The Luncarty Loop, Perthshire

Distance: 63km/37 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Grade: Easy ride, quiet roads

This is a lovely ride that takes you from the rich agricultural lands of Perthshire towards the Highland Line, the row of hills that beckon you onwards from the distance. The quiet rural roads are a delight, if a little rough under-wheel, and carry you high above the fields and onto bare moors littered with standing stones and stone circles. The contrast is marked. The homeward run along the Balgowan to Huntingtower road, being mostly flat, is a delight, especially if you have the prevailing south-westerly wind at your back.

The National:

I found a spot to park in Luncarty beside the tennis club, offloaded the bike and set off over the busy A9 towards Redgorton and Moneydie on the B8063. The road is pleasantly undulating and parallels the River Almond for much of the way. Here and there you swoop downhill through shady dells and dens, and the route passes through Chapelhill (delighted to see the Chapelhill Inn, a former coaching inn which dates back to 1837, open again), Harrietfield (it’s believed the village was built in 1822 for mill workers), and you meet the Glen Almond road where the B8063 crosses the River Almond at Buchanty.

The route I had intended to follow continues towards Crieff before turning south on the Highlandman’s Loan just past Gilmerton but there were roadworks and a diversion was in place. I didn’t fancy getting my bike covered in fresh tar so I took the rising road past Loch Meallbrodden and enjoyed a swift and steep descent into the tiny village of Fowlis Wester.

The parish church in the village dates back to the 13th century and is dedicated to St Bean. It houses an 8th century Pictish cross-slab, a replica of which stands outside in the village square, and a smaller cross-slab which was found in the church when it was being refurbished in 1927. Both stones are well worth a stop and a look.

Cross the A85 with care and take the twisting road south to a cross-junction in the dank Long Plantation. Turn left here and enjoy the 21km) back into Perth, especially with the wind at your back. You might even stop off for a bit at the excellent Gloagburn Coffee and Farm Shop for some coffee and cake before hitting the final stretch back to Perth.

The road eventually meets the busy A85 at Methven. You have to cross the road, so take care again, and then ride downhill towards Huntingtower Castle, once known as Ruthven Castle or the Palace of Ruthven. Follow the road round towards the Inveralmond Industrial Estate and turn left into what appears to be a Mercedes garage. Follow this road past the car showrooms and into some woodland. The cycle route back to Luncarty is well signposted so follow the route below the A9 and then take the cycle track that parallels the south-bound A9 for a while before leaving the main road and following a quiet minor road all the way back to Luncarty.

Map: OS 1:50,000 Landranger sheet 52 (Pitlochry & Crieff)
Distance: 63km/37 miles
Time: 3-4 hours
Start/finish: Luncarty (GR: NO095295)
Public transport: Stagecoach East service 34 (Perth-Blairgowrie) goes through Luncarty.
Details from 01738 629339 or Refreshments: Gloagburn Coffee and Farm Shop, Tibbermore (01738 840864,
Find out more: Perth VIC (01738 450600),


Link to digital map: © Crown copyright 2020 Ordnance Survey. Media 059/20.