Where is the Rob Roy Way?
The Rob Roy Way is a walking route that stretches 127 Km (79 miles) between Drymen and Pitlochry through the Lowlands and Highlands of Scotland. The trail takes its name from Rob Roy MacGregor, a famous Scottish folk hero and outlaw of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The route follows many of the tracks and paths that might have been used by this man who was a clansman, cattle breeder and rebel, and the hike gives you a feel of the place where he worked, fought and lived.
Why should you walk the Rob Roy Way?
Experience some of Scotland’s greatest scenery as the Rob Roy Way guides you through enchanting glens and along glistening lochs, rivers and burns into the enchanting heart of Scotland. Follow in the footsteps of the notorious outlaw and Scottish folk hero, Rob Roy, as you hike along ancient cattle drovers’ trails. Enjoy views of beautiful lochs and majestic mountains and get a sense of history on this quieter but beautiful alternative to the West Highland Way. Relaxation calls each evening in some of Scotland’s most picturesque little towns and villages, such as Callander, Killin, Aberfeldy and Pitlochry.
When is the best time to walk the Rob Roy Way?
As nature reawakens from its wintry slumber, life is once again restored along the Rob Roy Way. Wildflowers bloom and the days grow longer, allowing for an atmospheric hike against a breathtaking backdrop. In spring, temperatures begin to rise, reaching an average of 9-14°C (48.2-57.2°F), while rainfall begins to diminish, providing more opportunities to enjoy hiking on the Rob Roy Way.
The region basks in the warmth of the sun, offering an invitation to explore its wonders. Lush greenery covers the land, providing a vibrant backdrop for your hiking adventures. During summer, temperatures climb to a pleasant 16-19°C (61-66°F), making it the ideal time to hike. Rainfall remains relatively low, allowing for long days of exploration and discovery!
Nature paints a masterpiece as the landscape transforms into a tapestry of autumnal colours. The leaves swap their summer greens for warm, earthy colours. Temperatures gradually cool during autumn, ranging from 9-17°C (48-63°F), while occasional showers enhance the lushness of the landscape.
During winter, temperatures hover around 2-6°C (36-43°F). Due to this and the fact that a lot of the accommodations are closed, it is only recommended that very experienced hikers take on Rob Roy Way during this time of year. There is a high likelihood of snowfall during these months, making sections of the trail treacherous and at times impassible.
With all that said, The weather in the UK is extremely unpredictable and can be very difficult to predict. The Hillwalk Tours hiking season is from March to October, during which time we are happy to help you organise your hiking trip.
How long does it take to hike the Rob Roy Way?
The full Rob Roy Way is 127km in length in total, including all alternatives and extensions. It usually takes between 5 and 10 days to complete. This depends on the pace you walk it, fitness levels and what activities and attractions you may like to visit along the way.
At Hillwalk Tours, we offer Gentle, Moderate and Challenging tour grading levels depending on the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. Within these levels, you can choose between 5 to 10-day hiking tours to complete the full trail or part of it. All you have to decide is how many kilometres/miles you would like to walk per day and we’ll take care of the rest!
Types of Trails
Choosing the right hiking tour for you can be, at times, tricky. It is always important to consider your own physical capability and comfort levels.
For example, at Hillwalk Tours, we have grouped each trail route we offer into three categories depending on personal preference and fitness levels. These are – gentle, moderate, and challenging. Each of these categories, depending on the destination, will include anything from 4 to 13-day itineraries, with customers given the option to add rest days where they see fit.
Our gentle hikes are perfectly suited for those who would consider themselves as a part-time hiker who enjoys taking photos and meeting locals while taking in the spectacular scenery. Our moderate hikes will suit people who are used to regular exercise and appreciate the opportunity of covering plenty of ground each day without going beyond their limits. Finally, our challenging hikes are for hikers who look to set off early in the morning and not stop until they have reached their destination.
