THINGS TO DO
WELCOME TO STRATHYRE
Strathyre is officially the first village in the Highlands of Scotland, heading north, lying just beyond the Highland fault line which is around 4 miles north of Callander.
The village sits in a natural amphitheatre with the towering Ben Sheann sitting at 1870 Ft above the village on the West-side and with Ben Ledi and Ben Vane to the south. To the east lies the two imposing “Munro mountains” Stuc A Chroin (975m) and Ben Vorlich (985m). The Braes of Balquhider and majestic Ben More (1174m) to the north.
Strathyre's origins date back over 5 centuries with small townships spread up and down the winding valley linked by drover's trails. Gold panners arrived with sheep fleeces to pan the local streams and the fleeces caught gold fragments for the Earl of Breadalbane. The gold panners put up shacks which were also shared as shelters by cattle drovers.
William and Dorothy Wordsworth were regular guests at the hostelry now known as the Ben Sheann Hotel in the centre of the village. in Victorian times, the Queen in her horse-drawn carriage stopped off in Strathyre on her journeys north until the arrival of the steam train in the late 1800s when she started to use the train on her trips north.
AWARD WINNING BROCH CAFE
No visit to Strathyre can be complete without popping into the double award-winning, Broch Cafe. Around 7 years ago the ground was occupied by an unglamourous public toilet building that had fallen into disrepair.
The ground was developed and made into the Broch Cafe which is a very popular place to stop for some good coffee and homemade cakes. A good selection of soups and snacks are offered along with a superb breakfast.
The cafe is well known for its warm friendly welcome and is also cyclist, hiker and dog-friendly.
The Broch cafe Is licensed and the perfect spot to sit and take in the magnificent views of Ben Sheann, and its just a short stroll down to the river Balvaig.
Owners Lesley and Bill have added a petanque rink for those that wish a relaxing game in the ambience and tranquillity of a great setting.
WALKS, TRAILS & WILDLIFE
The village offers some fantastic forest walks and old drover trails.
The BLiSS Trail which follows the route of the National Cycle Network Route 7 and part of the old Highland railway linking Strathyre with Balquhidder, Kingshouse, Lochearnhead then heads east to St Fillans.
The treble-award-winning BLiSS trail features around 24 works by well-known artists who have used the trail to showcase their exhibits. The exhibits reflect the local history and wildlife of the area with an 8 ft soaring eagle, Highland cattle, magnificent stag, and West Highland terriers found along the 14-mile route.
The Rob Roy Trail links Drymen to Pitlochry and passes through the heart of Strathyre – This is a 7-day walk of around 94 miles or a little less depending on the chosen route.
Strathyre has an abundance of wildlife with a sizable population of red squirrels, pine martens, deer, otters, and foxes, so be sure to take your camera with you..
If you are a visitor to the area – please check the Events page for details of any activities or events that may be on locally.
AWARD WINNING BROCH CAFE & A GAME OF PETANQUE
The double-award-winning Broch Cafe is a popular place to visit with it’s indoor or outdoor pateau options, giving a great opportunity to enjoy fantastic breakfast, lunch or an afternoon snack with the magnificent backdrop of Ben Sheann. You can also enjoy a game of Petanque.
The White Stag Inn, Ben Shean Hotel and Munro inn offer good food, drink and accommodation and heading north out of the Village, we have Airlie House, Rosebank House and Creagan House with its baronial hall all offering popular, good quality, bed and breakfast accommodation options.
There is a wide choice of self-catering cottages around the village. The options continue into the Balquhidder and Lochearnhead areas.
These are all listed in the Directory on the top menu bar.
AWARD WINNING BLiSS TRAIL
An idea conceived by Kenny Higgins and Kim Proven from Loch Earn Tourism Initiative utilized the popular National Cycle Route 7 and its link with villages of Strathyre, Balquhider and Lochearnhead.
It all started when Kenny arranged for the placement of an 8-foot golden eagle to be installed in the Strathyre Broch recreational area. He then approached Sustrans where he was a part-time ranger and a further exhibit was added outside the Broch Cafe with a seating arrangement based around three bicycle metal artwork and oak seating. This was positioned as casual seating or a 180-degree turn to admire the towering Ben Sheann.
