Rob Roy Way: a tempting proposition?23rd February 2007
On one occasion when I was out walking during my stay in Highland Perthshire last summer, some people that I encountered asked me if I was doing the Rob Roy Way. I think that they were disappointed when I said that I wasn’t. At the time, I had been walking from Kenmore and was nearing Aberfeldy, my final destination for the day and where I was catching a bus back to Pitlochry, the base for my visit. That meant that I was in a rush at the time but I did manage to make time to stop and share a few words with them. Nevertheless, I still had five minutes to spare when I reached the bus stop, not bad going.
Recently, in preparation for my most recent stroll on the West Highland Way, I bought a new OS Explorer 348; I know that the WHW is well waymarked but it’s better to know your exact position at all times. And a map is good for telling you what’s around you as well. However, on the top left hand corner of the map, there was another green dotted line: that of the Rob Roy Way. A spot of further investigation has revealed it to be a trail starting at Drymen and heading across the Trossachs on its way to Pitlochry. Along its length, it passes places such as Aberfoyle, Callander, Strathyre, Lochearnhead, Killin, Kenmore, Amulree and Aberfeldy. Between Killin and Aberfeldy, there is a choice of routes: one going round by Amulree and a shorter more direct course. The latter is described in the Rucksack Readers guide to the long distance path while the former is only described on its official website, a truly useful calling point for planning a trek on the RRW.
The trail has only been in existence since 2002, making it a mere youngster in comparison with the 27 year old West Highland Way. In fact, unlike like other trails, it has yet to be waymarked. That, and the fact that that mapping presented in my OS Explorer 379, dates from 2001, explains how I had been straying along the way between Tombuie cottage and Aberfeldy without realising it. And it hasn’t been the only section that I have encountered either. In 2002, I followed part of the RRW when I went for a walk up the slopes of Ben Ledi by way of the section between Callander and Strathyre, though it may be that this ramble pre-dated the RRW. Moving away from this somewhat accidental approach seems an appealing proposition. The key attractions of the RRW for me are its passage through the Trossachs and skirting of Loch Tay. So far, my walking in these areas has been limited and the RRW would take that forward a great deal and there is definitely much to commend the area.
Thanks for popping by, Jacquetta. Well done on putting together a long distance trail from scratch and I hope that it goes from strength to strength. I’m glad that you’re enjoying the blog.
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Glad you enjoyed the Way, John, and delighted that OS has finally got around to recognising it. Its history is fully explained in our guidebook The Rob Roy Way, which is now on its 2nd edition. In outline, the Way was put together by me and John Henderson, another walking enthusiast, on a budget of zilch. We first met in October 2001, and we worked together to agree the route in our spare time. I researched it across winter 2001 and published the book at my own risk in July 2002. In June 2006 the first Rob Roy Challenge was run on the route, organised by David Fox-Pitt who lives in Ardtalnaig, on Loch Tay. Like you, he heard about it by chance, from some other walkers (Dutch, I think, passing by his garden) but only in 2005. He was astonished, since the route goes past his house! However, thanks to the Challenge, a large-scale annual event, we are expecting to finance some waymarking and this should help awareness considerably. We also host a forum about the Way: do visit it, and I’m enjoying your blog!