16 December 2008 17:34
Is it possible to walk from Glasgow to Inverness via disused railway paths and cycle paths?
By Country Walking magazine
We contacted Katharine Taylor, NCN Development Manager for Sustrans Scotland, the UK's leading sustainable transport charity, who gave us a detailed run through of your options:
"It is possible to walk from Glasgow to Balloch on National Cycle Route 7 - 20 miles on disused railway track. From just north of Balloch (south end of Loch Lomond) Route 7 uses minor public roads – not too heavily trafficked and part of this section is used by the West Highland Way, so it’s common to see walkers here.
"There’s railway path from just south of Aberfoyle and then forest track over the Achray Forest to Loch Venacher. The last section into Callander is on minor public road. Callander to Strathyre is on traffic-free path alongside Loch Lubnaig. From Strathyre, Route 7 uses quiet roads via Balquhidder to Kingshouse and from there there’s an excellent railway path over Glen Ogle and then through forest to Killin.
"From here, I would say things are more problematic for walkers. Route 7 follows the road to the south of Loch Tay. However, the Rob Roy Way walking route goes over the hills from Strathyre, to south of Killin and then to Kenmore. It then goes all the way to Pitlochry, so that would be the best route to follow to there, as Route 7 is on road for most of the way there.
"From Pitlochry, you could use a combination of quiet roads and traffic-free paths to Calvine (there are alternatives to Route 7 that would be good for walkers - see our Lochs and Glens North map for details). At Calvine, you start on very quiet roads and then cross the Drumochter Pass on a purpose-built track parallel to the A9 (though not always beside it, thankfully) – it’s about 18 miles through very remote and high county, but there is at least one accommodation spot in the middle of the pass. (The truly adventurous could cross from Dalnacardoch Lodge to Drumguish over the Gaick Pass – rough path, suitable for walkers and mountain bikes. More direct, but goes over very high ground.)
"From Dalwhinnie, Route 7 uses minor roads, not busy, but not ideal for walking I would say. It is possible to follow traffic-free paths from Aviemore to Slochd, but from Slochd Summit to Inverness is mainly on minor road, including the B9154. I don’t know of alternatives in this area. One source of information might be Scotways who have information on old tracks, including drove roads and you may be able to work out a route from that, or look at Forestry Commission routes.
"An alternative would be to take the West Highland Way from Glasgow to Fort William (the WHW uses the Strathkelvin Railway Path out of Glasgow to Drymen), where you can link to Route 7). From Fort William you can take the Great Glen Way to Inverness. More established walking routes – but maybe not as much fun!"