A small Heiland coo carving was added. In tandem, Kim and husband Fraser had already erected a very impressive Stag in their beautiful Lochearnhead lochside setting. Further impressive exhibits were added and named such as "blawn wi the wind" – tall metal thistles set on rocks.
Kenny and Kim thought about more designs and Kim reached out to well known Ratho blacksmith and metal artist Kev Paxton and several further exhibits were added around the three villages, Such as Drovers Bho, an attractive highland cow set on a heathery hillock at the start of the Route 7 cycle path heading north out of the village.
Through time, further impressive artwork followed, some already in private gardens such as Airlie House’s impressive Airliephant – a 4-foot elephant made entirely from driftwood. Exhibits grew and the route was extended to include St Fillans and the impressive 8 foot stainless “Still” man standing in Lochearn. Sadly no longer in place.
Further willow exhibits were included with a motorbike/dragon design and roe deer also in willow at Balquhidder. Here can also be found a book lending Library, based on a red phone box. Out to the end of Loch Voil is the beautiful setting around Monachyle Mhor Hotel which has its own unique structural exhibits, one being completely based on mirrored panels to reflect the beautiful Braes of Balquhidder.
Excellent marketing support and negotiation by Kim Proven, chair of LETi, developed a considerable public interest in the BLiSS trail to such an extent it reached TV promotion and has won three prestigious tourism awards.
In the early stages of development, and on his 10-minute journey to a LETi meeting, Kenny thought about the 4 communities linked by the trail Strathyre, Balquhidder, Lochearnhead, and St Fillans. LETi had that all-important " i " in its title representing the International symbol for information or being synonymous with tourism. A simple reorganizing of the first letter of each village wrapped around the all-important ” i ” for Information and tourism, and low and behold, BLiSS was adopted as the name of the trail.
Further artistic exhibits are now regularly featured on the route, which can be mostly observed on foot or by bicycle. Some artworks stay a while until sold and are replaced with something new but many are permanent features to enhance the visitor experience.
An audio accompaniment was added to help with background on the artistic creators and the ideas that inspired the artworks. The BLisSS trail has become a popular attraction in the area.
Two Cowches (Cow shaped couches) were purchased in autumn 2019 at an auction in Crieff. One is placed in St Fillans and the other in Lochearnhead.
Opposite: Drover's Bho' By Kev Paxton Blacksmith from Art Fe
This work symbolises the Drover's Trail which passed through this area. A Bho' is the Scot's name for a small highland cow,
BEN SHEANN WALK
The Ben Sheann walk takes you up to the summit of Ben Sheann 1870ft sitting directly above the village. Allow 80 Mins each way. Access is by two or three routes, the easiest is by heading north out of the village on the back road to Balquhidder and stay on this narrow road for a quarter of a mile to forest track access on the left with a barrier across the entrance. Follow the forest track for 200 yards to the T junction and turn left, walk around the same distance again south and watch for a small track on the right that takes you on to another wider track the long gradual climb to the shoulder of the 1st Summit.
The higher summit beyond is the highest point at 1870ft. Ben Sheann has fame from Victorian times as the enchanted hill of the faeries or hollow mountain. Heed this as a warning and be sure to stay on recognized well-trodden paths, as there are many deep fissures in amongst the tree growth areas where sheep have disappeared never to be seen again. It is a worthwhile climb and the view from the top is stunning into the two valleys below.
After taking a little over an hour to reach the summit, consider the race event held in May each year, where the fastest runners race to the summit and back to the fields in the village below in around 25 minutes. Some take a lot longer.
This is another great walk for spotting wildlife – lookout for red squirrels and deer, particularly early in the morning, and listen for shrieking jays and the mewing of buzzards overhead. There’s the option to extend the route by diverting on the descent onto the Coille MacCaskill Path.
This grove is an excellent example of a native pinewood and is dedicated to Don MacCaskill, a local forester, and naturalist. This trail starts from Strathyre village car park. Partway on the trail are a selection of standing stones.
