Brig o' Turk is a peaceful little hamlet about 7 miles west of Callander on the A821 road from Callander to Aberfoyle via the Duke's Pass. The TrossachsTrundler' bus service (summer only) operated by Stirling council passes through the village and stops on demand. See below accommodation for attractions and further information. Note that the only Hotels in Brig o Turk is the Loch Achray Hotel. 01389 713 713
Food 'n Drink in the Trossachs at Brig o' Turk, The Trossachs
|The Old Brig o Turk Tea Room Tel No: 01877 376267
This tea room provides meals throughout the day. It was built in 1923 and is well known to cyclists and walkers alike. It featured in the 1958 version of 'The 39 Steps' with Kenneth More. The walls are adorned with colour photographs of leisure cyclists in the 50s.
Holiday Accommodation near Brig o' Turk: More Trossachs Scotland Accommodation nearby
Trossachs Scotland Bed & Breakfast - click blue links
The Ridings B&B
Trossachs Self Catering - click blue links for detail
West-Riding Apartment near Loch Katrine Sleeps 2.
West Riding Cottage, Brig o' Turk. For 2/4 persons
At Brig o' Turk the little tea room is rather more than 'just a tea room' in terms of menu. The tea room is almost an institution, has been here for years and is well known by cyclists and walkers.
Queen Victoria stopped at the original Brig o' Turk Inn and famously presented 'Muckle Kate' the landlady with a golden sovereign. Poets Millais and Ruskin stayed in the village at Glenbruach - now a guesthouse - for four months in 1853. William Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy also came here on a visit.
Up the narrow road beside the tearoom and you pass the famous 'metal eating tree' (or 'bicycle tree' or 'iron tree' which has embedded in it various iron articles which were left against it by the blacksmith at the old smiddy which once occupied the site. The village has its own local monthly newspaper 'The Bicycle Tree'which is named after the tree. The Blacksmith is buried in the little graveyard up the lane a little on the left.
Just past the Glenfinglas road and on the left before the bridge, a lane to the left leads over an old bridge to join the cycleway and footpath from Callander to The Trossachs.
Up the Glen Finglas Rd at the tea room and the graveyard is about 600m on the right just before the schoolhouse. There are several interesting stones, and many which are roughly hewn flat slabs with no discernable markings. The memorial next to the top wall which marks the grave of Hugh MacGregor the blacksmith who died in 1923 at the grand age of 82 - he was 48 years the blacksmith in Brig o' Tuirk; a healthy occupation? Just on the left on entering the enclosure I found the most interesting memorial, that of Duncan Campbell, who died in 1888. On the memorial he is described as "Loved and respected by all who knew him". Obviously a well loved person judging by the ornate table type, coffin shaped memorial which is adorned with a beautifuly crafted (possibly cast iron) replica of a gnarled shepherds crook.
Interesting also is an upright stone at the top of the burial ground, this one commemorating Katerina Stewart, who died 1782. The stone is flaking badly, but it appears to be inscribed in latin.
Just as I was about to leave this little burial ground in it's idyllic surroundings, I glanced over the wall to find I was being calmly 'observed' by two completely unconcerned deer. Peaceful indeed!
Take a look at the picture of serenity westward from the graveyard then carry on up the narrow lane, past the schoolhouse on the right until you come to a fork in the road. Cars may not be driven beyond this point.
Now on foot or on bicycle, take the right fork for a very steep climb up the winding narrow road for some good views through the trees. The road now drops steeply for about half a mile to approach the Glen Finglas reservoir.
The glen was once the favourite hunting and riding ground for the Stewart kings of Scotland, but the reservoir now covers a huge part of the glen.
This is now an area for the keen walker or mountain bike enthusiast. About two miles up the loch there is a fork in the now rough track. The left fork follows the lochside then climbs steeply to reach a height of about 1600 feet before dropping again to return here by the right fork path. The keen walker may take the right fork and after about 2½ miles turn right onto a narrow foot track past the ruined sheilings and which leads eventually to Balquhidder via Glen Buckie - once the sheiling lands of the Clan Stewart family whose home was at Stronvar house (once called GlenBuckie House) at the foot of the glen beside loch Voil.
|This photograph courtesy of David Robertson, Scottish Landscape photographer.
