CYCLING AROUND THE TROSSACHS
The Trossachs are criss-crossed by an endless network of cycle routes, from gentle, lochside trundles to full-on Danny Macaskill type single-track descents. Running right through the heart of the Trossachs and its lochs, National Cycle Route 7 passes through Aberfoyle and Callander, our two closest towns, and can be picked up anywhere along the way for stunning – but easy – off-road cycling.
Road cyclists have got it made at Lochend as well, with stunning, hilly loops south to Kippen (fab pub halfway round) and west around Loch Katrine via the Duke’s Pass. Not for nothing the lovely, wee B8034 that brings you here comes alive with MAMILS (Middle Aged Men In Lycra) at the weekend. “An amazing place to stay and train,” commented Tour de France winner Chris Froome, when he stayed here as a teenager.
There are several bike-hire companies close to Lochend, including Katrinewheelz, Wheelology, Aberfoyle Bike Hire and Wheels Cycling Centre. Some local biking enthusiasts (there are many!) have put together a pretty good website about cycling in the Trossachs, but here are some of our favourite places to take the bike:
Mountain-biking and cycling in the Trossachs
Forest trail; 2 miles
Just past Aberfoyle on the picturesque back road to Loch Lomond, Milton is a wee village with a foreverness of gravel roads cut through the forest. There is a lovely two-mile loop here that takes you past wee Lochan Spling, where a large metallic pike jumps out the water!! The trail has eight artworks to spot from mirrored foxes to Jedi squirrels, produced by local artist and friend, Rob Mulholland, whose brilliant mirror men hide among the trees round the forest cycle trails at The Lodge.
Disused Railway; 2 or 4 miles
Another easy off-roader for wannabe Wigginses is along the disused railway between Cobleland and Aberfoyle (it’s two miles flat flat flat, with Aberfoyle’s lovely wee play park at journey’s end). Families with older kids could do it as a four-mile loop, heading back on pretty Forestry Commission tracks along the Forth.
Along Loch Katrine; 14 miles
For one of the best pedals on the planet, hire bikes from the pier at Loch Katrine, stick them on the steamer for the hour-long cruise to the other end of the loch at Stronachlachar (fab cafe alert!), then cycle back via Rob Roy’s childhood home along a fantastically scenic single-lane road that undulates (and I mean, undulates!) for 14 miles alongside the loch.
Loch Venachar Loop; 16 miles
In Callander, thanks to a new, smooth dirt track completed a couple of years ago, you can now do a beautiful, almost entirely off-road loop that twists and turns via many a potential picnic spot for 16 miles around Loch Venachar. Better still, about halfway along you’ve got Brig O Turk Tearoom, a real icon of Scottish cycling. Actually built as a meeting place for Glasgow’s weekend cyclists in 1923, the wee timber cafe featured in Kenneth More’s 1959 classic, The 39 Steps, and today is run by a lovely Hungarian couple – if their goulash doesn’t get you round the loop, nothing will. Bikes can be hired actually on the route at Wheels Cycling Centre.
Kippen Loop; 20 miles
This is my big brother Nick’s favourite old training run. Leaving right from Lochend, this lovely loop climbs an absolutely magical back road up to a hilltop junction known in Scottish cycling circles as the Top Of The World. Catch your breath, soak up the staggering Trossachs views, then it’s down via Kippen with a pitstop either at Cross Keys, or the Woodhouse Cafe. From here, the quiet road across the panflat Carse, takes you past Flanders Moss, a stunning, pristine bog with viewing tower and boardwalk, then on via Thornhill and Port of Menteith to Lochend.
Loch Katrine Loop; 44 miles
This time turning left from Lochend along the Lake road (B8034), this is a belter of a loop out on a dramatic single-lane road into the mountainous, loch-littered wilds west of Aberfoyle. From here, head back along Loch Katrine (via Rob Roy’s childhood home) and over the Duke’s Pass, a dipping, twisting, panoramic stretch of road put in by Victoria so she could enjoy the best of the Trossachs from the comfort of her carriage. You’re going to have to be pretty fit for this, but it’s worth every drop of sweat (and though driving the first bit to Aberfoyle is technically cheating, it does cut out about 12 miles from the loop!)
The Trossachs are getting quite a name for themselves in mountain-biking circles, with lots of hardcore mountain-bikers moving out here from Glasgow and Edinburgh to be near a burgeoning network of trails. There are a number of YouTube clips of Danny Macaskill in the Trossachs.
The nearest mountain-bike routes start at Braeval car park on the road to Aberfoyle. Here on the Boundary Fault Line where the Highlands meet the Lowlands, there are oodles of waymarked gravel tracks and unmarked, gnarly single-track down through the forest.
My big brother, Nick, is a big mountain-biking fan, and his favourite rides are in the Queen Elizabeth Forest above Aberfoyle. This is a vast area of Forestry Commission gravel roads for going up and daring single-track for flying down, carved out by local mountain-biking loons!
