An easy cycle for absolute beginners (cycle hire 01877 376284)
The water board road by Loch Katrine has the unique feature that it has no cars, bikes however are allowed. Add to this that it is one of the loveliest roads in Britain and you have thirteen miles of pure delight. Pootling along for the first mile or so is a fine thing for little children as it is flat, but after that you meet a short hill.
The circular route is via Lochs Arklet, Chon and Ard. On normal roads this time but still very attractive. It doesn't matter which direction you bike it but cyclists doing the long distance route would need to do it clockwise starting at Aberfoyle. The pleasure steamer S.S. Sir Walter Scott sails on Loch Katrine, and combined cycle rides and steamboat sailings are possible.
Loch Katrine is 10 miles long and was the inspiration for Sir Walter Scott's The Lady of The Lake. Glengyle is the birthplace of the notorious outlaw or hero Rob Roy MacGregor. Loch Katrine has provided a water supply for Glasgow since 1859.
Steamboat sailings - The S.S. Sir Walter Scott which sails on Loch Katrine was built by Wm. Denny at Dumbarton and taken in sections up Loch Lomond by barge in 1899, then hauled up by horse and cart from Inversnaid; think of this if you cycle up. The original steam engines are still in use. Sailing times, from Trossachs Pier: 11.00am, 1.45pm, 3.15pm. From Stronachlachar: 12 noon only. Saturday afternoon sailings are 15 minutes later. No Saturday Stronachlachar sailing (to check times phone: 01877-376316).
Cycle Hire - In the summer cycle hire is available at Trossachs Pier; 01877 376284. Cycle hire is also available at Trossachs Backpackers near Callander. If you want to reserve your bike in advance phone: 01877 331200. They also have accommodation.
Described as Trossachs Pier to Stronachlachar Pier
Start at Trossachs Pier, from where the steamer S.S. Sir Walter Scott sails. Have something to eat in the restaurant here or take some food for a picnic. The first part of the route round the loch is flat and there will be pedestrians. Half a mile thins them out however, and soon you'll be on your own. One mile from the start, looking down through the trees, is Silver Strand beach with Ellen's Isle opposite. This is a good place to stop with little children as the road here ceases to be horizontal. After this the road winds through trees close to the loch shore. Do not forget the possibility of the odd water board Land Rover on the road, not to mention some very complacent sheep.
A frequently asked question is whether you can cycle right round the loch, using the vehicle track on the south side that is visible from the road. The answer is no. The track stops three miles short of the east end and cycling after that is completely impossible. Just over a quarter of the way round you come out of the trees for a mile or so, then enter woodland again as the road rises and falls by the shore. Around here you might have the illusion that you are half way along, as the pier and house at Stronachlachar seem quite close. A steady climb follows, and at the top of it you realise that this is plainly not so, as the tail of the loch curves round to the north-west. Also visible to the west is Loch Arklet, the hills in the distance are on the far side of Loch Lomond.
Eventually you drop down again to loch level. The bottom of this fast section is very steep with a sharp left-hand bend. The little clan graveyard on the small island here is worth looking at. Just before reaching the end of the tail of the loch you pass Glengyle, birthplace of Rob Roy McGregor; if Sir Walter Scott is to be believed, Scotland's own Robin Hood. The final section, travelling south-east to Stronachlachar Pier has hills too. There are toilets, shelter from any rain and a cafe providing excellent refreshments at the Pier.