This is a tourist guide to Callander and the Trossachs circa 1935


This is a  Victorian guide to Callander reproduced from an original booklet called "The Official Guide To Callander and the Trossachs" Printed by Wm. Donald & Co Printers and Wholesalers 16 Main Street Callander. Printed circa 1935. I have also uploaded some of the original advertisements from the publication too;


Among the counties of Scotland famed for beautiful scenery, pure and bracing air, and historical and romantic associations, Perthshire easily leads the way. From the wide and breezy Moor of Rannoch to the lowlands of Dunblane, from rich and fertile Carse of Gowrie to the mountainous solitudes of Loch Katrine, it comprises within its borders every variety of scenery-highland and lowland.

The Western or Loch District of Perthshire, of which Callander is the centre, has ever been famous for its wonderful and varied beauty. Long before Sir Walter Scott cast the halo of his genius and imagination over the locality, many writers bore testimony to the charms of its lovely landscapes,its fair and romantic scenery, its wide spreading lochs, its crystal-clear rivers, and its magnificent panorama of

"Mountain and meadow, moss and moor":

but the publication of the "Lady of the Lake" in 1810 brought the district into the wider prominence and lasting popularity. The spell of the "Wizard of the North" lies over the whole district, and every thousands of tourists from all parts of the world make Callander their headquarters in visiting the romantic scenes immortalised in the "Lady of the Lake," "Rob Roy," "Waverley," and the "Legend of Montrose." Here is a region consecrated to all time by the exploits of of the chivalrous Roderick Dhu, the true love of the heroic Ellen, and the stirring adventures of the royal James.

"If any one wants a pleasure that is sure to please," wrote Dr.John Brown, the genial author of " Rab and his Friends," "let him, when the mercury is at 'fair,' take the 9am. train to the north and a ticket to Callander."

To any one in search of a place to spend a thorough holiday-a place where one, from an athletic point of view, may lead the "strenuous life" or idle away the sunny day-we say confidently, "Try Callander." Its mild but bracing climate, its glorious sunshine, its pure and invigorating highland air, exercise a health-giving influence which few of the widely-advertised Continental resorts can give. The tourist is at liberty to roam about at will, through shady wood or breezy upland, by quiet river or silvery loch. Ben Ledi and the adjacent mountains may tempt the mountaineer to try his prowess. The angler has ample opportunities for fishing in the numerous lochs, rivers, and streams in the neighbourhood. The devotee of sport finds his tastes fully catered for in the matter of golf, tennis, and bowling. As a centre for hiking Callander is unequaled. There are youth or Hikers' Hostels at Brig o'Turk (8 miles), at Monachyle, Loch Voil (16 miles), and at Ardeonaig, Loch Tay (26 miles).

The Town of Callander is admirably situated for a winter or spring resort, being completely sheltered from the cold north winds by the wooded Crags which rise to an elevation of 1000 feet. Unlike many summer resorts Callander's charms are not confined to the near neighbourhood. every tourist  makes a point of spending a day at least in seeing the Trossachs and Loch Katrine, the region made famous by the genius of Sir Walter Scott. Balquhidder to the north and the Lake of Menteith and the Priory of Inchmaholme to the south will also claim a visit. But first we must make the acquaintanceship of the pretty town of Callander itself.

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"Callander sits like a watcher at the opening of the glens." Situated as it is, near one of the principal passes into the Highlands, it had of old time a strange, stirring, and interesting history. Owing to its position between the mountains and the plains, it was through the long centuries the battle ground of Roman and Caledonian, of Saxon and Gael, of Jacobite and Royalist.

Far away through the dim vista of time we see the lurid fires of Baal blazing on the lofty summit of Ben Ledi, and the Druid priests striving to delude with mystic rites.

The Roman legions advanced from the lowlands of Stirling and Dumbarton and constructed their camps at Auchenlaich and Bochastle, while their fierce Caledonian foes took up their position on the impregnable rock of Tarandoun, which they fortified with triple ditches, which may still be seen in excellent preservation. Tradition states that a fierce battle was fought at Garthonzie. Hordes of Caledonians were slain, and by night the woods resounded with cries of woe as the women searched for their dead.

