Comrie to St Fillans with Polly Pullar
Day 2 of the Clan Ring is one of my favourite walks so was an obvious choice to share with Polly Pullar, the author and naturalist who lives near Aberfeldy. She wanted to write about the Rings of Breadalbane for the People's Friend magazine, so was looking to use the Explorer bus for one of the linear walks.
We met in St Fillans and caught the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer to Comrie, where we started the walk up past the Deil's Cauldron waterfall to Melville's Monument overlooking the village. Then we followed the Maam Road, an ancient track through Dunira Estate, and continued up to remote Loch Boltachan. A short climb beyond the loch gave us a super view up Loch Earn and we descended on another track through woodland to St Fillans for a well-earned drink in the Four Seasons Hotel.
I've posted more photos on my blog at http://felicitymartin.co.uk/writers-walk-with-polly-pullar/
Submitted by: Felicity Martin from Comrie
The complete Clan Ring Walk
I did this over 5 days, combining Days 1 and 2 into a single day. The word of the week was “wet”! I had good weather only on the morning of Day 4, the rest varied between grey and pouring! This is a lovely trail, the days are not too long, and can be completed well inside the published durations, eg it only took 3 hours to get from Crieff to Comrie, but I guess that allows time for diversions and sightseeing if you wished.
Day 1 is pretty gentle, I took lunch in Comrie, before doing Day 2 route onto St Fillans. The climb up Glen Boltachan was a bit boring through the conifers, but once out of the woods at the top the view opens up magnificently.
Day 3 starts along the disused railway to Lochearnhead, and was very wet and muddy, with sections of loose gravel, which made the going unexpectedly hard. The route ends at Balquhidder, but I had trouble booking a B&B, and there is nowhere to eat in Balquhidder itself, so I stayed in Strathyre. This keeps Day 3 roughly the same length, but adds 3 miles onto Day 4, however taking the “back road” from Strathyre to Balquhidder is a nice stroll through mixed woodland.
The climb up Kirkton Glen is lovely, and the only time in the week I had some nice weather, which naturally changed as soon as I went over into Glen Dochart, however the views are spectacular, including a very snowy Ben More. The descent here was very wet, but not muddy or boggy, just the rain pouring off the hills.
Day 5 back to St Fillans was rain all the way, which is a shame as Glen Beich is spectacular, if very wet underfoot. Day 6 suffered from a dismal morning before easing off after lunch, nonetheless the walking was lovely, especially between Crieff and Comrie Croft, where it would have been rude not to stop for cake!
A final pretty leg along the Earn back into Crieff and I was complete.
Overall, I enjoyed this fine week’s walk: days not too long or overly strenuous, plenty of places to stop for cake, just make sure your boots are waterproof!
Submitted by: Mark Radford
My cycle of The Ring of Breadalbane
I did the route on Saturday 30th May 2015. Started from St Fillans. There was quite a strong wind most of the way but it was often sunny. Found it to be a continuously stunning ride and would definitely do it again. The best parts probably going up the Ben Lawers road then descending to Bridge of Balgie and going down beautiful Glen Lyon. There a tea room right there at Bridge of Balgie. I had lunch at Aberfeldy in the Habitat café which I'd recommend. It had live music and good food. The climb up to Glen Quaich is the hardest part of the ride with alpine style hairpins , but the views to Schiehallion and Glen Quaich itself are worth it. It took me 8 hours going at a moderate pace . I thoroughly recommend this route. Donald Thomson
Submitted by: Donald Thomson, Edinburgh
Our visit to the falls and cave at Acharn
This has been the last day of my stay in Aberfeldy and we went out on the 14:22 bus to Acharn and walked up the hill on the track. The views over the loch were beautiful and there is still snow on the hills in the west but the sunshine is warm. In the cave we met some other people who had gone round the circular walk, going up under the trees and coming down the track. The waterfall is beautiful and it's a shame we didn't have any children with us because they would love the cave. We went on up the track and sat down on the grass in the sun to eat a snack and admire the view of the loch and over to Dunkeld. This was so beautiful that we came back down by the track instead of doing the circular walk so that we could look at the changing scenes as we walked down. This brought us down too early for the bus so we took the footpath by the bridge down to the side of the loch where there is a pebbly beach and this just filled the time till we had to take the 17:08 bus back into Aberfeldy. It was a lovely last afternoon of my holiday. Thank you very much for this service.
