The Rob Roy Way is one of Scotland’s Great Trails, traversing the beautiful Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park past shimmering lochs, imposing mountains, and pretty waterfalls.
While other undeniably popular trails in the Scottish Highlands such as the West Highland Way and the Great Glen Way see thousands of visitors walking well-trodden paths each year, the Rob Roy Way is a delightful and rather quiet alternative.
The trail covers 79 miles (126 km), starting in Drymen – just south of the bonnie banks of Loch Lomond – and culminating in the Victorian spa town of Pitlochry in lush Highland Perthshire.
Read on to find out everything you need to know about walking the Rob Roy Way …
Rob Roy MacGregor was born in 1671 in Glengyle, close to Loch Katrine. He was a cattle drover, an outlaw and a Jacobite supporter. He protected local farmers from cattle thieves, albeit using some rather drastic measures. Farmers were rather forced to accept his services, or face the consequences! Rob Roy controlled cattle thieves in the region, and could indeed offer protection – or the opposite.
His life took a turn after a failed business venture with the Duke of Montrose, who declared him an outlaw. In the following years, Rob Roy raided the rich Duke’s property and earned his status as a ‘Scottish Robin Hood’. Sadly, Rob Roy was eventually caught and imprisoned.
His romantic life has been immortalised by the novels of Sir Walter Scott, and later on, by a rather colourful portrayal by Liam Neeson in the 1990s film.
The route on the Rob Roy Way itself crosses the Trossachs where Rob Roy MacGregor lived most of his days, and the stops along the trail all have various connections to the events in his thrilling life.
Although bag transfers are available on the trail year-round, we recommend walking the route between March and October.
One of the best times of the year to walk the trail is in autumn, when the varied patchwork of thick forests turns various shades of red and gold. There is no better encouragement than the satisfying crunch of dry leaves underfoot and the fresh scent of morning dew, leading you to your destination at a cosy inn in a sleepy Highland village where a warm welcome awaits.
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Public transport is very limited along the trail, especially at the beginning. There is a local bus service which connects Callander, Strathyre and Killin, but it operates on a limited timetable.
The last section between Aberfeldy and Pitlochry is also connected by a Stagecoach service.
The Rob Roy Way not only offers wonderful scenery, but also stops in picturesque and peaceful villages with welcoming inns, quirky tearooms, and the best of Highland hospitality.
One of the highlights of the route is Callander – a quintessential Scottish town full of bustling shops and great eateries. There are various walks in the area, including the beautiful Bracklinn Falls, located in the woods just north of Callander – a short walk from the town itself. The setting is almost magical, set in a wooded gorge on the Keltie Water. The site was visited by Queen Victoria, and the falls are especially impressive after heavy rainfall.
Halfway through the route, Killin is a small village right at the Falls of Dochart – a spectacular series of rapids at the western end of Loch Tay. This is an incredibly picturesque traditional Scottish village, with cute cottages, pretty Victorian houses, and photogenic stone bridges.
The Falls of Dochart Inn overlooks the waterfalls and has a cosy bar with a large open fire, the perfect setting to recharge for the rest of your walk!
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Pitlochry is the endpoint of the Rob Roy Way, a vibrant town in the heart of Highland Perthshire. This pretty settlement, with its stunning architecture and beautiful surrounding scenery, has been a popular tourist destination since Victorian times. As you amble your way across town, you can browse the many outdoor shops, visit one of the two whisky distilleries, or cosy up in one of the many great pubs!
Pitlochry offers a variety of additional activities, so this is the ideal place to spend a rest day. Wander through the pretty Faskally Wood, take a day trip to the stunning Blair Castle nearby, or a short bus ride or taxi to the spectacular viewpoint overlooking Loch Tummel at the Queen’s View.
With 79 miles (126 km) to cover, most walkers complete the trail in 7 days / 8 nights, an average of 11 miles (17.5 km) per day.
However, the trail can be completed in 6 days, with an average daily mileage of 13 miles (21 km).
Generally, the Rob Roy Way is easy to follow, with a few ascents and descents. However, the section between Killin and Ardtalnaig can be challenging. This stretch includes a fair amount of road walking, which can be tough underfoot.
The start of the day involves a continuous steep ascent on tarmac towards the dam of Loch Breaclaich. From here, the trail continues at an easier gradient but waymarking is limited across the moorland section that follows. This part of the trail can be very wet, boggy, and exposed.
However, the section as a whole also offers good views, back towards the Tarmachan Ridge and Ben Lawers range, and ahead to Loch Tay. The final stretch is easy road-walking alongside the beautiful shoreline of Loch Tay.
The Rob Roy Way winds through some incredible Highland scenery, passing various lochs and rivers and offering stunning mountain views. For those hardy people – such as our fearless director Sheila Tulloch, the Roy Roy Way also offers plenty of wild swimming opportunities in the fresh and revitalising Scottish waters.
A gentle start from Drymen, just south of Loch Lomond, leads through the forests of the Trossachs beneath the Menteith Hills, before descending to Loch Venachar. The views of the water are spectacular.
Past Callander, a short detour will take you to The Falls of Leny, where you can admire the impressive sight as the swells of water force their way between the rocks in the narrow Pass of Leny.
The trail continues through quiet thick forests, eventually reaching the shores of Loch Lubnaig. This is one of the best spots for wild swimming in the country, as the water is fresh and clear (and chilly!). The long narrow loch is surrounded by high hills which offer shelter from the wind.
