Why go hiking on the Rob Roy Way?
- Follow in the footsteps of the notorious outlaw and Scottish folk hero, Rob Roy, known as the Robin Hood of the Highlands. Watch the movie with Liam Neeson first to get you in the mood!
- Walk along ancient cattle drover’s paths that take you through the enchanting heart of Scotland and past many beautiful lochs (Loch Lubnaig, Loch Earn, Loch Tay)
- Relax each evening in some of Scotland’s most picturesque little towns and villages (Callander, Killin, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry)
The Rob Roy Way is one of Scotland’s Great Trails that stretches for 127km between Drymen and Pitlochry. The trail takes its name from Rob Roy MacGregor and follows the tracks and paths used by this famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the early 18th century. The Rob Roy Way was opened in 2002. It crosses the Highland Boundary Fault, a geological fault where the Highlands meet the Lowlands. The route follows old tracks beside rivers and lochs and climbs over a few passes which provide wonderful views of the surrounding mountains. For history buffs, the route passes many historical sites such as Roman forts and viaducts, crannogs (homes built on lakes), standing stones, forts and stone circles left by prehistoric settlers, military roads and bridges built by English troops during the Jacobite rebellion. In addition, sites of clan feuds and the tales of Rob Roy’s adventures add to the charm of this scenic walk.
Average Hiking Distance: 12-15km (7.5-9 miles) per day Average Hiking Time: 3-5 hours per day
The RouteThe trail starts in the small village of Drymen, near the southern shores of Loch Lomond, which is easily accessible from Glasgow. The trail then wanders on tracks and minor roads through the Loch Ard Forest to the little town of Aberfoyle in the heart of the Trossachs National Park. From there, it follows forest and moorland tracks through the Menteith Hills to Callander and then heads upstream on paths beside the River Teith to the foot of Ben Ledi before following the shores of Loch Lubnaig to Strathyre. A long stretch of cycleway leads to the attractive village of Lochearnhead, beside the waters of Loch Earn, and crosses Glen Ogle to the village of Killin. From here, the route climbs high into the hills on tracks and mountain paths before descending to follow a quiet road along the southern shores of Loch Tay to the hamlet of Acharn. The trail then follows a track with magnificent views above Loch Tay before descending past the ‘Falls of Moness’ to the attractive little town of Aberfeldy. The final stretch is along the River Tay and over the moors to the pretty Victorian spa town of Pitlochry, situated at the foot of Ben Vrackie.
Terrain OverviewThe route mainly follows mountain paths, tracks, minor roads and cycle paths, with shorter sections on footpaths. Several sections of the Rob Roy Way travel along quiet single track roads or on asphalt tracks and cycle paths. There is ongoing work to make some route alterations to break up some of these sections with softer terrain. Although the trail passes through some fine highland scenery, it avoids the summits and keeps mainly to the glens. Aggregate ascent over the whole route is approximately 3,000m in total, but the walking is mostly very straightforward.
Terrain by StagesDrymen – Aberfoyle: Almost entirely along quiet minor roads initially and then on forestry tracks to Aberfoyle. Aberfoyle – Callander: Forest tracks, minor roads, and paths with some boggy sections. The route climbs gently through the forests of the Trossachs beneath the Menteith Hills before descending – with grand views – to Loch Venachar and Callander. Callander – Strathyre: The route mostly follows a well-made cycle path and some forest trails. Strathyre – Lochearnhead: The Rob Roy Way leaves Strathyre with a short, stiff climb on a forest track. The route then follows a cycle path to eventually join an old railway line high above Lochearnhead. Lochearnhead – Killin: A cycle path along an old railway line heads northwards through Glen Ogle before a final descent on forests tracks that lead to the Falls of Dochart at Killin. Killin – Ardeonaig: A long climb out of Killin on a minor road. A mountain track then leads across high, open moorland on the south side of Loch Tay to the trail’s highest point on the slopes of Ceann Creagach (555m) – the moorland section here can be boggy and exposed in poor weather. Ardeonaig – Acharn: This stage of the Rob Roy Way follows the very scenic minor road on the south side of Loch Tay for 12.5km from Ardeonaig. Acharn – Aberfeldy: The trail climbs a track past the ‘Falls of Acharn’ before following grassy tracks and paths across a hillside of open fields, forestry and moorland. There are some short, stiff climbs. It descends on well-managed footpaths through the Birks of Aberfeldy and past the Falls of Moness into Aberfeldy. Aberfeldy – Pitlochry: A riverside trail follows the River Tay eastwards from Aberfeldy to the attractive village of Grandtully. A final climb then leads up over the moors on a more rugged mountain trail with one sharp climb, boggy in places. Descent on forest tracks before the journey’s end at the town of Pitlochry.
