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History Karma Lake of Menteith

Built: 1888

The Karma Lake of Menteith hotel was originally a manse near the adjacent church, which was converted into an inn in 1888 and was converted into a hotel in 1937. It is located on the North-Eastern shore of Lake Menteith, formerly called Loch Inchmahome. Mary Queen of Scots is said to have sought refuge on Inchmahome Island in the center of the lake, which contains the ruins of the ancient Inchmahome Abbey.

The Story of Karma Lake of Menteith

Originally built as the manse to the adjacent church, Karma Lake of Menteith is a lakeside residence located in a picturesque hamlet in Stirling. Surrounded by breathtaking natural vistas, this historic property exudes a sense of tranquillity, tradition, and ancient Scottish history. Overlooked by the Menteith hills, this small and secluded community was appointed as a burgh of barony by James the Third in the 15th century, with the monarch requesting the town to be held by his kinsman. The lake’s royal associations continue throughout the centuries, with Mary Queen of Scots taking refuge on Inchmahome Island in the 16th century, and Queen Victoria visiting this area of natural beauty in the 19th century. 


The islands located in this stunning lake have rich and fascinating histories. Although many of the buildings are no longer habitable, a number of the original 13th century ecclesiastical and baronial ruins on this site are currently maintained and preserved by Historic Scotland, who recognise this area as a site of historic importance. Perhaps the most well-known and the largest of the islands is the peaceful Inchmahome Island, where Mary Queen of Scots was sent for safekeeping in 1547. The young Queen sought refuge in a 13th century priory originally founded in 1238 by the Earl of Menteith, Walter Comyn, for a small community of the Augustinian order – also known as the Black Canons. During this time, the Comyn family was one of the most powerful in Scotland and the owners of an imposing country house on one of the other islands, Inch Talla.


Despite the fact that this beautiful stretch of water was originally known by its Scottish name, the Loch of Menteith, its name is thought to have changed to the Lake of Menteith at some point in the early 1800s. Although the exact reason for this change is unknown, legend has it that many English visitors were drawn to this area by Sir Walter Scott’s contemporary novels of the time; alternatively, this adjustment could have just as easily been the result of a mistake made by an early map maker. Whichever version of events is accurate, the result is that the Lake of Menteith now exists as Scotland’s only ‘Lake’.


The 19th century brought with it a new chapter in the history of this historic property, as it was converted into an Inn before being developed into a resort in 1937. With interiors decorated in a warm and welcoming style, using muted tones and an emphasis on local timber and stone, Karma Lake of Menteith reflects and perfectly compliments its unique waterfront setting.