For other places with the same name, see Tarbert (disambiguation).

Tarbet is a village on Loch Lomond in Argyll and Bute, Scotland. Arrochar is a village two miles west, on Loch Long.

Tarbet and Arrochar are good bases for exploring the west bank of Loch Lomond, but they're far from peaceful. All the traffic from Glasgow to the Highlands and Hebrides is funnelled this way, so the roads are pounding with trucks and buses at all hours, plus city day-trippers at weekends. You need to get away into the hills or out onto the water to enjoy the area. "The Arrochar Alps" is the range of hills above, five peaks ranking as "Munros". One of several locations for water sports is Ardlui eight miles north of Tarbet; its facilities are also described on this page. The three villages of Tarbet, Arrochar and Ardlui have a combined population of just under 1000.

Understand edit

In Gaelic An Tairbeart means a place where boats can be dragged overland from one body of water to another, and Tarbet is the east side of the pinch of land separating freshwater Loch Lomond from the sea at Loch Long. Both lochs are fjords, scooped out by glaciers.

A famous dragging of boats was in 1263 when Vikings sailed up Loch Long, crossed to Loch Lomond and raided the settlements along its shores. But there are several places called "Tarbert" in the Highlands - make clear when taking transport or setting Satnav that you want to go to Tar-BET on Loch Lomond.

Get in edit

 
Arrrochar churchyard

By train: 1 Arrochar and Tarbet Station is on the West Highland Line and has trains every couple of hours from Glasgow Queen Street, taking 80 min via Dumbarton and Helensburgh. They continue north via Ardlui to Crianlarich, where they divide for Oban or for Fort William and Mallaig. One train a day is the Caledonian Sleeper, leaving London Euston Su-F around 9PM to reach Arrochar & Tarbet by 7AM, and continuing via Ardlui to Crianlarich and Fort William. The southbound return train picks up around 1PM to reach Euston by 8AM.

By bus: Citylink buses from Glasgow Buchanan Station pass through Tarbet every couple of hours M-Sa, with three on Sunday. Bus 926 for Campbeltown and 976 for Oban turn west here and serve Arrochar, following A83 towards Inveraray. Bus 926 then continues southwest to Lochgilphead, Tarbert (Loch Fyne) (yes, one of the other Tarberts) and down the Argyll peninsula to Campbeltown, while Bus 976 branches north to Taynuilt and Oban. Buses 914, 915, 975 and 977 stay on A82 along Loch Lomond via Ardlui to Crianlarich then branch to Oban or Fort William and Skye.

Garelochhead Bus 302 runs from Helensburgh three times M-Sa to Luss, Inverbeg, Tarbet (30 min), Arrochar, Lochgoilhead and Carrick Castle.

By bike: a waymarked cycle path runs from Balloch at the south end of the loch, with frequent trains from Glasgow Queen St, along bypassed loops of road and purpose-built track to Luss and Tarbet, 17 miles in all. It's level going and suitable also for hikers, wheelchairs and horses.

Get around edit

Tarbet and Arrochar are two miles apart along a busy main road. There's a sidewalk but it's no fun, with trucks thundering past and showering you from the puddles. Ardlui is eight miles north of Tarbet and that road is equally busy with no sidewalk.

Apr-Oct a waterbus crosses Loch Lomond five times a day between Tarbet and Inversnaid, plus one service to Rowardennan. There's no onward transport from either, so take your bike or plan a long hike, the timetable suggests some itineraries. At the north end of the loch, the waterbus runs hourly on demand between Ardlui and Ardleish on the west bank: this is an access and bailout point for the West Highland Way. Luss 8 miles south on A82 has more connections across the loch, reaching Balloch, Balmaha, Inchcailloch and Rowardennan.

See edit

  • Any short walk above the villages will be rewarded by views over the lochs and mountains beyond.

Do edit

  • Boat trips cruise around Loch Lomond, eg Sweeney's Cruises, but they mostly sail from Balloch at the south end of the loch.
  • Climb 1 The Cobbler aka Ben Arthur (884 m / 2900 ft). It's a distinctive triple peak, the highest central summit being a difficult scramble. Start from the car park on A83 at Succoth just north of Arrochar and allow 4-6 hours.
2 Ben Vorlich at 943 m / 3094 ft is a Munro; it has several routes but is perhaps easiest climbed from Inveruglas five miles north of Tarbet on A82. Note there's another Ben Vorlich on Loch Earn.
  • Freshwater activities on Loch Lomond include water-skiing, wakeboarding and kayaking. Try the Ardlui Hotel, or head south to Inverbeg and Luss.
  • Scuba diving: you definitely want to be in the sea at Loch Long, not in dull peaty Loch Lomond. Loch Long remains sheltered when other spots are blown out, with walk-in dives from the A83 west of Arrochar, anywhere you can park safely. Look for drowned beaches from the Ice Ages, marine life around the abandoned jetties, and deeper down are conger eels rolling their goofy eyes at you.
  • Luss Highland Games are held at Luss 8 miles south of Tarbet on the first Saturday in July. Events include caber-tossing, dancing and pipe bands.

Buy edit

  • Tarbet Village Shop[dead link] near the railway station is open Su-W 7AM-9PM, Th-Sa 7AM-10PM and bakes its own bread daily.
  • Braeside Stores in Arrochar is a newsagent open Tu-Sa 9AM-7:30PM, Su 10AM-7PM.

Eat edit

 
"The Cobbler" or Ben Arthur
  • 1 Drover's Inn, Inverarnan G83 7DX (2 miles north of Ardlui), +44 1301 263108. Su-Th noon-10PM, F Sa noon-11PM. Pub and restaurant with occasional live music. Also has rooms.

Drink edit

  • 1 Ben Arthur Bothy. on Arrochar main street is open daily 11AM till midnight or later. Serves meals (mains £10-20). The Lochside Guesthouse is next door.
  • Arrochar Alps is a gin distillery in Ballyhennan Church, Tarbet.

Sleep edit

  • 1 Tarbet Hotel, Main Street G83 7DE (junction of A83 & A82), +44 1301 702346. 3-star hotel often used by coach tours. Quality mostly okay, some real off-days. B&B double £130.
  • Arrochar B&Bs include Fascadail House and Lochside.
  • 2 Loch Long Hotel is north end of Arrochar village, and Village Inn south end.
  • 3 Ardlui Hotel, Ardlui G83 7EB, +44 1301 704243. Hotel and holiday home park at north end of Loch Lomond, also with self-catering lodges, camping pods and caravan pitches. B&B double £180, caravan pitch £40, pods £50, tents £7 ppn.
  • Ardlui Retreat is upmarket self-catering accommodation a quarter-mile south of Ardlui Hotel.
  • 4 Glenloin House Campsite, Arrochar, +44 7810 194259. Pitches for 10 tents, 15 caravans and 7 motorhomes. from £5 per person.

Connect edit

As of June 2023 Tarbet, Arrochar and their approach roads have 4G from all UK carriers. 5G has not reached this area.

Go next edit


Routes through Tarbet
Fort WilliamCrianlarich  N   S  LussGlasgow
CampbeltownInveraray  W   E  END




This city travel guide to Tarbet is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.