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Walks around Buchlyvie

The Old Railway Line to Aberfoyle - a 3 hour walk

The Old Railway Line to Aberfoyle

This path is well-known to the hundreds of runners (and walkers!) who take part in the annual  Buchlyvie 10k or the Buchlyvie Half-Marathon– along the old railway line to Aberfoyle. This was used by many of us long before it became a Core Path, but then we could only go as far as the River Forth, because the bridge had been demolished when the railway was closed. However, this bridge has now been replaced. The map of the walk, including a few photographs can be found at www.plotaroute.com/route/1047668.

 

Park in the car park at the east end of the village and walk 200 yards up the Main Street to the first turning on the right, called Station Road. Walk down Station Road, over the Ballochneck Burn and turn down the first road on the right (labelled “Woodend”), which goes under a bridge of the old railway line. Immediately after this bridge, turn left to pass through a field gate and go up a muddy ramp to turn left along the old railway track. An alternative start may be made from opposite the old Buchlyvie station (now called “Station House”) which is about 100 yards beyond the turn-off to Woodend, where there is a signpost proclaiming the route to be a public path to Aberfoyle (and an important link to the NCN7 Lands End to John O’Groats cycleway). The route continues straight on to the aforementioned bridge.

 

After the gate, the track continues straight for a bit (heading for Stirling) and then curves to the left, heading for Aberfoyle, which is our chosen rute. The surface of the track is rough gravel, which drains reasonably well, so it’s never too wet. The route used to pass through a dense forest but the trees have recently been cleared and are being replanted.

 

After a mile-and-a-half, the track crosses the Auchentroig Burn via a new metal bridge. A short distance further on, the track crosses the Kelty Water and passes Barbadoes Cottage. This cottage is almost exactly 5km from Buchlyvie and is the turning point for the Buchlyvie 10k. If you want to visit Gartmore, turn left here and follow the track past Easterhills and the Trossachs Holiday Park to meet the A81 road. Cross this road and follow the signposts to Gartmore.

 

Staying on the old railway line, one mile beyond Barbadoes Cottage brings you to the new bridge over the River Forth (which is only a modest river at this stage!) and you’re now in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park. In the next mile you pass the Carse of Shannochill farm and go past a pig farm (where there are often several piglets on the track itself), you then go under the A81 road, where the track has been tarmacadamed. Pass through a gate onto the Gartmore road, go right and you’ll soon meet the Sustrans National Cycle Network route 7 on the left. The prominent Sustrans marker at this point was first painted by the Buchlyvie Brownies several years ago (although it has been overpainted more recently). Sustrans stands for “sustainable transport” – an organisation dedicated to creating cycleways and footpaths all over Britain and NCN 7 is the greatest of them all; you turn left for Land’s End or right for John O’ Groats!

 

Follow the cycleway all the way into Aberfoyle, passing the Rob Roy Hotel on the way. You are now 10 km from Buchlyvie, hopefully with plenty of time to enjoy coffee and scones at the Woollen Mill or Liz MacGregor's Café and still catch the X10 bus to Balfron and thence by another X10 Stirling bus via Buchlyvie. It’s not possible to say how long it will take to walk to Aberfoyle, but a reasonably fit walker should do it in? two or three hours. A wonderful alternative to walking is cycling: the whole Buchlyvie to Aberfoyle route is a cycleway, which can be done in about an hour (although you won’t be able to get the bike onto the bus, so you’ll need to cycle back too).