With regards to our Rob Roy Way, we offer Gentle, Moderate and Challenging hikes. Each of these hiking categories cover the following average hiking distance and time each day:
Gentle: 12-15km or 7.5-9 miles and between 3-5 hours per day
Moderate: 18-22km or 11-14 miles and between 4-7 hours per day
Challenging: 26-30km or 16-19 miles and between 5-8 hours per day
Hillwalk Tours Guide Notes
If you decide to walk the trail with Hillwalk Tours, you will receive a detailed walking pack once you have fully booked your hiking holiday. This walking pack will include detailed Ordnance Survey (OS) maps and unique route notes and walking directions written and constantly updated by our route development team. By personally walking each trail and creating our own detailed route notes, it allows us to provide more itineraries, route options and alternatives than what you will typically find across generic guidebooks. It also includes GPS tracks meaning you will never have to worry about getting lost.
Starting and Finishing Point
The Rob Roy Way winds through some incredible Highland scenery, passing various lochs and rivers and offering stunning mountain views. The trail starts in the small village of Drymen, near the southern shores of Loch Lomond. The route wanders through tracks, mountain paths, minor roads, cycle paths and footpaths to reach the final destination in Pitlochry.
You will be at one with nature when reaching Aberfoyle, located in the heart of the Trossachs National Park. This park boasts some of the most stunning scenery in the world. From breathtaking mountains and glens, to the vast tranquil beauty of the lochs. Experience areas of outstanding natural beauty with magnificent views above Loch Tay.
Fancy a tipple along the way? Enjoy a well deserved dram of whisky at Dewar’s Whisky Distillery in Aberfeldy, or indulge in a local ale or some tasty Scottish cuisine in the cosy and traditional pubs and inns along the route. Immerse yourself into the Scotland of times gone-by.
Be invited into the pretty towns of Callander, Strathyre, Killin and Aberfedly to name a few, before you end the trail in the picturesque Victorian spa town of Pitlochry. Although the trail passes through the majestic highlands, it avoids the summits and keeps mainly to the glens
Sample Rob Roy Way Itineraries
The following are examples of Hillwalk Tours Gentle, Moderate and Challenging itineraries of hiking the Rob Roy Way.
Day 1: Arrival in Callander
Day 2: Callander to Strathyre (9.3 Miles / 15 Km)
Day 3: Strathyre to Lochearnhead (6.8 Miles / 11 Km)
Day 4: Lochearnhead to Killin (7.5 Miles / 12 Km)
Day 5: Killin to Ardeonaig (9.3 Miles / 15 Km)
Day 6: Acharn to Aberfeldy (9.9 Miles / 16 Km)
Day 7: Departure from Aberfeldy
Day 1: Arrival in Drymen
Day 2: Drymen to Callander (20.5 Miles / 33 Km)
Day 3: Callander to Lochearnhead (16.2 Miles / 26 Km)
Day 4: Lochearnhead to Ardtalnaig/ Acharn (18 or 22.4 Miles / 29 – 36 Km)
Day 5: Acharn to Pitlochry (19.9 Miles / 32 Km)
Day 6: Departure from Pitlochry
Day 1: Arrival in Drymen
Day 2: Drymen to Aberfoyle (11.2 Miles / 18 Km)
Day 3: Aberfoyle to Callander (9.3 Miles / 15 Km)
Day 4: Callander to Lochearnhead (16.2 Miles / 26 Km)
Day 5: Lochearnhead to Ardeonaig (14.9 Miles / 24 Km)
Day 6: Acharn to Aberfeldy (9.9 Miles / 16 Km)
Day 7: Aberfeldy to Pitlochry (9.9 Miles / 16 Km)
Day 8: Departure from Pitlochry
Hillwalk Tours Rob Roy Way Map
The Rob Roy Way Terrain
The Rob Roy Way is well waymarked. Throughout the path, you’ll find clear and visible signage, including distinctive markers such as 2 R’s and a W and directional arrows. These waymarks guide you along the designated route, ensuring that you stay on track and don’t miss any of the stunning coastal views or important landmarks along the way.
Difficulty of the Rob Roy Way Path
The long distance hiking trail in Scotland is quite beginner friendly, so it’s ideal for first time hikers and those who like to take their time and see the sights. That said, the Rob Roy Way is suitable for walkers of all abilities, with some sections being more challenging than others.
