FKT: Pawel Cymbalista - Rob Roy Way - 2024-03-20

Route variation
79 mile route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
13h 55m 6s

Rob Roy Way

A shout out to Ryan for the early morning lift to Pitlochry and the evening pickup from Drymen. Kudos to Ashley for holding down the fort and keeping everyone in the loop via social media about my journey.

The Rob Roy Way is nothing short of spectacular, boasting dense forests, an abundance of wildlife, thunderous rivers, serene lochs, and the embrace of majestic mountains. It weaves through quaint villages, with Callander’s pastry shops deserving a special mention.

Throughout the day, I encountered a menagerie of wildlife: a hare, numerous pheasants - some comically attempting camouflage right before my eyes, deer, an otter, a badger, a red kite, an eagle, and a buzzard feasting atop a decaying tree, likely on a rabbit.

The forests were a shadowy canopy, vast and chilling. Crossing the River Tummel via a swinging bridge in Pitlochry was exhilarating, as was following the mighty River Tay for several miles. The ascent from Aberfeldy revealed the stunning Birks of Aberfeldy, with its gorge and cascading waterfalls. A few missteps at the top had me searching for the correct trail.

Running beside Loch Tay, I was flanked by pastoral fields to my left and breathtaking views of Ben Lawers to my right.

Approaching the midpoint, the climb from Ardeonaig to the route’s zenith was unforgiving, with terrain ravaged by cattle, treacherous mud, and clay. The path soon gave way to a landscape reminiscent of ‘The Cape Wrath’ - bogs, slick moss, and ubiquitous water, with only faint trails to guide me. The Rob Roy markers were a godsend for navigation. Pausing occasionally, I took in the panoramic beauty of Loch Tay and the distant Ben Lawers.

Passing a water reservoir, I was elated to reach Killin, marking the halfway point.

The journey from Killin to Callander, along the old railway line, was a dream realized. The viaduct, once a figment of my imagination, was now beneath my feet. The route, part of National Cycle Route number 7, offered splendid views of Meall Buidhe and Loch Earn. Memories flooded back as I ran past Strathyre and along Loch Lubnaig’s shores, recalling the Ben Ledi race that marked the beginning of my hill running adventures.

Navigating through Callander, the tantalizing aromas from the bakeries tested my will. With just 20 miles remaining, I pressed on.

The final stretch to Drymen was a patchwork of forests and challenging terrain, slowing my pace.

As darkness fell, with 10km left, my head torch became my guide. One last ascent before Drymen, and then the descent.

And there it was - the finish line, where Ryan and a local, Cameron, awaited to celebrate my completion of the route.

It was a gruelling yet exhilarating day, and despite the aches, every moment was cherished.

Now, onward to the next adventure!