Jenny Tweedie, from RSPB Scotland, has this new blog on The Great Trossachs Path opening between Callander and Inversnaid.

Travel the Trossachs

I’m probably not what you might call massively outdoorsy. I love nature, and I love being out in nature, but I don’t particularly like having to make too much of an effort to get there. And I suspect I’m not alone.

For those of us who think that gaiters are animals which live in swamps, the great outdoors of Scotland can seem a bit intimidating. So when anything comes along that makes getting out into nature just that little bit easier, I think it’s definitely something to be celebrated.

The Great Trossachs Path is just such a thing. It’s a disturbingly long-distance route all in; some 30 miles from Callander to Inversnaid, but there is of course, no obligation to walk the whole length (and there are shorter paths on the way). Like the West Highland Way, however, I suspect there will be many people who will relish the opportunity to throw off their office shoes and get out there into the wilds for a few days: the sense of achievement on the path’s completion no doubt over-riding any sore muscles experienced en route. And for cyclists, the path is well enough surfaced to take your bike the whole way, though you’ll need a bit of oomph to get up the steeper sections!

The path is a milestone for The Great Trossachs Forest project, a partnership for RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland, and Woodland Trust Scotland.  The whole scheme, which has been running since 2009, has been focussed on creating a massive area of native woodland through planting and natural regeneration. But a key idea for the project has also been to make it as beneficial for people as it is for the wildlife.

Nature is already enjoying the fresh wildlife corridors that are growing up due to the habitat work, and now with the completion of the path people will be able to get out there and enjoy it as well. And what an area it is to enjoy!

The Trossachs is famed for its stunning landscapes: misty woodlands, majestic lochs, and heather-clad mountains. But the history of the area is every bit as notable, with a significant emphasis on exciting stories from the times of Rob Roy. Famous artists and writers through the ages have helped to ensure the Trossachs’ reputation, with everyone from Walter Scott to Jules Verne using is as a location, and the Glasgow Boys captured its beauty in several of their most famous paintings.  

An extra addition to the path is a Visitor Gateway Centre at each end, built with help from the Heritage Lottery Fund and sited in the Garrison car park at Inversnaid, and the Lendrick Hill car park at Brig o’Turk. These beautiful buildings provide important facilities (like toilets!) but will also act as centres of learning, allowing visitors to interact with local wardens and other staff, and find out more about the area.

Of course they can’t be on hand 24/7, so another useful addition is the launch of a Great Trossachs Path app, which will provide smart phone users with a world of information as they move through the area. Local map firm HARVEYS, have also printed a new paper map of the whole forest, for anyone who likes to do things the traditional way.

If you’d like to know more about the path, the perfect way to get involved is to take part in the Trossachs Fun Fest, from April 11 – 18. With a wealth of great outdoor activities stretching over the whole week, you’ll be able to explore the area, and join in with everything from a marathon to a mini-beast hunt. RSPB Scotland is offering both a guided tour on Loch Lomond, and even a whisky tasting at Inversnaid. All details are in the poster, or you can check out the website:

As for me and my aversion to the great outdoors, well I’ve already tried a bit of the path (from Stronachlachar to Inversnaid), and I can certainly confirm that it’s a stunning area, with lots of discover, and plenty of gorgeous scenery to enjoy. And if I can do it, then I think anyone can do it! So get outside this spring and summer, and experience the wonders of the Trossachs, without having to get your feet too muddy.

You will have to take your midge spray though…(but not until after April!)