At Hillwalk Tours, we offer three tour grading levels (gentle, moderate and challenging) depending on the balance of physical challenge and comfort level that you require. Within these levels, you can choose between 5 to 10-day hiking tours to complete the trail. All you have to decide is how many kilometres / miles you would like to walk per day and we take care of the rest!
Sights & Attractions on the Rob Roy Way
Highland Boundary Fault
Millions of years ago, carbonated serpentine underwent crystallization within a fissure that formed in the Earth’s crust, known as the Highland Boundary Fault Line. This offers a rare opportunity to witness the one of the most significant faults in the region. However, when viewed from above, be it from the air or space, the distinct division caused by this fissure becomes truly remarkable, leaving an even more profound impact on the history of Scotland.
Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park
Scotland’s first National Park is brimming with captivating corners awaiting exploration. From the open, lush landscapes in the southern section to the sprawling glens and rocky peaks in the north, it becomes evident why geologists hold this place in such high esteem. The fault line that divides the Highlands from the Lowlands runs directly across Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park, resulting in a remarkably diverse environment. With rugged hills, wooded nooks, and inviting waters, this region offers a constant array of alluring scenery.
Ben Ledi stands as a recognisable landmark visible from Callander and proudly holds the title of the highest peak in the central Trossachs region. Renowned as a beloved destination for hillwalking, its strategic location on the fringes of the Highlands grants it an exceptional vantage point, attracting visitors seeking awe-inspiring views.
Nestled between the magnificent mountains of Ben Ledi and Benvane to the south-west, and Ben Vorlich to the north-east, lies Loch Lubnaig – a small yet breathtaking freshwater body with a remarkable location. From a bird’s eye perspective, the origins of its name become apparent, as Lùbnaig translates to “crooked” reflecting the distinct meandering shape of the loch.
Located in the southern highlands of Scotland, lies Loch Earn – a picturesque freshwater loch. The name of this enchanting waterbody is believed to originate from “Loch of Ireland,” adding an intriguing touch to its rich history and cultural significance.
Loch Tay is a large and deep freshwater lake in Perthshire, Scotland. It stretches for about 15 miles (24 km) and reaches a depth of approximately 508 feet. It is the biggest lake in the area and one of the deepest in all of Scotland. To the north of the lake, you’ll find the impressive Ben Lawers mountain range, which is home to a special area called the National Nature Reserve. A long time ago, people used to live on man-made islands called crannogs in Loch Tay. While most of these islands are now underwater, there is one near the northern shore in Kenmore that you can still see. This particular island has historical significance as it was the burial place of Queen Sybilla, the wife of Alexander, the King of Scots.
Birks of Aberfeldy and the Falls of Moness
Just outside the Scottish town of Aberfeldy, there is a beautiful place called the Birks of Aberfeldy. It features a series of waterfalls surrounded by dense forests of birch trees. A circular trail allows people to walk alongside the falls and enjoy stunning views of the river flowing through the gorge. It’s a truly breathtaking experience for nature lovers. The Falls of Moness are a series of waterfalls on the Moness Burn in the Birks of Aberfeldy.
Ben Vrackie is a well-known and beloved hill near the lively town of Pitlochry in Highland Perthshire. It’s called the “speckled mountain” because it used to have white quartz rocks scattered on its slopes. On a clear day, when the weather is good, you can climb to the top at 2,757 feet (841 meters) and enjoy an amazing view. You’ll see the Beinn a Ghlo mountain range to the north and the beautiful Strathtay and Strathtummel landscapes to the west. If the conditions are exceptional, you might even be able to see Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh.
Glen Ogle Viaduct
One of the most amazing parts of the trail is when it goes over the Glen Ogle Viaduct. This old bridge was built in 1749, fifteen years after Rob Roy passed away. It sits on a beautiful mountainside in the Scottish Highlands, and it’s a really stunning sight to see.
The trail stretches along the entire length of Loch Tay, which is a well-known lake in the Scottish Highlands. But don’t miss out on the equally remarkable Loch Venachar. This peaceful nature reserve is filled with rich historical significance. Towards the northern part of the lake, you’ll find a Crannog, which is a man-made island, adding to the fascinating heritage of the area.
