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Hidden in the shadow of Ben Alder Munro or Mountain, Loch Ericht is a beautiful freshwater lake on the border between Perth and Kinross and the Highlands Council areas of Scotland. At 5,532 acres (22.39 square km), Loch Ericht is one of the less commercialized lakes in the region which makes it the perfect holiday or vacation retreat for those wishing to explore scenic Scotland without heavy tourism.
At an elevation of 1,152 feet (351 m) above sea level, Loch Ericht or Lake Ericht is a long, narrow lake, stretching 14.5 miles (23.3 km) in length by one mile (1.6 km) in width at its widest point. Much of the 37.3 miles (60 km) of shoreline is untouched, and certain areas of the lake can only be reached on foot or by non-motorized vehicle. A forestry gate on the north shore and railway bridge on the south shore mark the boundaries for vehicles. There are no through roads that circle the lake, but a single lane road along the western side takes visitors almost half way down the lake and over to Loch Pattack and eventually Loch Laggan. The terrain around the shoreline is mostly flat and easy to walk along for those who would like to explore the area on foot or horseback.
Loch Ericht is a popular lake with anglers. The loch has plenty of wild brown trout averaging eight ounces (0.2 kg) and also ferox trout weighing up to 10 pounds (3.7 kg). Char also make the lake their home. Bank fishing and fly fishing are the most common methods for landing fish from the deep waters of the loch. The average depth of the lake is 199 feet (60.7 m) with a maximum depth of 512 feet (156 m). Canoes, kayaks, pontoon boats, sailboats and small motorboats also share the crystal, clear water.
Loch Ericht is unique in that it is dammed at both ends. The southern end is linked to a hydro-electric power station at Loch Rannoch by the four-mile long River Ericht. The dam at the northern end protects the village of Dalwhinnie from flooding. Dalwhinnie sits just at the head of Loch Ericht where it meets with Glen Truim, one of Scotland's major glens. The name Dalwhinnie means meeting place, which refers to the meeting of ancient cattle drovers' routes through the mountains. The village is best known for its malt distillery, and visitors will find a visitor center and distillery tours of interest. The distillery produces single malt Scotch whisky classified among the Highland Single Malts. The distillery was founded with the name of the town in the late 1890s. The site was chosen for its access to clear spring water and abundant peat from the surrounding bogs. A railroad station can also be found in Dalwhinnie. Constructed in 1863, the station is a highlight with tourists visiting the many small villages in the area.
Accommodations on Loch Ericht can be found in Dalwhinnie. The charming, mountain town features an historic inn, several hotels, and a number of self-catering options. The towns of Aviemore, Kingussie and Newtonmore, northeast of Loch Ericht, offer additional vacation rentals, holiday cottages, and mountain lodges. All of these towns can be visited by car or train, and golfers will find beautiful golf courses in the towns of Kingussie and Newtonmore.
Surrounded by splendid mountain scenery, Loch Ericht has much to offer the outdoor enthusiast. For those who like to hike and climb, Ben Alder Mountain at 3,766 feet (1,148 m) and Geal Charn at 3,714 feet (1,132 m) offer trails and scenic areas for an incredible view of the countryside. Hunting is allowed in the Ben Alder Forest area. The extensive native woodland and varied mountain terrain create a habitat rich in wildlife. Deer, eagles, and native red squirrels, mountain hares, and pine martins are common sites along the wilderness trails.
For an interesting day trip, visitors to Loch Ericht can explore the bustling resort town of Aviemore which offers a multitude of activities ranging from snow skiing in the winter, to walking, climbing, and mountain biking in the summer. Regular visitors to Aviemore include Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Just west of Aviemore sits Loch Ness, the largest body of freshwater in the UK and home to the legendary Loch Ness Monster.
West of the southern end of Loch Ericht is Fort William, the largest town in the West Highlands of Scotland. The town is close to the beautiful Glen Nevis, Ben Nevis and Nevis ski range, the highest mountain and ski area in the British Isles. The area has a number of skiing and snowboarding facilities and a gondola which operates year round. The town is also well known for its famous downhill mountain bike track and its connection to the Great Glen Way. From June to October, visitors can take a day trip on the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig, passing over the famous Glenfinnan viaduct seen in the "Harry Potter" films.
Whether you enjoy walking, mountain biking, golfing, fishing, skiing, or just taking it easy in one of the most beautiful and secluded places on earth, Loch Ericht offers all these activities within a short cycle or drive away. Located near several large lochs and many charming mountain communities, Loch Ericht is the perfect starting point from which to explore the variety of Scottish Highland country pursuits against the stunning back-drop of the Ben Alder Mountains.
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