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Loch Katrine with Sir Walter Scott

With the weather forecast looking positively dreich, we opted to stay low level and off the hills. I have grown up in and around this area and although I have done a quick 3 or 4 miles from the Trossachs Pier on Loch Katrine, I didn’t even realise that a proper long, adult walk could be had! Off we drove in Harvey RV armed with unattractive waterproof layers…


At the time, i felt ticket prices could have been a fairer. A return was an affordable £16 but a single was £13. However, we paid and boarded the Steamship Sir Walter Scott and waited for the crossing to begin at 10.30am.


People were warmly wrapped in tartan blankets which was ideal for the weather we had that day. These are provided by the ship and were a very welcome sight. Also meant we could start the journey on the open topped section of the boat! This seating choice didn’t last long and after the captain announced the bar was open, we headed under cover. Soggy blankets were whisked away by helpful crew and my friends jacket was taken off to join them down in the boiler room. Although maybe only 30 passengers or so were boarded that day, the natural and automatic help and friendliness from the crew was second to none. I could not criticise on any aspect of the service we received: and that’s not like me!! When one woman was looking to the ‘bow’ (oh yes, Google is my friend), a young crew member ran off the get a squeegee to dry the window on the outside. Much appreciated attention to detail. The cost of the single journey became well worth it, it was more than getting from A to B. We purchased our reasonably priced Coffee/Baileys and Hot Chocolate/Brandy’s and settled down for the hour. The captain filled us in with the hills and history, new and old (not that I can remember any of it) We discovered he lived in Strathblane (where we do) and very politely insisted that we join him at the wheel…


We disembarked at Stronachlachar, jokingly regretful that we couldn’t enjoy the same hospitality on the return journey but here, our 14 mile walk began. Toilets are at the Pier Café and the best way to start a journey of that distance! The start is well sign posted but just keep the water to the right of you. Various mile countdown signs (on the bridges) are also to be seen which is quite helpful.

The entire route is well tarmacked and it is a single lane road, it’s not too busy although we did walk on a Monday, it may be busier during weekends. A great route for cyclists too. The majority of the cottages and houses we saw were beautiful holiday homes so in this quiet season, probably quite safe to cycle worry free.This particular one caught my eye as it’s right on the water… The Old Smiddy Cottage


I usually spend the whole time looking at my feet, terrified of twisting an ankle on a rock but with this route so unblemished, my eye line was much higher. Colours in everything changed with alarming speed, the ferns changed to orange, the grass at times was illuminous. Clouds whisked across the sky leaving blue tinged gaps allowing sunshine to take some attention. Look at that rain coming down to the right of the picture *gasp*…


There’s Stronachlachar over there. The white building is the stunning

Stronachlachar Lodge and is the first building you see on approach in the boat. We walked, talked and ‘ooeh and aahed’, taking time to dress and undress from our waterproofs and extra layers. Due to the extreme weather conditions, the camera didn’t make too much of an appearance but when it did, the results were quite moody although not quite representative of the actual scene…


Being Rob Roy MacGregor country, it was no surprise that his clan have been buried here. Not the man himself as his wife and 2 sons are laid at Balquhidder Church (previous blog) This can be seen easily to the left just as you approach Glengyle House


There’s so much to see on this walk that you’ll wonder why you didn’t come before… Here’s the very picturesque Brenachoile Boat Shed which appeared in the 1959 movie ‘The 39 Steps’ (might get this one framed)


The sign states “extending out into the loch, this man-made peninsula in in fact Clan Gregors cemetery. It has wrongly been presumed that Rob Roy MacGregor was buried here” Still, its a nice place to eat lunch and stop awhile…


We saw lots of these of course…


People often ask “how long did that take you” and to be honest, I’ve never timed a walk, up a hill or flat. I think if you do, you aim to improve it next time but you end up losing the atmosphere of a place. Listening and looking is what its about. Not the exercise, that’s just a nice bonus.

After writing this and looking at my pictures, i really want to do it again but maybe wait until its drier. Anyone want to join me next year? I can assure you the Hot Chocolate and Brandy was mightily fine!

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