Follow the busy Tigh Anes Burn up through the Scots pine forest, passing waterfalls for fine views across to Ben Vane and the Braes of Balquhidder. There is a long steep slope for 400m. Narrow earth and grass paths with occasional muddy sections. The walk Includes one bridge and a forestry road crossing.
Strathyre is a popular cycling stop with the award-winning, cycle-friendly Broch Cafe. The popular cafe will soon to be equipped with a bike maintenance station, and eBike and eventually eCar charging facilities later 2020. A popular walk or cycle route is the old back road to Balquhidder (3 Miles) or take the 2-mile former railway new tarmac cycle path from Strathyre to Kingshouse where coffee awaits at Mhor 84 hotel.
Onwards by a further 4 miles, takes you to Lochearnhead and for the fit and energetic, you can head north to Killin and the spectacular Falls of Dochart. It is possible to walk or cycle 8 miles south to the bustling tourist town of Callander passing down the side of one of Scotland’s most attractive lochs the spectacular Loch Lubnaig and through the Strathyre Cabins complex where guests relax in their hot tubs or in the cafe open to the public.
Bike Hire in Strathyre
So you have forgotten your bike? Don’t worry we may be able to help, with a little notice, Gary McDonald provides bike hire from the village Tel: 07857 282881. Uplifts, deliveries, and maintenance can be pre-booked with a few days notice.
ROB ROY - SHORT CIRCUIT
This is an enjoyable walk through Strathyre’s enchanted forest. Access is by the end of the cul-de Sac up the side of the Munro Inn. Turn left past the old church and round the back of the tennis courts. Over a wooden bridge and stay on the narrow track to the Y junction.
Take the right-hand arm passing picnic Benches and right again up the side of waterfalls to a wooden bridge. You then enter what the village calls the enchanted forest. This area is said to be inhabited by fairies and small troll-like creatures. Gold panners used the small stream to pan for gold nuggets and claim to have heard eerie sounds coming from the area during the night. Continue onwards through the trees on the winding path to the forestry commission track.
Here you have two choices. Continue left on what is part of the Rob Roy Trail and after 2 miles, takes you to the end with a left-hand hairpin bend taking you down to Mhor 84 Motel for Tea, coffee, cakes or lunch. You can then take the National Cycle and Hiking route for 2 miles back to Strathyre. Alternatively, turn right at the forest track junction and stay on this for around 300 – 400 yards watching for a narrow path(s) on your right taking you down the Village sledging and skiing slope back into Strathyre, arriving back by the tennis courts.
Strathyre has wildlife in abundance. The nearby mountains have deer and eagles soaring above, over Loch Lubnaig, an osprey is regularly seen along with herons, swans and a wide range of ducks. In the lochs and rivers, we have salmon, brown trout, rainbow trout, perch, otters, and great crested newts. Around the village, red squirrels, pine marten, badgers are regularly spotted along with kingfishers, woodpeckers, barn owls, bats, turtle doves, siskins, and many other visiting species.
For those with kayaks, it is possible to navigate from Loch Doine 9 miles to the north-west, all the way through Loch Voil and into the meandering River Balvaig, through Strathyre and into loch Lubnaig a further 4 mile stretch to the south.
A study of local wildlife has been compiled by Duncan Cameron local ecologist known as the birdy-man. More detailed information can be found on the wildlife page in the visitor guide on this portal.
Based in the beautiful surroundings of St Fillans, Perthshire, Aquila Ecology offers customer-focused wildlife tours, walks, training and advice. Further details - see below.
STUC A'CHROIN HILL RACE
In May each year, the British championship hill race Stuc A Chroin 5000 takes place. (See the EVENTS tab on the menu bar) The route ascends 5000ft to the summit before returning to the starting point in the village.
The record for the 16-mile run is a little over 2 hours. Later in the month of May, is the Ben Sheann hill race with its record time little over 25 minutes.
"The Stuc" as it is affectionately known, is a gruelling challenge and reputed to be the toughest hill race in the UK by those that take part.
Sometimes the last 300 meters of the ascent can be covered in snow and Ice.