In after years the parish became the land of the Buchanans, and many fierce clan fights took place between them and the Clan McLaren of Balquhidder and the homeless McGregor raiders of Strathgartney and Loch Lomond side.

Callander was originally a village of turf-built huts about a mile from the present burgh on the road to Thornhill. Afterwards the street now known as Bridgend became Callander Proper, while streets beyond the Teith received the name of Kirkton from their proximity to the church, which then stood near the old bridge. About 1610 a great flood changed the course of the Teith from Bridgend and East Mains to its present course.

In 1645, during the campaigns of Montrose, a battle was fought at Callander between the Campbells of Argyle and the Atholl men. The Campbells were harassing the McGregors and the McNabs for their allegiance to Montrose. While besieging Castle Ample the news came of the advance of 700 Atholl men under Inchbrakie. A retreat was made southwards, but, as the Campbells were crossing a ford to the east of the village of Callander, they were overtaken and compelled to give battle. Inchbrakie, advancing part of his force to attack the defenders, quietly marched another detachment towards a ford higher up near the present bridge. A crossing was soon effected, and the Campbells, being unexpectedly attacked on the rear, broke and fled, leaving eighty of their men dead on the field.

A few years later a body of Cromwell's soldiers sustained a sharp defeat in the Trossachs, an incident which inspired Scott's account of the battle of Beal'an Duine.

In 1869 Queen Victoria spent a few days at Invertrossachs, and in "more leaves from journal" expressed her delight with the people and the surroundings of Callander.

It is usual to style Saint Kessog as the patron-saint of Callander. He was a zealous preacher of the gospel in the sixth century. The site of the old church was near Tomnachessaig, so named from the tradition that Kessog addressed the people from the mound.

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Callander is beautifully situated on the banks of the River Teith at the entrance to the West Highlands of Perthshire, just below where the Leny from Loch Lubnaig joins the Teith from Loch Vennachar. "It is one of the prettiest Highland villages," wrote one traveller of last century. "It was sunset as I approached it first years ago. Beautiful the long crooked street of white-washed houses dressed in rosy colours. Prettily dressed children were walking or running about. And right in front stood King Ben Ledi clothed in imperial purple, the spokes of splendour from the sinking sun raying far away into heaven from behind his mighty shoulders."

The surrounding country is unsupassed for its magnificent lake and mountain scenery. Ten miles from Callander lies the " beauty spot" of Scotland-The Trossachs-a district which, for its marvellous and varid beauty, awoke the muse of Sir Walter Scott, and, in later years, evoked the praise of Wordsworth, Hawthorne, Coleridge, Smollett, Keats, and many other writers.

An excellent fleet of motor charabancs plies between the Railway Station, and the Trossachs Hotel connecting with the well-appointed steamer "Sir Walter Scott" (Capt. J.McKinnon) on Loch Katrine.

Motor charabancs also rundaily from Ancaster Square to the Trossachs, Aberfoyle, Lake of Menteith, Strathyre, Balquhidder, and other places of historical intrest.

Cyclists will find this an excellent centre for visiting the Trossachs (10 miles), and Balquhidder (12 miles) the ancient domain of the " Children of the Mist." Some of the most stirring incidents in R.L.Stevenson's " Kidnapped" and in Frederick Watson's "Shallows" occur in Balquhidder.

The Beautiful Lake of Menteith with its island of Inchmaholme, on which are the ruins of an ancient priory where Mary Queen of Scots spent part of her childhood, is 6 miles distant.

Callander, the centre of a sun-steeped country-side, nestles Swiss-like under the shadow of Ben Ledi, and visitors have an excellent opportunity of mountaineering on this and other mountains in the neighbourhood. Botanists will feel repaid for their exertions in the discovery of many rare Alpine plants on the slopes of Ben Ledi.

