Walk from Glen Fruin to Helensburgh Hill House
A great easy walk with beautiful panoramic views is not what we were expecting on this day out from our brilliant #luxuryselfcatering #holidaycottage @lomondtrossachs which is Appletree Cottage
How to get there
From Appletree Cottage we drove to Balloch and then north along the A82 turning left at the roundabout at Arden following signs to Helensburgh.
At the second roundabout along this road we turned right and down a single-track road into Glen Fruin. At the bottom of the hill, just over a cattle grid, we parked in a small (free) car park and traced our way back over the cattle grid up the hill for about a hundred yards to the beginning of our walk marked by a sign reading Helensburgh 3 miles.
The path is well maintained and the gradient is gentle. After a few minutes of easy climbing we looked back and got our first views of Loch Lomond.
About a mile further on as we reached the crest of the ridge the #riverclyde came into view. At that point we could see Loch Lomond to the north and the Clyde to the south, stretching up to Glasgow in the distance. Helensburgh hugged the bottom of the hill on the shore of the Clyde
The path took us through some very pretty woodland until we arrived at a car park just above Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s world famous Hill House.
#Hillhouse is currently undergoing renovation and repair. In order to carry out this work the contractors are building a huge steel cage around the house. This will eventually have glass or clear Perspex to allow maximum light whilst roof repairs and dry rot removal are undertaken.
From Hill House it is about a twenty-minute stroll down the hill into Helensburgh. We decided however to retrace our steps back to the car once again enjoying the stunning views on our return journey.
Flying Scotsman Rally passes Appletree Cottage
Today, Sunday 7th April 2019, the 11th Flying Scotsman Vintage Car Rally passed Appletree Cottage. A procession of 104 beautifully manicured motors, spaced approximately two minutes apart, kept us entertained for over an hour.
The Rally started in Windermere on Friday and made its way to Slaley, then off to Donald Trump's Turnberry Hotel finishing at Gleneagles Hotel. Contestants stay in luxury accommodation in all three of these locations, revitalising their driving and map-reading skills for the following day
Despite their age the cars passed us at a fair speed making it difficult to photograph them without motion blur. The drivers then made much use of their brakes at the junction just beyond us to make their left-hand turn.
The quiet single-track road past Appletree Cottage was no doubt selected as part of the route because of its stunning views and scarcity of traffic. For drivers it would not be too difficult to imagine that they were traveling in an earlier age.
More information about the Flying Scotsman Vintage Car Rally and a list of the entrants can be found here www.endurorally.com/events/the-11th-flying-scotsman-2019/
along with details of the much more ambitious Peking to Paris Vintage Car Rally!
Loch Lomond and Rob Roy's Bathtub (aka Falloch Falls
7At the village of Tarbet the road splits. Straight ahead is the A81 to Arrochar and Inveraray. We stayed on the A82 by turning right towards Ardlui and Crianlarich.
Although still double track this road has quite a lot of bends in it until we reached Inveruglas Visitor Centre and its large car park on the right-hand side of the road. Immediately before arriving at this point it is worth a look out on the left-hand side of the road for the four giant pipes carrying the water from Loch Sloy on the other side of the hill (Ben Vorlich) to the turbine power station beside the main road. (For a great walk to Loch Sloy from Arrochar see our previous blog with pictures from August 2017
Further along the road we came to Ardlui, the last village before the head of the loch. It has a railway station, a hotel and a marina as well as a handful of houses.
About thee miles after Ardlui we passed the Drovers’ Inn at Inverarnan. Well worth a look inside this ancient hostelry is just what it says on the tin – it was a rest for the drovers who were taking their cattle and sheep to the markets in the south to be sold.
The walk up Ben Glas beside the waterfall is also worth a visit – but that was for an other day.
After the Drovers Inn we began to look out for signs to the Falls of Falloch on the right hand side of the road.
Soon the path arrives at the edge of a huge almost circular pool with a high waterfall flowing into it. The deep peaty pool is about 21 meters (70 feet) across. This is what is known locally as Rob Roy’s bath tub. Whether Rob Roy actually bathed in this pool or not is unknown. It is however the most idyllic spot and popular with walkers and visitors in the summer when swimmers brave the cool waters.
Paths on either side of the pool lead to plunge points where wild swimmers can jump off the top of a cliff into the water. It must be noted however that there are strong currents in the pool – especially around the waterfall and the point at which the water leaves the pool to follow the River Falloch. More information about swimming in Rob Roy’s Bath tub along with information and warnings of certain aspects of the site can be found here: www.walkhighlands.co.uk/news/lets-keep-scotlands-outdoors-special/
Who was Rob Roy?
To those not already in the know, Rob Roy MacGregor (1671-1734) was a Scottish outlaw and cattleman who later became a folk hero. He took part in the eventually unsuccessful Jacobite rising of 1689 to support King James II of Scotland who had fled to France.
More about Rob Roy can be found here:
For those on foot, not wishing to divest and take the plunge, a steel viewing platform has been built out over one side of the pool to enable visitors to see the site safely.
After some time at the bath tub we followed the River Falloch for a bit looking at the other smaller pools until we returned to the car park and were heading back down the road enjoying the views of Loch Lomond.
Nearly back home, we decided to have a quick refreshment at the excellent Clachan Inn in Drymen (https://www.clachaninndrymen.co.uk) which is only five minutes from Appletree Cottage. This ancient inn, the oldest licenced establishment in Scotland, was once managed by Rob Roy’s sister. However, as far as we know, there is no surviving account as to where her bath tub was located.