LDW - Rob Roy Way in Scotland

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Lowland and Hill Walks
Oct 16
2021

8 people attending

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£12.50
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Long distance route. 128km and 2400m ascent over 7 days,

A long-distance walk, taking in the Rob Roy Way (128km, 80 miles, link) over 7 days. The route goes from town to town, allowing for overnight accommodations without needing to wild camp it. There will also be places to eat out or stock up on food.

A few journals of this route can be found on the link above, or go straight to this one. Photos shown below are all from second half of October to first half of November.

The size of the group will depend on available accommodation when booking. At the moment I am confident we can go as a group of 7-8 and I'm hoping we will be able to go as a group of 10, though this is not as easy.

The event is currently in Phase 3. The dates shown are now confirmed, we have finalised the list of who is coming and booked all accommodation. As some towns are now full (or seemed full), I recommend you do NOT add yourself to the waiting list. If you are keen to join contact me and we can look at what accommodation may be left.

 

The route and hiking pace

Suitable for beginners to long-distance walking, the route is quite mild with no extreme inclines or particularly long stretches. Armed with maps and on a well sign-posted path, it will be easy to follow the route despite not having pre-walked. This said we might need to retrace our steps, figure out where to turn next and be mindful of our environment. It's an adventure!
We will not be doing the alternative route via Amulree.

Day 0 - Potential day walk in Drymen area, tbc {Fri 15th October}

Day 1 - Drymen - Aberfoyle [17.5km, 230m ascent] {Sat 16th October}

Day 2 - Aberfoyle - Callander [15.3km, 250m] + possible little wonder around Callander

Day 3 - Callander - Strathyre [15km, 150m]

Day 4 - Strathyre - Killin [21.5km, 340m]

Day 5 - Killin - Ardtalnaig [20km, 520m]

Day 6 - Ardtalnaig - Aberfeldy [24km, 500m]

Day 7 - Aberfeldy - Pitlochry [15km, 320m (half-day)] {Fri 22nd October}

The hiking pace will be different from your average day walk: as we are walking on continuous days, we will stretch the walking time over the day. Early starts and late finishes will allow us to take longer or more frequent breaks, stretch and rest. This of course will be subject to the weather (rainy afternoon? faster-paced morning!). At this time of the year, we have about 10h of daytime (sunrise 8am, sunset 6pm) and we will have to use them all at times, especially on the longer hiking days.

Weather and what to pack

There is no way to predict the weather this far in advance. We can only hope to stay dry and enjoy the beautiful fall colours. October is although recorded as the rainiest month of the year in Pitlochry. Average minimum temperatures of 7c and avg high temperatures of 13c, water temperature just above 10c. (Source).

The main trick to enjoying a long-distance walk is to keep the pack light! At the minimum, a change of clothing, waterproofs, and a toothbrush will see you through the adventure (though that is extreme). We will go through what to pack closer to the date but for now consider that 5kg or below is a very good weight to have, 5-10kg is ok but starts getting heavy (needs a good supporting rucksack), above 10kg might start spoiling your enjoyment of the walk, and also should really not be necessary. The above excludes food and water.

There is a luggage transport service available for hikers of the Rob Roy Way (£75 for the total trip, one bag up to 20kg). We could discuss using this service for the longer stretch only, Day 2, and grouping our kit in few bags, or you might want to consider it for the full hike. We can talk about this more after we sorted out all the accommodation bookings.

IMPORTANT NOTE: on an event of this scale, flexibility is a must! We might need to cancel sections, shift days, shorten stretches, and the likes depending on what the weather dictates and what happens to the path as we hike it. I'll say it again, it's an adventure. If not walking by schedule and not covering every single mile means the event is spoiled for you, please reconsider joining.

Accommodations and transports

Accommodation is each individual's responsibility and the budget shown below is indicative only (and based on people sharing double/triple rooms).

Now that being said, I have been busy researching, making calls, and even preliminary bookings. Most towns have several options but there are a couple of stops with scarce (or very expensive) accommodation. The information below is a rough summary of my surely limited research. We will get together on video call as we step into Phase 2 to see what everyone wants to do in terms of overnight stay, where, and how to book. Please do not make any bookings until then.

