Cycle Glen Ogle on the old Callander & Oban Railway from Appletree Cottage
From Lochearnhead to Callander and Oban Railway Line
Some of the buildings we saw on the way, were in a poor state of repair but none the less provided a reminder of a harder way of life in days gone by.
Soon the road up the hill turns into a well-made path. This takes a couple of hundred yards until it reaches the railway.
As the path climbs the hill it passes under a bridge which carried the former Lochearnhead, St. Fillans and Comrie Railway, which ran between Balquhidder (where it joined the Callander & Oban railway) and Crieff from where one could continue either to Perth or to Stirling via Gleneagles (formerly called Crieff Junction. Unfortunately, traffic was poor from the start and the Balquhidder to Crieff section closed to all traffic in 1951
When the path from Lochearnhead reaches the railway, we are greeted by a fantastic view along Loch Earn which is at the north west boundary of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park. As well as the view there is a selection of National Cycle Network signs showing a range of possible destinations. This is part of Sustrans Cycle Route 7 which in its circuitous 547 miles runs from Sunderland to Inverness and, as it happens, passes the gates of our own Appletree Cottage.
Once on the railway line cyclists and walkers are greeted by several signs...
The Callander and Oban Railway
We are now on the track-bed of the former Callander and Oban Railway.
Formed in 1864 construction finally started in 1866. The company, seemingly permanently short of funds constructed the line in phases as and when they could afford. The first section from Callander to the top of Glen Ogle opened in 1870 although coal traffic had been running from Callander to Lochearnhead as early as 1868. John Anderson who had been appointed Company Secretary in 1865 was renowned for his entrepreneurial drumming up of all possible business to help fund the line and its construction.
There was a rumour that the rails when lifted after the line's closure were sent to Mexico to form part of the transportation system for the 1968 Olympic Games. However so far no evidence has been uncovered to substantiate that assertion.
As we continue gently climbing the slopes of Glen Ogle the views along Loch Earn become even more impressive.
See the second part of this blog for our journey along the northern edge of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs National Park past the former Glen Ogle summit station and down to Killin Junction.