About Balquhidder

The village of Balquhidder lies near the head of Loch Voil, 1¾ miles west of the line of the A84 as it sweeps north from Callander to Lochearnhead, It shares its name with the glen in which it stands, Balquhidder Glen, which extends westwards for 12 miles from the A84. The glen is a true cul-de-sac, with its western end concluding in the complex mountainous country north of Loch Katrine and south of Ben More.

With only around 200 local residents, Balquhidder is a magnificently unspoilt example of Scotland's beauty and complex history.

HISTORY:

Balquhidder has a stone circle and nearby there is a Neolithic chambered cairn. The Maclaurins (or Maclarens) acquired the district as early as the 9th century and occupied it for several hundred years. The clan's traditional meeting place is Creag an Tuirc, The Boar's Rock which commands excellent views of the glen and loch. The Maclaurins were ousted by the MacGregors after they lost their own ancestral lands to the Campbells. The MacGregors repeatedly raided the Maclaurins' lands and in 1558 slew the chief and many of his followers.

Robert the Bruce was on the run through these glens prior to the battle of Bannockburn in 1314. There is a Bruce Cave (one of many), above Loch Voil at Craigruie in Balquhidder glen where he reputedly hid.

Balquhidder was the scene of some of the exploits of Rob Roy McGregor, who died there in 1734. The Old Kirkyard in the village centre is his final resting place, his grave marked with the appropriately defiant motto 'MacGregor Despite Them'. He lies with the remains of his wife and two sons, the graves marked by three flat stones. One of these is contemporary, but the remaining two are re-used medieval grave monuments.

The heyday of the east end of the glen can be dated quite precisely: from 1870 to 1965. During this time the Callander & Oban railway passed on a line parallel with the modern A84, and there was a station at Balquhidder Station. Today it is hard to imagine this as the site of an engine shed, two signal boxes, and a junction on the minor line to St Fillans and Crieff.

 

THINGS TO SEE AND DO:

  • Walk the 79 mile Rob Roy Way, which passes nearby on its route from Drymen to Pitlochry.

  • Balquhidder also lies on route of the Coast to Coast Walk from Oban to St Andrews which comes over the hills to the north from Glen Dochart.

  • Balquhidder is an excellent location for cycling and is on national cycle route 7 which leads through the village and on to Strathyre.

  • Enjoy a cream tea at Monachyle Mhor Hotel, now one of the major attractions in the glen, with a world renowned restaurant.

  • The Library Tea Room, with its quirky furniture and china, serves hot drinks and delicious home baked cakes during the summer season.

  • Visit Rob Roy's grave or climb the Boar's Rock for a magnificent view from the ancient MacLaren meeting place.
  • Go for a swim in Loch Voil or the beautiful burn that runs through the glen.
  • Go for a walk or hire a bike from Cragmhor and discover the hidden landscape of Balquidder, not accessible by car.
  • Attend Balquhidder Summer Music - a unique series of classical concerts held in the church.
  • Explore the nearby villages of Strathyre, Callander, Killin, Doune, Crieff, and many more.
  • Or simply sit out on the landing at Cragmhor with a cup of tea and a book and admire the breathtaking view!