The Rob Roy Way - An Alternative to the West Highland Way
The Rob Roy Way should be on your to-do list. It was named after the Scottish Outlaw Rob Roy who used to roam these lands and was developed by mega fans and enthusiasts in the area. It’s an atmospheric, history-steeped journey through one of the prettiest parts of Scotland. I travelled for 7 days along this glorious 79-mile long distance path and was treated to many expansive well-known loch views and exposed to the fantastic landscape of the area.
The way starts in the small village of Drymen, easily accessible from Glasgow. Almost immediately after you start walking, the trail takes you through the glorious Loch Ard Forest, passing sites as diverse as ancient standing stones and stone circles, Roman forts and Viaducts - a great range of sites into Scotland’s rich history. All of this surrounded by some of the most beautiful countryside, an abundance of local wildlife, pretty pastures and the occasional Highland Coo! Let me tell you, The adventure doesn’t stop there, you’ll be in for a surprising trek!
Here are my reasons why the Rob Roy Way is a great alternative to the West Highland Way…
The Walking Experience
Lizzie in the Craggan Forest
If you truly like to get away from it all then the Rob Roy is the walk for you. The walk doesn’t attract too many people, so you’ll walk through woodland & forests without hearing a pin drop and witness some spectacular views with not another person in sight! The highlight for me was how quiet the trip was. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good natter, but there are times when you just need to get away from it all and immerse yourself in peace and quiet. You’ll find a majority of the Rob Roy way is like this, but I really enjoyed the stretch on the route from Aberfoyle to Callander. There’s something magical about walking through dense forestry and you’ll definitely find an abundance of soul searching territory on this leg of the trip. So, whether you’re alone or with a group of pals you’ll certainly just be talking amongst yourselves or to the animals of the Southern Highlands!
The Falls of Dochart Killin
What I love about the Scenery of the Rob Rob Way is how quickly it changes, it’s a feast for the eyes. My walk from Strathyre to Killin was a real treat. I started in lush moss covered woodland that made an ascent up forest track roads which were drenched with waterfalls. The tracks were peppered with colourful wildflowers which framed the dramatic views and backdrop of the Monroe’s beyond. I stopped halfway in Hotel Mhor 84 for a quick coffee before heading up the hills for a nice lunch spot overlooking Loch Earn. I may have stopped for too long! It was a sunny day and the views were just mesmerising. Leaving Loch Earn Behind, the way enters Glen Ogle towards a Superb Viaduct which stretches for 3 miles along an old Railway track where you’ll find fantastic views! It then descends onto a pleasant forest road until you pop out by the Falls of Dochart. This was definitely a highlight of the trip for me. It’s definitely got the wow factor and I highly recommend this as one of the best sites in Scotland! Big words I know, but its true…
Your wee legs will be given a good working out, as you will climb over several high passes which provide magnificent views of the surrounding Monroe’s such as Ben Ledi, Ben More, Ben Lawers and Ben Chonzie! So many Bens… One of the highlights for me was the stretch from Killin to Ardtalnaig, where your route descends to Loch Tay. Wow! After a few days of forest tracks, it was definitely a dramatic change of scene. You’ll eventually reach 1850ft, bypassing the awesome sites of Breaclaich Dam & Lochan. Then descend the through wide open moorlands passing the lengthy Newton Burns, scattered sheilings (old farm buildings), cattle pastures and Brae Farm. Trust me, it just gets better guys. I guess you’ll just have to do it to find out!
Farming track towards Loch Tay
There’s nothing better than a hearty meal at the end of a long day’s walk. If you’re looking for delicious venison, fresh fish or a quality pie then look no further. You're sure to find a tasty, comforting meal through the scattered villages of the Rob Roy Way. My highlight meal, this was really hard to decide what to report on. Truly. So I’ll tell you one of my favourite meals of the trip, which was when I stayed at the Forth Inn in Aberfoyle. This was my first meal and I’d already decided during the day I’d like to try some locally sourced food. So on arrival, I decided to eat locally sourced Venison with creamy layered potatoes and seasonal veg! Yum! In all honesty, all the food on my trip was fantastic, ranging from gorgeous fish pies in Killin to homemade Scotch Eggs in Aberfeldy. Ultimately, your taste buds will not be disappointed…
Veal in the Forest Inn
Points of Historical Interest
The main highlight of the trip is the story of Rob Roy MacGregor and the Jacobites. Every day you’ll be walking in the footsteps of the MacGregor Clan and if you make most of your day & time it well, you can veer off the path to visit many pieces of historical interest along the way;
- Visit the grave of Rob Roy at the kirk yard in Balquhidder.
- Explore Loch Katrine and see Factor's Island, where Rob Roy once imprisoned the 1st Duke of Montrose's factor.
- Rob Roy's Putting Stone, a boulder he supposedly used for stone putting, near Lochan nan Eireannaich at the head of Kirkton Glen where the pass leads from Balquhidder to Glen Dochart
- Glengyle House, on the shore of Loch Katrine, dates back to the early 18th century, is built on the site of the 17th century stone cottage where Rob Roy is said to have been born. Since the 1930s, the Category B-listed building had been in the hands of successive water authorities.
Other fascinating places and locations to discover include;
- The Loch Katrine Water Scheme – Loch Katrine
- Victorian Railway heritage – Callander to the Top of Glen Ogle
- Pre-Historic ruins around Loch Tay, Perthshire
- The Scottish Crannog Centre – Loch Tay, Perthshire
Loch Katrine Water Scheme
The Rob Roy Way is a wonderful alternative to the West Highland Way, with much of the dramatic scenery, history and great walking, but without the crowds. If you would like to know more about the trip, you can contact one of our destination specialists to ask any questions.