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Loch Katrine, F J Sargent, 1811

Sargent’s hand-coloured engraving of Loch Katrine shows Ben Venue in the distance. Scott first came here through his legal work. He had studied law at Edinburgh and was sent to Loch Katrine as an apprentice to deliver a writ. Scott was immediately struck by the beauty and grandeur of the Trossachs landscape.

He returned there in 1809 for a summer holiday with his wife and daughter, during which he began writing ‘The Lady of the Lake’, a historical narrative in verse set in and around the Loch. The story portrays the power struggle between the Scottish King James V and the Douglas Clan. James of Douglas and his daughter, Ellen, take refuge in an island castle on the Loch where Ellen is courted by a mysterious knight.

When the poem was published in 1810, it sold over 20,000 copies and tourists headed north of the border, keen to see for themselves the landscape Scott had painted in words.

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