Scotland's Great Trails




INTEREST ALONG THE WAY

Drymen

Drymen is perhaps best know today for its location as the entry point to the SE corner of Loch Lomond. It has a history associated with three families , these being the Drummonds, Buchanans and Grahams (Marquis of Montrose). Buchanan Castle was the seat of the Grahams of Montrose up until 1930 at which point the ruined castle and grounds were made into a golf course.


Drymen

Drymen Parish Church

Drymen also has association with Rob Roy MacGregor. The MacGregor clan harried this area when the Graham's arrived and the feuding between the Buchanans and Grahams only temporary ceased with the common treat of Rob Roy.
This small community was regularly used by Rob Roy as he drove cattle north past Drymen, Balmaha and Rowardennan to the safety of the Trossachs.


Aberfoyle and the Trossachs

picture

The Trossachs


This was the home of Rob Roy and his wife during a large part of their lives. Some of the key area includes Loch Ard and Loch Katrine, all within a close distance of Aberfoyle by car. Rob Roy's Cave is located on Loch Ard and it was from here that he planned many of his activites while an outlaw.

Walter Scott was very fond of the area and in his novel Rob Roy (1818) Aberfoyle was the meeting place between Rob Roy with Bailie Nicol Jarvie when he described Aberfoyle as a clachan - hamlet.

Aberfoyle is on the Trossach Trail and also is the home of the Trossachs Discovery Centre and the Scottish Wool Centre.


The Goldmine in Strathyre

For a long time small traces of precious metals have been found in the area. In 1850's there was work undertaken by the 2nd Marquis of Breadelbane in gold mining in Strathyre and at Balquhidder Station. There were also copper veins found on the south shore of Loch Tay. None however proved to be commercially viable.
Today Strathyre is a tourism village and is surrounded by forestry.


Strathyre

Strathyre main street


Callander

Rob Roy Centre

The Rob Roy Centre


Callander came into existence as a result of the Commissioners for Forfeited Estates (Jacobite) after the Drummond land was taken in the 18th Century. Its popularity came the following century with the town becoming a spa and hydro location. At this time it was also on the railway and it became very popular with the Victorians. Now the railway is no more but the town on the banks of the River Teith remains a popular tourism centre.
The town is the home of the Rob Roy & Trossachs Visitor Centre.

Away from the busy centre Callander Meadows on the banks of the Teith offer a place of quiet. Close by there are remains in the form of embankments from the Roman occupation by Agricola.
Callander was made more commonly known by Sir Walter Scott who set the "Lady of the Lake" in the Callander area.
Close by are the Falls of Leny.


RIver Teith

River Teith passing through Callander


Schiehallion

Schiehallion

Schiehallion seen from the hills above Tullypowrie


Scheihallion in Perthshire reaches a height of 3547 feet and can be seen on days 3, 5 and 6 of the Rob Roy Way. The name is derived from the gaelic name for fairies and Caledonia, the name meaning the "fairy hill of the Caledonians". This fairy connectin has roots in the history story of Rev Robert Kirk (1644 - 1692)the minister of Aberfoyle and Balquhidder.
In the 18th century Scheihallion has been the centre of scientific experimentation by the Astronomer Royal to help determine the density of the earth and more recently with further scientific research by Dr John Playfair and Dr John MacCulloch.


Pitlochry

Pitlochry became a centre for tourism following the visit to the area by Queen Victoria in 1844. It is now perhaps the town with the greatest number of hotels and visitor accommodation for its size within the UK.
It has continued to develop its visitor attractions with the establishment of the Festival Theatre in 1951, and their new premises opened in 1981.


Festival Theatre

Pitlochry Festival Theatre on the west bank of the River Tummel

Loch Faskally

Loch Faskally


Another attraction is the Hydro-electric scheme with the fish ladder and resultant Loch Faskally. This is now a recreational loch having its water source from the River Garry and Tummel.

In the area there is the village of Moulin with its church dating back to 1613 and the ruins of Castle Dubh, and to the south the 8th century pictish carving, the Dunfallandy Stone.


Aberfeldy

Aberfeldy is famous for the General Wade Taybridge 1733-35 and the founding of the Black Watch Regiment. The town has the Urlar Burn running through its centre entering the Tay beside the golf course. This burn has a restored and working waterwheel and mill, but it is also the same water upstream that forms the Falls of Moness as it descends through the Birks of Aberfeldy. Robert Burns made this famous when he wrote his poem in 1787. For more details on the Birks click here.


