The Rob Roy Way follows in the footsteps of Scotland's most notorious outlaw through some of the most stunning countryside in Britain.
Starting in Drymen, the route travels 77 miles (124 kilometers) northeast through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park, across the Highland Boundary Fault—a geological fault where the Scottish Highlands meet the Lowlands—to Pilochry, on the edge of the Cairngorms.
The route explores some of the most breathtaking countryside in the UK. Expect picturesque lochs encircled by mountains, prehistoric monuments nestled amidst glorious scenery, wild and expansive Highland vistas, enchanted forests, cascading waterfalls, rich wildlife, and more.
Designated as one of Scotland's Great Trails in 2012, the Way follows paths used by folk hero Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734); a soldier, trader, cattle-rustler, and outlaw who roamed this wild landscape in the early 18th century.
MacGregor’s path to outlaw status began in 1711 when he borrowed money from the Duke of Montrose to buy cattle. A few months after the purchase, Rob Roy's head drover sold the herd and disappeared with the money.
After failing to locate the thief, Rob Roy returned home to find the duke had seized his land and evicted his family. In retaliation, Rob Roy waged a relentless campaign of cattle-rustling, theft, banditry, and kidnap against the duke. Over time, the ‘Wild MacGregor’ clan grew into a racket that extorted many other wealthy landowners, too.
Rob Roy took part in the Jacobite Uprising of 1715 and was subsequently wanted for treason. However, tales of his battles, captures, cattle-rustling, and cunning prison breaks grew and in 1723 Daniel Defoe published Highland Rogue about him. In 1726, Rob Roy received a Royal Pardon. He died two years later.
The Rob Roy Way is signposted throughout, however some sections might not be obvious. Trails are well-maintained and the walking is leisurely, albeit with a few tough sections.
In this Collection, we split the route into six stages. Of course, you can split up each stage into as many days as you are comfortable with. You can also walk any single stage, or a couple of stages, in isolation.
Every stage finishes close to accommodation, even if there are only a few options nearby. However, places to stay are not always abundant so it is worth planning in advance and scheduling any rest days accordingly.
If you are planning to arrive by public transport, you can catch a train to Balloch, typically via Glasgow. From Balloch, you can catch the 309 bus service to Drymen. To get home, Pitlochry has a railway station with direct services to Edinburgh and Perth and connecting services around Britain.
If you are planning to arrive by car, your best bet is to negotiate with a hotel or B&B a rate to stay for a night either side of your hike in Balloch and leave your car there for the duration. To get back, you can catch a train from Pitlochry to Balloch, typically with changes in Glasgow and Perth, and then the 309 bus back to Drymen.
For more information about the Rob Roy Way, visit: robroyway.com.
For the 309 bus timetable, visit: bustimes.org/services/309-balmaha-alexandria-or-bonhill.
For train timetables and tickets, visit: thetrainline.com.
The first stage rises above Loch Lomond into rugged upland scenery and then descends through the Loch Ard Forest.Typically a short stage, this hike takes a wee detour from Drymen to explore the ruins of Buchanan Castle and then enjoy a fine view of Loch Lomond.The trail climbs to a high point at Muir Park Reservoir, between the Garadhban and Loch Ard Forests, before making a gradual descent along the edge, then through the heart of Loch Ard.A few miles before you reach Aberfoyle, another worthy detour is the Doon Hill fairy forest; a place where elves, fauns, and fairies have ‘thrived’ for centuries. The detour adds nearly two miles (three kilometers).This stage finishes in the village of Aberfoyle, which has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.
This mammoth stage passes two Highland lochs and the magnificent Falls of Leny.At 18.5 miles (30 kilometers) long, and with a considerable amount of climbing, only experienced hikers should attempt this in one. The town of Callander conveniently marks the midpoint and has plenty of accommodation, if you do wish to split the stage.From Aberfoyle, the trail climbs along the wooded slopes of the Menteith Hills to Loch Venachar and then follows the Eas Gobhain river to Callander.You then cross the Garbh Uisge and follow the river along Cycle Route 7. A few miles into this section you find the Falls of Leny, a beautiful cascade waterfall hidden in woodland.You have the option whether or not to climb for a view of Loch Lubnaig before following its picturesque shores to the village Strathyre, where this stage finishes.Strathyre has a good choice of accommodation, a couple of places for food and drink, and a village shop.
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After a challenging previous stage, the distance is more manageable on this hike, giving you ample opportunity to explore. The stage begins with a long climb through Strathyre Forest, which opens in places to reveal glorious views.You descend through the forest and pick-up Kendrum Burn as it flows into Loch Earn. As the trail rises by Lochearnhead, you get a stunning view of the loch in its mountain setting.The trail climbs along the western edge of Glen Ogle and reaches a high point after Lochan Lairig Cheile.The Way descends to the River Dochart and follows it to the village of Killin, where this stage finishes.Killin has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.
A prehistoric stone circle and fine views of Loch Tay await you on this stage.Before you leave Killin, it is worth a short detour to see Kinnell Stone Circle, which is located in pleasant countryside on the banks of the River Dochart. The stone circle—which comprises six slabs up to six-and-a-half feet (two meters) tall—dates from around the 2nd or 3rd Millennium BC. From there, the trail climbs to Lochan Breaclaich and continues through the lonely Highland scenery to Ardeonaig, on the shores of Loch Tay.You then follow the Cycle Route 7 along the eastern side of Loch Tay for the last few miles into the hamlet of Ardtalnaig, where this stage finishes.There is not much in Ardtalnaig. However, you will find some accommodation nearby and other options around Loch Tay
Breathtaking waterfalls, a quirky cave, prehistory, and abundant Highland beauty combine for a memorable penultimate stage.From Ardtalnaig, you join Cycle Route 7 once again and continue along Loch Tay until Acharn.At this point, you make a sharp right and climb steeply alongside Acharn Burn until the Hermit’s Cave.Built around 1790, the Hermit's Cave folly leads down a long and dark tunnel before emerging to reveal a striking view of the Falls of Acharn. A short time later, it is worth a short detour to see Acharn Stone Circle, a prehistoric monument in a hillside position with a picturesque mountain backdrop.The trail continues over the undulating highland and woodland terrain to Moness Burn, where you find the second waterfall of the hike, the Falls of Moness.This cascading waterfall is found in the Birks of Aberfeldy, a woodland that was made famous in a poem by Scottish poet Robert Burns.You follow the Moness downstream to the small market town of Aberfeldy, where this stage finishes. Aberfeldy has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.
Starting by a historic Scottish castle and finishing at a waterfall by whisky distillery, the final stage is a celebration of the Highlands.As the final stage is a short one, there are a couple of detours to pique the interest and make it a good hike.From Aberfeldy, start by making a brief detour over the 18th-century Tay Bridge to visit Castle Menzies.Built in the 16th century, the castle’s architectural-styling marked a change in Scottish castle building style from rugged Highland fortress to refined, yet robust, mansion house.You return to the Tay and follow the river to Grandtully. Here, it is a long but steady climb through Tay Forest Park, past Lochan na Moine Mòire, and eventually down through the woodland to the River Tummel to finish in Pitlochry.At this point, if you have a tad more than a mile (one-and-a-half kilometers) in your legs, it is well worth a brief extension to see the stunning Black Spout waterfall, close to Edradour Distillery, which draws water from the Edradour Burn.Pitlochry has a good range of accommodation, places to eat and drink, as well as shops and other attractions.