Scotland’s Great Trails - in the Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park
The Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park has waking routes to suit all ablities – and it offers some longer walking challenges.The best known is probably the West Highland Way, the oldest of Scotland’s official long-distance footpaths, now known as Scotland’s Great Trails (see link below). It is 96 miles / 154 km in length, from the outskirts of Glasgow to Fort William. On its way north, the route enters the Park boundary south of Drymen then swings round by way of Conic Hill to reach Loch Lomond at Balmaha. After that, it’s on through oak and pinewood, by rugged pathway and forestry track, all the way to Glen Falloch and beyond. There is high grade scenery throughout. And not all walkers do it in a single instalment. The West Highland Way can be tackled in manageable day sections if visitors wish to ‘dip in’. For example, Rowardennan to Inversnaid, Inversnaid to Inverarnan or Inverarnan to Crianlarich are all around seven miles (11km). Crianlarich, Tyndrum or Ardlui are just some of the other easy joining points. Camp sites and other accommodation, plus support services such as bag carrying or guiding, are all available
Three Lochs Way
The Three Lochs Way is a great introduction to long-distance walking in Scotland. Not too demanding, it breaks down into enjoyable stretches over three or four days. It is 31 miles (50km) long and starts and finishes by Loch Lomond, only at different points – Balloch and Tarbet (with an extension to Inveruglas), with easy access to good public transport links – bus, train and waterbus.It is called the Three Lochs Way because, as well as Loch Lomond, the route runs near the Gareloch and Loch Long. The Three Lochs Way uses, in part, old historic tracks that lead to and from the Highlands and join up old-established communities. There are outstanding views across the lochs to the high hills further off to the north and west. By using the water bus services on Loch Lomond during the summer months, it is also easy to complete the Three Lochs Way and cross Loch Lomond for a return south by the West Highland Way.
Take the Cowal Way for 57 miles / 91 km of the best of Cowal – rugged, wild and quite undiscovered in places, reaching 1800 ft / 540m at its highest point. Sometimes described as a ‘mini long distance footpath’, this route links Portavadie on the western side of the Cowal peninsula with Inveruglas on Loch Lomond. Easily divided into manageable sections, the route from Portavadie first goes to Tighnabruach via the Kyles of Bute, one of Scotland’s most famous scenic areas. The way continues via Glendaruel, Glen Branter (near where it first enters the National Park) and up to Strachur. This is classic Cowal landscape – woodland, rugged hill slopes and lonely hilltops, great for wildlife and truly unspoilt. Then it’s on via Lochgoilhead to Loch Long and Arrochar, finally reaching Loch Lomond beyond.
Rob Roy Way
This route links up several of the places in the story of >>Rob Roy<<, one of the most vivid and dramatic characters to be associated with this area. From Drymen, the waymarked route goes north to Pitlochry in Perthshire, up to 94 miles /151 km away, depending on route options.
Mostly using tracks and old pathways, through hill-passes known to Rob Roy and the Highlanders of his time, the clearly waymarked route goes via Aberfoyle, then by the Highland edge to reach Callander via Loch Venachar. On its way northwards for Lochearnhead, the route takes in Balquhidder, where Rob Roy’s grave is still visited by many today. Over Glen Ogle and on towards Loch Tay, there are great views of the high Ben Lawers range. Then the way continues north-eastwards for Pitlochry. En route, there are many places associated with Scotland’s most famous cattle-drover, racketeer, outlaw and folk-hero. Allow a week for the longest route option. A leaflet is available – see the official website address below.
Links for further information
These routes and several more are also on http://www.scotlandsgreattrails.org.uk/