Loch Venachar - Jayne Valentine
Updated: Mar 7
Jayne Valentine has paddleboarded for a couple of years now and when she’s not driving lorries she is out roaming around The Trossachs when she can on her Red Paddle Co board. Here is a wee insight to one of her Favourite paddles nearby.
The loch is nestled in between Callander and Brig o' Turk. At roughly 6 kilometres long and 33 metres deep it is a brilliant place for a paddle.
The Black Water comes from Loch Achray into the west side of Loch Venachar and on the east end starts the formation of the River Teith. A small dam, which controls the water level, was built in the 19th century by John F. Bateman. If and when paddling here make sure you check and read the signs as the gates on the dam are sometimes open to let water out the loch.
There is a small island on the loch called Portnellan island and it was an Iron Age crannog and now a Scheduled Ancient Monument.
The south shore of the loch is covered in beautiful woodland and is full of forest tracks, some that take you over the hills to the Lake of Menteith and some that go west to Loch Achray and the Trossachs. There is a large house on the south shore called Invertrossachs House, which was visited by Queen Victoria in 1869. Fun fact!
Loch Venachar is a regular meet up spot for Paddlefast SUP Club which Glasgow Paddleboarders do regular joint meet ups with. They are based in Falkirk. Look out for fire red t-shirt’s and you’ll know it’s them.✌🏼
Loch Venachar - Love this loch
The key points for me are that it has small but good car park, cafe/restaurant with outside seating, lots of small beaches, lies east to west so good for wind direction i.e. less crosswinds. If I do go there I usually try to get there early to make sure I get parked.
I use the North shore and drive past the Lochside cafe, pass the small lay-by and use one of the next two small car parks.
I’m told you can use the slip at the cafe but they charge a fee.
There are great beaches but limited parking if you take the South shore, and you can’t drive past the sailing club as it’s a private road. During the summer you will find lots of overnight camping and Campervans so less parking space.
Once launched I would paddle into any wind to the end of the loch, then return with the wind at my back. One thing I have noticed is the water runs towards the dam so heading back past the cafe to the car parks means pushing against the current and can be tiring so give yourself some time and rest if you need to.
There is a cancer retreat for families called Ripple on the shore opposite the cafe. It’s really colourful and great to see, but the stunning pier and any landing is a huge no-no. Watch out for the rainbow bull.
I can highly recommend The Lade Inn at Kilmahog for food.