It is the world’s most widely read travel magazine which describes itself as going “beyond the usual tourist fare for authentic experiences”.
Now National Geographic Traveller, renowned for its stunning photographs and unique travel writing has named one of Scotland’s beauty spots as the top national park in Britain.
It describes Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park as “stunning” and declares it a “Scottish haven.”
In the two-page spread in its May edition the magazine says: “the Lake District usually tops polls as our favourite national park, but for stunning lake landscapes, mountain views, hillwalking, climbing and boating, there’s nowhere like this Scottish haven that’s home to 22 lochs and 21 Munros.”
Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, established by the Scottish Parliament in 2002, covers an area of 720 sq miles. Its Munros (mountains over 3,000ft) include Ben Lomond, Ben Lui and Ben More while it is crossed by the West Highland Way. It also has 57 designated special nature conservation sites.
Gordon Watson, chief executive of the park, which attracts approximately four million visitors each year, said it was a worthy winner of the magazine’s accolade.
Watson said as well as the range of outdoor pursuits such as hillwalking, cycling, canoeing and open water swimming offered by the park’s varied landscape, it had moved with the times and was rapidly becoming a “foodie hot-spot” with cookery schools, delis and restaurants, while art installations were a novel feature.
He said: “We agree that there is no place like it. The park’s stunning lochs, glens and hills is a precious, unique environment with many hidden gems and rare species to discover, and our many bustling villages have wonderful craft shops and offerings of local food and places to stay. Our 2015 survey showed 44 per cent came to the park for activities related to food and drink.”
Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “With charming villages, rolling countryside and breath-taking hills, it’s no wonder that the bonnie banks and surrounding areas regularly feature on these types of lists.
“Scotland’s national parks, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and Cairngorms, are both fantastic assets.”