|From:||Almondbank, Perth (NO063263)|
|Distance:||35 miles (56.3 km)|
|Route outline (key)|
This route which crosses Perthshire is still under development, and as such only a few sections are currently open, none being signed. However, as much of the route is on or near to the existing road network, it is possible to cycle most of the route without having to revert to the busy A85. Once complete, the route will connect the established NCN7 and NCN77 routes via Strathearn between Lochearnhead and Perth.
Perth - Lochearnhead
Starting at Almondbank near Perth, it seems likely that the River Almond will be crossed at either the existing NCN77 bridge, or the road bridge a little further upstream, with Main Street then connecting to the indicated start point on East Drive. The route then heads west along this minor road to the A85 at Methven, which is followed through the village. Minor roads are then used to climb the hills to the north of the main road, before crossing the A85 at New Fowlis. A couple of miles to the south, the route will hopefully turn right onto the old railway line, although this section is not open yet. However, minor roads run to the north and are quiet enough. Before reaching Crieff, the route briefly reverts to a minor road, before taking Kincardine Walk into the town.
The route through Crieff itself is not yet finalised, but beyond the route will again roughly follow the old railway line through to Comrie. At first the popular Lady Marys Walk is taken along the banks of the Earn, and then a footpath continues upstream to the minor road at Trowan. This route is already fully open to walkers, but kissing gates and narrow sections make it more difficult for cyclists. However, the minor road on the south side of the River Earn provides a good alternative. Beyond Trowan, the railway line can be walked so far, but becomes overgrown and impassable to cyclists at present. Again, the minor road to the south of the Earn is a good alternative.
After briefly following the A85 within the 30 limit through Comrie, the minor road signed for Ross is used, and just before rejoining the A85, the old railway line turns left and is surfaced and fully open through to St Fillans. Whilst the onward connection is not fully sorted, the next section uses the South Loch Earn road from St Fillans through to Lochearnhead, from where a short run along the A84 leads to the Craggan Road and a stiff climb up to NCN7 on the old railway line.
Killin - Tyndrum
Whilst a number has not yet been announced for this cycle route (and indeed it may not be considered as part of the NCN network), plans are currently progressing for a cycle route to run west from Killin through Glen Dochart to Crianlarich and then north through Strathfillan to Tyndrum. At present the only section that is really ready for use is a couple of miles south from Tyndrum, where a new build tarred track runs south from the village to Dalrigh, and connects with the old road across White Bridge (Strathfillan). The next section, on the east side of the A82 follows the West Highland Way on rough tracks to Ewich.
To complete the route south to Crianlarich, a roadside path is planned for the A82, hence the cycle facilities installed at the new roundabout. The route is then expected to pass through the village on the road, before picking up the old railway line on the north side of the A85 as it heads for Killin. However, some sections have been lost due to road improvements and holiday parks, and there is at least one sizeable bridge missing, so this may not be a suitable line for the full distance.
Oban - Tyndrum
There is a long term desire to open a long distance path connecting Oban to the West Highland Way at Tyndrum (or Bridge of Orchy). At present, plans are at a very early stage and little has been made public for a couple of years, but it seems likely that any route constructed will be made suitable for cycling, although perhaps not tarred to full NCN standards. The route is also anticipated to form part of the 'Pilgrims Way' Long Distance Path, connecting Iona with St Andrews.