Click the picture to visit his excellent photo-Gallery
'The summer dawn's reflected hue,
Sir Walter Scott
Back at the main road (A821) turning west takes you over the bridge over the Finglas water and down by the shady glades beside the river which leads after ½ a mile or so to Loch Achray.
This sheltered loch is seen in many visitor guides of the area and is famed for the spectacular reflections often seen in the calm waters in the beautiful surroundings.
On the shore of Achray nearer to the western end is the little Trossachs church where the Dunsmuir and Blair families who occupied Blair House are laid to rest. Services are held in this idyllic little church on the first Sunday of every month with extra services at Christmas and Easter. In this fabulous location the Trossachs Church is a very popular venue for traditional weddings.
Further still to the west you pass Tigh Mor, once the Trossachs Hotel but now owned by the 'Holiday Property Bond'. This magnificent spired building is probably seen to best effect from the other side of the loch where the reflections can add to the splendour of the view.
At the end of Loch Achray the main road veers left and a minor road goes off to the right. This leads to Loch Katrine - the subject of another section, where you can get on a bike and enjoy miles of cycling on a private, virtually car free road. Cycle hire from Wheels Cycling Centre just outside town or Mounter's Bikes in Callander.
200 yards west of Tigh Mhor near Loch Achray
1 ½ - 2 hours
Car park opposite the track,
The views over the Trossachs and Loch Katrine from the summit of Ben A'an are spectacular for its modest height. Cross the road from the car park to a path which climbs up steeply through mixed woodland and is soon accompanied by a burn on the right. The path levels out after crossing the burn by a footbridge (a).
On the left there is a viewpoint looking over the Trossachs steamer pier. The path meanders through pines and when it emerges from the trees the conical summit of Ben A'an is suddenly revealed ahead. The path now becomes more demanding, a steep scramble up loose rock.
Pause occasionally to catch breath and enjoy the view back.
The steeper route leaves to the left and is often used by rock climbers(b), while the 'tourist' path continues to the top. It generally takes about an hour or more to reach the summit though the super-fit can do it in half this time.
The highest point on the route (c) is 1,491 feet and the path ends at its twin rocky peaks each providing vast landscapes of Scotland in different directions - west over Loch Katrine past Stronachlacher at Loch Lomond to the 'Arrochar Alps' and 'the Cobbler' and south-east over Loch Achray and the Campsie Fells. This walk gets a bit busy at times - last time I was up there (18/06/01) there were about 25 people on the top!
Twice a day in summer the sound of a pipe band might drift up from the steamer Sir Walter Scott as she leaves for trips up Loch Katrine.
The return from Ben A'an is by the same path and should take little more than thirty minutes.
The A821 'Trossachs Road' leaves the busy A84 at Kilmahog and passes the ancient burial ground at the riverside before crossing the river Teith then climbing to reveal some excellent views back to Callander.
After climbing up through some winding bends, Loch Venachar comes into view on the left where some lovely sunsets can be seen on calm evenings.
Samson's putting stone - a glacial erratic boulder can be seen up on the hillside to the right. The hill to the west of the putting stone is topped by the remains of a ?Pictish? hillfort. Another half mile or so down the road you will see the remains of a ruined farm about two hundred yards to the right of the road. This is 'Coille an Togle' farm, made famous in Scott's 'Lady of the Lake'.
Continuing along this road you may see among the trees away to the far western shore some spires and turrets rising through the trees. The spires belong to Invertrossachs house which was a favourite of Queen Victoria. It now bears little resemblance to the original house as it has been extended, modernised and landscaped although most of the original building still remains.
The road now descends to the shore of the loch where there are some nice picnic spots beside the water. This is also one of the favourite haunts of fishermen and where boats may be hired at 'Venachar Lochside' . Climbing up through the bends again you pass 'Lendrick Lodge', presently a 'retreat' before driving into the village of Brig o' Turk past the Ridings B&B, Burnt Inn and to the Brig o' Turk tea room at the bottom of the Glen Finglass road.
The Trossachs - the place to be! Callander - the place to be in The Trossachs Scotland.
Callander in the Trossachs - the place to be in the Loch Lomond National Park