Sitting in-between the larger Loch Ness and Loch Linnhe, and linked, along with the smaller Loch Oich, by the Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy is a gorgeous body of freshwater. Its fjord-like setting sits just a few miles northwest of Spean Bridge with the small settlement of Laggan, at Laggan Locks, forming its northern extremity.
Loch Lochy translates intriguingly from Gaelic as ‘Loch of the Black Goddess’ – a close correlation with water and divinity is not uncommon in the Scottish landscape with the river’s Dee and Don in Aberdeenshire, amongst many others, being a case in point. With a mean depth of 70 metres Loch Lochy is the third deepest loch in Scotland and its 9-mile length is bounded on either bank by steep sided hills such as Druim Ghlaoidh and Meall an Teanga.
The curiously named Battle of the Shirts was contested here in 1544 between the combined forces of Clan Fraser/Clan Grant and Clan Cameron/Clan Donald. It is said that as the day of the battle was so hot both sides tossed aside their plaids and fought in their shirts, hence the name.
Due to it being an integral part of the 60-mile long Caledonian Canal, Loch Lochy bears witness to many thousands of pleasure craft every year and whether sailing the waters or strolling along the banks the likes of roe deer, oystercatcher, grey heron, otter, buzzard and osprey may well be spotted during the changing seasons. And if there is one time to visit it would have to be autumn. At this time the surrounding hills are resplendent in vibrant oranges, reds and browns, which may well be perfectly reflected in the waters of this beautiful loch.