Wildlife on holiday at the Lake of Menteith
Perhaps the star at Lochend is the humble mallard! They were wild once, but know a good thing when they see it, and now congregate on the lawn and shore awaiting new arrivals! Specially formulated duck food (along with bird seed) can be purchased from reception.
As for mammals, pine marten are regularly spotted loping across the lawn, especially first thing in the morning. First light is also a good time to spot roe and red deer: families of them sometimes trot about in front of the Log Cabins and in the field beside Coach House. Guests have also spotted hedgehogs, otters and mink, which were liberated from a farm near Kippen in the 70’s, and have found their way to our shores.
Occasionally, we get red squirrels at Lochend as well, but if you don’t see them here, you’re almost guaranteed to see them from the Red Squirrel Hide at The Lodge. Only 10 minutes away in Aberfoyle, The Lodge has an excellent cafe and gift shop, as well as webcams onto local osprey nests, tonnes of information about local wildlife, a GoApe high-ropes adventure course, and miles and miles of waymarked footpaths through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park.
Here at Lochend, we also have a new Nature Trail that snakes alongside the Goodie Burn in the trees behind the tennis court and Nick Nairn Cook School. Kingfishers can been seen fishing along the river here, as can two hedgehogs we recently rehoused from Ayrshire, who can often be seen at dusk, pootling about Lochend or along the nature trail, close to the special hedgehog boxes we made for them.
For budding Attenboroughs, the lake shore provides hours of entertainment, with fry teeming in the shallows, always just out of reach of children’s fishing nets. As for micro-beasties: just peel back some bark, turn over a stone, and let the fun times begin, or visit our wee Bee & Beastie Hotel just next to the Games Room. Created for our visitors by students from the local high school, the Bee & Beastie Hotel is essentially a framework of bedding boxes – just let us know if you’d like to add one yourself, and we’ll get the tools and materials together for you.
We have books in each chalet to help you identify any birds or wild flowers you may meet while on holiday beside the lake.