View of Loch Maree from Glen Docherty. Part of the North Coast 500 scenic route around the north coast of Scotland.

Some people ask, “Why travel to look at views? What’s so fascinating about lakes, mountains, rivers, and even cityscapes?” The answers to such questions are personal to each of us. In general terms, we could say that we seek out and look at views to experience grandeur, serenity, and enchantment. With this in mind, Scotland has some of the best views in the world.

Loch Lomond

Loch Lomond’s considerable length provides many opportunities to stop and take in some splendid views. At the foot of the loch, you can see across the water to Ben Lomond from viewpoints such as those in and around Loch Lomond Shores and Balloch Country Park. The latter adjoins the River Leven and then the loch itself. Another area with a view that you could seek out is in the village of Gartocharn, on the road to Stirling. Turn off the road toward Gartocharn’s Millenium Hall and walk down the hall’s right-hand side. Breathtaking may be an overused adjective, but the view of Loch Lomond from here deserves such a description.

Stirling

Take the road north from Gartocharn, and you eventually approach the city of Stirling. As you do so, you have a magnificent view of the castle, which runs along the edge of a steep rock face. Then look to the left, and you can see the Wallace Monument. If you ascend the castle or the monument, you’ll find that they offer sweeping views of the countryside. These include Bannockburn, the site of a notable 14th-century battle.

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine lies within the district of Stirling, in the Trossachs. The views leading to the loch are impressive, but one of the best vantage points to view the area is from the deck of the steamship that sails across the clear, calm water: the SS Sir Walter Scott. The ship is so-named because Loch Katrine provides the setting for one of Scott’s poems, “The Lady of the Lake.”

Oban

Another area worth exploring for its views is the Scottish coast, particularly around the Western Isles. The town of Oban is a good starting point. Head for McCaig’s Tower on Battery Hill and discover views across the bay to the Isle of Mull. For a closer look at Mull and other islands, you can board one of the ferry services from Oban.

The A77 Coastal Route, Girvan to Stranraer

Travel south from Oban–past Glasgow, Ayr, and Turnberry–and you’ll join the A77 coastal route to Stranraer. This delightful road winds along the coast. For many miles, a view of the uninhabited island of Ailsa Craig accompanies you. Once beyond Stranraer, you could explore further south to the Mull of Galloway, a nature reserve run by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds. On a clear day, you can see Ireland, Cumbria in England, and the Isle of Man.

Seeking out views in Scotland is undoubtedly rewarding. The ones described here are just a few of those across the country. No matter what time of year, you can experience scenes that will stay with you, as many visitors, artists, and writers have found.

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