ClimateThe climate of Scotland is temperate, and tends to be very changeable. It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day! The warmest months are July and August with temperatures at an average 17 °C. Rain falls throughout the year and April, May and June are normally the driest months. Annual rainfall in the western Highlands can be more than 3,000mm while the east coast receives an average of less than 800mm. The prevailing winds are from the west and southwest, and are a constant feature in the islands and Highlands.
- WATERPROOF JACKET AND OVER-TROUSERS – You never know when you will need protection from wind and rain – so prepare for unpredictable weather by packing a waterproof, breathable jacket and over-trousers.
- BASE LAYER – This is what you wear against your skin and the best options are breathable and wicking fabrics instead of cotton. They will move moisture away from the skin so that you feel more comfortable when you are walking.
- FLEECE – It keeps you warm in the cooler months and on top of the hills, and will allow you to shed layers when you are working hard in the summer.
- LIGHT AND COMFORTABLE TROUSERS – Make sure you choose trousers that are stretchy or allow enough space to move your legs freely. Denims are not suitable for hill walking and dry very slowly once they get wet.
- WICKING SOCKS – Choose non-cotton socks that fit well and will move moisture away from your feet to stop them feeling sweaty. This will help to reduce the likelihood of blisters and ‘hot spots’.
- FOOTWEAR – We recommend that you bring comfortable, waterproof, lightweight shoes or boots, that provide good ankle support and offer good grip on rock, grass and mud. Remember that the trails in many of our regions can become quite wet and muddy, after periods of rain. Our tip: If you buy new boots for you holiday make sure to try them out on one or two longer walks before your tour!
- BACKPACK / RUCKSACK (with Waterproof Cover or liner) – To store all your essentials and keep them dry – including extra layers of clothing, your waterproofs, first aid kit, camera and your lunch, snacks and drinks. Don’t forget how important it is to stay hydrated and bring at least 1 – 2 litres of water per person each day, depending on the weather!
- WARM HAT & GLOVES – They can be essential in many regions, even in the summer, at higher altitudes and on exposed places.
- CASH – Bring enough for the duration of your tour/hike as ATM/cash machine & credit card services may be limited.
- FIRST AID KIT & FOIL BLANKET– It’s a good idea to have a small, basic first aid kit to deal with little injuries such as sprains, scrapes, cuts and blisters. Good things to bring are plasters & wound dressings, sterile cleansing wipes, pain killers, tweezers (for splinters & ticks), bandages, zinc oxide tape or elastoplast tape (for blisters or sprains) and a foil rescue blanket to keep you warm (or cool) in case of an accident.
- WHISTLE & TORCH – In the very unlikely event you need to signal for help (whistle) or if your walk takes longer than expected and you end up walking in the dark (torch).
- MIDGE/INSECT REPELLENT & MIDGE NET (May to September only) – This can be really important for hiking in Scotland at certain times of the year! Our tip: Avon ‘Skin So Soft’ moisturising cream – it’s not made specifically for midges but we find it works better and is also cheaper.
- MOBILE PHONE – We recommend that you bring or purchase a mobile/cell phone. It will allow you to contact your accommodation and transfer providers from the trail and call for help in an emergency.
- Visitors from other European Countries: Most European billpay and prepay customers can use ‘roaming’ in the UK, but check with your operator for the best rates before you travel.
- Visitors from the United States, Canada and elsewhere: Make sure that you have a GSM/UMTS phone compatible with European networks and a roaming service / suitable phone plan for the UK. If your phone is unlocked and GSM/UMTS compatible, you can also purchase a UK SIM card from a variety of mobile phone stores and supermarkets and use it in your own phone.
- Alternatively, you can purchase a cheap pre-pay phone when you arrive. It is possible to buy a basic pre-pay phone for as little as £15. You can then top-up with vouchers or a credit/debit card.
- Make sure your phone is fully charged before you start your walk. You might not always have a phone signal on the trail but, in general, the level of coverage is quite good.
- PLUG ADAPTER (/CONVERTER) – Three square pin plugs are used in the UK – voltage is 230V.
- SUN CREAM, SUNGLASSES AND SUNHAT (April to Sept) – Let’s hope you’ll need those!
- CAMERA – Vital for capturing photos of the stunning scenery along your trip, which help you brag to your friends about your holiday.
- COMPASS – A compass (and the ability to use it) is a good idea but not a requirement for our tours in Scotland.
- WALKING POLES – Assist forward movement, reduce impact on your knees, and help with balance in difficult terrain. A pair is best but many hikers also just use one.
- GAITERS – By covering your upper boot and lower leg these help to keep your feet and trousers dry in wet grass and boggy terrain.
- EARPLUGS – We know how important it is to get a good night’s rest. However, as there may be other guests in the guesthouse with different plans for their night, we recommend bringing a pair of earplugs to ensure sweet dreams!