A SUMMER storm was lashing the road from Stirling to Aberfoyle.
Windscreen wipers were at full tilt while a fierce wind buffeted the car as it negotiated ever-growing torrents of water pouring over the tarmac.
This was not the best weather for a gentle stroll in the Trossachs, where I could admire the mixture of lochs and mountains which draw countless visitors.
As I crested the little hill before Aberfoyle the rain was coming down in such quantity it would not have been a surprise to see a golf flag or two floating past from the adjacent course.
Once through the town and in the hamlet of Milton it was dark enough for full headlights and thoughts began to turn to whether a return trip would be possible in the ensuing deluge.
Having stopped at the Loch Ard car park, it seemed sensible to wait a while before almost certainly calling off the walk. But looking up after reading through the day’s newspaper there was a shaft of sunlight coming through the trees; there had been a transformation in the conditions.
Striding out in warm weather felt like a little victory – patience (or stubbornness) had paid off and I seemed to have the whole forest to myself.
As Loch Ard’s shores were reached, I noticed the waters were as still as the proverbial millpond. The wind must have blown itself out and all that was left was the scene of tranquillity I had been hoping for.
I can’t promise you good weather but do go on this walk, it is a real treat and perfect for families.
DISTANCE 4.5 miles.
HEIGHT CLIMBED 350ft.
TIME 2 to 2.5 hours.
MAP OS Landranger 57.
PARK Go straight on at the western end of the main street in Aberfoyle and follow a minor road to Milton. Turn left and follow a track to the Forestry Commission’s Loch Ard car park.
IN SUMMARY Leave the car park and take the track directly opposite the entrance, following a sign for Inversnaid. The track takes you uphill and into the forest, reaching Lochan a’ Ghleannain just after a track has gone off to the left.
Continue by the side of the lochan, then, after a short rise, the track goes down. A couple of hundred yards down the hill, take a turning on the right at a large junction. After about another 70 yards turn left and go down through the trees until a sharp turn right at a junction takes you to the shore of Loch Ard.
After passing a small bay on your left look for a track to the left. This leads to a path which takes you around the shoreline of a peninsula, said to have once been a hiding place for Rob Roy. The path eventually goes right and reaches a track. Turn left here and continue to the end of the loch. Shortly after, you reach the road you drove in on. Go right and find the car park 300 yards further on, on the left.
REFRESH There is a fairly good choice in Aberfoyle.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA Take the A821 Duke’s Pass road above Aberfoyle to the Lodge Forest Visitor Centre (www.forestry.gov.uk). There are trails and wildlife information, as well as a tearoom. Next door is a Go Ape (www.goape.co.uk) with rope bridges, Tarzan swings and a zip slide.