Callander & Oban Railway (Callander to Kingshouse Halt)
Start location: A84, Callander Meadows (NN 623 080)
End location: Kingshouse (NN 563 204)
Geographical area: Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Path Type: Railway Track
Path distance: 17.1km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes
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Here we follow the former Callander & Oban Railway from near its start at Callander northwards to Kingshouse. Most of the route is now the Callander to Strathyre Cycleway which also forms part of the Rob Roy Way, a long distance route from Drymen to Pitlochry. In July 2014, the stretch from Strathyre to Kingshouse was officially opened as a cycle path, which means that National Cycle Network route 7 is now almost entirely free from vehicular traffic between Callander via Kingshouse and onwards to Killin.
The route can be approached from the entrance to Callander Meadows off the A84. A path leads to the eastern end of the bridge over the Garbh Uisge. Following along the embanked line of the former railway, there is a bridge over a cattle creep. By Bochastle, the path descends to cross the farm road between two pairs gates and cattle grids. The path passes under the former road bridge and emerges in a picnic area.
Cross the A821 and continue on the marked path to the north end of the Pass of Leny. The first original bridge has been replaced with an infilled section which is narrower than the main railway track. Opposite the Falls of Leny viewpoint, the railway originally crossed to the other bank, so walkers have formed an access into the woodland. North of this, 3 steps lead to a small rather awkward stile on the railway boundary fence, and thence the route follows the line of an old cart track through oak woodland. Apart from minor log-type bridges, two larger bridges cross streams whilst on the old cart track. The path then leads up to the car park back on the line of the railway, where the resurfaced track leads to the Coireachrombie bridge. The track continues along the old railway line along the west side of Loch Lubnaig to meet the road at Strathyre.
North of Strathyre, the disused railway closely shadows the A84 to Kingshouse, so most of its line was used in 2014 for the new Strathyre to Kingshouse cycle route. As such, it should be clear and easy to follow.
OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area)
The building of the Callander & Oban Railway received Royal assent in 1865 and work on it began shortly after. It reached Oban in 1880. The line was closed in 1965 following a landslide.
The Dunblane, Doune & Callander Railway had reached Callander in 1858. Twelve years on the original two platform Callander Station was replaced by a larger station further west that served the continuation of the line by the Callander & Oban Railway. This new Callander (Dreadnought) Station was later reconstructed in 1883. A photograph from 1967 shows the building in use as a bingo hall, but it has since been demolished and the site is now a carpark.
Strathyre Station, like Callander Station, neatly demonstrates the shift in modes of transport over the last century. It is similarly lost under a car park and picnic site. The original Strathyre Station opened in 1870 and although it burnt down in 1893, it was rebuilt with two platforms instead of one. It closed to regular passenger traffic in 1965.
Kingshouse had a halt, said to be now obliterated. It was built as a request stop at the expense of the nearby Kingshouse Hotel in 1871.
The Kingshouse Hotel is itself very interesting in that is said to be one of only two hotels that retain the name of Kingshouse. It dates to before the eighteenth century and lies on the military road which also runs through Strathyre.