LOCHAN Spling is one of those funny locations that is nothing spectacular or dramatic, but still gives a feeling of being special. Tucked away in the forest near Aberfoyle, it is a tranquil place.
To sit by it, listening to the water lap the shore, is as therapeutic as nature can be.
And even though it is surrounded by forestry, there is enough mixed woodland and open space to stop you feeling hemmed in, especially if you are lucky enough to see an osprey fly over.
As it can be reached by tracks, it is accessible to most, and with sculptures dotted along the way, there are things to occupy children with tired legs.
You can start from the other side of the Lochan, near Milton, but by setting out from Aberfoyle anyone with you who wishes to be more sedentary can meander around the village.
DISTANCE: 3∫ miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED: 180ft.
TIME: 1∫ to 2∫ hours.
MAP OS: Landranger 57.
PARK: Use the Riverside Car Park in the centre of Aberfoyle – it’s behind the Tourist Information Centre.
IN SUMMARY: Walk to the west end of the car park (to the right as you drive in) and turn left over a small stone bridge which crosses the River Forth. After about 200 yards, go right, up a narrow road with a bench and a postbox at the bottom.
The road turns into a track as it leaves houses and cottages behind. Then, after about a mile, you reach a junction, where you should go straight ahead. After walking along the length of Lochan Spling, to the right, go right at the next junction.
The track passes the end of the loch then bears right, dropping downhill. Look for a sculpture of an osprey – beneath it is a bench. Shortly after this, go right at a junction, following a sign for Aberfoyle.
The track leads back to Lochan Spling – look for another sculpture, this time of a dragonfly, just off the shore. The track bears left and follows the loch to its end, where you will see a sculpture of a pike on the water.
The track continues to a junction, where you should go right. At the next junction go left to follow the track/road back to Aberfoyle.
REFRESH: There is a fairly good choice in Aberfoyle. The real highlight is a bacon buttie from the Aberfoyle Delicatessen & Trossachs Butcher on the other side of the entrance to the car park from the Tourist Information Centre.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA: Take the A821 Duke’s Pass road above Aberfoyle to the David Marshall Lodge Visitor Centre. There are trails and wildlife information, as well as a tearoom (www.forestry.gov.uk). Next door is a Go Ape with rope bridges, Tarzan swings and a zip slide (www.goape.co.uk). The Scottish Wool Centre is next to the car park. You can learn all about the product, as well as have the chance to see some large sheep and sometimes sheep dogs, which round up the ducks. (www.scottishwoolcentre.co.uk).