The Aberfeldy Loop

This route for a ride on your bike was chosen by Road Crew Noobie Kenny Halley, it starts from Stirling and passes through some spectacular scenery before returning to the start point. It is easily adapted to extending into Glasgow continuing the theme of back roads through countryside by joining with the roads through the Campsies, or indeed you can extend the roads from Edinburgh direction by taking some of the roads in via the Eastern Villages of Stirling.

Start Point

Craigforth Services/Starbucks, Craigforth, Stirling (junction 10 of M9)

End Point

Craigforth Services/Starbucks, Craigforth, Stirling (junction 10 of M9)

Total Distance:

Approximately 120 miles

Time to ride ( at a relaxed pace) : 4 hours with stops

Learner Friendly: Yes with a small variation- see Note 1

Route Description

Leave the Services heading up M9 Northbound one junction to the Dunblane Roundabout and take the Dunblane turn off. 1

Go straight through Dunblane and out the far end heading for Kinbuck. The road beyond Dunblane (B8033) is a narrower road and can be a bit dirt strewn when the farmers are active, but usually is OK. Continue all the way until Braco .
Join the main road turning left towards Crieff, (A822).
Just after leaving Braco pass the Auchterarder turn on your right and watch for an opening on the left towards Cultybraggan and Comrie (B827). This is a nice run through hills which after 10 miles arrives at Comrie. Turn right towards Crieff on A85. This is a great section of road that arrives in Crieff after about 6 or 7 miles.

Crieff is a handy stop if you want a break, park in any car space, no fee payable. 2
Leave Crieff heading east on A85 to Gilmerton and take a left towards the Sma’ Glen (A822). On a nice day and ideally, before loads of traffic arrives, this is a lovely road through cracking scenery and is usually quiet. Occasionally there may be sheep around the road but usually not.
Only one junction to watch stay left at the Dunkeld junction and head towards Aberfeldy. There is a nice wee square to stop off at Aberfeldy and grab a coffee.

Leave Aberfeldy heading South West towards Kenmore (A827). Kenmore is another nice stop if you fancy it.
Follow the A827 down the side of Loch Tay. Eventually you will arrive at Killin. If you have the time, stop to view the waterfalls (Falls of Dochart). Parking is limited, if you park at the McLaren Halls it’s about a 10 minute walk to the falls. (Note you are now in Stirling Council territory).

Leave the village down the A827 to the A85 (again!) at LixToll. Turn Left towards Lochearnhead, where the road becomes the A84 heading to Callander. At Kilmahog take a right up the side of Loch Venachar. Follow this road staying on the A821 at the head of Loch Achray and then over the Dukes Pass. The Dukes Pass is a twisty proud over the hills with a fairly steep drop towards Aberfoyle. It is very popular with Motorcycles, however, in some places the surface is poor ( quite a few top-dressed sections) and after a hard winter it can break up a bit along with pot holes so just be wary).

You can stop at Aberfoyle and enjoy a cafe or chip shop, or if you have time take a detour 3 or carry on through the town until the roundabout at the top of the A81.
Take the first left towards Port of Menteith carrying on through the village and at the junction with the A81 towards Callander stay straight on towards Thornhill (A873).

In Thornhill you will come to a sharp left turn at the top of the high street, take the wee side road right (B822) in front of you don’t go down the main street (Signposted Kippen/Fintry).

Follow this road passing Flanders Moss Nature Reserve, a nice wee stop if you have time, and on until the road comes out at the A811 by the Woodhouse if you fancy more coffee and cakes 4.

Turn left and you now have a straight blast back towards Stirling across the carse on the A811 arriving at the roundabout under Stirling Castle on the ring road. Take the left past the front of the castle and left again around the ring road past the River House Restaurant and you are back to where you started.

Why I like this road

It’s just a mixture of really great sweeping bends and great views on mostly well-surfaced roads. It is at its best if you can depart earlier in the day, and away from weekends, especially for the sections from Aberfeldy down to Aberfoyle which are all tourist destinations, especially on a sunny day. The area around Lochearnhead and down Loch Lubnaig is especially popular with Traffic Police in marked and unmarked vehicles, so be aware.

Memorable Sections

It’s all great, but the road from Comrie to Crieff, then Crieff to Aberfoyle, then Mid Lix Toll to Kilmahog are particularly good especially when it is quiet.

Stopping Off Recommendations

Crieff has a few nice cafes, The Glass Onion is nice and popular with Chocaholics. Aberfeldy has a few cafes around the town square and you will see a few bikes parked up here. If you like Ice Cream save yourself for the Taymouth Courtyard Shop in the Taymouth Holiday Village on the road out after the bridge over the river.

Killin has the spectacular Falls of Dochart but is probably the worst potential choke point on the route and parking is a bit limited. You can park at the McLaren Hall but it’s about a 10-minute walk to the falls from here.

Photo Opportunities

Taken just off a side road near Gargunnock

There are lots of places to get photos with or without a bike so this isn’t an exhaustive list, but the Sma’ Glen can be nice ( quite a few laybys to choose from) if it’s not a day with low clouds, as well as by the Loch just before you drop down to Aberfeldy. Kenmore is always busy but there are nice views up Loch Tay. There are a few photo opportunities along the side of Loch Tay but depends on traffic and weather if you can stop. Some images can be taken up a few side roads just off the main route.

Loch Earnhead has nice views up Loch Earn as well, and finally, there are a few nice spots along Loch Venachar and the Dukes Pass if you choose to stop though places are limited.

Note 1:

It is possible to take local roads via Bridge of Allan if you are comfortable with finding your way but you still need to go around the Dunblane roundabout at the junction of the A9/M9. Learners can use the Bridge of Allan route as the roundabout is not classed as Motorway.

Note 2:

Regarding Motorcycle parking around Perthshire (in this page that means Crieff, Aberfeldy, Kenmore), there are no Motorcycle Parking Bays, Motorcycles may park in car bays as long as they are not special use ( Disabled or Electric Vehicle bays etc) without charge. Correct at time of writing.

Note 3:

Loch Arklet near Stronalachur
Loch Arklet near Stronalachur out in the wilds here.

If you are out for a longer ride and you don’t mind a route where there is only one way in and out, turn right at Aberfoyle and head out to Stronalachur. This is about a 20-30 miles return trip depending what you decide to do along the way but takes you out in to some very wild remote feeling countryside with some stunning views. While the distance doesn’t sound much it does feel like it takes longer than the distance suggests.

Note 4:

If your ultimate destination is Glasgow, you can optionally leave the route here by taking the turn off on the A811 roundabout towards Kippen, then on towards Fintry, over the Campsies and down via Lennoxtown and ultimately Bearsden.