Friday, November 12, 2010
Loch Maree (loch Ma-ruibhe in Gaelic) is a loch in Wester Ross in the Northwest Highlands of Scotland. At 20 km (12 mi) long and with a maximum width of 4 km (2.5 mi), it is the fourth largest freshwater loch in Scotland; it is the largest north of Loch Ness. Its surface area is 28.6 km2 (11.0 sq mi).
Loch Maree contains five large wooded islands and over 25 smaller ones, many of which have their own lakelets. Isle Maree has the remains of a chapel, graveyard, holy well, and holy tree on it, believed to be the 8th century hermitage of Saint Máel Ruba (d. 722), who founded the monastery of Applecross in 672. The same island also contains ancient stands of oak and holly which have been linked with ancient Scottish druids. The waters of the loch were also thought to have curative effects, with being submerged in the water thought to be a cure for lunacy. All of the loch's islands are conservation areas. The largest is the only island in Britain to contain a loch that itself contains an island.
Like Loch Ness, Loch Maree has its own monster in the form of the muc-sheilch. The loch is often referred to as the most beautiful loch in the Highlands.