Callander loop through Glen Almond, Crieff and Comrie
David Glover is a former senior development officer for Cycling UK in Scotland, who worked at the Edinburgh All-ability Bike Centre (ABC). David has a passion for off road cycling which takes in everything from endurance mountain bike racing to bikepacking around Scotland.
This 78 mile route, with 6000ft of ascent, uses all types of surfaces and can be split over two days to make a great bikepacking route. It's best suited to a cyclocross or “adventure” bike.
Starting at Wheels Cycling Centre on Invertrossach’s Road in Callander (Gateway to the Highlands) the route heads north along Sustrans National Cycle Network route 7 with great views of Ben Ledi rising above your head, past Strathyre staying on NCN 7 to Lochearnhead. Here you can head into the village for refreshments, or straight on up the infamous hairpin climb that takes you on to the old Glen Ogle railway line where the gradient is much more forgiving all the way to the top. From here you head off the NCN 7 onto the rougher surface of the Rob Roy Way (RRW), passing a memorial to an RAF Tornado that crashed in 1994 and on up to the Lochan Breaclaich reservoir. The route stays on the RRW, descending to the shadow of a huge water pipe that forms part of the significant concealed hydro workings in the area. Next you leave the gravel road as the RRW heads downhill over sheep moorland and past farmsteads towards Ardeonaig on the shores of Loch Tay, re-joining NCN 7. Head east for 4km before following the RRW (saying goodbye to NCN 7 for the last time) up Ardtainaig Glen and over to the head of Glen Almond at Dunan. This is approximately the half way point and would make a great area to pitch a camp (don’t expect to use the bothy as it is private and well locked up).
The route continues along the RRW eastward down the very picturesque Glen Almond, usually to the farm of Auchnafree where the route diverges from the RRW which heads north. This route continues eastwards to the A882. Follow the A882 south to the A85 and into Crieff where there are ample choices for coffee, cake, lunch etc. From Crieff head south on the A822 over the bridge and right at the caravan park, following the minor road that winds its way alongside the River Earn to Comrie. Follow the B927 south for 1km before turning off on to another minor road past Cultybraggan and on up Glen Artney, until the road runs out and on to the gravel roads at Auchinner. Head south west over the hill towards the bothy at Arivurichardich, taking in the sights of the imposing Ben Vorlich. Descend back to Callander past the Bracklin Falls and on to the high street for ice cream and famous Callander Fudge.