The “hop-on hop-off” Explorer service runs through spectacular scenery, passing alongside Loch Tay and Loch Earn. The route goes places not covered by other public bus services and links Highland Perthshire and Stirling.
Its circular route connects Crieff, Comrie, St Fillans, Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore, Acharn and Aberfeldy and provides easy access to Breadalbane’s top tourist attractions including Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Highland Safaris and the Scottish Crannog Centre.
The Explorer also allows walkers, cyclists and mountain bikers to enjoy sections of the awesome Rings of Breadalbane as linear routes, walking or cycling back to their start point or reconnecting with the bus further on.
The mini buses take dogs and have bike trailers. Two mini buses are used, one running clockwise and the other anti-clockwise around the circuit. It takes about three hours to go all the way around and each mini bus makes four round trips a day. They run from 9am to just after 9pm.
The timetable (see below) allows allows passengers to stop in one place for anything from 20 minutes to nine hours before resuming their journey in either the same direction or on a bus returning the other way. The western part of the route runs through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park.
Point to point fares match those of public bus rides of the equivalent distance and a Day Ticket is available if you want the freedom of to hop-on and hop-off at will. Bus passes can be used, allowing Scottish residents over 60 to travel for free.
There are innumerable amazing days out you can have using the Explorer – here are a dozen to give you some ideas. Use your imagination and the information on this website to dream up some more to suit your own tastes.
- WALK (EASY): For a gentle half-day walk along riverbanks, past castles Menzies and Taymouth, try Day 2 of the Tay Ring from Kenmore to Aberfeldy. It is 14.4km (9 miles) with negligible ascent; allow 4-5 hours so you have time to appreciate the wildflowers and birdlife.
- WALK (HILL): For a more challenging day’s walk across land fought over by the clans MacNab and Neish, tackle Day 5 of the Clan Ring from Killin to St Fillans, crossing the wild, high ground between Loch Tay and Loch Earn. It is 21km (13 miles) with 560m (1840ft) ascent so allow 7-8 hours to take a break by some of the hauntingly lonely ruined shielings.
- TRAIL CYCLE: For a scenic, family friendly ride suitable for trail or mountain bikes, get off the bus at St Fillans and cycle back to Crieff following Section 2 of the Trail Cycling Ring downstream beside the River Earn. It is 21km (13 miles) with negligible ascent; allow 2-3 hours or more if you stop for refreshments in Comrie.
- ROAD CYCLE: To complete the 100-mile Road Cycling Ring in one day ride requires the fitness and stamina of a serious cyclist, but you can tackle as much or as little as you fancy using the Explorer. The most dramatic section, from Killin to Aberfeldy, rises over a 565m (1,855ft) mountain pass between Loch Tay and Glen Lyon.
- MOUNTAIN BIKE: For the best downhill mountain biking in the area disembark at Comrie Croft, where you can use your own bike or hire one from Comrie Croft Bikes to whizz down their fantastic range of courses. There is biking for all ages and abilities, from a skills training area to a black run, as well as a Tearoom for refreshments.
- FISH: You can also use the bus service to reach angling sites on Breadalbane’s Angling Trail. For instance, get off the bus at Killin where Loch Tay Fish ‘n’ Trips, can provide a boat and ghillie for a day’s salmon fishing.
- GOLF: If you want to relax in the clubhouse after your round and not worry about drinking and driving, use the Explorer to visit any of the courses on the Golf Trail. There are four 18-hole and five 9-hole courses in Breadalbane area, plus a 9-hole par-3 course.
- WATER SPORTS: Breadalbane lochs offer a picturesque environment for canoeing, sailing, windsurfing and boating, with several places offering hire. For instance, hop off in Kenmore and a few paces away you’ll find Loch Tay Boating Centre.
- THRILLS: For an hour’s excitement or an incredible day of fun, take the Explorer to Crieff Hydro’s Action Glen, where you can test yourself on the Aloft treetop ropes course, go quad biking or try a wide range of other activities to suit all the family.
- WHISKY: Have no concerns about being breathalysed after sampling the amber nectar by taking the Explorer to your tour of Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery.
- HERITAGE: The Explorer bus route passes many historical sites, including the astoundingly well preserved Cultybraggan Camp, which was used to house German prisoners of war in WWII and subsequently as a military training camp. It is now owned by the community and Comrie Development Trust have created a heritage centre and self-guided trail to help visitors to explore the site.
- CINEMA: If you live in or are staying in Crieff or Killin, you can use the Explorer to catch the early evening screening at the Birks Cinema before returning on the last bus of the day. (Remember to go early enough to take advantage of the Birks Cafe
- When doing a linear route there is less time pressure if you catch the bus from your finish point to the start then walk or cycle back at your leisure.
- Take a copy of the timetable with you. It’s available in local shops, cafes and visitor centres or you can click here to open a larger version that you can save to you mobile device or print from your computer.
- The bus will stop on request outside the 30mph limits around settlements.
- If in doubt ask someone – you’ll find local people friendly and helpful.
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