The Rob Roy Way has diverse wildlife that inhabits its surroundings. Along this magnificent trail, hikers have the opportunity to encounter a rich variety of wildlife species. The forests and woodlands are home to red deer, one of the largest land mammals in the country. As you venture further, you may spot pine martens darting through the trees or catch a glimpse of the iconic red squirrel, with its vibrant russet coat.
The rivers and lochs along the Rob Roy Way are alive with the activity of otters, playfully diving into the water and hunting for fish. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the songs of woodland birds such as the great spotted woodpecker and the charming call of the cuckoo.
In the open moorland areas, watch out for soaring buzzards and kestrels as they hunt for prey. The wildlife found on the Rob Roy Way is truly a testament to Scotland’s natural beauty and a delightful surprise for nature lovers exploring this remarkable trail.
History of the Rob Roy Way
The Rob Roy Way is steeped in history and folklore. The trail takes its name from the legendary figure of Rob Roy MacGregor, a charismatic and enigmatic outlaw who roamed the Trossachs region during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Rob Roy MacGregor was a renowned cattleman and a skilled warrior who became a symbol of resistance against the oppressive feudal system of the time. His exploits and daring escapades earned him a place in Scottish folklore and inspired numerous books and movies. The Rob Roy Way traces the footsteps of this historical figure, winding through the stunning landscapes and passing through areas where Rob Roy MacGregor once lived and fought.
Along the trail, walkers can explore ancient castles, such as the magnificent Doune Castle, which was used as a filming location for popular movies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. The history of the Rob Roy Way is intricately tied to the stories of Scotland’s past, making it a captivating journey that combines natural beauty with a sense of adventure and heritage.
Rob Roy Way Pop Culture
Film and TV
Rob Roy (1995)
“Rob Roy” is a biographical drama directed by Michael Caton-Jones, starring Liam Neeson as Rob Roy MacGregor. The film depicts the 18th-century Scottish clan chief’s battle against a sadistic nobleman in the Scottish Highlands.
Rob Roy – The Highland Rogue (1953)
“Rob Roy: The Highland Rogue” is a thrilling adventure film produced by RKO-Walt Disney British Productions in 1953. Centered around the legendary figure Rob Roy MacGregor, the movie tells his captivating story. Notably, this film marked the final release by Disney through RKO Radio Pictures.
Rob Roy (1922)
“Rob Roy” is a British silent historical film from 1922, directed by W. P. Kellino and featuring an impressive cast including David Hawthorne, Gladys Jennings, and Simeon Stuart. This captivating film delves into the life of the notorious outlaw Rob Roy MacGregor, who lived during the early 18th century.
The Hills of Aberfeldy – Ed Sheeran Song (2023)
Not a movie, but a song dedicated to Aberfeldy on the Rob Roy Way. “The Hills of Aberfeldy” is the last song on Ed Sheeran’s latest album, and it is a beautiful acoustic love song that pays tribute to the stunning scenery of Scotland. The song creates images of snow-covered leaves and frozen water, capturing the essence of the traditional Scottish sound.
Rob Roy – Walter Scott
Set in the 1715 Jacobite uprising, Rob Roy brilliantly evokes a Scotland on the verge of rebellion, blending historical fact and a novelist’s imagination to create an incomparable portrait of intrigue, rivalry and romance.
Food and Drink
On the Rob Roy Way there is not only excellent whisky, the (other) side of physical well-being is also more than taken care of. Along the hiking trail you can stop to eat in hotels, pubs and restaurants, or go shopping in supermarkets. Vegetarians and vegans also get their money’s worth in the restaurants on the Rob Roy Way.
Made in Speyside, another great place to hike, is a true delicacy of Scottish snacks – Walker’s Shortbread. Shortbread is a type of rectangular Scottish shortbread that is exported all over the world. In addition to the biscuits, you can try other delicious pastries such as meringues, oat biscuits and cakes at the factory in Aberlour.
When you think of Scottish cuisine, Haggis is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. It is a savoury pudding which is made up of a delicious combination of sheep’s pluck (organ meats), oatmeal, onions, salt, and spices. To some, haggis isn’t often the prettiest of foods, but makes up for it with its palatable taste..
