I recently met up with a friend of mine, who is also a keen walker, in the hills above Callander at Loch Venachar in the beautiful Lomond & Trossachs region of Scotland. We’d decided we didn’t fancy a mountain day but rather favoured a ‘distance-walk’ and had settled on the Loch Venachar Circular.
This circuit starts at the Glen Finlgas visitor centre and features a 12 mile walk around the 3.7 mile long loch, with lovely views of the surrounding hills such as Ben Ledi and Ben Venue. The loch is also popular with fans of sailing and fishing: there were a lot of boats and paddle-boards on the loch as I drove towards the visitor centre. A mere 7 miles from the pretty little town of Callander, it’s a lovely location to spend a day walking.
I must give special mention to the Glen Finglas visitor centre which has free parking, toilets and an unstaffed centre with information on the local area: there are wildlife information boards, maps and leaflets for you to enjoy in the pretty little building.
Heading off from the carpark, the paths are well-maintained also and feature a variety of shorter walks, suiting people of various abilities.
The walk can also be done as a 16 miles circuit that goes through Callander. HERE is a link to the longer route (with a free, downloadable map you can use on your phone regardless of what route you do!) and HERE is a link to the shorter 12 mile route that we did. You can pick whichever version you fancy doing!
The North Side
The Sign at the Lendrick Hill Carpark
The Interior of the Visitor Centre With Information Boards
Wildlife Information Too!
After taking the time to read the information board and check out the visitor centre (and one quick return to the car to leave some layers behind: it was turning out to be quite warm) we set off on the well-marked paths, following the path upwards and soon found ourselves emerging from the woodland, high above the visitor centre with beautiful views in all directions.
The Sign to Callander
Above the Trees With Views to Ben Venue
The north side of the loch is certainly the steepest ascent with the ‘highest’ views of the day. Without wishing to sound like a cliche football commentator: it really is a walk of two halves!
To your right you will see Ben Venue towering over Brig o’ Turk and to your left you will see Loch Venachar curving through the glen towards Callander.
A Lovely Spot for a Bench
Once you are ‘up’ the path is relatively easy going, with a few well-placed benches and lovely views. Our only ‘rest-stops’ were to take pictures.If you only wanted to do this ‘north side’ of the walk and then return it would make a nice Sunday afternoon stroll. Our conversation had turned to deep analysis of modern TV franchises, with ‘The Simpsons’, ‘Star Trek’, ‘Star Wars’ & ‘Family Guy’ all being discussed.
It was a perfect setting for such a discussion.
Eventually, the path starts to slowly descend back towards the road before eventually crossing it and starting the second half of the walk.
The Path Descending Towards the Road
The South Side
Crossing the main road, the walk is at ‘Loch-level’ and gives much better views of the loch and the fun that is being had on it! Little white yachts were gently bobbing along, while canoe’s and paddle boards splash by: the loch was teeming with life with people enjoying a wide variety of water sports.
We passed multiple picnic areas, filled with families enjoy lunch and the beautiful views. The little road was full of cyclists too yet it never felt overwhelmingly busy, with long stretches of quiet walking doing a great job of muting the human prescence.
People on the Loch With Ben Venue in the Background
Also, there were some other folks around too.
One of the Locals
The Red Rose
At about the half-way point of the loch there is a wonderful little ‘jutting-out’ point where some clever fellow has placed a bench. Now, if you’ve read this blog at all you will know I am partial to a bench and this one is in a very good spot.
Perched on the edge of a rocky outcrop it looks west along the loch and offers spectacular views north to Ben Ledi which dominates the skyline.
Looking to Ben Ledi: Not a bad View!
I was enjoying the views so much (and taking a lot of pictures as always) that I almost didn’t notice what was floating below me.
A lone red rose was gently floating along the rockface. I don’t know why and I don’t know who it was for but it was a beautiful, poignant moment.
I took it as a little reminder to enjoy the views and the time you get to do so.
Soon after this wonderful resting spot the walk veers off of the little road into woodland as the last stretch to reach Brig o’ Turk begins. The little path hugs the coast of the loch before linking up with some wider Forestry Commission tracks. It was peaceful in the woods, with much less people.
The Path Through the Forest
A Beautiful Area
Well, except for the highland cows we passed. Although they seemed pretty relaxed too.
Just before entering Brig o’ Turk we made a wee detour to see the wonderfully named Loch Drunkie (fly fishing is never far from my thoughts) which sits above Loch Venachar with a stunning view of Ben Venue just behind it.
Turning back, we passed through Achray Farm and crossed over the Black Water river and arrived in Brig o’ Turk.
Loch Drunkie With Ben Venue Behind
We were soon back at the cars and after a wee pitstop at the Visitor Centre we decided there was only one thing left to do: head back to Callander and get a chippie!
I used to visit Callander regularly as a child. My family and I would take drives from Glasgow ‘up north’ and Callander was one of the frequent destinations and I’ve always been fond of ‘The Tasty Fry’ chippie which is just next to the big carpark at the River Teith which flows through the town.
Callander is a pretty little place and well worth a visit. Especially if you do what we did: sit on one of the many benches on the banks of the river and eat a sausage supper as the sun set after a fantastic days walking.
A Good Place for Chips
Route Length: 12 Miles
Parking: FREE at Lendrick Hill