The Highlandman's Road
Start location: Church in Rhu (NS 267 841)
End location: unclassified road, Glen Fruin at bridge over Fruin Water (NS 305 865)
Geographical area: Strathclyde and Lanarkshire
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 4.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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This path is very rough and needs good footwear to negotiate. It starts at the old church in Rhu and goes up the hill by Manse Brae, Pier Road and Station Road, which turns into a farm track past Tor Farm. It continues as a rough farm track and enters a dense conifer plantation and becomes a lumpy wet grassy path until it emerges from the trees into open moorland. The route is marked across the hillside by a few old white posts, which are not always easy to spot. This section crosses deep gullies formed by at least half a dozen burns crossing the hillside and entering the reservoir. These gullies are difficult to cross generally needing detours to find the best place. The path then gets a lot easier as you approach the Glen Fruin road.
OS Landranger 56 (Loch Lomond & Inveraray area)
The Highlandman's Road was originally a pack-horse track and was used by the people of Glen Fruin to reach the church at Rhu, the only church in the area until Helensburgh was built. The pack-horse track continued west by ferry over the Gare Loch and thence over the Rosneath peninsula.
Rhu parish church was first built in 1648. This building was demolished in 1763 and a second church which was enlarged in 1827, was erected on the site. The church that can be seen today was constructed in 1851. In the churchyard, to the south of this present building, is a wall fragment containing a window (NS 2674 8397). The wall is probably part of the AD 1763 church, but may be a portion of the earlier building.
Interestingly Henry Bell, who famously built the pioneering steamship Comet, was interred in Rhu churchyard and, as he lived in Helensburgh for many years he may well have used the Highlandman's Road.