The landscape around Callander is famous throughout Scotland and beyond for the its dramatic scenery and for the quality of its cycling. The area also offers a wide range of cycle tracks and roads suitable for all levels of cyclist, all levels of fitness and all types of bikes. Whatever cycling activity you choose you can be sure of spectacular views and great cycling country.
This pack contains details on some of the cycling on offer in the area and some background to allow you to choose which activity you want to undertake. More details are available at the bike shops in Callander or from the local tourist office. We at the Dalgair House Hotel can organise everything you need for either a day out or for a longer cycling holiday: bikes, equipment, maps, guides, packed lunches and transport.
Bikes can be hired on an hourly or daily basis fromthe following outlets in Callander:
Wheels Cycling Centre
Ancaster Square Lane
At the back of this pack are a series of questions about some of the things you may see or visit whilst on your bike. By answering these questions correctly and returning it to reception at the Dalgair you can win a prize! Ask the hotel staff for more details.
mapvenach-bike.jpg (4744 bytes)
Forest cycling – Waymarked Cycle Routes
Forest Enterprise has way-marked cycle routes in many of it’s woodlands within the park boundary.
Loch Ard Forest Cycling Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Tel: 01877 382383
Achray Forest Queen Elizabeth Forest Park Tel: 01877382383
Ardgartan Visitor Centre , near Arrochar, Argyll Forest Park. Tel: 01877382383
The Lowland Highland Trail, part of National Cycle Network Route 7, passes through the park. It runs between Killin in the northeast and Drymen in the south, via Glen Ogle, Lochearnhead, Strathyre, Callander, Aberfoyle and Gartmore. The route uses forest tracks, traffic-free trails and minor roads and is regarded as one of the highlights of the National Cycle Network.
The following are only a selection of the many cycle paths, routes and roads that exist within the Callander area. More details are available from the hotel, tourist office or from the cycle shops.
1. Callander, Loch Venachar, Loch Achray: (Medium and undulating)
Leave Callander on the Glasgow road over the bridge and turn right at the mini roundabout. Follow this narrow winding road ignoring any side roads. In about two miles you will come to Loch Venachar and a viewpoint with a Trossachs mountain indicator. This road is private from here on but is open for cycling and pedestrians. Follow the road until you come to the entrance to the Invertrossachs Country House Hotel, at which point turn onto the track to the right. Take care now as this is a rough track.
Some beautiful stopping places will now be found along the side of the loch.
After about three and a half miles the track leaves the lochside and for about a mile you will follow forest tracks. Pass Loch Achray on your right for about a mile before joining the public road at the foot of the Dukes Pass. (This is the half way point and if you don’t want to ride on the public road, retrace your track from here)
Turn right now and follow the road back to Callander via Brig – o’ – Turk. Round trip about 22 miles.
2. Callander – Strathyre by the old railway track: (Easy and level)
Leave Callander to the west and about 200m after the last shop, turn left onto the cycleway where you see the old railway signal, (opposite Tulipan Cresc.). Follow this track over the river, notice the Buchanan graveyard on your left Some remains of the Roman occupation of Scotland will be seen on the right shortly. Continue for about ½mile to the road crossing . Cross the road and follow the track to Strathyre passing the Falls of Leny, Loch Lubnaig and some magnificent scenery. You can’t get lost – railway lines don’t get lost. The round trip returning by the same route is about 14 miles.
Returning by the main road is not recommended for reason of safety.
3. Loch Katrine. Option of Loch Lomond: (Tarmac private road – hilly for first 5 miles.)
Take the bikes in the car or hire a bike at Loch Katrine. Drive out of Callander to the north west and turn left in about one mile at Kilmahog. This road provides some magnificent views over Loch Vennachar, especially if you use the bike instead of the car. Continue through Brig o Turk, past Loch Achray and the little church on the left, past the big mansion with the turrets then turn right to the Loch Katrine car park. Get on your bike and take the track up the right hand side of the loch and cycle until you’re half tired. Turn round and return by the same path. Alternatively, get there in time for the morning boat, take the bike with you then cycle back. (check sailing times). One way trip about 12m.
If you feel likeMountain bikes. Cycling on the level at Loch Katrine. staying on the bike a little longer, when you reach Stronachlachar pier, carry on westward for a further 5 miles or so to Inversnaid for some fine views down Loch Lomond. When at Inversnaid, you might like to park your bike and walk up the rough track beside Loch Lomond to have a look at Rob Roy’s cave beside the loch. It’s a hard bit of cycling on the haul back up from Loch Lomond but it’s worth the effort.