Among the places of interest in the neighbourhood are The Crags, Roman Camp, Bracklinn Falls, Falls of Leny, Caledonian Fort, Coilantogle Ford, Lock Vennachar, and the Chapel of Saint Bride.

ancaster arms hotel callander


The Hotels and many of the houses in the burgh and suburbs are now lit with electric light. There is ample accommodation for visitors, but early booking is desirable. Houses and apartments can be selected at moderate terms to suit all classes. There are nine hotels (five Temperance) and several boarding-houses.


There are several modern up-to-date Luncheon and Tea Rooms.

A list of houses and apartments to let may be obtained from the Town Clerk, Callander.

callander palace hotel 


Callander was constituted a burgh in 1866. Its popularity as a health resort dates from the opening of the Dunblane and Callander Railway in 1859. Even ten years later, however, Queen Victoria describes Callander as containing " a few good houses and many poor ones."

The resident population of the burgh is about 1600, but this number is almost doubled during the summer season owing to the influx of visitors.

As the burgh is primary a tourist and health resort, having no factories or industrial works, there is an entire absence of polluting smoke or obnoxious gases. The soil is dry and porous. The town is well drained and has an ample supply of pure water from Keltie Water at Arie.

The burgh itself is built on a simple plan. The principal thoroughfare is Main Street, which runs from East to West for about a mile. This street forms the main shopping centre for the town and district. The majority of the shops are commodious, up-to-date, and are lit by electric light. Many of the shops will bear favourable comparison with city shops.

From Main Street shorter streets branch off at right angles.

Leaving the Railway Station at the entrance to which is the Trossachs Coach Office, we descend Station Road to Main Street. Behind rise the Callander Crags, clothed with oak, beech and pine.

eagle temperance hotel callander 


Half a mile west of Callander, the Teith,"the daughter of three mighty lakes," is joined by the Leny, a turbulent stream issuing from Loch Lubnaig. The Leny flows through the romantic Pass of Leny down through the quiet grassy meadows of Bochastle to the "meeting of the waters." The silvery Teith winding through the town is an added charm to a scene of great natural beauty:-

"Land of brown heath and shaggy wood,

Land of the mountain and the flood."

"The Teith," wrote Alexander Smith, "is the sweetest voiced of all Scottish streams. The Roman centurion heard that pebbly murmur on his march even as you now hear it. The river, like all beautiful things, is coquettish and, just when you come to love her music, she sweeps away into the darkness of the wood and leaves you companionless on the dusty road. Never mind, you will meet her again at Callander, and there, for a whole summer day, you can lean on the bridge and listen to her singing."

About two miles east of Callander the Keltie, a typical Highland mountain stream joins the Teith at Cambusmore.

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Passing the Dreadnought Hotel, west of which is the Post Office, the Public Hall, and Cinema House and St.Andrew's Episcopal Church, we turn to the left along Main Street. On the right, in front of the Dreadnought Hotel, are the Putting Green, and beside the river the Public Parking Ground for motor cars and charabancs.

The houses and shops in Main Street are handsome and well built and on every hand is seen evidence that the Town Council spares no pains to make the burgh clean, healthy, and attractive to visitors and residents.

The first street branching off to the left is Cross Street, from which Glenartney Road runs parallel to the railway. At the corner of Main Street and Cross Street stands the Ancaster Arms Hotel. In line with Cross Street, on the right-hand side is Bridge Street leading to

old callander advert


This is the oldest part of the town. The quaint high-arched bridge built in 1764 which united Bridgend to the newer town of Kirkton, was demolished in 1907, and the present handsome structure erected in its stead. It is pleasing to note that the fine view has been in no way impaired by the change. Here the visitor can "stop on the crown of the bridge and fill your eyes with the perfection of the view up the Pass of Leny- the Teith lying diffuse and asleep as if its heart were in the Highlands, and it were loth to go, the noble Ben Ledi imaged in its broad stream."

Close to the bridge is a churchyard, the site of the old church of Callander. Near it is a circular mound known as Tomnachessaig, or the mound of Kessog, where the saint in early ages preached, and where, in later years the inhabitants of Callander practised archery in the cool of many summer eve, or lit bonfires on the occasion of local or national rejoicing.

