Monday, June 27, 2016

Running in Scotland #5: Callander and the Great Tossachs Path

Callander is one of the doors into the famous Loch Lomond and the Tossachs National Park, not far from Glasgow and Edinburgh. For us coming from the Northwest and finishing our tour in Edinburgh, it was an exit  of that park where we spent our last night in Scotland this time. We actually entered the park in Tyndrum and drove down along the whole West shore of Loch Lomond, the largest pool of freshwater in Great Britain (by its surface).

If you visit the area, make sure to get this map, it shows 8 major trails:
  1. John Muir Way Cycle Path
  2. West Loch Lomond Cycle Path
  3. West Highlang Way (the one passing by the bottom of Ben Nevis and finishing in Fort William)
  4. Rob Roy Way
  5. Three Lochs Way
  6. John Muir Way (not the same I ran on from Edinburgh!)
  7. The Cowal Way
  8. The Great Trossachs Path

It's that last one that I ran 13 miles on, Saturday morning before driving to the airport. A few steep and long hills but a super smooth trail on the 6.5-mile section from Callander to Brig 'o Turk, with great views over Loch Venachar.

We had stopped by Loch Katrine on our way to Callander on Friday afternoon and walked along the Loch for a couple of miles of asphalt so it seems that this trail is very runnable overall. All in all it covers 30 miles from Callander to Inversnaid on the shore of Loch Lomond.

Great way to conclude our trip. As you can see from this post and my previous ones in that series, Scotland offers hundreds of miles to hike or run. Most of them are hilly though. In Scotland, they don't talk about hikers but... hill hikers! Likewise, this is an amazing place to do some serious... hill running. Highly recommended destination then, rain or shine!

By the way, here is a brochure available for free at the many Scotland Tourist Offices, which has a few pages on each region from an hiking standpoint. Some good information to help you plan although most of the highlighted trails are walks a few miles long.

Of course, there is a lot of information available on the web too and I hope these posts help you planning your own tour of the West Highlands!

Again, I highly recommend visiting Scotland for its amazing trail running opportunities but also very welcoming people! And, hopefully, they will decide to remain in Europe...

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