Of course, you might also want to camp. I have not looked into this and you would need to do your own research (and consider carrying the additional weight). Please consider the wet weather too. Should you decide to camp, let me know as soon as you book into the waiting list as this will allow me to increase group numbers. Also, I will want to know what previous experience you have hiking long distances and camping.

Night 0 - Drymen: There are a range of hotels and inns (allow £40/pp for two people sharing). A cheaper option would be an Airbnb for 6 people (£150, £25/pp). You could also stay in Glasgow or nearby towns (or your own home) and arrive at the start point the morning of Day 1.
Allow: £40

Night 1 - Aberfoyle: [Edit: Information has changed. Contact me for the latest arrangement (twins in B&Bs].
Allow: £40

Night 2 - Callander: We will be staying at the hostel and share rooms with bunk beds. Double rooms available for extra cost. There will be use of the kitchen (at the moment £10 per stay to hire pots and pans, this is to guarantee cleaning before the next group uses them as an anti-Covid measure). There are other hotels and B&Bs in town.
Allow: £20/30 for Callander

Night 3 - Strathyre. Current bookings mean we will be sharing family rooms (3-4 people) at the White Stag. Strathyre has several other accommodations too, ranges around £30-40/pp per night if sharing a double.
Allow: £40 for Strathyre.

Night 4 - Killin: up to 8 people we should be able to stay at Breadalbane House and share twin/triple rooms.
Allow: £40

Night 5 - Ardtalnaig (or Killin!). This is where it gets tricky. There's an Airbnb for two people (£75) and Loch Tay Gardens rooms can host max. 4 (£75/2 people). Then it jumps up to the Ardeonaig Hotel (£140/2 people). At the moment we are planning to come back as a group to Killin (with the luggage transport company, they can take us for around £10/pp).
Allow: £45 (excluding the Ardeonaig Hotel as an option)

Night 6 - Aberfeldy - Several different options, most ranging around £90 for a double room. The Bredalbane Arms has lots of doubles and twins.
Allow: £40 to be on the safe side.

Budget: assuming we get the cheapest spots, we share double/triple rooms, and excluding Drymen, allow for £240 for 6 nights (£40/night average). To this, please add an allowance for bus fares and, why not, a taxi ride in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Food

We will look into food closer to the date. Most towns will have supermarkets and on most days we should be able to enjoy the B&Bs breakfast, where included. Food will therefore be a mix of eating out, supermarkets and the likes. the hiking times will rotate around shops opening times, but allow for having to carry food for the day's hike plus one more day. One or two dried meals (the kind used when wild camping) in the bag might prove a smart idea just-in-case.

Of course, consider the cost of food for the entire week when budgeting for the trip.

Event Phases & coordination

Phase 1: gathering interest. Please read all the information and add yourself to the waiting list if interested. Any questions, just send me a message. Do not make any bookings or arrangements at this stage as the event is not yet confirmed. The dates are very likely to be as shown, unless we find ourselves short of accommodation when we go to book.

Phase 2: event confirmed, time to book. Once we have enough people signed up, you will get a prompt that the event is going ahead. You will have a few days to cancel yourself from the waiting list free of charge if not interested anymore. Then the top 6 will make the event and we will get together on video call to discuss the trip, look into accommodation options and see where and how everyone prefers to book. Then we'll have to book fast!
We may expand the group to include more people if there is accommodation available on all the stops, so keep yourself on the waiting list if still interested.

Phase 3: pack and count the days. With transport and accommodation booked, we are good to go. We will look more into the detail of food provisions, stores hours, hiking hours and keep an eye on the weather as we approach the date. We can have another video call should we want to chat about the trip and we'll keep an eye on people suddenly canceling and other people joining in their place, should this happen.

Want more adventure?

Not had enough after 128km of low land? Why not continue on from Pitlochry to Fort Williams to join The Magnificent Mamores Hostel Weekend for some mountaineering. If our dates are confirmed as they are now, we will finish mid-day on Friday 22nd October in Pitlochry.

P.S.: future LDWs with ODL

I am hoping for this to be a sort of trial run for the concept of Long-Distance Walk with book-it-yourself accommodation, with this being the first of a number of walks. So let's make this one a success!

 

Photo credits: all photos licenced CC BY-SA2.0. Main event photo by Jim Barton. Other photos by Ian S, Jim Barton and Richard Webb.

 

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