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Achray Forest >  Google™ Map May 2014+  Stirling Coat of Arms

Scotland Flag UK > Scotland > Stirling

May 2014+

Map - OL46 - THE TROSSACHS - Callander, Aberfoyle & Lochearnhead, Balquhidder & Strathyre.

Distance 4 miles Strenuousity 2.

Stirling Coat of Arms

It's time to head deep into the dark heart of the Trossachs and the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park so some sustenance is required.

It's not really the dark heart, by the way, the Duke's Pass cuts right through it, and this stretch of the A821 is one of the most scenic drives in Scotland, scratch that the UK, scratch that the world but some sustenance is still required.

Picking up bananas in Aberfoyle, it was pointed out that his use of the apostrophe was technically incorrect, the best bananases what?

It's also confusing post-transaction since none of the best bananas' baggage is wanted but yes, SlyBob will have a bag, thanks very much.

That was met with a scowl that soured his plums. He's already had to rewrite all of his signs to show the price in kilos, you see.

The opposite's happening with place names where the apostrophe is being dropped and while Bishop's Stortford's train station complies, the Welcome To road sign doesn't.

The Apostrophe Protection Society, yes really, can get very possessive about this but they've no worries in Brig o' Turk since there's simply nowhere for the apostrophe to go.

The iconic, wooden tearoom in the village is the starting point, iconic from the 1959 remake of  The 39 Steps, remember?

From the Gaelic tuirc for 'wild boar', of course, although there's no sign of it on the menu alongside the goulash. Husband and wife team Csaba and Veronica Brünner have Hungarian roots, you see, and while there wasn't room for a big bowl of red stew at 2 PM, the hortobagyi pancakes packed a similar paprika punch.

Some recent, erm, research suggests they've since moved on but new owners James and Kay Hill will now fill you up with home-baked treats and veggie snacks.

Speaking of having roots, it's time to get the daisies on for this fairly straightforward four-miler. Largely on broad forest tracks, which should be clear after last month's storm, this is now not so much of a meander but more of a mission!

THE TROSSACHS - Callander, Aberfoyle & Lochearnhead, Balquhidder & Strathyre
Near Achray Forest

A mission to find Katy Cow who's only gone and gone missing in there. It's hoped she's all right and not missing her herd too much, actually a 'fold' if you want to be Highlandly accurate, but where could she possibly be?

From the tearoom, turn right onto the main road and follow the pavement for just under 400 yards. Left now to the Byre Inn, which seems to have reopened although that 'refurbishment' took much longer than expected thanks to you-know-what.

It's not known, neither, if they've kept the petanque pitch but what with the goulash, it's like a Grand Tour of Europe never mind a trail in the Trossachs.

Near Brig o'Turk - The Byre Inn

After the bridge, the road veers right to a farm where Katy Cow normally lives together with at least one porker.

Near Brig o'Turk - To Achray Farm
Near Brig o'Turk - Achray Farm

No sign of her yet, though, it's assumed they've checked all of the immediate surroundings?

Just past the farm, the road meets another, which is more suitable for your general purpose motor vehicle. This is the Three Lochs Forest Drive and three current pounds to Forestry and Land Scotland will see you in one-way or another.

Watch your Green Cross Codes and go left where there's a view to the east over fields and, is that? No, it can't be? Katy Cow?

Near Achray Farm

'Here Katy, Katy, Katy Cow! Here girl!' Not a twitch. That can't be her, anyway, they'd have taken that waterlogged sign down, surely?

To Achray Forest

Let's hope not, nobody wants to be out on a wild-Bos taurus chase so just keep to the road as it gently slopes uphill.

At the end of the slope up, turn left and after 10 minutes there's another junction to negotiate. Go left towards Loch Drunkie, the best named of all the lochs where, unless you're doing some furtive fishing, there's no need for that permit.

Achray Forest - To Loch Drunkie
Achray Forest - To Loch Drunkie

Keeping left, the path leads down to the loch although there's a fair bit of shrubbery that accounts for it not being shown. Loch Lochy up past Fort William, by the way, is possibly the worst named of all the lochs? I mean, that's not even trying.

There's some fun and games to be had along the path that skirts the loch. An upturned boat might provide some shelter from the rain then the chance to hit a home run although the bat's not thought to part of the original installation.

Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path
Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path

Finally, there's an opportunity to swing on some ropes, which will save you at least £33 at the Go Ape™ back in Aberfoyle.

Achray Forest - Loch Drunkie Path

That crumpled Pepsi™ MAX in the upturned boat, by the way, definitely isn't ours. Idiots.

Soon there's an area for parking where a block of lavs have been laid on for your convenience.

Achray Forest - Visitor 'Centre'

Cars can congregate here so you might have to watch your Green Cross Codes, again. In the past they would have been described as 'lazy bums' but that's likely to be SlyBob in 10 years time so, nothing wrong with a friendly wave, eh?

Head north away from the facilities and take the first left.

Achray Forest

This leads off the main road and into the forest proper away from the cars and while it's hardly Brands Hatch, they can be just a tiny little bit annoying.

Although this is the Forest Commission Scotland, there's currently no logging going on down here but there is some evidence of last month's storm.

Achray Forest

It's less than a mile to meet the road walked in on earlier then slightly more than the same again to retrace the steps back to the farm.

Achray Forest
Achray Farm and North of Brig o'Turk

This expedition has been fairly flat so the bigger hills north of Brig o'Turk are being pondered when there's a distraction back at the Byre Inn.

It's seen they're doing two-for-one on their beef burgers and not one to pass up a bargain but mindful of the industrial scale processing often involved in these products...

'Is the meat sourced locally?' Bob enquires...
Ye cuid say that, he says glancing outside at the forest.

'And is it fresh?'
'Twas whin th' tree fell oan it.

That's a joke, of course, including the translations that were provided  here. SlyBob P.I. has been on the case for over three years now but with new owners at Achray Farm, the case of Katy Cow remains unsolved.

You'll have to arrive at your own ending, which is as initially disappointing as how they  wound up The Sopranos, right viewers?

Fauna Saw...

What Number Behaviour  
Katy Cow 0 Between a bun.