Lochearnhead stands some 14 miles north of Callander on the A84 trunk road. The main road follows a route that was first used by Scotland's earliest inhabitants, though more recently by cattle drovers bringing highland cattle to markets in central Scotland; by the military road completed by Major William Caulfield in 1761; and by the Callander & Oban Railway which opened as far as Lochearnhead in 1870.
Today the centre of Lochearnhead is marked by the road junction between the A84 from the south and the A85 from Crieff and the east. Although the A85 forms the minor road at the junction, it gives its number to the conjoined main road that continues north then west towards Crianlarich and Tyndrum.
A century ago the important junction in the village was not the one between two roads, but rather the one between the Callander & Oban Railway on the one hand, which had given Lochearnhead a high-level station a mile or so south west of the village, and the later railway line, completed in 1904, which ran east along Loch Earn to St Fillans and Crieff: and which provided Lochearnhead with a much more conveniently located station.
As the name implies, Lochearnhead also stands at the head of Loch Earn, a 6.5 mile long east-west aligned loch which today forms one of Scotland's most important centres for inland watersports. The remains of a crannog, a building on an artificial island near the loch's south west corner, shows there has been settlement here for at least two thousand years.
The nearby (private) Edinample Castle, parts of which may date back to the 1300s, suggests a continuity of occupation in this important location ever since.
Lochearnhead's real growth as a settlement came in the years after the railways arrived: helped by the way the writings of Sir Walter Scott had popularised the Trossachs and started a tourist boom that continues unabated today.
A number of small hotels were built in the years after 1900, especially along the north shore of the loch where they could gain full advantage of the sun. The Lochearnhead Hotel and the Clachan Cottage Hotel carry on this tradition: while among the significant amount of self-catering accommodation available around the loch is the unusual thatched Briar Cottage, at the east end of Lochearnhead.
The part of Lochearnhead lying on the west side of the A84 provides facilities such as the village shops and the post office. This is slightly separated from the part of the village located along the north shore of Loch Earn, by the bridge crossing the river flowing down Glen Ogle.
Near here are the village hall and village school, while the very north west corner of the loch itself used to be the home of the Lochearnhead Watersports Centre, which sadly burned down in April 2014.
One unexpected feature of Loch Earn is that its waters are subject to an unusual kind of tidal system. Because it is aligned along the path of the prevailing wind, the surface of the lake is subjected to a fairly steady pressure from west to east. The result is a slight but measurable oscillation of the depth of the water along the loch, with a period of 16 hours. This effect is called a seiche and occurs on just a few fresh water lakes around the world.
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