|Location Map ( geo)
|Lix Toll (NN547300)
|34.8 miles (56 km)
|A85, B846, A826, B898, A9
|Route outline (key)
The A827 is a cross-country route through upper Strathtay, running along the entire length of Loch Tay.
Lix Toll - Kenmore
The road starts at a rather difficult junction on the A85 at Lix Toll in Glen Dochart. For many years Lix Toll was a mecca for Land Rover fans, as the garage was a well-known Land Rover centre, with some rather interesting vehicles visible from time to time! Returning to the road, the A827 continues to follow Glen Dochart eastwards, while the A85 turns south and heads through the pass to Glen Ogle. The road is reasonably wide, with a couple of narrow bridges, as it descends gently beneath the trees towards Killin at the head of Loch Tay.
At the entrance to the town, the road doglegs across the Bridge of Dochart, a picturesque structure which crosses the river at the Falls of Dochart, making the narrow carriageway a popular haunt of camera-wielding tourists. It then heads down the small town's main street, dodging more tourists and badly parked cars (despite several good car parks) along the way. At the end of the main street, the road turns to the north, and soon picks up the bank of the meandering River Lochay before crossing it at the Bridge of Lochay. Beyond the bridge there is a short climb through the trees and a number of narrow bridges mostly on bends, before majestic Loch Tay appears below to the right. The Loch is nearly 15 miles long, so it comes and goes from view many times as the road undulates along, some way up the hillside. The road remains reasonably straight, with kinks rather than bends. However, the width leaves a little to be desired in places, with the road hemmed in between grassy banks topped by drystone walls.
At the Killin end, a number of holiday parks climb up the hillside either side of the road, but these quickly give way to an agricultural landscape of scattered farms and large fields surrounded by drystone walls. The ground is mostly too boggy for crops, but good for grazing with small patches of woodland, especially along the loch shore far below. There are very few junctions along this stretch of the road, the first lying on a sweeping bend just past Morenish and gives access to the hill road over the shoulder of Ben Lawers to Bridge of Balgie in Glen Lyon. There used to be a substantial visitor centre along the road, but it was removed by owners NTS as a 'blot on the landscape'. The large car park remains for walkers!
Just two villages are passed as the road heads east above Loch Tay, the first is the tiny scattered settlement of Lawers below Ben Lawers, the mighty Munro that towers over Loch Tay. It is hardly a village, more a slightly denser collection of houses than previously passed, and subsequently inflicted with a speed limit. The second, larger, village is Fearnan almost on the shore of Loch Tay, with a 20 limit, where another less exhilarating road turns north for the splendours of Glen Lyon. Beyond Fearnan, the road once more dives into trees and, while the loch shore is now never far away, the dense forestry of The Tay Forest Park blocks most of the views - a couple of car parks are provided however!
As the trees clear, the road curves round to the right and drops into Kenmore, home of Taymouth Castle. On the bend is a junction providing a pleasant alternative route to Aberfeldy via the B846, as well as access to the large visitor centre and holiday park. This is the eastern end of Loch Tay, where the River Tay starts, and is almost immediately crossed by the traffic light controlled Kenmore Bridge. Beyond the bridge, the road weaves through the pretty street of Kenmore - a planned settlement to service the castle beyond. The village centre is a 20 limit, with a 30 stretching a good way up the hill beyond.
Kenmore - Ballinluig
Beyond Kenmore, the road climbs steeply through trees, still hemmed tightly in by stone walls much of the way. It then drops back to the riverside at Bolfracks, with the road weaving around the valley floor, never as straight as it was along Loch Tay, but at least it seems a little wider now. It is a long six miles from Kenmore to Aberfeldy, hampered by slow traffic and oncoming vehicles straddling the centre line, but at length this popular tourist town is reached. After crossing a tiny mini roundabout, we reach a traffic-light-controlled crossroads. Here, the B846 turns left to cross Aberfeldy Bridge and heads off into the hills to reach the remote Rannoch Station. The A826 heads the other way on Wade's Military Road, crossing the hills to pick up the A822 to Crieff.
The A827, meanwhile, passes through the centre of Aberfeldy, a destination for many bus tours and famous for the Burns poem, The Birks of Aberfeldy. There is a sharp dogleg in the town centre (the true junction with Wade's road south), before it slowly straightens up as it heads out of town. On the left is a caravan site, and on the right the remains of the Aberfeldy branch railway (which we will meet again). The road stays close to the river now, twisting and turning as it goes, with most of the bends wide and sweeping, but there are one or two much sharper turns to catch out the unwary. The road turns inland a little way to approach Grandtully Castle, slowly converging back to the river which it picks up again just after crossing the old railway line on a traffic-light-controlled bridge.
Soon after, the Inn on the Tay lies down to the left on the riverbank. Here an unclassified road (the original route of the A827) crosses the older of the two Grandtully Bridges, while the A827 continues along the river's south shore for about half a mile to use the newer Pitnacree Bridge. The junction immediately before the bridge is actually a TOTSO with the B898, showing the original priority of this route before the new bridge was built! It is now less than 4 miles to the eastern end of the A827 at the once infamous Ballinluig Junction on the A9, where it crosses the River Tummel, and then immediately reaches the new roundabout that was constructed to make this junction a GSJ, and so hopefully much safer than it used to be.
From Lix Toll past Loch Tay and through Aberfeldy the A827 has hardly seen any changes in the last century. Some subtle widening and changes to a couple of junctions aside, the route is largely as it was when first classified in 1922. However, at Grandtully the A827 formerly crossed the bridge over the Tay, and it was the B898 that continued ahead. The road along the north bank of the Tay is now just a minor road, with a restrictive weight limit on Grandtully Bridge. As noted above, Pitnacree Bridge where the road now crosses the Tay was built in 1976 to bypass the original route.
Continuing east, there are further changes on the approach to and junction at Ballinluig. Originally, the A827 crossed the Tummel a short distance north of the current bridge (the road line on either bank survives, but the bridge itself, a bowstring girder one, has been completely removed). After the bridge was found to be weak, the road was diverted in the 1970s on to the closed railway bridge, which has now also been removed but was the same design as the surviving one over the Tay at nearby Logierait. After crossing the river the road cut across between fields and crossed the main railway at a level crossing to meet the old A9 line opposite the post office. The end of the route survives as a local access in Ballinluig leading to the Nae Limits activity centre.
When the A9 was rebuilt to bypass Ballinluig, the A827 was realigned from Logierait, to more or less take over the line of the old railway branch, and on to the current Ballinluig Bridge over the Tummel, and then across both railway and A9 on the existing flyover to meet the new road at the existing LILO junction. However, as this was then an at-grade crossover junction, it was an accident problem for right-turning traffic, and so in the 2000s the junction was further improved with the current sliproads squeezed in between the A9 and Railway.