde and ending at Arrochar. Arrochar is a popular gathering place for walkers as it is one of the main gateways to the Argyll Forest Park. For the more experienced hill walker or mountaineer, the Arrochar Alps run around the head of Loch Long, and offer more challenging routes including the distinctive Munros of Ben Ime and Ben Arthur.
Ben Arthur (also known as ‘The Cobbler’) is a great day walk. There is a pathway leading you to the top which follows a zigzag trail, making for a more enjoyable climb. The route takes you to the top of both peaks. On the way down you can choose to return by the same path or take the slightly more challenging and rocky route that falls between the peaks. The distance to the top is around seven miles, so it’s advisable to allow 4-6 hours to complete the walk.
Loch Long has an interesting history, especially between 1912 and 1986 when it was used as a torpedo testing range. The torpedo testing activity remained steady each year but significantly increased during World War II. Records show that in 1944 over 12,000 torpedoes were fired on the loch.
With advancement in torpedo design and capability, it soon became clear that Loch Long could no longer be used as a testing range. This, along with the news that an explosion had occurred at a similar range (using the same torpedo type as that being tested at Loch Long) sealed the fate of the Admiralty facility. The buildings, pier and slipway were closed in 1986, but remained visible on the west side of the loch, opposite Arrochar, until 2007. Plans had been drawn up to demolish the site, but before these could be implemented, the buildings were destroyed by fire.
Local folklore includes stories of torpedo testing that ‘didn’t always go to plan’, with test torpedoes never returning to the surface, or some leaving the water and ending up on the shore. As you might imagine, the opportunity to discover sunken torpedos plus the naturally beautiful underwater world of the reefs and caves in Loch Long, make this a very special site for diving.
As well as diving at Loch Long, sailing, canoeing and kayaking are also popular here. Knockderry is fortunate to have our own private moorings for the exclusive use of our customers, making it easy for you to combine your love of the open water with lunch overlooking the loch from our beautiful dining room.
If fishing is your passion, then you’ve come to the right place. As a sea loch, you do not need a licence to fish on Loch Long and there is an array of fish to catch including cod, mackerel, pollack, plaice and more. (Migratory fish, however, such as Salmon and Sea Trout must be returned to the water immediately). So whether you enjoy fishing from the shore or from a boat, we cannot think of a more stunning place to cast your line.
We may be slightly biased, here at Knockderry, but as a destination, we feel Loch Long is pretty difficult to beat. The picture postcard clear waters, mountainous backdrop and rocky beaches combined with the range of activities on offer make for an incredible time away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.