Walk of the Week: Kirkton Glen & Lochan An Eireannaich

Kirkton Glen and Lochan An Eireannaich, Balquhidder. Picture: Nick Drainey

Kirkton Glen and Lochan An Eireannaich, Balquhidder. Picture: Nick Drainey

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This walk gives a taste of Rob Roy Country. Not only is he buried at the start of the walk, a huge boulder – Rob Roy’s Putting Stone – is reached at the top of the glen.

It lies below a shattered rock face and is said to have been where he hid. Beyond this is Lochan an Eireannaich, the loch of the Irishmen thought to be named after fifth century Irish missionaries who were in the area. Despite the lack of a summit to climb, it is wonderfully dramatic spot to aim for on a walk and a place you will want to linger on a sunny day.

Distance

7 miles.

Height climbed

1,900ft.

Time

4 to 5 hours.

Map

OS Landranger 51.

Park

Turn off the A84 ten miles north of Callander and follow the signs to Balquhidder, along a narrow road. After two miles, park at the Village Hall which is 200 yards past the parish church on the right.

In summary

Go back to the road and turn left and after about 70 yards go left again, up towards Balquhidder parish church. Bear right in front of this to follow a track.

After about 100 yards go right at a Forestry Commission sign and follow a track up though trees. (After the gradient has eased you can detour up to the left at a water plant to visit Creag an Tuirc, the ancient meeting place of the Clan MacLaren with good views over Balquhidder and down Lochs Voil and Doine.)

As you continue up the glen from the water plant go straight on at a junction of tracks, then follow the main track as views of the surrounding hills open out.

Towards the top of the glen the track loops round to the right. Go straight on here, following a path signed for Glen Dochart. Climb up through trees before crossing a burn, bearing left and going over a stile on the right.

The path continues uphill before levelling out below a large rock face with the huge boulder known as Rob Roy’s Putting Stone below it.

Beyond this is Lochan an Eireannaich. Walk a little further past the water to get great views west towards Ben More then retrace your steps back to the track.

Go left at the track and follow it along Kirkton Glen’s east side before swinging round to the right to meet the section of track you walked along near the start.

Turn left then go right, across a bridge, before keeping left at a junction. Ignore a track which is on the right and when the track has dropped down and swung right to reach the edge of the forestry plantation take a path on the left.

This leads through mixed woodland, over a stile, then through a gate to reach a track. At the bottom of this turn left to walk the last few yards along the road to the car park.

Refresh

Mhor 84, formerly the Kingshouse Hotel, is very pleasant and passed at the A84 turn off. A few miles beyond Balquhidder is its sister establishment, the Monachyle Mhor Hotel, which welcomes walkers for coffee or drinks.

While you are in the area

At the start of the walk is Rob Roy’s grave, by the old church.

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