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 hubs, 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 hilly loops south to Kippen (fab pub, The Cross Keys in Kippen, 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.
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 Lochan Spling, where a large metallic pike artwork is installed in 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 is along the disused railway between Cobleland just at the turn off to Gartmore and Aberfoyle (it’s two miles flatCoble land 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, book them on the morning steamer for the hour-long cruise to the other end of the loch at Stronachlachar, 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 has been recently refurbished and is back to selling tasty homemade cakes, food and various teas. 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 sweeping Trossachs views, then it’s down via Kippen with a pitstop either at Cross Keys pub, or the Woodhouse Cafe. From here, the quiet road across the panflat Carse, takes you past Flanders Moss, a stunning, pristine and protected bog with viewing tower and boardwalk, then on via Thornhill and Port of Menteith to Lochend.
Loch Katrine Loop: 44 miles
This classic cycling in the Trossachs route starts by turning left from Lochend along the Lake road (B8034). It's 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 Queen 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. (Driving the first bit to Aberfoyle is technically cheating but 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-tracks down through the forest.
My big brother, Nick, is a big mountain-biking fan (or certainly used to be!) 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, AberfoyleHidden away among the towering pines at The Lodge in Aberfoyle, Scotland’s first ever 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. This is…
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 hubs, and can be picked up anywhere…
TROSSACHS DISTILLERIES There 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 a £4.50…
TROSSACHS FAMILY ACTIVITIESWe 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 drive to pedal around. However, if you’re here with children, there is tonnes of…
Forest Visitor Centre
THE LODGE TROSSACHS VISITOR CENTRE IN THE QUEEN ELIZABETH FOREST PARK Less than 15 minutes from Lochend, The Lodge is the Forestry Commission’s flagship Trossachs visitor centre, and a place we’ve been going to as a family for years. It’s somewhere our guests really love.Cafe, gift shop, GoApe adventure course and walks galoreThe Lodge visitor centre itself…
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 Lochend Chalets. Being so centrally located means that St Andrew’s, Troon, Muirfield and Turnberry are all easily reached from Lochend, but here are a half-dozen or so really excellent courses closer…
PONY TREKKING IN THE TROSSACHSCastle Rednock Trekking Centre, Port of MenteithWe’re really lucky to have this excellent Trossachs horse riding 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…
Shops & Galleries
TROSSACHS SHOPS & GALLERIES Home to fantastic foodie produce and a burgeoning arts scene, the Trossachs is full of great wee delis, craft shops and galleries. It would be impossible to list them all, but here are some of our favourite Trossachs shops and galleries, all within a 20-minute drive of Lochend. I’ve also listed a few…
SIGHTSEEING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs form the heart of Rob Roy’s old stomping ground, and the glens and bens beyond Lochend are absolutely packed with historical interest. It would take too long to list all the castles and monuments, historic villages and boat trips in the area, but we’ve picked out a few favourites for…
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…
BEST TROSSACHS WALKSThere are so many fantastic Trosscahs walks right on our doorstep (the excellent walkhighlands.co.uk website 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:Trossachs walks for all levelsEASY The Lodge: various lengthsLess than…
DINING AROUND THE TROSSACHSThe Trossachs have made a name for themselves in foodie circles, with amazing produce – venison, lamb, Highland wagyu beef, 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…
HOLIDAYS AT LOCHEND CHALETS - MORE THINGS TO DO
Browse a selection of our favourite things to do when you enjoy a short break here on the Lake of Menteith. Stay on site or explore local landscapes. Explore our national park, take a trip further afield, or use your holiday lodge as a base to tour around Scotland. Whatever your interests, there will always be something to keep you entertained and make memories that will last a lifetime.