CALLANDER AREA WALKS
Taken From a guide printed circa 1935
Taken From a guide printed circa 1935
At the east end of Main Street a wicket gate on the right gives entrance to what is locally known as the Roman Camp. This is a long, winding and elevated mound near the River. It was at one time considered to be formed by the Roman invaders for the defence of the ford across the river. This idea has now been dispelled. The mound is in reality a glacial deposit, and is in no way different from gravel ridges of like formation found in many places throughout the country. Similar serpentine mounds are to be found at Lochnell, Kilwinning, and Polmont. There is a pleasant walk along the top from which a wide view of The Crags, Ben Ledi, and the River Tieth may be obtained. The visitor with only a short time at his disposal can spend a very interesting half-hour her. The quaint old residence near at hand is Roman Camp House, formerly the Highland home of Viscountess Esher.
Near the east end of the burgh a wide road branches off to the left from Main Street to a bridge across the railway. A little further on, the road on the right (Aveland Road) leads to the golf course and on the left (Ancaster Drive) to the bowling green. Passing Ancaster Gardens and the Wishing Gate, we ascend the road leading up the hill between dense clumps of whins, and a splendid view of the surrounding country is obtained. From the summit
"....Broad extended far beneath
The varied realms of fair Menteith."
The road now turns to the right, and after a further walk of about three-quarters of a mile, we come in sight of " Bracklinn's thundering wave." Descending a short steep incline, we reach the bridge which spans the chasm. The Falls are formed by the tumbling whirling waters of the Keltie as it rushes down a narrow rocky gorge, breaking as it falls into a succession of short cascades and rapids. These, when the stream is in flood, have a magnificent effect. Even in the dry days of summer the churning foaming water in the gloomy hollows, and the high over-hanging arches of foliage, form a sublime picture which will not soon fade from memory. In the " Letters and Recollections of Sir Walter Scott," by Mrs. Hughes, the life-long friend and correspondent of the poet, it is written with reference to this romantic place :-
"Walked before breakfast to Bracklinn, which exactly corresponds to that described in 'Waverley' as the scene to which Flora takes her visitor the first evening of his arrival at the Castle of Vich Ian Vhor: it is one of the most singular scenes in Britain. . . . Sir Walter, when a young man and staying next Callander, laid a wager that he would ride over Bracklinn Bridge : a jolly party all went to the bridge to see the feat performed, but they were so aware of the fearful risk that they insisted that the wager be given up ; however Sir Walter with a rashness which none but those who have seen the bridge can estimate, led the pony over and back again."
The walk may be continued down the left side of the stream for about two miles, passing near Dalvey, the ruins of Auchleshie ( the original seat of the Chiefs of the Clan Buchanan), and striking the main road which leads back past The Gart and Lagrannoch to Callander. The Keltie is spanned by a new fine bridge, and the quaint old single arch bridge has wisely been left intact.
From the Bracklinn Falls a four mile walk eastwards brings us to the summit of Uam Var (2168 feet).
THE NEW WATER WORKS
The Callander Water Works are situated at Arie, on the Keltie Water, about five miles from the Burgh, amid the mountains of the Glenartney deer forest. The new water supply was inaugurated in 1932 (when the Loch Lubnaig supply was discontinued), and cost about £35,000. There is a storage reservoir near Arie of five million gallons, while the two covered storage tanks above the Golf Course have a total capacity of 2000,000 gallons. The new works-one of the finest in Scotland-ensures an excellent supply of pure water both in pressure and in quality. The service piping in the greater part of the town has been modernised and replaced by new piping.
To reach the Reservoir we follow the road to the Bracklinn Falls, turning to the left by the Braeleny road over the moor.
About two miles from Callander the far-famed "Wishing Well" is seen bubbling up in a green hollow beside the road. Following the moorland road, and crossing the Drumardoch Burn, we pass the farms of Braeleny and Thomasgreen. A mile and a half further on at Arie we reach the Reservoir, 1,000 feet above sea level.
A small building that was part of Callander Water Works
Cambusmore House stands amongst pleasant woods about two miles to the south of Callander near the Stirling Road. For several years Sir Walter Scott (then a young and comparatively unknown lawyer) spent his holidays here with his friend Buchanan, the young laird of Cambusmore. On alighting from his horse after his first visit to the Trossachs, Scott, standing on the doorstep and looking up towards Uam Var, musingly recited :-
"The stag at eve had drankhis fill,
while danced the moon on Monan's rill,
And in deep his midnight lair had made
In lone Glenartney's hazel shade."
Thus was planned " The Lady of the Lake," which practically revolutionised the district.
CALLANDER CRAGS AND WOOD
Callander Crags and Wood are open to the public, and visitors will find it a delightful experiance to picnic on the breezy heights of the Crags or to enjoy a quiet walk under the venerable oaks and beeches of the wood. Walks have recently been laid out, and at various points magnificent views of the Town and surrounding district may be obtained. The western entrance to the wood is near the tennis courts. Passing eastward under the base of the Crags the winding walk joins the road to the Bracklinn Falls at the foot of Chrocdhu.
ROUND THE GOLF COURSE
A little beyond the point where the Wood Walk joins the road to the Bracklinn Falls is seen the beginning of the walk round the golf course. From the quarries near at hand the stones for most of the houses in Callander have been obtained. The walk at first leads through the wood skirting the higher part of the golf course, and some beautiful sylvan retreats are passed. The walk leads over the eastward part of the course, joining the road to Callander near Balgibbon Farm. Beside this road may be seen the ruins of the Soldiers' Settlements built by Lord Willoughby after the Peace of Paris in 1763, for soldiers disabled in the Seven Years War.
ROUND THE CRAGS
Follow the road up the hill, but instead of taking the path to the Bracklinn Falls, continue along the higher road to the left and over the summit by the old Braeleny and Comrie Road. At the first sharp turnof the road a footpath may be discerned leading up on the left. Te climb is neither a long nor a steep one, and we soon reach the top, marked by a cairn. The view is picturesque and very extensive. Away to the south may be traced the fertile Links of Forth, and the elevated outlines of Stirling Castle, Abbey Craig, and the Wallace Monument. To the west we observe the upper reaces of the Forth or Avon Dhu, the region around " far Lochard and Aberfoyle," and Loch Vennachar with Ben Venue in the background. Immediately beneath us Callander lies, every street, square, lane, and house sharply delineated. The walk may be continued along the ridge, descending by Leny Feus, or down through the wood, which is the easier and quicker route.
TO THE TOP OF THE CRAGS
A new walk has been made leading from Ancaster Road past Ellangowan (above Railway Station) to the top of the Callander Crags. It intersects the main Wood Walk, and at various points in the steep ascent seats have been placed where visitors may rest, and view the glorious panorama stretched out beneath.
THE RED WELL
Near the top of the brae on the Braeleny-Comrie Road, a mile from the burgh, a footpath on the left leads to the Red Well. Situated on the hillside, among the heather and whins, this mineral well was at one time of great repute in the locality. It has recently been restored, and a drinking fountain erected. Many regular patrons enjoy the pleasent walk to the Red Well and test the virtues of its healing chalybeate waters.
THE RIVER WALK
In South Church Street there is a quaint example of an old sun-dial presented to the town by the late Viscount Esher. It dates from 1753 and bears the inscription;
"I mark not the hours unless they be bright,
I mark not the hours of darkness and night,
My promise is solely to follow the Sun
And point out the course the chariot doth run."
A handsome foot bridge has recently been erected over the River Teith at South Church Street. Leading from it are plaseant shady walks by the south bank of thr river and to the Port of Menteith road.