Updated: Sep 6, 2021
The NCN 7 runs from Sunderland to Inverness and is over 880km long. Recently I hired a bike and decided to do my favorite section of it - Killin to Invertrossachs. This saw me depart from Killin pass through Glen Ogle, Strathyre, along the shores of Loch Lubnaig, join the Great Trossachs path at Kilmahog and then head towards Loch Venachar to finish at Invertrossachs.
Along the way there are a number a great things to stop off and see and a multitude of opportunities to extend the day trip into a mutil-day / multi activity visit to the area. Mercifully there are also enough cafe's, shops and pubs for supplies and entertainment!
Above Lochearnhead - in the switchbacks
The views from this section of the NCN7 offer a snap shot of what's is incredible about this country. From the towering peaks of Ben more and Stob Binnein to misty loch's of Venachar, Lubnaig and Voil to the original "Notorious MacGregor" - Rob Roy, it's an area rich in interest and is likely to have you coming back for repeat visits.
Coming to the head of Glen Ogle
I started off from Killin at the Falls of Dochart after having lunch there. You quickly leave the road and head uphill briefly before turning right onto an old railway track. What follows is a 7km climb to the head of Glen Ogle, largely through a sheltered bike path. Breaks in trees allow glances back towards the Ben Lawers massif and the Tarmachan Ridge. Fine days out in the hills!
On the right Path / Trail!
Care must be taken in crossing the road at this point. Its a busy stretch and the surrounding peaks have distracted me many a time. Once over the road its your then onto the Glen Ogle stretch of the NCN7 which follows and old railway. It's slightly downhill as its heads south and the surface lends itself to "dropping the hammer". More often than not I find myself stopping to take photos here only to then get back on the rig and pedal as fast as I can to the next location for a snap!
Views down Loch Lubnaig
By travelling in this direction you can see Ben Vorlich which towers above Lochearnhead. Combined with Stuc a' Chroin this again makes for a fine day out and these hills are on the route of the Badger Divide offering a "Bike-a-hike" option for those who fancy combining some great off road riding with some fab hillwalking.
Looking towards Ben Vorlich
Before you get to Lochearnhead you pass over the Glen Ogle Viaduct - a disused 12 arch, 139ft long, 44ft high single track masonry viaduct. Travelling over this I am always impressed by the feat of engineering combined as it is with some breathtaking scenery. Its a section of gravel that just never gets old for me.
As you leave Glen Ogle behind you are treated to views of Lochearnhead. Again at this point you could easily make a detour and head to the Lochearnhead Watersports centre where you can try a number of activities ranging from Wakeboarding, Kayaking, SUP, Waterskiing and Speedboating. As it was, the first thing I had to do was to negotiate was a series of tight but super fun switchbacks as I descended down from Glen Ogle.
The western shores of Loch Lubnaig
I then tracked the road whilst travelling towards Balquidder. At this point you can stop in a Mhor84 which serves up great pizzas and beers.
If you fancy staying overnight close to Balquidder then head west at this junction and there's a hotel called Monchyle Mhor. In doing so you'll be treated to views of mighty Ben More and Stob Binnein - They make for a fine round of Munro's, but with both hills just under the 4000ft mark its an epic day out whichever way you cut it.
The Rob Roy Way also shares this route in part with the NCN7
Beyond Balquidder the NCN 7 passes through Strathyre. There's a small shop here if you need supplies and the Broch Cafe offers good coffee and cakes as well as the chance to get some air into your tyres and tighten up any loose nuts and bolts with a track pump and selection of allen keys to hand.
There's a short climb out of Strathyre to regain the old railway line and you start to get great views down Loch Lubnaig. Its another great section of gravel track and the hairpins through the ferns will stop your focus from drifting. Great fun and a soft landing if you get it wrong!
Shortly after this, there's easy access to the west shore of Loch Lubnaig should you wish to stop off at the water. The going gets a little easier beyond that as you approach the Forest Holidays Holiday park.
At this point on your right (as you ride south) is Ben Ledi. Another fine hill walk. Its a popular one tho' so take care as you past by - the car park is normally hoachin!
Just South East of the Ben Ledi car park
At the end of the car park its easy to go past the path. Veer right! from there its a cruisy ride through the forest an a well surfaced path towards Callendar. As you reach the junction with the A821, you have several options - continue South East towards Callendar, Turn left (north east) towards the Lade Inn for lunch and or craft ales or turn right South West towards Aberfoyle / Invertrossachs.
My planned option that day was to head south West. This brings you first to the Bochastle Trailhead where the NCN7, Rob Roy Way and Great Trossachs Path all pass through. There is ample parking here, should you wish to begin and or end your ride here.
At the junction of the A821
Continuing along the path for a km or so, brings you to a few fab points of interest - Samson's Stone and Dum More Iron Age Fort. They are worth a short stop and both offer great views to the South of Callendar and Aberfoyle as well as back to Ben Ledi in the north.
Dun More Iron Age Fort
Samson's Stone and Loch Venachar
From there it was a short ride on the road to drop off my bike at the Wheels Cycling centre.
With a heap of us going to the Dukes Weekender in a few weeks, it made sense to put up something of a guide to the surrounding area. I hope that you've enjoyed the post!
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