About 15 miles north-west of Lochend, Carron Valley has a proper mountain-biking centre for experienced riders, with four miles of drop-offs and table-tops, bombholes and bermed corners – and if you don’t know what any of those things are, we suggest you stick to the lovely, rolling gravel Forestry tracks at The Lodge in Aberfoyle!
In fact, for a sort of junior version of Carron Valley’s roughtie-toughtie mountain-biking park, head to Aberfoyle where there is a lovely, new wee mountain biking trail park on Rabbit Hill. Just along from the play park, the trail park has proper banked turns and the odd easy obstacle. Hey, it’s almost as good as our own mountain-bike trail and trials bike skills park at Lochend! We are always happy to advise you on routes once you are here.
MORE ACTIVITIES AROUND THE TROSSACHS
EXTREME SPORTS AROUND THE TROSSACHSHigh-ropes adventure course & zip-wire, Aberfoyle Hidden away among the towering pines at The Lodge in Aberfoyle, Scotland’s first Go Ape is also its most spectacular, with two of Britain’s longest zip wires, both over 400m long and 150ft high, whizzing thrillseekers aged 10+ over a beautiful 90ft waterfall.The best adventure
CYCLING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs are criss-crossed by an endless network of cycle routes, from gentle, lochside trundles to full-on Danny Macaskill type single-track descents. Running right through the heart of the Trossachs and its lochs, National Cycle Route 7 passes through Aberfoyle and Callander, our two closest towns, and can be picked up anywhere
DISTILLERIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSThere are two excellent distilleries within a half hour of Lochend, however, one of the best whisky experiences lies only a 20-minute walk from the chalets. With several local whiskies in its cosy Port Bar, and a Malt Vault with more than 35 single malts from the Highlands & Islands (everything from
FAMILY ACTIVITIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSWe have our own wee play park right here beside the lake, right in front of the log cabins. And in many ways Lochend is one giant play park, with trees to climb, a lake to paddle in, our quiet drive to pedal. However, if you’re here with children, there is
Forest Visitor Centre
LODGE FOREST VISITOR CENTRE IN THE TROSSACHSLess than 15 minutes from Lochend, The Lodge is the Forestry Commission’s flagship visitor centre, and a place we’ve been going to as a family for years. It’s somewhere our guest really love.Cafe, gift shop, GoApe adventure course and walks galoreThe Lodge itself has a whole room dedicated to
GOLFING AROUND THE TROSSACHSGolf was invented in Scotland, so it’s little wonder we’ve got so many great golf courses within a pitching wedge of the chalets. Being so centrally located means that St Andrew’s, Troon, Muirfield and Turnberry are all easily reached from Lochend, but here are half-dozen or so really excellent courses closer to
PONY TREKKING IN THE TROSSACHSCastle Rednock Trekking Centre, Port of Menteith We’re really lucky to have this excellent stables only 5 minutes from Lochend. Catering for riders of all abilities aged 4+, this friendly riding centre offers pony-trekking, Segway-treks, orienteering and quad pods, where children as young as three can be towed around the beautiful
Shops & Galleries
SHOPS & GALLERIES AROUND THE TROSSACHSHome to fantastic foodie produce and a burgeoning arts scene, the Trossachs are full of great wee delis, craft shops and galleries. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of our favourites, all within about a 20-minute drive of Lochend.The best shops and galleries near
SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs for the heart of Rob Roy’s old stomping ground, and the glens and bens beyond Lochend are absolutely packed with historical interest. It is impossible to list all the castles and monuments, historic villages and boat trips in the area, but we’ve picked out a few favourites, all within a
SCENIC DRIVES AROUND THE TROSSACHSIf the Trossachs are God’s own hiking and biking country, they’re also where He’d take a Sunday drive! Our own lake road (B8034 from Port of Menteith) is one of the most beautiful, twisting and turning along the Lake of Menteith, with roe deer often seen nibbling the banks beside the
WALKING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThere are so many fantastic walks right on our doorstep (the excellent walkhighlands has route descriptions and maps for more than 90 walks in Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park alone) it’s almost impossible to pick out a few, but here goes:Walks for all levels in the TrossachsEASY The Lodge;
DINING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs have made a real name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, award-winning yoghurts and cheeses – and some really fabulous cafes and restaurants. Here are some of our favourite places for a taste of the Trossachs, all within about a half-hour drive of our chalets.Cafes
MORE THINGS TO DO AT LOCHEND CHALETS
With so much on offer at Lochend Chalets we have listed our favourite things to do for you. Browse all the amazing things you can do when you enjoy a short break ta The Lake of Menteith. Stay on site or explore the local landscapes. Take a day trip somewhere further afield or use your holiday lodge as a base to tour around Scotland. Whatever you want to do there will always be something to keep you entertained and make memories that will last a lifetime.