On the left-side after crossing the bridge is athe McLaren High School, the centre for secondary education for West Perthshire.

Near the end of the street, on the left is the avenue leading to St.Kessog Manse. within the Manse grounds a small part of the ruins of Callander Castle may still be seen. It was a square keep of considerable height, belonging to the Earls of Linlithgow.

Returning to Main Street, we soon come to

callander main street 

Callander Main street, looking East circa 1900.



The first building to attract attention is St.Kessog's Church, a handsome ediface, which occupies the north side of the square. It was renovated in 1877, and its lofty steeple is visible for many miles around. Near the centre of the square a drinking fountain has been built to comemorate the public services which were rendered for many years to the town by the late Mr. William McMichael, Town Clerk. In the Square is also situated the war memorial, in commemoration of the men from the Town and Parish who died in the service of their country in the Great War, 1914-1918. The Memorial is in general form after the style of the old Scottish Mercat Cross with rustic steps and base, and the familiar shaft surmounted by the Lion. On the side of the large block supporting the shaft are fixed the cast bronze panels modelled in bas relief with appropriate inscriptions and bearing the names of the 66 local men who have fallen. The north (or front) panel containing the symbolical figure bearing the Fiery Cross, has the Gaelic words "Cum ad Chuimhne," meaning " Keep in Remebrance." On the west panel are the words " They gave their youth for honour and for God, and so they grow not old." On the south panel is inscribed " Their name liveth for evermore." The east panel has the words " These be souls to whom high valour gave glory undying."

Near at hand is the Callander Institute. A little further along we come to


At the foot of the latter stands St.Bride's Church. School Lane, some distance along, leads on the left to the Public School, a handsome and modern building of pleasing design.

1930''s kennels advert callander


At the east end of the town, on the Stirling Road, are situated the new cottages erected by the Town Council, under the Government Housing Schemes. Further along on the left we reach the Veterans' Cottages, erected for soldiers-chiefly from the Perthshire area- who have been disabled in the Great War. Attached to the cottages are several acres of excellent ground to enable the occupants to engage in market gardening, poultry farming, etc.



 There are three Churches; St. Kessog's (formerly Parish Church), St. Brides ( formerly United Free), and St. Andrew's Episcopal Church. Services are held in all the churches at 11.15 a.m and at 6.15 p.m. on Sunday The Y.M.C.A Red Triangle Club in Main Street houses a branch of Perth County Lending Libary, and has Billiard and Recreation Rooms.


There are two schools-the McLaren High School in Bridgend and Callander Public School in Craigard Road.

The Territorial Drill Hall is situated in South Church Street. There is a flourishing branch of the British Legion, which meets in the Legion Memorial Room, Institute.

The Cinema House is in the Public Hall Buildings opposite the Dreadnought Hotel.

old shoe shop advert callander



The Tennis Courts are situated off Tulipan Crescent at the west end of the burgh, near the Railway Station. They consist of four en-tout-cas courts laid out in 1924. Competitions are held specially for visitors in the course of the season. Few tennis courts can boast of more beautiful surroundings or of a more charming environment. There is a large and commodious pavilion, comprising ladies' and gentlemen's rooms and central hall. Term for visitors are as follows;

Single Ticket.- Day, 2/- ; Week, 7/6 ; Fortnight, 12/6 ; Month, 21/- ; Two Months, 31/6 ; Three Months or longer, £2 2/-.

Family Ticket (restricted to 4 members of the same household).- Fortnight 31/6 ; Month, £2 2/- ; Two Months, £3 3/- ; Three Months or longer, £4 4/-

Juveniles (under 16).- Day 1/- ; Week 4/- ; Fortnight, 7/6 ; Month, 12/6 ; Two Months, 17/6 ; Three Months Or longer, £1 1/-.

Per Game of 30 Minutes, each person, 6d

Tickets are issued by the Courts Attendant.


