The Wallace Road
Start location: Lochelbank Farm, Glenfarg (NO 136 124)
End location: West Dron, Bridge of Earn (No 126 158)
Geographical area: Perth, Kinross and Stirling (part)
Path Type: Medieval Road
Path distance: 4km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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The best place to start this from is Glenfarg, as there is little parking and no public transport closer to the Wallace Road. Head north up the B996 and then take the left up the Wicks O' Baiglie road. After about 1km take the left to Lochelbank, which is signposted Wallace Road. When heading north keep to the left of the farm buildings and to the right of the farm house and you reach the bottom of a steady climb towards an aerial. Keep on this path, but veer right when there is a junction. You reach a field with cows and there is a stile to get into the next field and avoid the cows. Now you follow a field boundary rather than a landrover track and turn right when you get to the end of the field. Now head directly north, you'll cross another stile before the Dron burn and find the ruins of West Dron Hill Farm just uphill from here. Stick to the right of the Lochan and follow the track to the edge of the woodland as it goes downhill to join the road to West Dron Farm.
The route could be combined with the Path of Dron to create a circular walk, although that old drove road back to Glenfarg can be harder to find than this route.
OS Landranger 58 (Perth & Alloa, Auchterader)
The road is said to have been used in Roman times going back to the days of Agricola. Several forts were built on the hills overlooking Strathearn as a line of defence against the Caledonians who dwelt to the north.
It is named after Sir William Wallace, who, many believe, led his troops this way during his campaigns against the occupying army of Edward I in the years 1297-1305. It is also thought that Mary of Guise, her daughter Mary Queen of Scots and Lord Darnley all travelled this road as it was the most direct to Perth from Dunfermline.
King Charles I in 1632 came to Scotland to receive its crown. After his triumphal entry into Edinburgh, he visited Dunfermline, and then made his way to Perth riding on horseback with his retinue along this road. However, not that many years had passed when Oliver Cromwell led his Ironsides along this road to his intended attack on Perth in 1651.
Later the road is associated with the struggles of the 'Forty-Five' when the exiled Stuarts made a push for the throne of Britain. The Jacobites may well have travelled up and down the road.
Despite not being made up to take coaches, the Wallace Road was shorter than the maintained Wicks of Baiglie public road (which became the turnpike in 1753), so continued to be used by gentlemen on horse, harvest workers, smugglers and numerous other travellers. Robert Burns travelled this road in 1787 on his way from Invermay to Edinburgh, returning from a three week tour of the Highlands whilst in the height of fame.
Sir Walter Scott used the Wallace Road in 1796 to reach Invermay, a few miles west of here. He later recalled the view overlooking the hills and straths around Perth to the highlands beyond in the opening pages of his novel The Fair Maid of Perth, where he says that the summit of this old road is "one of the most beautiful points of view in Britain". The view, he wrote, is from a spot called the Wicks of Baiglie now often confused with the Wicks of Baiglie road, but the road of that name is 2 miles to the east. Scott's viewpoint, with a gap between the hills allowing the view of Perth and beyond, is likely to be between Dron Hill and Mundie Hill.
Clearly the road has a long and prestigious history. It was lined with both ash and elm trees until Dutch elm disease killed off most of the elms in the 20th century, so now there are only some ash trees lining the road. The section of road just south of West Dron Hill Farm is now lined by the trunks of dead trees and decaying upright trees.