Our Visit to Moirlanich Longhouse
We took the early afternoon bus from Aberfeldy to the Bridge of Lochay Hotel where we had a nice cup of tea. Then we walked up the road to the National Trust Longhouse. It isn't far, a nice little walk for an able-bodied pensioner. Then we bought our tickets and went round the Longhouse. It was very interesting and the people there were very friendly. This is a preserved cottage where the byre for the animals is just another room in the house. There are furnishings, clothes and tools to see. I particularly liked the little box beds and my sister was taken with the rescued wallpaper samples. After we left the house we felt like a further walk up the quiet road beyond the house. Then we walked back down and returned to the Hotel for a delicious meal from their supper menu before it was time for the bus back. We were able to check the times of the bus because they had timetables out on the table and on display on the wall. It was a lovely, restful afternoon.
Our bike trip to Comrie Croft
On 17 May, my friend Rory (aged 8 & 1/2) and I went to Comrie Croft trails by Ring of Breadalbane from Aberfeldy, so we could have fun on the skills section and the downhill trails. And fun we had! He took me nearly to the top of the Blue track so we did pump tracks, double lanes, bumpy bits and scary bits. We got soaked in a downpour too, so we warmed up with delicious soup in the café then set off again for more fun! We had over 4 hours there which was brilliant, and the drivers on both buses couldn't have been more helpful loading our bikes, and on the way back the wheelchair for his brother Alfie, who met up with us for a ride home on the bus too! I would recommend it highly and will be taking my grandchildren there soon too (trails and skills course to be recommended for grandparents too!)
Submitted by: Alison Stewart from Ballinluig
100 mile cycling in 1 day
My self and 4 friends competed the 100 mile cycle route today it took us 7 hours and the scenery is amazing. The route is well worth the effort but requires a high level of fitness to be completed in 1 day. One thing I would say is that the route actually ascends by 2291 meters according to my Garmin and not the claim 1300m.
The Long Straight Walk is the brainchild of John MacPhee, who, having been diagnosed with early onset Parkinsons in his 40s, decided to walk in, yes, you guessed it, a straight line from Lands End to John O'Groats (with some boat or plane help over the watery bits!). This epic quest arrived in Highland Perthshire on 24th September, and early on the 25th we joined John and his team on the two day stretch that would take it from Crieff in the south of Breadalbane to the south side of Loch Tummel.
Below is a picture diary of the day - let it scroll at its own pace, click on the arrows to go backwards or forwards, or hover over a picture to pause. As these pictures make clear, this two day route is hard going at times - proper equipment, OS map (and ability to read it), compass and reasonable level of fitness are required!
Here's the route we took over the two days - a fantastic experience for all involved, and hopefully will bring some good publicity to our wonderful area and to research into Parkinsons. You can find out more about John's Long Straight Walk and how to support it by clicking here.
Glen Ogle to Comrie cycle
We got the bus at Comrie, with the driver helping us with the bikes, we got off at the top of Glen Ogle & followed latter part of cycle route 1 & part of cycle route 2 to Comrie. We cycled down Glen Ogle to Lochearnhead then South Loch Earn Road, coffee & cake in the coffee shop, then into Dundurn Estate & then the back road to Comrie, with an icecream at Dalchonzie Farm Shop, probably 18-20miles taking us a leisurely 2.5-3hrs, fabulous cycle with great views & hardly any up hills ;-)
Submitted by: Fiona Penfold
Ring of Breadalbane Birks Cinema outing
Yesterday evening I took the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus from Killin with a friend. We were heading to the Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy to see a film and decided to make the most of the time in the journey to enjoy the scenery. It was such a lovely way to travel and made the evening a really enjoyable excursion. Both bus drivers in each direction were really friendly and informative about the area and we had time for a drink and something to eat before and after the film before returning to Killin just after 9pm. I would highly recommend using the service in this way.
Submitted by: Amanda Clark
Bridge of Lochay Hotel
Croft Moraig stone circle
The last post mentioned that Robert Burns visited Croft Moraig stone circle over 200 years ago, showing that it was on the tourist trail even then! So I thought I'd share a photo of the central stones in the circle. An interpretation board at the site describes it as "a complex double stone circle" dating from "three phases of religious activity over 5,000 years ago".