The Callander Bowling Green is situated near Ancaster Drive, and may be reached fromMain Street by passing St. Kessog's church and hall, and under the Railway Bridge. It is laid with best Cumberland turf, and is one of the finest inland greens in Scotland. The pavilion is of a very pretty design and is comfortable and commodious. Competitions open to visitors ( ladies and gentlemen) are arranged during the summer.

The terms for Visitors are:-

Single Game, .......... 6d.      Day Ticket .......... 1/-.      Weekly Ticket ..........5/-.       Fortnightly Ticket, .......... 7/6.       Monthly Ticket .......... 10/-.


A putting Green has been laid out, in front of the Dreadnought Hotel, and is being well patronised. Competitions open to visitors are arranged during the season. The charge per round (with ball and club) is 1d.


The Town Council has leased from the Earl of Ancaster a fine stretch of the left bank of the Teith from Leny Railway Bridge to the Gart March (excluding Roman Camp grounds). Salmon and trout tickets may be obtained. The following is the scale of charges:-

Season Ticket- Salmon and Trout, ...... 6/-.

Day Ticket- Trout Only,               .......1/-.

Season Ticket- Trout Only           .......3/-.

The fishing around Callander on the whole is very good. The spring salmon fishing is excellent, especially on Loch Lubnaig. The best trout fishing is on Loch Vennachar and Loch Lubnaig. Towards the end of June there are some good sea trout runs on the Teith. There is abundance of burn and hill loch fishing, and excellent sport may be had, especially in the evenings, on the Keltie, the Milton Burn, and the Bracklinn Burn. Permission to fish these is required from the proprietors. Every fishing requisite, the use of boats and the service of boatmen, can be obtained from local fishing tackle makers.


In order to meet the widely expressed desire for a good 18-hole golf course, the Town Council of Callander in 1913 purchased over 100 acres of land lying to the east of the burgh. Part of the ground for more than twenty years  was used as a 9-hole course. The new 18-hole course was planned and laid out by Willie Fernie, of Troon a former winner of the Open Golf Championship. The course affords great variety of play, has many good natural and artificial hazards, and altogether provides a searching test of golf. The new course has been pronounced by experts as one of the best inland courses in Scotland. It is within ten minutes' walk from the centre of the town. There is a handsome pavilion with tea rooms, from the verandah of which a wide and extensive prospect is to be had, comprising meadow and mountain, moor and woodland, with Stirling Castle and Abbey Craig in the far distance. Considerable improvements have recently been made under the direction of Joe Anderson, of Perth and Robert Neill, the resident professional.

The following are the names and lengths of the holes (yards) ;

1, Quarry          370

2, Corner          180

3,Tree               335

4, Oaks             344

5, Saucer           180

6,Dell                 376

7,Burn                238

8,Blind               249

9,Curling House  239

10,Knowe           173

11,Beeches          157

12,Three Firs        375

13,Dyke                250

14,Drumdhu          198

15,Avenue            108

16,Balgibbon        450

17,Mount Pisgah   246

18,Home               325

Total, 4790 yards

The standard scratch score is 68.

The Terms for Visitors are :-

Round Ticket..... 1/6.  Day Ticket ...... 2/6.  Weekly Ticket ......7/6.   Fortnightly Ticket ...... 12/-.   Monthly Ticket ......20/-.   Two Monthly Ticket ......25/-.   Family Monthly Ticket ...... 35/-.   Family Two Monthly Ticket ...... 60/-.

Tuition is given by the Professional at very moderate terms.


the trossachs tour callander


While there is no ground within the Burgh available for camping, several farmers in the neighbourhood have suitable sites which they are willing to let for long or short periods at very moderate rates.


For Curling, Skating and Toboganning, Callander offers many facilities during the winter. The air is dry, crisp and invigorating, and outdoor games can be indulged in with zest and vigour. A skating pond had been constructed on the golf course near Balgibbon. It is well sheltered and in frosty weather a continuance of good ice is assured. (The pond is quite shallow and forms an excellent and safe model-yachting and boating pond for children in the summer).

The Curling Club possesses an artificial ice rink off Bracklinn Road. Visitors are permitted to play at reasonable charges.

