There are 22 major lochs and numerous smaller lochs and lochans in Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. Among the smaller freshwater lochs is Loch Drunkie which lies to the south of Loch Venachar and is accessible from the Three Lochs Forest Drive off the Duke’s Pass between Aberfoyle and Loch Achray. The loch is the starting point for three walks.
The loch’s name is a curious one and its origins are obscure. Drunkie is an anglicised version of the loch’s Gaelic name, Drongaidh. The name dates from at least the 15th century and may simply refer to the physical characteristics of the loch which lies in a hollow or depression in the landscape.
The irregular shape of the loch and the surrounding hills, mean the Forest Drive wends its way above the shoreline for some distance as you approach the parking area about midway along the Forest Drive. Three walks of varying lengths and difficulty begin here adjacent to the loch. Joining together the two walks starting directly from the parking area forms a pleasant figure-of-eight path, one section of which is an easy, grassy stoll and the other a straightforward walk with only a modest incline.
Setting off past the toilet block, we start the first section of our walk, the Loch Drunkie Trail, by following a tree-lined, level path following the loch shore above the water. The walk is waymarked in green and is less than 2km long along a firm and mostly gravel path.
About a third of the way along the walk is an unusual structure sitting squarely across the path. Nine ropes dangle from the roof. The corner posts provide support for two benches.What could it be for? There is no plaque or information board to explain its purpose. Are the ropes for climbing? Is it a scupture? Could it be a sound installation? Is it a ‘play station’ where children can clamber and older people sit and watch?
Further along the path it is possible to climb down to the water’s edge when the water level is low. On the day of our walk in late summer, the loch was ruffled by a slight breeze as it stretched away into the distance.
Leaving the loch shore, the path turns uphill and winds through the forest before descending again towards its conclusion.
In an optional extension to the Loch Drunkie Trail, the Little Drunkie Trail adds just over 1km to our walk along wide, level and mostly grassy paths. This section of the walk, waymarked in white, starts by the picnic table near the parking area.
The third walk here, the Pine Ridge Trail which climbs through the trees for a view across the loch and surrounding hills, will be the subject of a future post.