|Distance:||29 miles (46.7 km)|
|Meets:||A9, A811, M9, A873, A820, A81, A821, A85|
|Route outline (key)|
The A84 is a real "Gateway to the Highlands", running from the flat lands around the city of Stirling west into the mountains to Strathyre and Loch Earn.
The road starts in Stirling at the "Clock" Roundabout, its junction with the A9 beside Stirling Bridge and the River Forth. After a very short while, it reaches another roundabout and turns left onto Back O' Hill Road. The next section is merely a local distributor road bypassing the Raploch housing scheme. En route it meets the A811 at the roundabout next to the fire station; that road was rerouted here in 2010 along part of the B8051 to bypass the city centre. The A84 then reaches the two Craigforth roundabouts (M9 Junction 10) where it becomes a trunk road.
From the motorway to the A820 junction at Doune the road has lowland characteristics as it runs through the arable farming lands of the Carse of Lecropt. Almost immediately after the motorway, the River Forth is crossed on the Drip Bridge. The road then continues westwards passing Blair Drummond Safari Park and the A873 junction before sweeping round Meldrum Corner and crossing the River Teith at Doune Bridge, hence bypassing the centre of Doune. There is now a housing scheme on the south side of the road, so it can't claim to be a proper bypass.
From Doune to Callander the road has a more upland nature as it runs through sheep country interspersed with some forestry. At this stage it is running more or less alongside the now dismantled Stirling - Callander railway and the remains of railway crossings, bridges and embankments can still be seen. West of Buchany we are onto the line of one of General Wade's Military Roads. Passing the recently demolished Lanrick Castle the road opens out again and we have a clear view of Ben Ledi.
Speeds are limited again as we enter Callander, "Tannochbrae" of the 1960s Doctor Findlay TV series. Callander is a tourist magnet and can be very congested between April and October (even more so since the recent introduction of traffic lights at the A81 junction). Continuing northwards along Main Street the congestion eases slightly as we pass the old railway station - now a car park and the transplanted railway signal is in someone's garden. We are nearly in the Highlands now - one short section through farm land to the tiny settlement of Kilmahog (the original road still runs between the houses) while the A84 forms a short "bypass" before its junction with the A821. Note the Old Tollhouse on the right hand side at this junction.
And on into the Highlands - the boundary fault must cross here as the character of the road changes dramatically as we enter the Pass of Leny with its disused quarry on the north side, with car park and forest walks, and the deep gully of Leny Falls to the south - again we can distinguish the old railway bridge parapet. The former railway is now a cycle track here.
Once through "the pass" the road widens again as it drops slightly to "Anie Straight" the south end of Loch Lubnaig. This section is prone to flooding in severe rainfall and snow melt. Slow down for the sharp right-hander at St Bride's Chapel - a graveyard with "Rob Roy" connections - and we are on to my favourite section of road anywhere. With forestry on the east side, Loch Lubnaig on the west and the view north west over the Loch to Ben More and Stob Binnein, early on a bright spring morning when the road is still quiet, I really can't think of a more pleasant drive.
The old railway is on the west side of the loch at this stage and the road was much improved during the 1980s, but still has the occasional hefty bend to keep the driver awake - such as the right-hander near the head of the loch - locally known as "Doctor's Corner" after a local doctor who didn't make it one night on an emergency call!
The road leaves the loch side now as we drive into Strathyre, then climbs slightly as we run alongside the old railway again to Kingshouse Hotel and the junction with the "C" Class Braes of Balquhidder road.
Climbing more steeply now we pass the Leitters Brae camp site - formerly Balquidder station (and junction). Past Edinchip through what was until recently dense forestry and the road starts to drop into Lochearnhead where it becomes the A85 at a TOTSO about to climb northward through Glen Ogle - Scotland's "Khyber Pass".
Since late 2005, the A84 no longer passes through Raploch in Stirling. Following improvement work on Back O' Hill Road, it now leaves Stirling by that road, before crossing over the eastern end of A811 to reach Craigforth roundabout, and so the M9 junction. This is a considerable detour; many drivers with local knowledge continue to use Drip Road, the now-unclassified original route, although it has now been traffic calmed and is therefore not as quick as it was.
The occasional upgrade aside, the remainder of the A84 has hardly changed since classification in 1922.