Further information can be found here
Mini - Stuc
A "Mini Stuc" race is held the day before the big event for the runners of the future with over 200 children taking part from local primary and secondary schools.
The Village boasts a spectacular Firework event close to Guy Fawkes night in November and the Christmas market in December is very popular with locals and visitors.
Strathyre takes on a completely different perspective in winter with spectacular scenery and becomes a great place for photographers to capture some impressive winter scenes.
When the snow arrives, local children and visitors take to the natural slopes on the east side of the village with toboggans and the occasional skier can be spotted enjoying the hill as they have done for over 100 years.
There are many pleasant walks around the village starting with coffee or breakfast at the Broch Cafe and ending in an evening meal in front of a cosy log fire in the local inn - check opening times.
Live music from the local band Balvaig, takes place at the White Stag Inn on the first Sunday of every month, starting from 2 pm. Balvaig was founded by Kenny Higgins and Cliff Uney in December 2011. Enquiries: please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2013 Balvaig founded the Strathyre Music Festival which features over 20 musical acts/bands over the weekend event drawing 2000-3000 people into the village. A dedicated committee manages this popular event drawing talent from the UK and Europe. In 2020 the Strathyre Music Festival will move from its May weekend to the weekend 31st July to 1st August and in a new format. Tickets and enquiries please contact email: email@example.com
Monachyle Mhor Hotel at Balquhidder hosts its own substantial Mhor festival of food, drink, theatre and music. The festival draws well over 5000 into the far end of Balquhidder Glen at the end of Loch Voil and offers lochside camping. 2020 is a Fallow year with the management team taking a break to research new ideas and will return in 2021.
Mhor Music Thursday evenings from 7:30 pm is live music night at Mhor84 Kingshouse. The motel also runs a Curry night from 5 pm ahead of the Music.
Further details of these popular festivals are shown on the Events page on the Smart Village portal.
LOCAL FISHING & TUITION
Local Ghillie and fishing expert, Stuart Mathieson, offers fishing tuition for trout, salmon or course fishing and has access to some popular and exclusive fishing spots in our area.
Stuart can be contacted via Facebook Messenger to discuss a fishing tuition session here. Stuart is able to provide rods reels and all you will need for fishing along with relevant permits. Please provide as much notice as possible due to the popularity of these events.
For DIY Fishing, permits are available at the village shop for local river or loch fishing or if stopping in Callander on the way, from James Bayne: Fishing Shop Main Street Callander covering permits for the wider area.
GUIDED WALKS, WILDLIFE, BAT WATCH & BUSH SKILLS
Local ranger (Jack Black) is available for guided walks and tours including bush skills experience. Great fun for all the family!
Advance booking is required. Jack is a local celebrity and occasional TV personality and also a man with a million fascinating stories to tell.
Jack is a great companion to lead you around the area's local fauna, flora, history, and culture. Jack’s bush skills events are also popular as is his picnic butler experience as featured on television.
Tel: 07856 172825 Please call well in advance of your visit due to the popularity of Jack's events.
Based in the beautiful surroundings of St Fillans, Perthshire, Aquila Ecology offers customer-focused wildlife tours, walks, training and advice.
Aquila Ecology is fortunate to be surrounded by lochs and rivers, mountains, moors and woods, which all provide homes for a huge array of charismatic species: red kites, golden eagles, red deer, red squirrel, mountain hare, osprey, and black grouse. Aquila has a passion for nature and wildlife conservation and wants to share the beauty that they see in the world around them
We offer the following services:
For further details: Visit website
If you would like a real Adventure holiday, Strathyre has a custom-built outdoor centre on the north side of the village.
The Craigvinean Strathyre outdoor centre is run by a team of qualified instructors and tutors and offers mixed groups of up to 25 with bunk accommodation.
The centre is well equipped with a lounge hall and large kitchen, Hot Showers and a wet room. From here your group can enjoy a selection of outdoor activities.
· Stand-up paddleboarding
· water safety training and accreditation
· Hill walking and mountaineering
· Film and photography
· Expeditions and D of E training
· Mountain biking
· Trail running
· Rock climbing
· Gorge walking
· Survival skills
For Further details visit Strathyre Adventure Centre