I drove up to Lochearnhead today, which is, as its name suggests, at the head of Loch Earn. I got my bike out the back of the car and cycled down the main A84 road to Balquhidder Station where I joined a cycle track, part of which runs along the old route of the Callander and Oban railway. It’s actually possible to join the track opposite Lochearnhead but I wanted to go and see the Edinchip chambered cairn.
The cycle track is a good one, with a hard-packed surface, and it only took a few minutes for me to reach the old railway embankment. I only had a Landranger map with me which doesn’t show as much detail as the Explorer maps, and as such I struggled to find the cairn.
It turned out I was actually looking too far south (by a few hundred metres!) so after not finding anything I decided to save this one for another day and got back on my bike. I continued up the track as it rounded the bottom of Meall Reamhar, with misty views over to Loch Earn.
Soon after is the steepest part of the route. The section on the old railway line means the gradient is never too steep, but that doesn’t start until a bit further up, and here there’s a section of sharp zig-zags as the track climbs steeply to join the railway embankment. Once past that section though the route flattens out as it gradually climbs up into Glen Ogle.
Once in Glen Ogle itself the track crosses a magnificent viaduct.
Before disappearing into a forest close to Lochan Lairig Cheile.
The track follows the old railway route as it curves round to the west on its way to Oban, but then leaves the railway and doubles back on itself on the old track that gave access to a station from Killin. The track drops down past Wester Lix to the main A85 road which I joined for a hundred metres before turning onto the A827 for Killin. A couple of kilometres along here, right by the side of the road, is the Acharn standing stone.
I turned around and headed back along the A827 to the junction with the A85, stopping briefly to take a photo of some colourful mushrooms I spotted in the trees to the side of the road.
Rather than rejoin the forest track I turned left onto the main road, and with good reason. Whereas the descent along the old railway line is a relatively shallow gradient, the descent on the main road, on the opposite side of Glen Ogle, is an altogether different affair! Before picking up too much speed though, I stopped to take a photo of the viaduct that I had crossed earlier.
Before free-wheeling my way back down to Lochearnhead.