Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Ride Guide: Lawers Dam and the Sma' Glen

Getting fed up with the usual A85 rides and all the traffic chaos that goes with it?  Looking for something a little more off piste?  Try this one, it has it all - fast sweeping A roads, technical and tricky single tracks, great scenery and relatively quite roads. 
Starting off in Callander head north on, in my opinion, the best part of the A85 as it snakes its way along the side of Loch Lubnaig.  Continue through Lochearnhead, stick to the 30mph limit as this is a favourite spot for the local police, and over Glen Ogle to Lix Toll.  Turning right for Killin and Loch Tay you ride over the impressive Falls of Dochart before turning left for the single track climb up to Lawers Dam and Lochan na Lairige.  From here to Bridge of Balgie the single track road dips and dives through fields as the livestock look on.  Keep a look out for stray sheep and gravel on the tight and technical bends.  After a quick stop for refreshments at the Bridge of Balgie Post Office and Tea Rooms the road heads east through small hamlets and farms, following the river Lyon.  The road then turns south before once again once again running along the side of Loch Tay for a fast and glorious 20 miles through Kenmore before you arrive at Aberfeldy.  Picking up the road for Crieff from Aberfeldy the now incredibly fast, sinuous, but most importantly empty road carves through Amulree and the Sma' Glen before you arrive at journeys end in Crieff.

Lawers Dam on Lochan na Lairige
Callander to Crieff    Image © Google Maps

Turn by turn:
  • Head north from Callander on the A85
  • After 31 miles turn right onto A827 at Lix Toll
  • After 7 miles turn left onto unnamed road signed for Bridge of Balgie
  • Continue on unnamed road for 6 miles and turn right after crossing the river Lyon
  • Continue east for 11.1 miles and then turn right
  • Continue for 1.9 miles and then turn left onto A827
  • Continue on the A827 for 9.7 miles through Kenmore to Aberfeldy
  • At the traffic lights turn right onto the A826
  • Continue on the A826 for 9.1 miles
  • Turn right onto A822
  • Continue for 12.2 miles before turning right for Crieff 
  • Total: 81 miles 

Starting out just north of Callander on the banks of Loch Lubnaig
The Falls of Dochart at Killin

Single track road climbing from Loch Tay to the Lawers dam
Beware the locals will try and steal your lunch at Bridge of Balgie!
The single track road that follow the river Lyon from Bridge of Balgie
The Sma' Glen
Lochan na Lairige

Visit Loch Tay:  Visit Loch Tay
Bridge of Balgie tea room:  Tea Room

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