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Loch Voil

Loch Voil is located in Balquhidder Glen about 2 miles west from Kingshouse on the A84 trunk road (UK grid ref NN 534 206).

From the old stone bridge where the loch flows into the river Balvaig at Balquhidder village it stretches westward for 4 miles toward the complex of mountains around Inverlochlarig. At its widest point near the western end the loch has a width of about 500 yards before it reduces to a narrow channel approximately 300 yards long between Monachyle Mhor and Monachyle Tuarach at grid ref NN 479 193 before it widens out into Loch Doine. At some time in the past the two lochs were probably one single longer loch before the narrows silted up to form the narrow channel.

The north shore of Loch Voil is followed by a narrow, winding single track road with many blind humps and leads from Balquhidder to Inverlochlarig. At Inverlochlarig the public road ends beside a small car park with space for perhaps ten or twelve cars. A private farm road leads beyond the car park to Inverlochlarig Farm before deteriorating to a landrover track which leads further west for around 4 miles before finally ending in the heart of the mountains near Loch Lomond.

At Balquhidder a narrow road leads southward over a hump backed bridge. Just beyond the bridge a right turn onto a private farm track leads past Stronvar House - once a McGregor castle - to Muirlaggan farm and beyond that to Monachyle Tuarach.

Loch Voil may be fished for Salmon and Brown trout. Permits and boats are available at Muirlaggan farm on the south shore.

Wildlife around Loch Voil includes deer, red squirrels and a wide variety of birds such as buzzards, eagles, and occasionally, ospreys.

Both shores of Loch Voil were once quite heavily populated by farming families of clans McGregor and McLaren and the remains of small settlements can still be found. The glen was virtually cleared of small farms in the 18th century by clearances and the aftermath of the 1745 Jacobite rising. In 2007 there was not a single McGregor or McLaren to be found in Balquhidder Glen.

There are many mountain walks in this area, mainly on the north side of the glen. Kirkton Glen, Stob Binnean and Bein Tullichean are all accessible but proper consideration should be given to weather and equipment. The farm track beyond the car park offers an interesting walk into remote mountain scenery - also worth an expedition on a mountain bike if you can handle very rough surfaces!

In Balquhidder village (correctly named 'Kirkton of Balquhidder') you can visit the Old Kirk and the grave of Rob Roy MacGregor. Rob Roy became famous through Sir Walter Scott's novel about his life. Even though the Rob Roy story attracts many visitors, his burial place remains tranquil and unspoilt. The Viewpoint known as the McLaren Stone above the church offers a panaramic view over Balquhidder Glen and along the full length of Loch Voil.