Loch

Loch

[lok, lokh]
Leven, Loch, lake, 31/2 mi (5.6 km) long, Perth and Kinross, E Scotland. Its several islands include Castle Island, with the ruins of the castle in which Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned in 1567-68, and St. Serf's, with the ruins of an ancient priory. The Leven River, outlet of the lake, flows E through Fife to the Firth of Forth.
Earn, Loch, lake, 7 mi (11.2 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, Perth and Kinross and Stirling, central Scotland. Ardvorlich House, on its shore, is the Darlinvarach of Sir Walter Scott's Legend of Montrose. Earn River (46 mi/74 km long), the lake's outlet, flows eastward through Strathearn past Comrie, Crieff, and Bridge of Earn into the Firth of Tay.
Lomond, Loch, largest freshwater lake in Great Britain, 23 mi (37 km) long and from 1 to 5 mi (1.6-8.1 km) wide, in Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, and Stirling, W Scotland. The Leven River drains it into the Clyde. At the southern end of the lake, near its outlet, are numerous wooded islands. The northern end is overlooked by Ben Lomond (3,192 ft/973 m high). The hydroelectric power plant at the northwestern end of the lake is fed by water from Loch Sloy. Loch Lomond has numerous associations with Rob Roy, and a cave there was once used as a refuge by Robert I. The lake is a popular tourist attraction; it and surrounding areas are in Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Long, Loch, inlet of the Firth of Clyde, extending from northeast to southwest in Argyll and Bute, W Scotland. Oil is imported there and piped 57 mi (92 km) to the Grangemouth refinery.
Fyne, Loch, arm of the Firth of Clyde, Argyll and Bute, W Scotland. It extends 40 mi (64 km) N and NE from the Sound of Bute. The loch has long been famous for its herring fisheries. The Crinan Canal (9 mi/14.5 km long) connects Loch Fyne with the Sound of Jura.
Rannoch, Loch, lake, 91/2 mi (15.3 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, Perth and Kinross, central Scotland, in the Grampians. It is fed by the Ericht River and drained by the Tummel River to the Tay River. Part of a hydroelectric project, a power station was constructed at the west end. The lake is known for trout and salmon fishing. The Black Wood, a remnant of the ancient Caledonian forest, is on the southern shore.
Ness, Loch, lake, 22 mi (35 km) long, Highland, N central Scotland, in the Great Glen. More than 700 ft (213 m) deep and ice free, it is fed by the Oich and other streams and drained by the Ness to the Moray Firth. It forms part of the Caledonian Canal. By volume, Loch Ness is the largest freshwater lake in Great Britain.

Since Dec., 1933, when newspapers published accounts of a "monster," 40 to 50 ft (12-15 m) long, said to have been seen in the loch, there have been several alleged sightings; the legend dates back to A.D. 565. As a result of the publicity, Loch Ness has become a major tourist attraction. In 1994 a famous 1934 photograph was revealed to be a hoax.

Awe, Loch, lake, 25 mi (40 km) long, Argyll and Bute, W Scotland; 118 ft (36 m) above sea level. The hydroelectric power facility at Cruachan (completed 1967) has a 400,000-kW capacity.
Ryan, Loch, inlet, 9 mi (14.5 km) long and 31/2 mi (5.6 km) wide, at the mouth of the Firth of Clyde, Dumfries and Galloway, SW Scotland. The port of Stranraer is at the head of the sheltered loch.
Shiel, Loch, lake, 17 mi (27 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, Highland, W Scotland. It is drained by a short stream into Loch Moidart.
Loch. For names of Scottish lakes and inlets beginning with "Loch," see second part of element; e.g., for Loch Awe, see Awe, Loch. See also lake.
Ericht, Loch, lake, 15 mi (24 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, Highland and Perth and Kinross, central Scotland. It is drained by the River Ericht. Part of a hydroelectric project, the lake is dammed, and the river has been enlarged. The lake is famous for trout.
Katrine, Loch, lake, 8 mi (12.9 km) long and 1 mi (1.6 km) wide, Stirling, central Scotland. Its beauty is celebrated in Sir Walter Scott's Lady of the Lake. When Loch Katrine became Glasgow's main source of water, the lake was enlarged (1859), and the Silver Strand of Scott's poem disappeared. Glen Gyle, at the head of the lake, is the birthplace of Rob Roy.
Maree, Loch, lake, 13 mi (21 km) long and 1 to 3 mi (1.6-4.8 km) wide, Highland, NW Scotland. It drains into the Minch through the Ewe River and Loch Ewe. Set in the Highlands, Loch Maree is known for its scenery. Isle Maree, near the north shore, has a primitive burial ground and the ruins of a 7th-century chapel.