Deep-Fried Mars Bars
Deep-fried Mars bars are a unique dessert that were invented in 1992 by John Davie. The famous chocolate bar is battered with a mixture of flour, eggs, and milk, then deep fried. You can find this delightful snack sold in fish and chip shops (also known as chippers) throughout Scotland.
Neeps and Tatties
Often accompanying the national dish of haggis, neeps and tatties are made from root vegetables that have been boiled and mashed into two delicious side dishes. When served alongside Haggis, the meal in its entirety is called a “Burns supper”. Neeps and tatties is just another name for potatoes and turnips.
Originating in the northeastern part of Scotland in a small village named Cullen, this creamy smoked fish soup is another traditional Scottish dish. Cullen skink consists of smoked haddock, cream, potatoes, and onions, and is typically served with a side of toasted bread. While it originated as a local specialty of Cullen, you can find this popular soup on Scottish menus nationwide.
It is hard to not mention Scotland without ever thinking of their world-renowned scotch whisky. It can be made from malted barley, wheat and/or rye with every whisky having to be aged in an oak barrel for at least three years. With the first written record of whisky recorded in 1494, there are now around 140 whisky distilleries currently operating in Scotland.
Often referred to as Scotland’s second national drink, Irn-Bru is an orange-coloured soft carbonated drink that holds a distinctively sweet, tangy taste. It is so popular throughout Scotland that it has long been the best-selling carbonated drink ahead of Coca-Cola and is the third largest selling soft drink across the United Kingdom. The Scots are such fans of this fizzy pop that they even use it to glaze their ham or to make cupcakes!
Drambuie is a Scottish liqueur. It was invented in the 18th Century by John MacKinnon. The name Drambuie is thought to originate from the Scottish Gaelic phrase An Dram Buidheach. This means “the drink that satisfies” or “the satisfying dram”.
Is the Rob Roy Way Vegan Friendly?
The vegan diet has become more and more popular throughout Europe in recent years, and you will find that there are plenty of vegan options available in most eateries. Each of the accommodation we work with at Hillwalk Tours have given us their guarantee that vegan breakfasts will be catered for once they have been informed. That being said, some of the more rural locations of the trail may have limited options so we advise bringing certain items such as plant-based milk, nut butters or protein powders if you so choose.
In addition, the following apps show restaurants which offer vegetarian and/or vegan opions:
There are various other Scottish trails available to you once you have completed Rob Roy Way. Here are the other Hillwalk Tours Scottish hiking tours we offer:
Rob Roy Way Tips and FAQs
Probably the most common question asked when walking the Rob Roy Way or planning any hiking holiday is – what will I pack?
Once you have fully booked your Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday, you will receive a detailed ‘recommended equipment’ list inside your walking pack. For those of you who are still unsure, here are some of things we advise you bring along with you on the Rob Roy Way.:
– Waterproof Clothes
– Fleece and other warm clothing
– Base Layer
– Light and comfortable trousers
– Wicking Socks
– Suitable Hiking Boots
– Hat and Gloves
– First Aid Kit & Foil Blanket
– Whistle & Torch
– Insect Repellent & Midge Net
– Mobile Phone
– Plug Adapter/Converter
For more on what to pack – check out these packing musts.
If you are thinking of bringing your four-legged friend with you, it is important to note various situations. It is advised that dogs are always kept on a short lead and close to their owners. While walking along the Rob Roy Way, there are certain periods where you may cross or come close to farmland areas. Dogs are not welcome in fields with livestock or vegetable. Realistically, it may be more hassle than it is worth, and it might also distract you from taking in the spectacular views and remaining in the present moment. In addition, due to most of the accommodations we work with not accepting pets of any kind, it is not possible to bring any pets, such as your dog, on a Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday.
The Rob Roy Way is generally considered safe by hikers, but it’s always important to take necessary precautions when embarking on any outdoor adventures. Stay on designated paths, be aware of tides and coastal conditions, carry a phone, and most of all use common sense and you will be ok!
