This circular walk is about 2.5 miles in distance and along Loch Drunkie. There is a moderate climb and descent up a hill above the loch.
Loch Drunkie lies on the A821 from Aberfoyle to Loch Achray and Loch Vennacher. It’s known as the Duke’s Pass road and is much favoured by touring buses taking tourists through the Trossachs.
Once you cross the crest of the pass look out for a sign to the Three Lochs Drive on your right.
This is a Forestry Commission single car width track that meanders for eight miles through the Commission’s plantations and alongside a lochan called Lochan Reoidhte which is near the beginning of the walk alongside Loch Drunk. This is a circular drive along the south shore of Loch Achray.
There is a small car park at the south end of Loch Drunkie but don’t park here except for the view. Continue to the much larger car park which has picnic tables and permanent toilets. Here we began two short walks each of about one and a quarter miles.
I’ll start with the easier one first. It is marked by green-banded posts. It starts just beyond the toilet block and goes along the western shore of Loch Drunkie. Incidentally, the loch was not named after a local drunkard but is a corruption of the Gaelic Loch Drongaidh which means the loch between the ridges.
After a quarter of a mile a wooden open sided and roofed building spans the path. From the ceiling about 8 ropes descend. Give them a good tug and you’ll discover that they are attached to bells. I guess you are in the first open-air belfry in Scotland.
This is just one of several constructions in wood that the Forestry Commission has installed along the path. One is a boat balanced on its stern facing the Loch with a seat inside where you can shelter from the elements. Bless the Forestry Commission for not only providing well-surfaced paths but also installing delightful surprises along the way.
In a further quarter of a mile the path turns to the left uphill. A green-banded waymark post indicates it – don’t continue along the lochside. The broad waymarked track leads over a small hill and down to the car park.
If you wish to walk further, cross the main vehicle track and pick up a path marked by blue-banded posts right opposite the carpark. This path zig-zags up the steep slope but it is not too strenuous a climb. At the top you can stand on a rock and from there obtain a fine view along Loch Drunkie.
When you start to descend you have the choice of taking a straighter but steeper option on the left, or of going straight ahead and following a path that is longer but less steep.
We took the latter and were soon down at the main drive. On our way we nearly stepped on an adder which slithered off into the long grass as soon as it saw us.
The last time we saw one of these snakes was sunning itself on a stone wall in the Mendips in southwest England.
At the end of your walk you can eat your picnic at one of several tables beside the car park from where you can spy the Loch.