Water mill

Water wheel and Mill - Aberfeldy


Glen Almond

Memorial Cairn

Memorial Cairn at Dalriech, Glen Almond


This simple cairn is located in a remote part of Glen Almond at Dalriech. It has inlaid the following plaque:

"This cairn is built on the site of Stuck Chapel in memory of those who gave their lives in the Great War 1914 - 1918

No obvious remain exist, however it does indicate that at the turn of the 20th century this Glen must have had considerably more inhabitants than today.


Fortingall

Although not on the route of the walk, Fortingall is within easy reach of Aberfeldy, and for the latter part of Day 6 and the start of Day 7 this area is in view. This area is interesting for four things:

   Iain MacGregor's Wedding

Fortingall was the location of Rob Roy MacGregor's older brothers wedding to Christian, daughter of Campbell of Duneaves in 1687. Rob Roy was certainly at this wedding along with Mary whom he was later to marry in 1693 at Loch Arklet.

   The Oldest Tree in the World.

This is a Yew tree at the foot of Glen Lyon to the east of Ben Lawers. This tree is said to be over 3000 year old and although parts have died there is still life in part of the tree.

Yew Tree on the left of Fortingall Church


Fortingall Church and Yew Tree

Pontius Pilot

Legend also suggests that Fortingall is the birthplace of Pontius Pilot who may well have been half Scottish. The Romans were in Britain in this period and were looking for support from "Metallanus, King of the Scottissman" for the Roman Empire. In this period it is thought that one of the Roman Commanders had an association with a Caledonian woman resulting in the birth of Pontius. The legend also suggests that Pontius Pilot may also have returned to his birth place at Fortingall and died, there being a headstone recovered with the markings PP.

   Macgregors Leap

Leap

River Lyon and Macgregor Leap


An ancester of Rob Roy was Gregor MacGregor who in 1569 was in the Glen Lyon area visiting his wife. Grey Colin Campbell of Glenorchy was in pursuit over land issues and Gregor was making his escape. At a narrower point in the Pass of Lyon gorge Gregor made a daring leap that the Campbells were not prepared to undertake, thereby securing his temporary freedom.

Since that date others have tried to leap the river and have perished in their attempts.

It is not clearly marked in the Pass of Lyon where the exact point of the leap took place, but from information posted in the church this part shown is certainly close to the legendary point.


RAF Tornado Pilot

Within the first few minutes of walking from the start of the Glen Ogle to Ardtalnaig section, just as the hills bear off east above the Falls of Dochart there is a simple memorial to two RAF pilots who lost his life while undergoing low flying practice in the area on 1st September 1994.
They were Flt. Lt. Patrick Peter Harrison and Flt. Lt. Peter John Michael Mosley aged 33 and 31 respectively.


Memorial Stone

Memorial Stone


Finglen Burn

Finglen Burn

Finglen Burn at Ardoenaig


Hidden behind the trees the Finglen burn tumbles down into Loch Tay. The water falls attractively over the rocks close to the junction of the Braentran road with the south Loch Tay road.
This was the route the Macnabs used to cross over to Loch Earn. Ardeonaig is also the point from which a public path sets off for Comrie following the direction of the Finglen burn as it climbs towards Creag Uchdag.


The Scottish Crannog Centre

The centre close to Kenmore is on Loch Tay. This is a restored Crannog or man made island dwelling and traces back habitation in the area to the Iron Age. The centre has 2,600 year old artefacts on display.


Crannog

Crannog on Loch tay


Lochearnhead

The Strathyre to Killin section of the Rob Roy Way either passes by Lochearnhead on a high level track (Millenium cycle route 7) or can be entered if the walker diverts off the old railway track and descends to the main road by St Angus's Church. Whichever option is taken there will be breathtaking views of Loch Earn.

Loch Earn

Water sports on Loch Earn


The west end of Loch is recognised as a water sports centre. Close by is Ardvorlich House the home of the Stewarts since 1589. Following a beheading of one of the foresters by the MacGregors, they presented the head to the Lady of Ardvorlich who was pregnant. She was so distraught that she ran out to the hills and proceeded to give birth to James Stewart, known as Mad Major. He served under the Duke of Montrose and is the model for Allan Macaulay in Sir Walter Scott's Legend of Montrose.


