The Rob Roy Way is a 7-day walk across Scotland's southern highlands. Daniel Storey nominates the 5 places where you should stop and rest awhile
The Rob Roy Way trail is seventy nine miles long; it starts in Drymen some twenty miles north of Glasgow, heads north east through Stirlingshire, and ends in Pitlochry. The trail takes walkers and cyclists through some of Scotland’s finest scenery and covers much of the area where Scottish outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor spent his life, and where he was eventually laid to rest after his death in 1734.
The first few days on the Rob Roy Roy trail will take your through the Forests of the Trossachs, a huge forested area that provides a gentle introduction and very scenic start to life on the trail.
The huge pine trees all around you rise to such a height that you feel very enclosed, despite the vast area of woodland that you're walking through. When the pine trees subside and the views open up, there are some truly stunning views of the Lochs and Glens that form a constant backdrop to much of the Rob Roy Way.
After descending down an old railway line track bed – a line that first brought tourism to the town of Killin in Loch Lomond in 1888 – you emerge onto the main thoroughfare of the town. There, in front of you, are the Falls of Dochart – a sight you can't help but focus your gaze on.
The Falls are located at the western end of Loch Tay. Its famous white waters attract photographers looking for spectacular pictures of the waves crashing against the rocks as well as those trolling for salmon which happens between the months of January and May.
The pub, also of the same name, is just a stone's throw from the Falls and has a splendid open fireplace. Here you can have a drink, unwind and reminisce about your day on the trail.
After leaving the town of Killin you start a gradual climb up towards Glen Ogle. On the climb you will wind your way up and through dense forestry until you reach the huge dam at Loch Breaclaich. From here you're now high above Killin and Loch Tay, but if you look back there are commanding views up Glen Dochart and Glen Lochay.
Also, a little further up the climb as you reach the phone mast, the landscape takes on a different look: the rolling heather moorland opens up in front of you. This feels like the most remote part of the route.
The drop into the town of Aberfeldy is down a very scenic path through the wooded gorge of the Birks of Aberfeldy. After making your way along the ridge-line and clearing the dense woodland area – and just before starting your decent into the town itself – an excellent viewpoint of Aberfeldy and its surrounding borders opens right up in front of you as far as the eye can see.
On a clear day it's a memorising view, and It is also a very welcome sight after spending nearly fifteen miles on your feet if you set out from Ardtalnaig. This part of the trail can take five to six hours.
The Inn on the Tay is a pub located in the town of Grandtully. Grandtully is one of the last small Scottish towns you will pass through on the trail before reaching the end of the walk at larger and busier town of Pitlochry.
The pub has great views overlooking the River Tay, and from here you can often see slalom canoeists on the water. It has a decent section of beers, real ales and food (the garlic bread is particularly tasty).
By the time you reach this point of the trail, nearing Pitlochry, you will have almost completed the full seventy-nine miles. Congratulations!
Daniel Storey is a train manager and freelance journalist who enjoys all kinds of outdoor activities. He is also a keen Gillingham FC supporter and edits the club's fansite, Gillingham Fansonline. You can follow Daniel's adventures on his blog and on Twitter. For more information about the trail itself, visit the official Rob Roy Way website.
All images by Daniel Storey. Main image: Loch Freuchie (Shutterstock.com)