glen Lyon Loop

From Coast to Coast

Route length: 51 miles

A church or sacred site

Destination hub

Fortingall Parish Church (Fortingall and Glenlyon Parish)

Standing on an ancient Christian site, the current church was built in 1900-02 to designs by W Dunn and R Watson of Edinburgh, in early Scots Gothic style. The belfry of the old 18th-century church is in an enclosure in the churchyard. The Fortingall Yew, close by the church, is believed to be about 5000 years old. An ancient stone font is outside the church, together with interesting cross marked slabs, while inside are fragments of fine Pictish crosses.


Glenlyon Parish Church (Fortingall & Glenlyon Parish)

By Road

From Killin take the A827 along the north side of Loch Tay. Turn left at Edramucky towards Bridge of Balgie with Ben Lawers to your right. At Bridge of Balgie turn left to go up the glen. Return down the glen, passing Innerwick church where you can see St Adomnan's bell. Pass through Fortingall, Keltneyburn and Dull before turning over The Wade Bridge on the B846 to enter Aberfeldy.

By Cycle

Mountain bikers could follow directions for walkers to go from Bridge of Orchy over to Glen Lyon.

All cyclists can follow directions (above) for drivers or, from Killin, take the road up Glen Lochay, turning right to reach the head of Glenlyon. Then cycle down the glen, or go first to visit Tigh nam Bodach. (Visiting Tigh nam Bodach will add 12 miles to your trip).

 

By Foot

From Bridge of Orchy walkers can follow the West Highland Way south for 3 miles. Turn left here to go up Gleann Achadh-innis Chailein. (You are now on 'The Coffin Road to Killin' http://www.heritagepaths.co.uk/pathdetails.php?path=184) There are several places in which the burn has to be forded, so the path may not be passable after heavy rain. Follow the stone track over to Glen Lyon and along the North side of the loch. A detour of a mile each way can be made up Allt Cailliche to Tigh nam Bodach. (Follow the stone track). Continuing east along Loch Lyon, you come to the head of Loch Lyon. Continue down Glen Lyon to Fortingall, or turn right to reach the River Lochay and Killin

The distance from Bridge of Orchy to the head of Glen Lyon is 16 miles. It is a further 12 miles to Killin or 21 miles to Fortingall. No public transport is available, so you may want to arrange for someone to meet you at the head of Glen Lyon.

Alternately, drive to the head of Glen Lyon. It is a 5 mile walk (each way) from there to Tigh nam Bodach.

By Public Transport

No public transport is available for this loop.

Public transport information can be found on the Traveline website.

On this additional loop, we follow St. Adomnan, Abbot of Iona, through Argyll and into the Perthshire glens, pausing at ancient places of Christian story. Walkers can trace Adomnan’s actual steps from Bridge of Orchy over the pass by Ben Doran into Glen Lyon. By road past Killin, you can climb steeply on the west side of Ben Lawers into the glen, or continue to Kenmore and go into the mouth of the glen. The minor road from Kenmore on the north side of the Tay takes you by Inchadrey, which is the original church site. James MacGregor, the Dean of Lismore and earliest compiler of the older Gaelic poetry is buried here.

Adomnan was the biographer of Columba, author of a guide to the pilgrim sites of the Holy Land, and deviser of a law to protect non-combatants in war. He has left his mark on many sites in Glenlyon including Fortingall, with its ancient yew, where he founded a monastery at an ancient druidic site. His traditional burial place is at Dull, where the sanctuary garth survived for many centuries. Its boundary crosses are at Dull and at Weem. His handbell is preserved at Innerwick near Bridge of Balgie, and his font at Fortingall.

In Strath Appin, between Glenlyon and Aberfeldy, southern saints also came on Highland retreat, including St Cuthbert at Dull, and St Cedd the Saxon missionary. He and his brother St Chad, remembered at Foss, were associated with Lindisfarne. One can imagine the attractions of this wooded Perthshire glens in comparison with the open skies and sea spray of Lindisfarne.

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