To the winter sports may be added the early Salmon Fishing on the Teith, Which is excellent in February and March.



The Town Council has leased from Captain Murray Buchanan a field of sixty acres, adjoining Leny Road, to the west of the town, for recreation purposes. Part of the ground is used as a football pitch during the winter and in summer may be let, when available, to pic-nic parties. Terms may be had on application to the Town Clerk.



The Railway Services (L.M.S) between Callander and the important centres in the South and East are very good. On many trains are through carriages to and from London, which journey can be accomplished in 11 hours. Glasgow can be reached in 1 1/2 hours, Edinburgh in 2 hours, Perth In 1 1/4 hours,  Dundee in 3 hours and Aberdeen in 4 1/2 hours.

Dining Cars are attached to most of the long distance trains. Particulars with regard to Tourist, Excursion, Week-end and Day Tickets may be obtained at the Railway Station

callander train station 

 Above Callander Train Station From circa 1925



Excellent Motor Bus Services are now in operation between Callander, Stirling, and Glasgow, and buses run hourly to and from the stance at North Church Street.

There is also a regular service to and from Crieff and Perth, with connections with Dundee and Aberdeen.

From Stirling there are connections with Edinburgh and the East Coast.

During the summer and autumn season comfortable motor charabancs ply daily from Callander to places of interest and scenic beauty throughout Perthshire, Argyll and Dumbartonshire.

While the far-famed Trossachs Tour is pre-eminently the first favourite, other popular excursions are through the fine Highland scenery of Strathtay, Aberfeldy, and that panorama of beauty and rugged grandeur-the Pass of Killiecrankie.

The excursions to Loch Awe, Oban, Inveraray, Glencoe and Fort William are deservedly popular, as is the round tour via Glenfalloch, Loch Lomond, Balloch and Aberfoyle.

Callander in turn forms an ideal "half-way house" for motorists from Glasgow, Edinburgh and the South.

Distances from Callander:-

Glasgow, Via Aberfoyle and Strathblande, 36 miles

Glasgow, Via Stirling and Cumbernauld, 42 miles

Edinburgh, Via Stirling 52 miles

Perth, 40 miles

Oban, 75 miles


The following are the principal single day Motor Tours from Callander, with approximate return distances:-

(1) Trossachs and Loch Katrine, 20 miles, reckoned to Pier Head ( The road from Trossachs Pier up the side of the Loch is closed to motor traffic)

(2) Trossachs, via Lake of Menteith and Aberfoyle ( Circular) 32 miles.

(3) Loch Lomond, via Balloch, Helensburgh, Gareloch, Tarbert and Crianlarich, 110 miles.

(4) Killiecrankie and Pitlochry, via Dunblane, Crief, Sma' Glen and Aberfeldy, returning by Loch Tay and Killin, 130 miles.

(5) Inveraray, via Dalmally, Loch Awe, Loch Long, Arrochar, Tarbet, Loch Lomond and Balloch 136 miles.

(6) Round the Ochils, via Glen Devon, Gleneagles, Crieff and Loch Earn, 83 miles.

(7) Crieff, via Lochearnhead, St. Fillans, Comrie, Gleneagles and Dunblane, 68 miles.

(8) Oban, via Crianlarich and dalmally, 145 miles.

(9) Perth, Blairgowrie and Dunkeld. Circular Tour by Hillfoots, Rumbling Bridge, Crook of Devon, Glenfarg, Perth and Blairgowrie, returning via Dunkeld, Sma' Glen, Crieff and Loch Earn, 130 miles.

(10) Rob Roy's Grave and Balquhidder, 27 miles.

(11) Killin and Kenmore via Loch Tay, 70 miles.

(12) Balmaha and Loch Lomond, Via Lake of Menteith, Arnprior, Buchlyvie, Drymen, Balmaha, returning via Balfron, Kippen and Thornhill, 65 miles.

(13) Stronachlachar, via Lake of Menteith, Aberfoyle and Loch Ard, 48 miles.

1930s car callander