Scotland’s lochs’ dangerous depths highlighted in water safety campaign

Scotland’s lochs, known for their picturesque landscapes, have hidden depths that can pose dangers to swimmers and watersports enthusiasts. As part of Water Safety Week (18-25 June), VisitScotland has released images illustrating the true depths of these lochs to promote safety and awareness during the summer season. Although the lochs may appear calm on the surface, they can contain crevices, underwater currents, sharp drops, and even rumoured creatures.

Loch Morar, located in the Highlands, is Scotland’s deepest loch at 1,020ft, making it the third deepest in Europe. Local legend claims that it is home to a mysterious creature called Morag, similar to Loch Ness’ Nessie. The depth of Loch Morar is approximately the same as the height of the UK’s tallest building, The Shard in London (1,016ft), or 69 great white sharks stacked from nose to tail.

Loch Ness, Scotland’s most famous loch, is also its second deepest, reaching around 745ft at its deepest point. It is the largest loch in Scotland by volume and contains more fresh water than all the lakes in England and Wales combined. The depth of Loch Ness is roughly equivalent to the height of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, which stands at 746ft above water, or 65 adult African elephants stacked on top of each other.

Loch Lomond, the third deepest loch, has a maximum depth of about 620ft. It is the largest loch in the UK by surface area, covering an impressive 71 sq km and stretching 24 miles in length. Its depth is comparable to two Statue of Liberty monuments or 190 stacked washing machines.

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Loch Lochy, the fourth deepest loch, has a depth of approximately 531ft, which is equivalent to four Boeing 737-800 planes stacked tail to nose, or a tower made up of around 16,875 Lego bricks.

Loch Ericht, the fifth deepest loch in Scotland, is situated on the border between Perth and Kinross and the Highlands. At its deepest point, it reaches depths of around 512ft, which is roughly the same as the height of Blackpool Tower (519ft) or 54,167 £1 coins stacked on top of each other.

Vicki Miller, VisitScotland director of marketing and digital, said: “Our research has shown the positive influence water can have on wellbeing and in recent years we’ve seen an increase in popularity of activities embracing this such as wild swimming and paddleboarding. Through this campaign, we wanted to bring to life the majesty of these waters and show that while our lochs offer plenty of opportunities, there is a need to remain safe when enjoying them.”

James Sullivan, chair of Water Safety Scotland, added: “The breathtaking beauty of Scotland’s lochs makes them very alluring, but it is important that people are aware of the inherent dangers posed by their extremes in both depth and temperature. Individuals should make themselves aware of the risks and take the appropriate precautions to ensure these areas of great outstanding beauty can be enjoyed safely and responsibly.”

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Jamie Cartwright

Jamie is a keen traveler, writer, and (English) teacher. A few years after finishing school in the East Mids, UK, he went traveling around South America and Asia. Several teaching and writing jobs, he found himself at The Thaiger where he mostly covers international news and events.

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