Comrie to Callander Hill Track
Start location: Comrie (NN 766 221)
End location: Callander (NN 633 077)
Geographical area: Perth, Kinross and Stirling (part), Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 24.2km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes
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Newsflash: in October 2015, part of this route features as one of the Crieff & Strathearn Drovers' Tryst walks. Other historic routes promoted during the festival (10-17 October) include the Coffin Road to Balquhidder and the Kirkmichael to Ballinluig Drove Road, General Wade's Military Road from Crieff to Aberfeldy, the Ardeonaig to Comrie Drove Road and the Balquhidder Road.
Here a route is described from Callander to Comrie by Glen Artney:
From Callander take the narrow public road signposted to Bracklinn Falls to its end at Braeleny farm. Head N along the track towards Arivurichardich, but note that the bridge shown on the OS maps at NN642130 was washed away in 2004. Our surveyor was informed that the National Park Authority hope to have the Army rebuild it, but last we heard (December 2012) the bridge has not been replaced. It is possible to cross at low water by fording or by boulder-hopping, but as the river is a major obstacle at times of high water, a better option may be to use the walkway over the top of the dam (NN639138). From the ford (former bridge site) head ENE below Meall Odhar and Tom Odhar along a pleasant grassy track to the crossing of the Allt an Dubh Choirein, and in another 2km reach the end of the public road in Glen Artney, 300 metres from the bridge over the Water of Ruchill. From there the road goes down the south side of Glen Artney to Comrie.
Better for walkers than following the public road, is to not cross the bridge over the Water of Ruchill, but to cross a stile and go NE to a bridge over the Allt Srath a' Ghlinne and follow a path then a track, on the north side of the Water of Ruchill. Approaching Blairmore, where the track goes uphill, keep straight on along a path through woods to the continuation of the track which becomes a minor public road at Dalrannoch, 2.5km from Comrie. For cyclists who'd prefer not to bike along the tarmacced road to Comrie, it is suggested that the north side of the river can be regained via the bridge north of Dalchruin (NN718169), then the walking route described above can be followed - a short section is reported to be boggy, but most is fine.
OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area)
This hill track running from Comrie to Callander passes up Glen Artney and thence down the Keltie Water. Tom Weir interviewed the shepherd of Glen Artney, Pat Macnab, for the June 1977 issue of the Scots Magazine. Pat was brought up at the Auchinner: "My grandfather died in it, and my uncle left Glen Artney only eight years before my father came to it, so the Macnabs have a long connection with the top of the glen... My daughter was the first lassie to be married in the wee kirk for 50 years". The school in the glen is now closed, but in Pat's day there were 27 on the register, "It's the only school I ever went to. From April to October we never wore shoes. I didn't notice the two-mile walk to school, for my feet were like leather". Pat's father had shepherded the glen before him, "I did my first lambing on Ben Vorlich. It was 1927, and I was 14. I stayed in the old house of Dubh Choirein - you've slept in it so you know it's not much of a place, but it was furnished in those days". After World War II, Pat shepherded Glen Artney from Dalclathick, a cottage then without running water or toilet until he made one. When Pat and his wife Isobel's daughter caught pneumonia, they took her to Comrie by pony and cart. Pat talked too about the declining population of the glen: "When the shooting lodges were staffed in summer, it could rise to 150. It never gets above two dozen now". As a result, the use of buildings has changed - Mailerfuar, south-east of Mailerbeg, was once a gamekeeper's cottage but by 1977 was a haybarn. It is evident that Pat misses the old community spirit of the glen, modern amenity not making up for the people who have left, the folk would rally round to help when need be. "Folk are very mobile now. My mother made only one trip a year from the glen, and that was to the Rural outing".
This route is shown as a road on Stobie's 1783 map of Perthshire; in Glen Artney itself the line shown is that of the public road on the south of the Water of Ruchill, although there are buildings marked on the north side - Dalclathick, Blarmore and Dalranoch. The road can be seen entering Callander from the north on a plan of the town drawn up in 1774 by John Leslie. Callander was a planned village, first set out in the 1730s.