Aberfoyle to Glen Ogle

Reflections in Allt a' Chip DhuibhWhile the Missus was attacking the N7 cycle route, Jazz thought we’d amuse ourselves by doing a couple of stages of the Rob Rob Way in the Callander area.  We’ve merged them into this one exciting post mainly because we are too lazy to do two separate ones – and we’ll make it look like we did it all in one logical direction to save your brain unnecessary discomfort.  So here we describe a 40+ km section from Aberfoyle to the top of Glen Ogle in the beautiful Trossachs.  The more observant of you will notice the different days because the weather was very different!

Rob Roy Way through Aberfoyle woods

Rob Roy Way through Aberfoyle woods

Jazz at Allt a' Chip Dhuibh

Jazz at Allt a’ Chip Dhuibh

Squelchy!

Squelchy!

We start in Aberfoyle on a beautiful autumn day and after a bit of “a waymarker here would be nice” we found the track heading up past the Dounans Centre and then into the larch woods above the golf course: lovely views all around and the mood was very good.  The path then takes a north-easterly turn and the larches are replaced by standard forestry spruce.  The nice track we were following quickly turns squelchy and we could easily have been on the SUW in deepest Galloway as we have been robbed of any view as we skirt the Monteith Hills.  This isn’t the best walking, but we eventually pop out at the fishing loch called Allt a Chip Dhuibh which looked stunning on this perfectly still day – I even managed to persuade Jazz not to jump in until I’d taken the obligatory reflections photos.

Ben Venue, Ben Ledi and Loch Venachar

Ben Venue, Ben Ledi and Loch Venachar

Then it’s more forestry track heading downhill to Loch Venachar.  This could have been a trudge but the nice folk at the FCS have cut down a big section of the forest here and so we get great views over the loch to Ben Ledi and Ben Venue 1.   There was even a nice lunch stop at the head of the loch.

Looking towards Callendar

Looking towards Callendar

We had decided to take the “short cut” by avoiding Callander with a quarter hour along the A821.  Although it isn’t the busiest main road there are lots of bends, blind summits and no verge for man+dog to jump into when cars suddenly appear.  So we were happier at reaching the safety and quiet of the N7 cycle track at Kilmahog.  This mostly follows the old Callander-Killin railway for the rest of our journey.  The first section is through the Pass of Leny. Heretofore 2 we’ve always been on the main road on the other side trying to negotiate the bends without hitting a Lochs and Glens for Silver-headed People bus tour.  So it was great to enjoy viewing the falls and enjoying the oak woods at our leisure: it would be brilliant in May 3.

Reflections in Loch Lubnaig

Reflections in Loch Lubnaig

Loch Lubnaig at dusk

Loch Lubnaig at dusk

The path then reaches Loch Lubnaig which I’m reliably informed means loch with the bend.  It takes a while to reach the bend, and when you get there you have to turn over the 1:25000 map to the reverse side and realise you are only half-way along the loch.  Just as we are about to get to our break at Strathyre the Rob Roy Way throws a bit of a curve ball 4 as it decides the nice flat railway bed isn’t good enough and takes a couple of hair-bends to climb up the hillside: unfair so close to my rest.

Bicycle Advert, Kingshouse

Bicycle Advert, Kingshouse

The next day we’re going to finish this post by continuing the walk along the old railway up Glen Ogle and its famous viaduct.  Unfortunately yesterday’s beautiful weather has been replaced by the standard Trossachs rain with the mist low down on the hills.  We start on a pristine section of new cycle route.  There was obviously real funding here as the route through the village has solar-powered cats’ eyes embedded into the edges: at night it looked like a runway – Strathyre is obviously a magnet for the nocturnal cyclist with poor night-vision.  This new section shortcuts the loop out to Balquidder and so handy for people with little time (i.e. us).

Loch Earn from Glen Ogle railway

Loch Earn from Glen Ogle railway

Looking down Glen Ogle

Looking down Glen Ogle

Atmospheric Loch Earn

Atmospheric Loch Earn

Just outside Lochearnhead the path needs to climb a few hundred metres back onto the old railway bed.  This involves a lot of hair-pin bends and the cycling guides have dire warnings about the required effort.  But the unpleasantness is soon over 5 and we have a view down Loch Earn.  Sadly the mist is hiding Ben Vorlich that we skirted last year – it’s a view we’ll call “atmospheric”.  Now things ramp up a gear 6 because we are on a section of path that has to be one of the most beautiful anywhere as it heads up the west side of Glen Ogle – it must have been a stunning train journey. The view over to the other side was full of rich, unsaturated autumn colours and tendrils of mist with the river way below.  We could easily make out the the path of the old military road following the burn.

Glen Ogle viaduct

Glen Ogle viaduct

Old railway bridge, Glen Ogle

Old railway bridge, Glen Ogle

Around halfway up the glen is the viaduct.  It’s pretty impressive from the path but for real impact you need to see it from the road, and because I strive to give the best for my readers, I did just that – although you can barely make it out through the mist.  The path continues at its 1:60 incline through some lovely old bridges and engineering until we reach the summit near the Lochan Lairig Cheile where the Missus was on hand with the car.  I hope you notice in the photos the difference in quality of route the cyclist types get on the N7 (beautifully smooth tarmac) to the stuff the walkers get on the RRW (knee deep in mud).  Talk about pampering: I almost expected pit-stops every kilometre where the HiViz pedal-pushers could get massages and cocktails 7.

So a bit of laziness on my part joined two very different walks. If I may suggest 8 the best walk is a slice and reverse of the two: start at the top of Glen Ogle and walk to Callander: it’s the very best bit and is (mostly) downhill all the way.  You’re welcome.

Notes:

  1. A check of the notes revealed that the Missus and I climbed the latter 26 years ago.
  2. Always wanted to use that word.
  3. But then most places are!
  4. An American sporting colloquialism I believe.
  5. Ignore the cyclists – they over-dramatise everything.
  6. Literally and figuratively.  A wee joke for the cyclists there…
  7. Just a test to see if the Missus is reading this nonsense: apparently the N7 through the QE2 Forest made the Somme look a picnic site.
  8. And I may since I’m writing this tosh.
Distance:41km
Effort:
Scenery:
Do It Again: