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The Trossachs ( listen (help·info); Scottish Gaelic, Na Trosaichean) itself is a small woodland glen in the Stirling council area of Scotland. It lies between Ben A'an to the north and Ben Venue to the south, with Loch Katrine to the west and Loch Achray to the east. However, the name is used generally to refer to the wider area of wooded glens and braes with quiet lochs, lying to the east of Ben Lomond. The Lake of Menteith, in the strictest sense Scotland's only natural lake, lies about six miles (10 km) to the south east of the glen, on the edge of the Trossachs area.
The scenic charms of the area came to popularity with Sir Walter Scott's 1810 poem The Lady of the Lake, extending his romantic portrayal of Scotland's past from border ballads to poems of a medieval past rich in chivalry and symbolism. The poem gives a roll call of Trossachs place names, the lady herself being found on Loch Katrine. Scott followed up with his 1817 historical novel Rob Roy romanticising the outlaw cattle thief Raibert Ruadh born by Loch Katrine and buried at nearby Balquhidder.
Tourism and development
The Trossachs Hotel was built on the north bank of Loch Achray in response to the growing number of tourists visiting the region. The building now functions as the An Tigh Mor Trossachs holiday apartments.
In 1859, a dam was built at the eastern end of Loch Katrine and connecting aqueducts were added to as part of a new main water supply to Glasgow. At the expense of the Glasgow water company, Queen Victoria had a holiday house built overlooking the loch. The house, Royal Cottage, later became accommodation for the employees of Scottish Water. A steamer service was introduced, and the SS Sir Walter Scott, launched in 1900, remains in operation. The area is now part of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, and remains popular with walkers and cyclists.
The principal villages of Callander and Aberfoyle lie at the heart of the Trossachs, and Balloch, Tyndrum and the conservation village of Luss also lie within the National Park, which was established in 2002. Later developments include the Lomond Shores Complex on Loch Lomond and the opening of the long-distance footpaths the West Highland Way and the Rob Roy Way.
The park contains hundreds of miles of walking and cycling routes, and watersports are practised on many lochs in the park, with some having motor boat and jet skiing facilities and fishing rights. Lake of Menteith, situated near Aberfoyle, is a fishing destination that features the ruins of Inchmahome Priory on one of its islands, Inchmahome, where Mary, Queen of Scots was taken as a child before being taken France for her protection.
The leading Victorian art critic John Ruskin (1819–1900) and the Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais (1829–1896) spent the summer of 1853 together at Glenfinlas in the Trossachs. Millais started a painting of John Ruskin during the visit, which he finished the following year. The painting is held in a private collection, but was on show at an exhibition on the Pre-Raphaelites at Tate Britain in London during 2004. John Ruskin himself was especially interested in the rock formations in the area and undertook his own studies of these.
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- Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park
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- Loch Katrine in the Trossachs
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