Views over the Trossachs on the way back are also noteworthy but if you want to return by boat, remember that only the morning cruise comes to Stronachlachar! Miss the boat to find out that Scotland is a bit big!
4. Glen Finglas.
About 8 miles round trip from Brig o Turk – Challenging! (Landrover track – mountain bikes only)
mapfinglas.jpg (16746 bytes)From Callander, Cycle north on the A84 to Kilmahog and take the Aberfoyle Rd to Brig-o’-Turk. At Brig o’ Turk turn right at the tea room and follow the narrow road past a little graveyard and the school on the right until you come to a fork in the road. Take the right fork then get off and push for 10 minutes! At the top, look forward to a long downhill with great views of the Loch on the left. After a couple of miles the bike track becomes rough and drops right down to the Loch. Keep to the left at every fork in the road and eventually the track becomes very rough and now climbs away from the loch and approaches 2000 ft before veering to the right.
At this point, pause and take a well deserved look to the south over a huge chunk of Scotland. You can see all the way over to Stirling and the river Forth if the weather is kind.
You now experience a bit of challenging descent through some rough downgrades before rejoining the original track at the lochside for the return trip.
This route may be varied for a longer and much rougher route by turning off the main route about 1 mile past the right fork. A narrow footpath leads to Balquhidder via Glenbuckie.
5.The Callander to Glen Dochart ‘Sustrans’ Cycleway:(purpose built long distance route providing easy cycling without severe climbs)
The Cycleway starts just east of Callander at Keltie bridge and follows the old Stirling to Oban railbed to Glendochart near Killin. Being an old railway line, cycling is easy as the route is fairly level although there are some very long inclines typical of those which were negotiable by the ‘Iron Horse’.
Here are some noteable features which are encountered along the way :
The Roman camp at Kilmahog
Loch Lubnaig (G. the crooked loch)
Balquhidder glen (Rob Roy’s Grave 2 m)
Edinchip Estate – once owned by the MacGregors
Edinample Castle (Lochearn south Rd – 1/2 m)
GlenOgle – Queen Victoria’s ‘Kyber pass’
Glenogle Viaduct and General Wades Road
Safe return is by the same route!
6. The Queen Elizabeth Forest Park
The Forest Park information centre is on the Duke’s Pass between Callander and Aberfoyle about half a mile east of Aberfoyle. The centre provides details of the forest tracks suitable for cycling. A word of warning – one or two forest roads are open to motor vehicles and you should be aware that cars may sometimes share access with cyclists and walkers.
7. Callander to Comrie via Glenartney
Difficult 30 mile by return route (or Very difficult 55 miles* via Glean a Chroin, south Loch Earn and A84 from Lochearnhead)
This route is fairly hilly with steep sections over very rough track with lots of traps for the unwary. It is about 28 miles return of which about 19 miles are tarmac and the only realistic return is by the same route unless you wish to return by the main roads.
braeleny callander.jpg (42659 bytes)Leave Callander by the Bracklinn falls road near the east end post office, following signs for ‘Bracklinn Falls’. At the top of a steep climb, pass the falls car park on your right, staying on the tarmac road. the road soon levels out then decends gently via a gate on the road to Braeleny farm. Take the right fork leading to Braeleny farm then through the gate beyond the farmyard to begin the rough section.
Following this unmade farm track, Stuc a Chroin comes into view on the front left. Continue past the stone building on the right (now used by the water board) then down a very stony section to cross the Bracklinn water via a bridge. Note the ‘stalking’ warning at the bridge. Continue towards the abandoned farm buildings noting the reservoir on the left which once supplied water to Callander (Arie dam), and take a break at the top of the hill.
The track now becomes very difficult, wet in places and with many a trap for the ‘bottom pedal’. Undulating now for a mile or so before decending to a bridge at ‘Allt an Dubh Choirean’ hill burn. Stop a moment to get your wind back and admire the pools and waterfall among rocks stained red by the peat.
*Possible variation here: Very experience mountain bikers only. A lengthier (extra 25 mile), much harder alternative is to turn north here up the east side of the burn, climbing ultimately to a very difficult 6 mile mountain pass with an unmarked track leading to Loch Earn side via Glean a Chroin then returning via south Loch Earn road and A84 to Callander.
Ascending again for a short way after the bridge you pass through a gate in the deer fence before having the luxury of a longish, mainly downhill section down towards Auchinner farms at the start of the tarmac road which now leads to Comrie.
Return by the same route or get collected at Comrie.
Another word of warning! The A84 – (main road through Callander to Crianlarich) is a very busy trunk road carrying heavy goods vehicles and fast traffic. It is therefore not suitable for cycling by novices or children!