List of lochs of Scotland

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For tidal waters taking the name "loch" around the Scottish coast, see List of sea lochs of Scotland.

This list of lochs in Scotland includes the majority of bodies of standing freshwater named as lochs but only a small selection of the generally smaller, and very numerous, lochans. This list does not currently include the reservoirs of Scotland except where these are modifications of pre-existing lochs and retain the name "loch" or "lochan".

It has been estimated that there are at least 31,460 freshwater lochs (including lochans) in Scotland, and more than 7,500 in the Western Isles alone.[1] Whilst lochs are widespread throughout the country, they are most numerous within the Scottish Highlands and in particular in the former counties of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross and Cromarty. The majority of the larger lochs are linear in form; their distribution through the West Highlands reflects their origin in the glacial overdeepening of the valleys they now occupy.

Loch is a Scottish Gaelic word for a lake or fjord (cognate with the Irish Gaelic loch, which is anglicised as lough and with the now obsolete Welsh word for a lake, llwch) that has been borrowed by Scots and Scottish English to apply to such bodies of water, especially those in Scotland. Whilst "loch" or "lochan" is by far the most widespread name for bodies of standing water in Scotland, a number of other terms exist. The Lake of Menteith is the only natural body of freshwater called a "lake" in Scotland, (although it is also known as Loch Innis Mo Cholmaig in Gaelic) and there are one or two other man-made "lakes", the Lake of the Hirsel being an example. Numerous lochs are called "water", particularly in the Northern Isles, e.g. Roer Water on Shetland and Heldale Water on Orkney. These are not to be confused with similarly named rivers, particularly in the south of Scotland, e.g. Yarrow Water and Blackadder Water.

Largest and deepest lochs[edit]

Loch Arkaig
Loch Awe
Lochindorb
Loch Katrine
Loch Finlaggan, Islay
Loch Leven, Kinross
Loch Leven Castle island
Loch Lomond
A map of the 1800s showing the islands of Loch Lomond.
Inchfad in Loch Lomond
Loch Maree
Lake of Menteith
Loch Morar
Loch Tay

This table includes the twelve largest lochs by volume, area and length as listed by Murray and Pullar (1910).[2][3] The volume of water in Loch Ness is nearly double that in all the lakes of England and Wales combined.[1] Murray and Pullar also note that the mean depth of Loch Ness is 57.4% of the maximum depth – higher than in any other large deep loch, with Loch Avich coming closest at 52.4%.[4] Lochs Maree, Shiel and Ness are recorded as being the narrowest of the large lochs in relation to their length.[5]

LochVolume (km³)Area (km²)Length (km)Max. depth (m)Mean depth (m)[6]
Loch Ness7.455639230132[4]
Loch Lomond2.6713619037[7]
Loch Morar2.32718.831087[8]
Loch Tay1.626.42315060.6[9]
Loch Awe1.239419432[10]
Loch Maree1.0928.62011438[5]
Loch Ericht1.0818.62315657.6[9]
Loch Lochy1.07161616270[11]
Loch Rannoch0.971915.713451[12]
Loch Shiel0.7919.52812840[13]
Loch Katrine0.7712.412.915143.4[14]
Loch Arkaig0.751619.310946.5[15]
Loch Shin0.3522.527.84915.5[16]

Neither the Loch of Stenness nor the Loch of Harray on Mainland Orkney are large enough to appear in the above table (Loch of Harray is 16th by area) but at higher stages of the tide they are connected to one another and to the marine waters of Hoy Sound. The former is the largest brackish lagoon in the UK[17] and the latter, whilst predominantly freshwater, does have a transition zone in the vicinity of the Bridge of Brodgar where the two are connected.[18] The two lochs together cover an area of 19.3 km²[18] but have a volume of only 0.047 km³ due to their shallow nature. Loch of Stenness has a maximum depth of 5.2 metres (17 ft). Although flow between the two lochs and the sea can be observed, the water levels only experience small changes with the movements of the tide.[19]

Mainland[edit]

In reaching an alphabetically arranged list, the words "loch" and "lochan" have been ignored as have articles and prepositions in both Gaelic (a', an, an t-, na, na h-, nam, nan etc.) and English (of, the etc.). Those that have been converted to reservoirs for water supply or in association with hydroelectric projects and whose levels have been artificially raised by the construction of dams or barrages are annotated as reservoir.

A[edit]

B[edit]

C[edit]

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

J[edit]

K[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

N[edit]

O[edit]

P[edit]

Q[edit]

R[edit]

S[edit]

T[edit]

U[edit]

V[edit]

W[edit]

X[edit]

No entries

Y[edit]

Z[edit]

No entries

Lochs on islands[edit]

There are a very large number of lochs on the islands of Scotland, with the greatest density occurring in the Outer Hebrides. North and South Uist and Lewis in particular have landscapes with a high percentage of freshwater and a maze and complexity of loch shapes. Harris has fewer large bodies of water but innumerable small lochans.

