Mary Queen of Scots Way
Total distance covered; 108 miles (173kms)
10 days walking (plus a rest/relocation day) based in Callander and St Andrew's
The Mary Queen of Scots Way is a 107 mile (172kms) coast to coast route which traverses central Scotland from Arrochar on the shores of Loch Lomond in the west to the ancient town of St Andrews in the east.
Mary Queen of Scots was born in 1542 and was executed in 1587 at the age of forty four. Much of her life was spent outside of Scotland, but whilst in Scotland she travelled extensively, moving between castles and priories with her entourage. This route visits a number of sites where she stayed, including Inchmahome Priory, Doune Castle, Castle Campbell, Falkland Palace, Struthers Castle, and St Andrews.
The walking begins on the rugged shore of one of Scotland's most picturesque sea lochs, Loch Lomond, in the heart of the Trossachs and Loch Lomond National Park, and finishes on the sandy beach in St Andrews, on the Fife coast. Between the two the route passes through a wonderful mix of mountains and moorland, river valleys with tumbling rapids, and welcoming villages. Ranges of hills encountered include the Arrochar Alps, the Menteith Hills, the Braes of Doune, the Ochil Hills and the Lomond Hills of Fife. The creator of Mary Queen of Scots Way originally hoped to create a route which would be entirely off-road but quickly realised that some short stretches of minor road were unavoidable. He instead made it his stated aim not to use any road with a white line down the middle - a feat which he achieved with the exception of one 500m stretch of tarmac!
Highlights of the route include the walk along Glen Loin with its spectacular views along Loch Long and the Arrochar Alps; the ferry ride across Loch Lomond; the atmospheric ruins of Inchmahome Priory, which stand on an island in the Lake of Menteith; views across the peaceful waters of Loch Venachar; the imposing tower of Doune Castle, the fine medieval cathedral in Dunblane; the views south from the summit beacon of Dumyat to Stirling Castle, the Wallace Monument and the River Forth; the rocky gorge and tumbling waters of Glen Dollar; dramatically-located Castle Campbell; the views north west from Cadger's Yett, at 1425ft (435m) the highest point on the route; Falkland Palace; the Battle of Bannockburn memorial monument in the village of Ceres; the ancient dovecot in Craigtoun Country Park; and the splendid historic town of St Andrews.
The first day's walking is to the west of Loch Lomond, and the short mileage for the day is dictated by the need to tie in with the afternoon ferry from Inveruglas to Inversnaid.
To keep the transport journeys to/from the start/finish of each day's walk manageable, the holiday has been split between two bases, Callander and St Andrews, with five days walking from each, and a rest/relocation day in between. For the convenience of guests without their own means of conveyance, who would prefer not to use public transport, there will be a minibus transfer between Callander and St Andrews available at a cost of £30 per passenger.
Holiday Options 2021
Day 1: Tarbert to Inversnaid (ferry) 7 miles (11kms)
Day 2: Inversnaid to Aberfoyle 16 miles (26kms)
Day 3: Aberfoyle to Callander 10 miles (16kms)
Day 4: Callander to Dunblane 12 miles (19kms)
Day 5: Dunblane to Tillicoultry 11 miles (17kms)
Day 6: Rest/relocation day
Day 7: Tillicoultry to Glendevon 8 miles (13kms)
Day 8: Glendevon to Glenfarg 13 miles (21kms)
Day 9: Glenfarg to Falkland 10 miles (16kms)
Day 10: Falkland to Ceres 12 miles (19kms)
Day 11: Ceres to St Andrews 9 miles (15kms)
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