This is a sneaky little route that I first discovered in 2016. I was watching the BBC programme ‘Loch Lomond: A Year in the Wild’ and Loch Drunkie popped up. Drunkie? Never heard of it! Did a quick Google and realised that it was the loch I’d been spotting from the top of the Duke’s Pass on my countless trips along the road – I just hadn’t realised you could reach it by car.
View of Loch Drunkie from Duke’s Pass (Google Maps)
Turns out we’d been missing a treat. The Three Lochs Forest Drive is a seven-mile route in the heart of the Trossachs National Park that takes you past Lochan Reòidhte, Loch Drunkie and Loch Achray. It’s open from April until October for cars and all year for walkers and cyclists, and it's a really lovely drive.
Drunkie itself is the main attraction, with the road snaking around one side of it. There are lots of places to pull over and a few designated car parks, so take your time and keep hopping out, because every viewpoint is different.
South end of Loch Drunkie
Our favourite spot is on the south bank of Loch Achray, not far from the end of the drive (marked on the map below), where you get a beautiful view of the loch, the Trossachs Church, Ben A’An and Ben Venue, and can have a little paddle. The bad news is that you sometimes find Other People have got there first and you have to share the space, but we’ve been lucky three times out of four and had it to ourselves.
Ben A’An & the Trossachs Church
Looking west, towards Ben Venue
The exit to the drive brings you back onto the Duke’s Pass. Turn right and carry on around the Trossachs Trail, which takes you around the other side of Lochs Achray and Venachar, ending up in Callendar. If you’ve worked up an appetite, I can highly recommend a meal at Venachar Lochside, a fab waterside restaurant about 6 miles away. Then come back again another day and climb Ben A’An for some even more wonderful views!
Getting there: From Stirling, take the A84 towards Doune and fork left at Blair Drummond, onto the A873 signed for Aberfoyle. Go through Aberfoyle and turn right onto the A821 Duke’s Pass. The entrance is just over two miles up the hill on the right.
Sat Nav: FK8 3SY
OS Landranger map: 57 STIRLING & THE TROSSACHS
Terrain: Walking books for scampering down to the lochside or hiking the trails.
Nearest facilities: Toilets about half-way round the drive at Loch Drunkie and a shop & café at Loch Katrine, a couple of miles over the other side of the pass. For a meal afterwards, I recommend you turn right out of the exit and head around Loch Achray and Loch Venachar, to Venachar Lochside, a fab restaurant on the water’s edge – about 6 miles away.