Larger[edit]

Those listed in this section are confined to the larger or otherwise notable lochs.

Loch Orasaigh in Lewis is only about 125 hectares (310 acres) in extent but the island of Rainish Eilean Mòr is probably the largest island in Scotland relative to the size of the body of water it sits in, as it takes up about 20% of the loch's surface area.

The meanings of the names are generally derived from Gaelic, Old Norse or Scots.

LochMeaning of nameIslandOS Grid ref.Area (in hectares)Depth (in metres)Notes[6]
Loch a' PhuillGaelic: Loch of the bog or pool[20]TireeNL955415Located in the south west near Balephuil.
Loch AscogNorse: Loch of ash bay[20]ButeNS09462644.7Located south of Rothesay.[21]
Loch BàMullNM56937632444[22]
Loch BarabhatGreat BerneraNB156353
Loch BìSouth UistNF766438<10South Uist's largest loch is in the north of the island and at 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) long it all but cuts the island in two.
Loch of BoardhouseMainland OrkneyHY2682642445[23]In Birsay parish
Loch CarabhatGrimsayNF857566
Loch CarabhatNorth UistNF84661315122.5North Uist's third largest loch[24]
Loch of CliffUnstHP6001171046.55 kilometres (3.1 mi) long and the most northerly loch in Britain.[25]
Loch CoruiskGaelic: Loch of the corrie of waterSkyeNG48220638.4[26][27]Located in the heart of the Black Cuillin mountains on Skye.
Loch DruidibeagSouth UistNF791374c.500[28]Part of the Loch Druidibeg National Nature Reserve on the west coast of South Uist.
Loch FadGaelic: Long lochButeNS0746167111.5[29]Stocked with Brown and Rainbow Trout the loch is an SSSI.[30]
Loch FadaColonsayNR385955Colonsay's largest loch
Loch Fada GobhaLewisNB245232c.12514This loch, which lies between Lochs Treabhal and Langavat, is 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) long.[31]
Loch FinlagganLoch of the white hollow[32]IslayNR387679Eilean Mor was an administration centre of the Lordship of the Isles during the 13th—15th centuries. The English name is derived from Gaelic, but the Gaelic name itself is Port an Eilein and means "island port".[32]
Loch FrisaMullNM49048043062.5Mull's largest loch[33]
Loch of GirlstaMainland ShetlandHU43351920
Loch GormBlue lochIslayNR229657Contains Loch Gorm Castle, once a stronghold of Clan Macdonald.
Loch of HarrayNorse: Loch of the moundMainland OrkneyHY2951519714[34]Closely linked to the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage site.
Heldale WaterHoyND259924One of the largest bodies of freshwater in Orkney not on the Mainland
Loch LangavatGaelic/Norse: Long lake[35][36]LewisNB197205906.530[37]This loch lies at 33 metres (108 ft) above sea level, is over 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) long and is at the head of the Grimersta system.
Loch LangavatGaelic/Norse: Long lakeHarrisNG044897
Loch LeathanSkyeNG500507This loch to the east of Portree, which includes Loch Fada, is about 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) long.
Loch MealtSkyeNG507656Located south of Ellishadder, on the eastern side of the Trotternish peninsula
Loch MòrGaelic: Big lochBorerayNF850813A shallow loch that make up about an eighth of the area of the island
Muckle WaterScots: Big lakeRousayHY393901One of the largest bodies of freshwater in Orkney not on the Mainland
Loch nan CinneachanGaelic: Loch of the "heathen" or "gentiles".[38]CollNM187562Contains the crannog Dùn Anlaimh
Loch OlabhatBenbeculaNF798509One of Benbecula's larger lochs, it contains numerous islands.
Loch OrasaighGaelic: Tidal island loch?LewisNB388281Contains Rainish Eilean Mòr (see above).
Loch Righ MòrGaelic: Great loch of the kingJuraNR540852
Loch SgadabhaghNorse: Possibly Loch of tax bayNorth UistNF84768545315[39]According to Murray and Pullar (1910) "there is probably no other loch in Britain which approaches Loch Scadavay in irregularity and complexity of outline."[39]
Loch an SgoltaireColonsayNR386972
Loch SpiggieShetlandHU3701658612.5[40]Part of an RSPB Nature reserve, the surface is only just over a metre above sea level.
Loch of StennessNorse: Loch of the headland of the stoneMainland OrkneyHY2801266475[41]The largest brackish lagoon in the UK,[17] the Stones of Stenness are on the south east shore.
Loch of St TredwellLoch of St TredwellPapa WestrayHY492508<10Named after St Triduana, the loch's waters were traditionally believed to be medicinal.[42]
Loch SuaineabhalLewisNB069297c.226[43]66.7This glaciated loch basin has a mean depth of 33 metres (108 ft) and is the most voluminous in Lewis.[44]
Loch of SwannayOrkneyHY3092832445Located in the north west of Mainland Orkney there are numerous stony shoals in the loch.[23]
Loch of TankernessNorse: Possibly Loch of Tannskári's point.[45]Mainland OrkneyHY514092602North east of Kirkwall, the loch's mean depth is only 1.4 metres (4.6 ft).[46]
Loch TannaArranNR921430Arran's largest loch is 321 metres above sea level.
Loch of TingwallNorse: Loch of the field of the parliamentMainland ShetlandHU4164254312[47]West of Lerwick
Loch TrealabhalLewisNB27723615710.5[48]Another shallow Hebridean loch with a complex shape.
Loch of WatleeNorse:UnstHP592054

