Drove road north from Loch Rannoch
Start location: Annat on B846 by Loch Rannoch (NN 637 591)
End location: A9 at Dalnaspidal (NN 645 732)
Geographical area: Perth, Kinross and Stirling (part)
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 20km
Accessibility info: Suitable for Bikes, Suitable for pedestrians
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This route starts from the B846 on the north.side of Loch Rannoch at Annat, 2.5km west of Kinloch Rannoch. From there follow a track which goes north up the east side of the Annat Burn for about 1.5km, then cross it to continue west then northwest for about 2km to the Allt a' Chreagain Odhair. There the track coming up from Craiganour Lodge is joined and the direction is then due north along the track round the east side of Gualann Sheijeach to Duinish. From there the route crosses a new bridge across the Allt Shallainn and continues north across wet ground, which can be avoided by keeping up the hillside on the west, to the south end of Loch Garry. There a track is reached and followed along the west side of Loch Garry for 5km to Dalnaspidal, which as the name indicates was at one time a hospice or inn. Dalwhinnie is 13km further north along the A9
There is an alternative start at Aulich near Craiganour Lodge on Loch Rannoch (NN611591), the route heads north to join the above route at NN620616 after 3km.
If you're thinking of biking this old route, we hear it is amazing if you're prepared to contend with a "little bit of bog"! The rest is said to be superb bikepacking. For a further idea of what to expect, here is a link to Markus Stitz' video which includes this route, the Kirk Road through the Lairig Ghallabhaich and the Callander & Oban Railway.
This is a very interesting old road because it appears in Roy's Military Survey of 1747-55 as far as Duinish but the road marked on the mid eighteenth century map then splits off and neither of the two legs that are currently accessible seems to follow the historic line. It must have been a fairly important route at the time, but was probably only accessible to pedestrians and horses, which would have made it easier to divert the routes over the centuries. The western route seems to have gone up Allt na Duinish and down the west bank of the Aulich Burn; while the eastern route is very difficult to trace, it may have gone east around Creag a' Mhadaidh, past Saunich and between Beinn a' Chuallaich and Meall Dubh before heading down to Kinloch Rannoch.
Both of these paths were probably used by a variety of travellers and drovers seeking to avoid tolls on the route that has become the A9. There were certainly a lot of townships and shielings along this route, so it would have been quite highly populated until the last couple of hundred years.
The road may well possibly been quite old by Roy's time as the name Dalnaspidal indicates that there was a medieval hospital or shelter, as these were often called spittals.