Loch Katrine by Clare Balding and Jane Eastone

Ride level Beginner cyclist
Distance 26 mi / 42 km
Type of bicycle Any
Traffic free
Circular route
Loch Katrine. Photograph by Zsolt Hanczar

Britain by Bike was a TV programme presented by Claire Balding and the book was written by Jane Eastone. Here's one of the most scenic routes from the book.  

Loch Katrine, The Trossachs, Scotland

This wonderfully scenic route offers the unusual option of taking your bicycle part of the way on a steam pleasure boat; these have been operating on the loch since 1843. The loch is a reservoir that supplies Glasgow with much of its water. The route runs alongside Loch Katrine, which is located in the mountainous Trossachs region of Scotland. The track itself is generally flat and quiet and runs for 13 miles (21km) between Trossachs Pier and Stronachlachar. The prolific Scottish novelist and poet Sir Walter Scott used many identifiable features from around Loch Katrine in ‘The Lady of the Lake’, published in 1810. The infamous MacGregor clan roamed this part of the country and the famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor was born at Glengyle on the edge of the loch in 1671.

During most of the year there is an option to travel with your bike to or from Stronachlachar using the old pleasure-boat steamer, the SS Sir Walter Scott. You will need to allow at least 3 hours to cycle the 26-mile (42km) round trip to Stronachlachar and back. If you want to stop to appreciate the views and wildlife along the way you will need to allow at least half a day.

Starting places 

For those wanting to travel to Loch Katrine by car, access is via a spur road off the A821 at the end of Loch Achray. The spur road winds through a narrow pass surrounded by woodland before arriving at the pier car park. There is also a seasonal bus service operating along a circular route between Callander and Aberfoyle via the Trossachs Pier and a regular bus service between Stirling and Callander.

If you don’t want to travel to Loch Katrine with your bike, there are local hire facilities available at ‘Katrinewheelz’, part of the Trossachs Pier complex. For those wanting to explore more of the Trossachs area, cycle hire is also available in nearby Callander.

The route 

The suggested route is very straightforward. It starts at the Trossachs Pier complex and follows the track anti-clockwise around the loch along the east and north shoreline until it reaches the pier at Stronachlachar. There is a an abundance of wildlife in the area including red and roe deer, red kites, eagles and other birds of prey, red squirrels, foxes and even the rarer wildcat.