WAYMARKED routes are among the best things that have happened to encourage more people to walk. There have always been a few signed routes but in the last decade a plethora have been laid out by councils, community groups and organisations such as the Forestry Commission.
Some so-called purists argue that a “true” walk involves as little interference from man as possible; tracks are a no-no while paths are grudgingly accepted on the proviso they are as small as possible.
This viewpoint is fine if you are an experienced hill-goer who has the confidence to navigate in all weathers, and the ability to make decisions when the terrain, or conditions, becomes difficult. However, many people want to go on a nice walk, see good views and have the chance of spotting wildlife. For them, a way marked route is a great introduction to the outdoors.
One waymarked route which is highly recommended is the Acharn Forest Circuit which starts near the Falls of Dochart in Killin. This is a perfect evening walk, or one when a full day’s outing is not possible.
DISTANCE 4 miles.
TIME 1 to 2 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 51.
PARK There is roadside parking as you enter Killin from the west, on the A827, before the bridge at the Falls of Dochart.
Head west, towards the edge of Killin and go left at a blue cycle route sign with a smaller wooden sign below for Acharn Forest Circuit. Go up a track to another blue cycle route sign, where you go right to walk along the bed of a former railway, again following a sign for Acharn Forest Circuit.
The railway stopped running in the 1930s but once linked the former Callander to Oban line with Killin. The dismantled railway takes you past buildings at Acharn then, on reaching another track, you should go left to walk uphill. The track bears left then reaches a junction, where you should keep left, enjoying the views of the hills as you go.
At the next junction go left again and begin the descent all the way to the point where you joined the dismantled railway. Go straight ahead here to return to the road, and Killin.
There is a wide choice in Killin, closest to the start is the Falls of Dochart Inn, right by the bridge.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA
The obvious thing to do is to enjoy the Falls of Dochart; most people scramble over the rocks to have their picture taken. On the other side of Killin, the Moirlanich Longhouse (www.nts.org.uk), a 19th-century dwelling shared by humans and their livestock, is looked after by the National Trust for Scotland. (Turn off the A827 once over the bridge over the River Lochay.)