Smaller[edit]

Less substantial lochs include the following.

Loch Leathan, Skye

Historic lochs[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Botanical survey of Scottish freshwater lochs" SNH Information and Advisory Note Number 4. Retrieved 1 January 2010.
  2. ^ The 13 lochs listed include the 12 largest in these categories. Loch Treig and Loch Glass are listed as the 9th and 12th deepest respectively.
  3. ^ This was not an exhaustive survey, and several of the larger lochs in the Outer Hebrides were not included. However it is highly unlikely any would appear in this tabulation, were full data to be available. Loch Langavat is listed as the 14th longest and 19th largest by area. For Loch of Harray see main text.
  4. ^ a b Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Ness Basin" Pages 381-85, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  5. ^ a b Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Ewe Basin" Page 211, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  6. ^ a b Source for all quantities is the same unless otherwise stated.
  7. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Clyde Basin" Page 262, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  8. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Morar Basin" Page 197, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  9. ^ a b Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Tay Basin" Page 80, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  10. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Etive Basin" Page 270, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  11. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Lochy Basin" Page 356, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  12. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Tay Basin" Pages 68-69, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  13. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Shiel Basin" Pages 241-42, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  14. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Forth Basin" Pages 1-2, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  15. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Lochy Basin" Page 359, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  16. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of the Naver Basin" Pages 293-94, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
  17. ^ a b "Loch of Stennes". JNCC. Retrieved 19 June 2011.
  18. ^ a b "Lochs of Harray and Stenness Site of Special Scientific Interest" Midas 1083. SNH
  19. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Orkney" Pages 224-25, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 19 June 2011. Murray and Pullar provide a lower estimate of the combined area.
  20. ^ a b Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames A-E" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 15 December 2009. [dead link]
  21. ^ "Argyll and Bute Council Reservoirs Act 1975 Public Register" (pdf) Argyll and Bute Council. Retrieved 25 August 2012.
  22. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Mull" Page 175, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  23. ^ a b Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Orkney" Page 227, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 18 December 2009.
  24. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of North Uist" Page 197, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  25. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of North Shetland" Page 246, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  26. ^ "Central Skye" (pdf) skye.co.uk. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  27. ^ Douglas, W. (1898) recorded a depth of 96 feet or 29 metres. See "The Climbers' camp at Coruisk" Scottish Mountaineering Club Journal 5 No. 1. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  28. ^ The Loch Druidibeg National Nature Reserve extends to 1677 ha, of which the loch makes up about 30%. See "Loch Druidibeg National Nature Reserve: ‘Where Opposites Meet’ " SNH. Retrieved 15 December 2009.
  29. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Bute" Page 84, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  30. ^ "Loch Fad" Isle of Bute.com. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  31. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Lewis" Page 209, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  32. ^ a b Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames F-J" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 15 December 2009. 
  33. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Mull" Page 174, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  34. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Orkney" Page 225, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  35. ^ Iain Mac an Tàilleir. "Placenames K-O" (PDF). Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. Retrieved 23 July 2007. 
  36. ^ Maxwell, Sir Herbert (1894) Scottish Land-Names: Their Origin and Meaning Archive.org. Retrieved 28 December 2009. Originally published by William Blackwood and Sons of Edinburgh.
  37. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Lewis" Page 213, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  38. ^ Beveridge (1903) pp. 25–29. "Gentiles" is a possible reference to Vikings.
  39. ^ a b Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of North Uist" Page 188, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  40. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Shetland" Page 244, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  41. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Orkney" Page 224, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.
  42. ^ "Holy Wells and Magical Waters" Orkneyjar. Retrieved 29 December 2009.
  43. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) state that its area is "nearly a square mile, or about one-fourth that of Loch Langavat".
  44. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Lewis" Page 216, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  45. ^ "Orkney Placenames". Orkneyjar. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  46. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Shetland" Page 227, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 28 December 2009.
  47. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Shetland" Page 243, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 21 December 2009.
  48. ^ Murray and Pullar (1910) "Lochs of Lewis" Page 209, Volume II, Part II. National Library of Scotland. Retrieved 20 December 2009.