On the northern side of Loch Trool, in heart of the Galloway Forest Park, lies Bruce’s Stone, a commemoration to Robert the Bruce, one-time King of Scotland. Situated on a fantastic vantage point overlooking the loch, surrounded by dense woodland with rushing waterfalls and streams, Bruce’s Stone betrays Loch Trool’s violent history that is somewhat at odds with the serene landscape that awaits you.
Seven centuries ago, English soldiers were ambushed on the opposite side of Loch Trool by Bruce’s men, who launched a volley of rocks, boulders, and arrows on the helpless enemy, before charging through the English line, rendering it impotent. It was a small but historically significant skirmish, as Bruce went on to claim victory at the Battle of Bannockburn, securing independence for Scotland.
Today, Loch Trool offers relaxing and challenging trails, for all abilities. The loch is the starting point for a climb to the summit of Merrick, the highest mountain in the Southern Uplands, which towers overhead; at 8 miles and an ascent of 2,766 feet, it’s a full day’s hike that’s rewarded with outstanding views. Alternatively, stroll along the Southern Upland Way which runs along the south shore of the loch, as part of a circular walk around the loch, covering 5.5 miles over mainly flat ground.
GETTING THERE AND OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
Due to its remote location, accessible only via an unclassified road, the easiest way to reach Loch Trool is to arrive by car.
From Glentrool Village, follow the turning signposted ‘Bruce’s Stone’ which, after approximately 4 miles, leads to the Bruce’s Stone car park on the northern shore of the loch.
The nearest toilets are at the Glentrool Visitor Centre, approximately 3 miles away. A café and tourist information point are also available.
The waymarked paths around Loch Trool are uneven and gravelly in places, with some steeper terrain to negotiate. Some routes also include a bridge (0.9m wide), steps, and minor roads.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO NEARBY
PLACES TO EAT AND DRINK
House o’Hill is the only inn located inside the Galloway Forest Park so, unsurprisingly, the outstanding views are a perfect backdrop for relaxing meals after a day’s hiking around Loch Trool. Freshly cooked, locally sourced dishes are the pride of House o’Hill, with seafood from the local waters and Scottish brewed ale among the tempting choices to savour.
For an energising drink, or refreshing snack or light lunch, pop into the café at the Glentrool Visitor Centre, where a warm Scottish welcome is assured. Gluten-free options are available while, for a special treat, afternoon tea is the perfect accompaniment to the outstanding natural beauty of the area.
DID YOU KNOW…?
Loch Trool is reputedly the darkest place in the UK at night, making it a superb location to admire the Milky Way and appreciate its beauty.