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Issue 22 - The Lake of Mentieth

History & Heritage

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Scotland Magazine Issue 22
August 2005


This article is 13 years old and some information provided may be time sensitive. Please check all details of events, tours, opening times and other information before travelling or making arrangements.

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The Lake of Mentieth

Nick Nairn is one of Europe's top chefs and he has a cook school near Aberfoyle. Text and pictures by Andy Hall

The Lake of Menteith, near Aberfoyle in the Trossachs, is Scotland’s only lake as opposed to loch. For the purposes of A Sense of Belonging to Scotland, it was chosen by chef Nick Nairn as his favourite place in Scotland.

My family and I spent a week at Lochend Chalets, which is run by Nick’s sister and brother, in the hope of capturing a photograph which would do justice to this beautiful place, a view that Nick grew up with.

This picture represents one of the biggest strokes of luck that I enjoyed in the entire project.

Photographers amongst you will realise that very low light such as this does not sit easily with any movement and blur is almost inevitable.

For some reason, on this occasion, the swans that are very much part of the character of the lake, decided that they would remain still and motionless, just long enough for me to take the shot. Perhaps they had seen some food just under the surface.

Whatever the reason, it has made the picture in that it has provided an excellent foreground to give the dimension of depth and a serenity that pervades this lovely part of Stirlingshire.

In the book, Nick describes the interaction of sky, water and mountains as the essence of Scotland for him. With Ben Lomond standing sentinel, the vivid colours of the sunset convey an almost volcanic impression.

This location is a perfect holiday experience for Scots and visitors to Scotland. As well as the comfortable cottages and chalets, Nick’s own cook school is situated on the estate.

He showed me round it before its official opening and it is a truly fabulous facility with every state-of-the-art detail attended to. It has everything for an enjoyable break, not least because this view over Lake of Menteith is accessible all year round.

It is one of Scotland’s gems.