Lake, Highland council area, Scotland. It is 788 ft (240 m) deep and about 23 mi (36 km) long and has the largest volume of fresh water in Britain. It forms part of the Caledonian Canal system developed by Thomas Telford. On its shores are remains of two fortresses. Surface oscillations, or seiches, caused by differential heating, are common. Reports of an aquatic monster inhabiting Loch Ness date back centuries but remain unproved.

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Lake, Scotland. Located at the southern edge of the Highlands, it is the country's largest lake 24 mi (39 km) long and 0.75 to 5 mi (1.2 to 8 km) wide, with an area of 27 sq mi (70 sq km). It drains by the short River Leven into the Firth of Clyde at Dumbarton. Its eastern shore near Ben Lomond is the region made famous by the outlaw Rob Roy.

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Lake, Highland council area, Scotland. It is 788 ft (240 m) deep and about 23 mi (36 km) long and has the largest volume of fresh water in Britain. It forms part of the Caledonian Canal system developed by Thomas Telford. On its shores are remains of two fortresses. Surface oscillations, or seiches, caused by differential heating, are common. Reports of an aquatic monster inhabiting Loch Ness date back centuries but remain unproved.

Learn more about Ness, Loch with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lake, Scotland. Located at the southern edge of the Highlands, it is the country's largest lake 24 mi (39 km) long and 0.75 to 5 mi (1.2 to 8 km) wide, with an area of 27 sq mi (70 sq km). It drains by the short River Leven into the Firth of Clyde at Dumbarton. Its eastern shore near Ben Lomond is the region made famous by the outlaw Rob Roy.

Learn more about Lomond, Loch with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lake, east-central Scotland. Roughly 3 mi (5 km) in diameter, it is one of the shallowest of the Scottish lochs, having an average depth of 15 ft (4.5 m). It contains a subspecies of brown trout known as Loch Leven trout. Castle Island, one of the lake's seven islands, has the ruins of a 14th-century castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned (1567–68).

Learn more about Leven, Loch with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Lake, east-central Scotland. Roughly 3 mi (5 km) in diameter, it is one of the shallowest of the Scottish lochs, having an average depth of 15 ft (4.5 m). It contains a subspecies of brown trout known as Loch Leven trout. Castle Island, one of the lake's seven islands, has the ruins of a 14th-century castle where Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned (1567–68).

Learn more about Leven, Loch with a free trial on Britannica.com.

A loch (usually Lough as a name element outside Scotland) is a body of water which is either:

Sea-inlet lochs are often called sea lochs.

Background

This name for a body of water is Gaelic in origin and is applied to most lakes in Scotland and to many sea inlets in the west and north of Scotland. For a list, see List of lochs in Scotland.

As a name element Loch has become Lough for many bodies of water in Ireland and for some in the north of England. However, reference to the latter as lochs or loughs (lower case initial), rather than as lakes, inlets and so on, is unusual. For lists, see List of Irish loughs and List of English loughs.

Although there is no strict size definition, a small loch is often known as a lochan (so spelled also in Scottish Gaelic; in Irish it is spelled lochán).

Perhaps the most famous Scottish loch is Loch Ness, although there are other large examples such as Loch Awe, Loch Lomond and Loch Tay.

Examples of sea lochs in Scotland include Loch Long, Loch Fyne, Loch Linnhe, Loch Eriboll, Loch Tristan, Trisloch.

The uses of lochs

Some new reservoirs for hydroelectric schemes have been given names faithful to the names for natural bodies of water - for example: the Loch Sloy scheme, and Lochs Laggan and Treig (which form part of the Lochaber hydroelectric scheme near Fort William). Other expanses are simply called reservoirs, eg: Blackwater Reservoir above Kinlochleven.

Scottish lakes

Scotland has only one natural water body actually called a lake, the Lake of Menteith, an Anglicisation of the Scots Laich o Menteith meaning a "low-lying bit of land in Menteith", and applied to the loch there because of the similarity of the sounds of the words laich and lake. The Lake of the Hirsel, Pressmennan Lake and Lake Louise, (In the grounds of Skibo Castle), are other bodies of water in Scotland which are called lakes and all are man-made. Most Scots will be quick to correct anyone who refers to "lochs" as "lakes".

The word "loch" is used as a shibboleth to identify natives of England, because the hard "ch" (x) sound is used in Scotland whereas most English people pronounce the word like "lock".

Lochs beyond Scotland and Ireland

As "loch" is a common Gaelic word, it is also found as the root of several Manx placenames.

The US naval port of Pearl Harbor, located on the south coast of the main Hawaiian island of Oahu, is one of a complex of sea inlets. Several of these are named as lochs, viz. South East Loch, Merry Loch, East Loch, Middle Loch and West Loch.

Brenton Loch in the Falkland Islands is a sea loch, near Lafonia, East Falkland.

See also

References

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