If you experience any difficulty or an emergency of any level, it is advised that you phone the relative emergency services on 999 or 112. It is also important to note that mobile/cell phones can call this number with or without mobile/cell phone reception.
For those who have fully booked their Hillwalk Tours hiking holiday on the Rob Roy Way we provide 24/7 on-call support to all of our customers and you will also receive a detailed description on how to remain safe on your hike.
The hike is great for solo hikers who want to get away from it all! But in addition to the previous points some additional precautions can’t hurt! Stay visible, make sure and inform someone you are going, stay visible, and trust your instincts.
Generally, our tours take place between the months of March to October to hopefully allow for good, dry weather and longer days of daylight while you carry out your tour. This will hopefully ensure that you enjoy your hiking experience with us to the fullest. You can also check out the individual tour page for the Rob Roy Way on our website.
Our 7-Day tours include 6 nights of accommodation – specifically the first 6 nights on your hiking tour. Your tour finishes on the seventh day when you check out of your last accommodation. These 7-Day tours include 5 days of hiking. The first and last days of all our hiking tours are travel days used to transfer to/from the town where your hike will begin/end. If you would like to hike for 7 days, simply select one of our 9-Day tours.
Once final payment for your tour has been received, you will be sent an email with a digital PDF copy of your hiking pack documents such as your route notes, accommodation details and evening meal suggestions etc. You will also be posted a hiking pack (either to your home address or first accommodation on your tour) which will include essential physical items for your tour such as the required maps for the trail and luggage tags*.
*If you’d prefer to receive a physical copy of your full hiking pack documents too, it’s essential that you reply by email within 48 hours of booking your tour in order to let us know.
A breakdown of the documents and items you can expect to find in your hiking pack are as follows;
– Route notes (prepared by a member the Hillwalk Tours team who has walked every step of your tour)
– Detailed hiking map(s)
– A high-quality waterproof map-case
– Full details of your accommodations and where you will be staying
– Our tips on the most interesting attractions to visit along the trail
– A look at fascinating local history
– A guide to the best places to eat and drink
– Safety information, emergency contact details & the country code for walkers
Rob Roy Way Image Gallery
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Leave No Trace
We like to walk in nature and since you are reading this – we believe you do too! It is important to ensure that our impact on the environment is limited so that hikers can enjoy the same view after us. The rule applies: when you leave, make sure that nature looks the same as when you arrived or simply put “leave no trace.” As more and more people take to the great outdoors, our collective mark on the environment increases.
What does this mean in reality? Of course, do not leave any rubbish or waste behind. Do not collect stones, flowers, or other “souvenirs”. Don’t carve your name on a tree or break branches… I think you get the drift. It is imperative for walkers to play their part in making sure litter, damage to vegetation and all forms of pollution are limited.
Noise can also be a form of pollution. Whoever walks through a forest talking and laughing loudly, for example, ruins the peace and quiet of other walkers, who can no longer hear the birds. The same goes for cell phones that suddenly start ringing. Keep the volume down and respect your surroundings. Ultimately, the point is to ensure that as many people as possible can enjoy walking through nature. So that applies to you, but also to those who tread the path after you.
Hillwalk Tours proudly supports sustainable tourism and loves the countryside as it is – wild, peaceful and clean. We are proud to support the “Leave No Trace” initiative that aims to preserve the natural beauty of each nations countryside where we offer hiking holidays. We try to create happy experiences for our accommodation too, and the restaurants, shops and taxi companies that serve our walkers. These are often small businesses located in isolated areas that have been left behind by urban migration and a lack of investment in rural regions. Their warm hospitality and friendly welcomes epitomise the magic of a Hillwalk Tour and we’re dedicated to helping keep these rural communities alive.
The Benefits of Hiking
In recent years, walking and hiking outdoors has been widely reported to have numerous physical and mental health benefits. The following are examples of some of these benefits:
Improve strength and fitness
- Weight loss
- Muscle gain
- Improve metabolism
- Improve digestion
- Better quality sleep
- Increase in Vitamin D
- Improve discipline
- Sense of achievement
- Living in the present moment
Hiking Equipment List
For a more in-depth list of recommended hiking equipment list, click here.