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The route sticks to the shores of Loch Lubnaig towards the pretty village of Strathyre. Following forest tracks and a cycle path, the route then opens up towards Loch Earn and later continues along the south side of delightful Loch Tay. The sections along Loch Tay are one of the highlights of the Rob Roy Way, offering glorious vistas of the neighbouring hills and blooming heather.
As you approach Aberfeldy, the following section takes you up past the dramatic Falls of Acharn and continues along the hillside, which offers more wonderful views.
The final descent to Aberfeldy follows a scenic path through the wooded gorge of the beautiful Birks of Aberfeldy. The Birks were named after a poem by Scotland’s national bard, Robert Burns. Breathe in the fresh air as you wander through birch, oak, ash and elm, and enjoy the sound of the roaring white water surrounding you.
Finally, the trail follows the River Tay towards Grandtully and the beautiful town of Pitlochry, with its Victorian architecture and well-kept gardens.
Accommodation on the Rob Roy Way can be limited in some of the smaller villages, and we highly recommend booking well in advance to avoid missing out.
Absolute Escapes are delighted to offer two different levels of accommodation – Standard and Premium. See the Accommodation section of our website for more information, and please let us know which level of accommodation you’d prefer when making an enquiry.
Yes! If you are walking between March and October, you can have your bag transported for you between overnight locations. This wonderful service is included in your Absolute Escapes package, or can be organised independently with Kingshouse Travel.
However you plan to walk, it is a blessing to be relieved of your overnight rucksack, leaving you light and free to enjoy the trail.
Yes, the Rob Roy Way can be undertaken by solo walkers. The trail is quieter than others in the Highlands, allowing for a holiday of self-reflection and offering an opportunity to reconnect with the outdoors.
As the trail is not extensively waymarked, we would recommend brushing up on your navigation skills if you wish to undertake the walk solo.
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The start of the Rob Roy Way is in Drymen, which is located north of Glasgow, close to the banks of Loch Lomond. We would recommend taking a train to Glasgow, where you can connect with rail services to Balloch.
From Balloch, you can then hop on the No. 309 Gareloch Head Coaches bus service to Drymen. The total travelling time from Glasgow to Drymen is approximately 1 hour 30 minutes.
The Rob Roy Way mostly follows forestry tracks and cycle paths, making it easy to follow. However, waymarking is limited, so it is a good idea to study your guidebook and map before setting off for the day.
Yes! Absolute Escapes can offer dog-friendly accommodation on the Rob Roy Way. Whether we classify a trail as being ‘dog-friendly’ depends on the amount of good-quality accommodation along the route, which are happy to accept dogs. In some cases, this might mean that we will include a mix of accommodation for you and your four-legged companion.
Please bear in mind that accommodation hosts usually request a surcharge of between £5.00 – £10.00 per night for bookings which include a dog. This additional amount is paid directly to your hosts and is not included in the cost of your walking holiday, although we’ll advise you of the amount in advance.
The weight limit for the baggage transfers included in our packages is usually set to between 15kg – 20kg per bag, depending on the trail, so any feed bowls, dog food etc. will need to be factored into this weight limit. Alternatively, you can pay for an extra bag.
Your accommodation hosts may like to know which breed of dog will be staying with them, so please do let us know when you send us an enquiry.
Yes, it is possible to walk the Rob Roy Way route in either direction – although the vast majority of hikers walk from west to east. This allows you to finish your walk in the pretty and lively town of Pitlochry, which has excellent facilities to celebrate the end of your walk.
Most guidebooks also detail the route from west to east, so this is the direction that Absolute Escapes recommends.
As the trail involves some walking on roads or cycle paths, you might prefer to take some lighter trail shoes or boots. However, it is also advisable to pack a pair of comfortable, waterproof, well-worn-in walking boots, especially for the moorland section between Killin to Ardtalnaig.
If you need some inspiration, you might be interested in reading our blog post on the best eco-friendly hiking gear. Absolute Escapes also provide a suggested kit list in our information packs.
There are bakeries, distilleries, and restaurants aplenty along the trail. We have listed some of our favourites below.
The best place to get a packed lunch in Callander is undoubtedly Mhor Bread, a family-run business that offers a mouthwatering selection of giant meringues, hot pies, delightful cakes and pastries, and generously-filled sandwiches. All fresh and all homemade!
In Aberfeldy, you will find the Three Lemons, a modern but cosy bistro offering a range of delicious meals. Their extensive menu includes Scottish favourites as well as Mediterranean dishes. Their desserts are to die for too.
On the section from Aberfeldy to Pitlochry, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Highland Chocolatier – a paradise for chocolate lovers! The chocolate lounge is cosy and quirky, and you can try a variety of artisan chocolate creations, from creative hot chocolate concoctions to fine patisserie, and of course, master chocolatier Iain Burnett’s signature range of truffles and pralines.
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The Rob Roy Way offers an idyllic escape in the Trossachs and Highland Perthshire. Follow in the footsteps of the infamous Rob Roy MacGregor and enjoy impressive waterfalls, peaceful lochs, and charming Scottish villages amidst the breathtaking scenery of golden foliage and heather-clad hills.
Send us an enquiry today and we’ll be delighted to help you plan your escape in magical Rob Roy country!
Katia Fernandez Mayo