It was first used for religious purposes around the time of the first farming communities in Scotland. Prior to that people had been nomadic hunter gatherers, leading a more nomadic lifestyle.
The stone circle is very close to the A827, just over 2 miles east of Kenmore (towards Aberfeldy) and there is a small lay-by (take care not to obstruct the track to the farm and forest). It is 1.2km (0.75 miles) off Day 1 of the Tay Ring (Aberfedly to Kenmore) – instead of going left at Tullichuil keep straight ahead and descend the track to the road.
If you want to walk to it from Kenmore, you can go most of the way through Taymouth Castle estate, though it still leaves 600m along the busy A827. From Kenmore village go through the arched gateway to Taymouth Castle and follow the drive past the front of the castle then turn right past the far end of the golf course and bend left along the drive to the east lodge. The stones circle is on the right, 600m further east along the road. It's about 5 miles there and back.
Submitted by: Felicity, Comrie
Robert Burns and the Rings of Breadalbane
Clearly we're not the first generation to know how stunning the routes covered by the Rings of Breadalbane are - nearly 230 years ago, Robert Burns was travelling them as part of his famous Highland Tour in 1787, as his diaries make clear:
"leave Crieff - Glen Aumond - Aumond river - Ossian's grave - Loch Fruoch - Glenquaich - landlord & landlady remarkable characters Taymouth" and then:
"Glen lyon house - lyon river - Druids temple - 3 circles of stones, the outer most sunk - the 2d has 3 stones remaining -the innermost has 8 - two large detached ones like a gate, to the southeast - say prayers in it - Pass - Taybridge - Aberfeldy - described in rhyme"
Burns ventured to Glen Lyon and Croft Moraig before visiting Aberfeldy, where he composed The Birks o' Aberfeldy on the spot.
"Bonie lassie, will ye go, To the birks of Aberfeldy?"
Of course, if he'd known about the Rings of Breadalbane, he'd no doubt have composed a poem about them as well!
The views from the top of Drummond Hill are just breathtaking - and they make it worth the steep climb!
This view looks up Glen Lyon - somewhere we plan to explore on our bikes very soon (it's part of the Rings of Breadalbane bike trails).
Submitted by: Peter from Dunkeld
The walk (or bike ride) from Kenmore to Aberfeldy along the River Tay is perfect for a fairly gentle day. Almost flat along the way, and lots of possibilities for small diversions for refreshments.
Best of all, whichever direction you go in, you can catch the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer bus back!
Submitted by: Peg from Dunkeld
Cycle Trail Section 2 - St Fillans to Crieff
Had a brilliant cycle today. We parked at St Fillans and followed the route description for Trail 2. The views were spectacular and our photo doesn't do it justice. We loved the fact that it was mainly off-road and through beautiful countryside. Stopped off at Dalchonzie Fruit Farm and got two delicious home-made almond slices, eating them on our journey. Took about two and a half hours to reach Crieff. Had a gorgeous lunch at Delivino and bought great home-made sweets at Gordon & Durward Sweet Shop, a must visit! Took the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer Bus back to St Fillans (driver very helpful loading our bikes) - Perfect day out and highly recommend it!
Submitted by: Claire, Glasgow
Discovering Loch Boltachan
The first time I walked up forested Glen Boltachan and out across the heathery moorland to Loch Boltachan, I thought the loch must be haunted. Weird and mournful groans echoed around the surrounding hills.
It was only when I reached the shore that I found out the source of the noise – dozens of mating toads piled up on top of each other in the water. The shallows were strung with necklaces of spawn.
I've been back several times in spring and summer, but always too late in the year to encounter the same April frenzy. Maybe you will be lucky? The loch is visited on Day 2 of the Clan Ring, the walk from Comrie to St Fillans via Dunira.
Submitted by: Felicity, from Comrie
The walk up to the Moness Falls through the Birks of Aberfeldy is brilliant, whether the weather is dry and summery or wet and wintery.
Although I took this picture ages ago after a couple of days of November rain, I remember feeling energised by getting out of the house for an hour or so to trundle up to the falls - which were truly spectacular!
On a summer's day, it's a different sort of spectacle, but no less worth the effort.
Submitted by: Peter, living locally.