This is a very demanding day ride through some of the most beautiful parts of Highland Perthshire, including open mountain scenery, freshwater lochs, lush valleys, historic towns and villages and a visit to Scotland’s oldest distillery. The route consists of an eastern and western loop, which can be ridden by themselves.
Total Distance: 70.1 km
Total Ascent: 1,260 m
Terrain: A mixture of singletrack, well-graded paths, roads and a hike-a-bike section
Route Category: Challenging
Riding Time: 7- 9 hrs
Start/Finish: Comrie Croft
OS Grid Ref: NN 80225 23031
Nearest Parking: Comrie Croft
Nearest Railway Station: Gleneagles 23.5 km
Key Facilities on Route: Comrie Croft (accommodation, cafe, bike shop, shop), Comrie (accommodation, shops, cafe, restaurant, museum), Crieff (accommodation, shops, cafe, restaurant, supermarket)
OS Landranger Map: 52, 57
Starting at Comrie Croft, the route follows a short section of singletrack out of the hub and into a beautifully dense forest, passing an impressive waterfall. On well maintained gravel tracks the first highlight of the route is an alley of giant redwood trees before the route reaches a gate at West Lodge Caravan Park and continues on the busy A85 for a short section. Shortly after the skate park the route follows a tarmac road to a parking lot, which can be used as an alternative starting point. The western loop starts with crossing the River Lednock on a wooden bridge, before continuing on a gravel path on the northern edge of the village. From here the route enters the River Earn National Scenic Area. After another short tarmac section the route follows a beautiful walking trail along the River Lednock, before reaching Monument Road for a short section on tarmac. Shortly afterwards the route follows the Maam Road, an old cattle droving road, which is one of the most scenic sections. A detour to the Melville Monument is possible from here, but the track to reach the monument requires very good riding skills on a gravel bike, with the last section only suitable for pushing. The views from the monument on a good day are breathtaking. The Maam Road follows mainly gravel tracks, only the last section before crossing the A85 is on a singletrail through a pine forest.
After crossing the river and a field with livestock (please follow the signposts) the route joins the cycle path on the old railway line from St. Fillans to Comrie, before joining a minor road. It passes Aberuchill Castle and a few other houses, before joining a gravel track towards Tomanour. From here a landrover track to a disused quarry is followed on the slopes of Ben Halton. The route leaves the track and follows through a gate and open grassland and then descends into Glen Artney. Please make sure you are properly equipped for this section, as it takes you through very remote terrain. The area off the track is very boggy, and likely impassable in winter. To find the route to Glen Artney do not miss the gate on the left, before the landrover track continues round the hill towards the quarry. The views from here towards Glen Artney are worth the extra effort climbing. On a mixture of landrover and singletrack the route descends towards Comrie. Some sections in the forest can be very boggy and require pushing and good footwear, but there are plenty of streams in the forest for water. On the final section Dalrannoch Road takes you into the village, passing the Earthquake House along the way, from where the eastern loop takes you to Crieff.
The first section of the eastern loop follows Cowden Road, which is connected via a path with Glascorrie Road, on which the route reaches Auchingarrich Wildlife Park. A possible detour to get here is to Cultybraggan Camp, following Langside Road (A 827) and rejoining the route at Glascorrie Road. At the wildlife park the route passes through a few gates and then follows a singletrack through the forest, which is technical at places. The climb on the same track is not for the faint-hearted, very steep and slippery in places, and a tough hike-a-bike section. It eventually joins a great forest road on the top. An alternative for this section is following the small roads past Glascorrie and towards Cuiltballoch, then rejoining the route where the road crosses.
Once on the top, the route follows great gravel tracks through a dense forest, which offers superb views over the valleys towards the north on clearings. Descending, the route jons Balloch and Muthill Road into Crieff. The route passes through Crieff on a mixture of tracks and roads. If tired, Crieff is a good alternative end, as the following section involves a good bit of climbing and exposed sections, taking the A85 back to Comrie Croft on tarmac.
The route continues on Turretbank Road out of Crieff, and after it crosses the Turret Burn on a track through a beautiful forest to Glenturret Distillery, where a cafe and shop await visitors (the route passes through the grounds). From here the route passes through the grounds of Ochtertyre House, and after an alley with huge trees, joins the A85 for a short section. Through a gate a track follows the shores of Loch Monzievaird, past the remains of an old fortress called Castle Cluggy. After another short section on tarmac the route follows a small road up the Conalter Burn, and turns into a gravel track.
Passing a small hill the route then descends towards the road up the Turret Burn. The route climbs on this scenic, but rough, tarmac road to the dam, from where a well-maintained landrover track leads westbound over the open hillside. This section can be very exposed. A rougher track descends past a house at Breafordie and a small lochan, and on more landrover tracks towards the valley. The views towards Comrie and the hills in the surroundings are superb from here. Joining a gravel track at the edge of the forest the route leads back to the starting point at Comrie Croft, which offers a cafe and accommodation.
If you enjoyed this route, why not try the following?
Grand Tour of Rannoch