Lake of Menteith

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Lake of Menteith


Location: Scotland

Coordinates: 56°10′36″N 4°17′39″W Coordinates: 56°10′36″N 4°17′39″W

Basin countries: Scotland

Area: 700 acres<ref></ref>

Islands: Inchmahome, Dog Isle, Inch Talla

The Lake of Menteith (Scottish Gaelic "Loch Innis Mo Cholmaig"), is a loch in Scotland, located on the Carse of Stirling, the flood plain of the upper reaches of the rivers Forth and Teith, upstream of Stirling. Until the early 19th century, the more usual Scottish name of Loch of Menteith was used. On the Blaeu Atlas of Scotland, 1654, it is named as Loch Inche mahumo. The only settlement of any size on the Lake of Menteith is Port of Menteith.

There are a number of small islands in the loch. On the largest, Inchmahome, is Inchmahome Priory, an ancient monastery. The priory served as refuge to Mary, Queen of Scots, in 1547. She was only four years old at the time and stayed for three weeks after the disastrous Battle of Pinkie Cleugh in September of that year.

The Loch is not particularly deep and can freeze over completely in exceptionally cold winters. If the ice becomes thick enough — at least 7 inches (18 cm) — an outdoor curling tournament called The Bonspiel or the Grand Match is held on the loch. The event can attract thousands of curlers despite its rarity. The last Grand Match was held in 1979. The planned 2010 Bonspiel was abandoned on health and safety grounds.


The Lake of Menteith is often thought of as the only body of water in Scotland that is referred to as a lake. Actually, there are others, including four small artificial bodies:

Pressmennan Lake, the Lake of the Hirsel, Lake Louise (within the grounds of Skibo Castle), Raith Lake in Kirkcaldy and Cally Lake (near Gatehouse of Fleet). There is also a sea bay near Kirkcudbright known as Manxmans Lake. Nearly all other major bodies of water in Scotland are known as lochs.

This unusual name is believed to be due to a corruption by 16th-century Dutch cartographers of the Lowland Scots Laich o Menteith, where "laich" simply means "low place".