On our way up to Assynt in September we stopped off half way to make the journey a bit more manageable – ten hours in a car with two dogs would be a bit much even for us! As you may have seen in my last post, 24 Hours in Angus and Dundee, on the way back we stopped off in the East. On the way up, however, we took the slightly longer but much more scenic route through Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Scrolling through the National Park’s website for a short-ish walk to stretch our legs along the way I came across the route up Sron a’ Chlachain (don’t ask me how to pronounce it as I have no idea), which delightfully translates roughly to ‘the peak that resembles a nose above the village’.
The route description that we used from the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs website grades the route as strenuous and notes that the path is short and steep. It might be short but it feels like a hundred miles as you climb so steeply uphill all the way. As soon as you leave Breadalbane Park the path takes an almost vertical turn, and walkers tackling this relatively small hill will question whether a path can actually be so unrelentingly steep or if they have seriously let their fitness go (I know I certainly did all the way up!).
Fortunately there are plenty of opportunities to stop and ‘enjoy the view’, with panoramic views over Loch Tay all the way up this hill. The route from the starting point in Killin (free parking) is about one and a half miles each way and we completed the walk in just under two and a half hours – most of that time was spent walking up the hill rather than down it!
If you have time for more than a short walk, there are plenty of other things to do in Killin. The Falls of Dochart are within easy walking distance of the start of the walk and Fingal’s Stone can be spotted on your way up Sron a’ Chlachain.
The Falls of Dochart in particular were very impressive – they reminded me of our local waterfalls in Wensleydale such as Redmire Force – but on a much bigger scale! They were however very busy so we didn’t really stop to have a closer look, which was a shame, but they’ll still be there another day.
Dog friendly rating – 4/5. Steep hills are nothing when you have four legs! I’ve given this walk a 4/5 as there were no livestock on this walk when we did it so we were able to let ours off the lead – running up and down the path was a great way to burn off some energy after being in the car for nearly five hours! However don’t assume there won’t be any sheep about as there could be sheep on any hill, so always keep your dog under close control and put them on a lead if there’s livestock around. There was no water on this route either so make sure you carry some for your dog, especially on a hot day like we had – who’d have thought I’d be walking in a T-shirt in Scotland!
Where we stayed
We stayed not too far from Sron a’ Chlachain at The Nest Glamping Pod in Dalmally. This Pod was absolutely perfect for an overnight stop – so cosy with an extremely comfortable bed! There is also a BBQ and Firepit that you can use and I can’t thank our hosts enough for letting us have some logs and charcoal when we couldn’t find a local shop to stock up ahead of arrival. We spent hours sat by the fire pit star gazing and were lucky enough to have a brilliantly clear night. Sam saw about six shooting stars (I saw zero because I kept nodding off).
The Nest is perfectly situated if you are wanting to explore the local area further, and if you want to head further afield, it’s about an hour from Glencoe. There are loads of books and leaflets in the lodge for things to do nearby – I spent about half an hour reading them even though we wouldn’t have time to explore more!
Dog friendly rating – 3/5. Although the dogs loved it here and couldn’t have been made more welcome, the pod is a little bit small for two people and two dogs. It was fine for one night and probably would’ve been fine for one or two more, but any longer and I think I would’ve been having serious personal space issues! For one night though it didn’t bother us at all, and the dogs loved the miles of forest track which you can access from the door, perfect for running off those morning zoomies!
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