Black Diamonds by Jules Verne

Black Diamonds or Les Indes Noires by Jules Verne 1828 - 1905.
This is a book about the Aberfoyle and Trossachs area. It is fictional and the French author tells of the coal mine that was depicted as being under Aberfoyle and Loch Katrine. Perhaps not the fictional image that Sir Walter Scott would approve of, but Verve did demonstrate his knowledge and love of the area in some of the descriptions.


Muckle Kate from Brig o'Turk

In the early 1800 on the banks of Loch Venachar Catherine Stewart was born. She later married Donald Ferguson who had a public house at Brig o'Turk. Catherine at this stage was slim but she grew in weight to be 25 stone, the largest lady in Britain at that time. She was known as Kate and her reputation as a good but somewhat unusual hostess reached the ear of Queen Victoria in 1869. The Queen and her family visited the Brig o'Turk inn and as a result the story and knowledge of Muckle Kate became well known.


Kate Ferguson    Kate Ferguson

Muckle Kate died in 1872 and was buried in St Kessog's kirkyard in Callander.


Nigel Hester 1972 -1997

Memorial to Nigel Hester

Memorial Stone at the Kendrum Burn Viaduct


Just to the south west of Lochearnhead on the Rob Roy Way, which at this stage is following the Millennium Cycle Route, there is a crossing of the Kendrum Burn at an old railway viaduct. The upgrading of the viaduct is in effect a memorial to Nigel Hester.
The memorial stone reads:
This section of the viaduct was replaced using funds raised in memory of Nigel Hester 14th July 1972 - 26th May 1997. Organist and Music Teacher who was killed tragically while cycling on the A9 near here. Remember him always. Enjoy your ride and stay safe.

The sentiments of the last section surely also apply to the walkers.


Pass of Leny

Between Kilmahog and Loch Lubnaig the Way travels along the Pass of Leny. This cutting between the hills has the River Leny tumbling over the Falls of Leny as it travels from Loch Lubnaig into the River Teith.
At the north but accessed from the opposite bank of the River is the ancient chapel of St Bride, famous for the burial of six generations of McKinlay's, the ancestors of the late President McKinlay of the USA.


Falls of Leny

Falls of Leny

To the south at the meeting point of the Leny and the Teith is the site of Leny Castle, and on a narrow piece of land is the burial ground of the Buchanans of Leny. The most notable of them being Dugald Buchanan the Gaelic poet.


Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies

Castle Menzies in the Appin of Dull


The Menzies are orignially from Dumfriesshire and settled in the area in the 13th Century. This building was their second castle build in the 15th century. In the 17th century Sir Niall Menzies added a west wing.

The castle fell into neglect in the 20th century before the Clan Menzies Society took it over and turned it into a museum.


Loch Katrine and the Glasgow Water Supply


In 1859 Loch Katrine became the source of water for the City of Glasgow . This major engineering project was the principal reason for the elimination of cholera in the population.
The water from Loch Katrine is piped and travels over a series of aquaducts as it passes south through the Achray and Loch Ard Forests. This was engineered by J F Baleman and travels for a distance of 34 miles.


Breather Duct

Breather duct on the Glasgow Water Supply


Aquaduct

Aquaduct beside the Rob Roy Way near to High Cross


Prior to the water supply being established Loch Katrine has flowed into Loch Achray then to Loch venachar, the River Teith and finally the River Forth. To engineer the scheme Loch Katrine's water level was raise by 17 feet and the flow restricted into the adjoining Loch.

The Loch remains a principal source of water for Glasgow. Loch Katrine has also become a recreational area with a small Steamer sailing up and down the Loch with constant visitors.


Glen Quaich Communities


Along the shore line of Loch Freuchie there are several sites of ruined communities. These communities would have several houses, sometimes a mill and would have been home to perhaps 10 to 15 families. Most of this development happened in the 18 century when the communities in Loch Tay were being vacated as a result of the new farming and tenancy agreements brought about by the Marquis of Breadalbane. The families however did not remain in Glen Quaich for long, many emigrating to Canada.


Ruins

Ruins of an old community on the banks of Loch Freuchie


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