Gallus Running
Tarbet to Helensburgh

Tarbet to Helensburgh

Length
30.7 Kms
Elevation gain
562.2 m
Max elevation
218.5 m
Difficulty
***
Rating
*****
Type
Point to point
Route id
586
Main road
0.3 Kms
Country road
7.2 Kms
Dirt road
0 Kms
Dirt path
0 Kms
Trail
23.2 Kms
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Directions to start point
So this route took over six months from inception to actually doing and what a joy this one is to do. So this is the first route we have documented from railway station to railway station making this one of the more accessible routes. Both stations featured, Helensburgh Upper and Tarbet, are on the West Highland line which connects Glasgow Queen Street with Oban and Fort William and beyond. We took the 06:01 from Helensburgh Upper to Tarbet - that train leaves Glasgow at 05:20 with the next one at 08:23. Even on this early part of the classic rail journey the views are wonderful.
At 06:31 and onto the deserted platform of Tarbet station to be joined by the early morning midges and the sound of silence. Brilliant. Out of the station and down to the left to join the main road pavement for few hundred metres. The 3 lochs way is signposted and is initially a small tarred road heading uphill on your left. This meets a gate at the top on the left and from here you are onto a long section of forest road and trail.
You are soon above Loch Long and you follow this path south as it crosses Glen Douglas before reaching the hill above Faslane. The route during this part is very undulating and you never know when coming round a corner if you will be going up or down. However, lots of lovely views. There is a short section of about
2 Kms
after Glen Douglas where the route goes from forest road to trail. Nothing too technical but parts are a little difficult. This section ends when you cross the small burn, Allt Derigan, that goes under the railway bridge. Worth noting that the foot bridge at the time of writing has been removed and you have to go under the railway bridge before crossing the burn which can involve a bit of stone jumping. We have been here several times and dry feet every time so far.
Shortly after passing the Finnart terminal on the loch below the route becomes a single tarred road and you are runnign alongisde the military zone on your right. The road runs alongside the start of the zone so keeping on the road will keep you safe. There are lots of warning signs and red flags flying but you can sometimes hear rifle fire. All a bit unusual. The tarred section changes on the hill above Faslane submarine base where you cross the main road and enter Glen Fruin and take the B road heading left and downhill . Although you can stay on this road we have choosen the trail route which does involve wet feet crossing the small Fruin water. The B road and the trail route do meet up again. The trail and farm road section brings you out at the cattle grid, after climbing over the locked gate, and short distance away from the good quality path over the hill towards Helensburgh. This is the last climb of the route which seems harder after about
6 Kms
of mainly down. Loch Lomond can be spotted in the distance, but you are soon over the hill and looking out over Helenburgh and the Clyde.
The downhill part of this trail was overhauled in summer 2021 making it an easy run where before it was rather technical. The trail meets the Highland man's way where you take a left and exit after about
1 Kms
at the famous Hill house. For this route we end the journey at Helensburgh Upper station a few street blocks downhill from Hill House. Trains back to Glasgow from this station are not too frequent, however if you keep on downhill into Helensburgh itself you will find Helensburgh Central on the left where the Edinburgh train via Glasgow Queen Street low level, departs every half hour.
So overall a great adventure of a run without having to take a car.
Route directions
Kms
1
Start at Tarbet station

0
2
Take the road left on leaving the station

0.1
3
Turn left along the pavement on the A83

0.2
4
At the bus stop you will see the small road on the right, cross the main road to access

0.5
5
At the top of the hill follow the 3 loch signs heading to the right

0.7
6
Cross the Glen Douglas road

7.2
7
Take the smaller signposted path on the left

10.4
8
Go under the railway bridge before crossing the small burn

11.4
9
Turn right at the top of the incline

11.7
10
Straight on

12.9
11
Keep right

14.5
12
Cross over the A817

18.9
13
Turn left at the Glen Fruin road tee

19.3
14
Take the small gate on the right inot the field

22
15
Wet feet time crossing the Fruin water

22.6
16
A sort muddy section thanks to the cows and sheep

22.6
17
Climb over the gate and turn right going over the cattle grid

26.2
18
Take 3 lochs way on the right

26.3
19
At the bottom of the hill take the path heading to the left

28.8
20
Turn into the Hill house car park and follow the road straight down the hill

29.9
21
The road goes left

30.5
22
Turn right and into the station

30.6
23
Either finish at Helensburgh upper or go straight down the street to Helensburgh central where trains are more frequent

30.7
Initial part at Tarbet
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6:30 am and we arrive at Tarbet station
Initial part at Tarbet
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Station car park
Initial part at Tarbet
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On leaving the station take the road to the left, towards Loch Lomond
Initial part at Tarbet
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Road crossing to the hill path
Initial part at Tarbet
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Looking back downhill to the main road
Initial part at Tarbet
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Gate marks the start of the off road running
In the hill above Arrochar
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First sight of Loch Lonmg
In the hill above Arrochar
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Across the loch from Ardgartan
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Across the loch from Ardgartan
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Back towards Arrochar
Across the loch from Ardgartan
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Ardgartan across Loch Long
Across the loch from Ardgartan
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View up Loch Long
Across the loch from Ardgartan
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Across the loch from Ardgartan
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Towards Glen Douglas
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Towards Glen Douglas
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Towards Glen Douglas
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More of a trail
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Turning point to stay on 3 Lochs Way
More of a trail
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Downhill as path starts to become more of a trail
More of a trail
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Path continues to narrow
More of a trail
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Towards the bridge
More of a trail
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Here's to dry feet
More of a trail
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As narrow as the path gets and only for a short section
More of a trail
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Old crossing is out of action
More of a trail
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Head up the left side of the burn and under the railway before crossing
More of a trail
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The plank crossing
More of a trail
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View to the crossing looking back
Onto the tarred road
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Onto the tarred road
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Keep to the tarred road to avoid any issues
Onto the tarred road
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Glen Fruin
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Locals guard the start of Glen Fruin
Glen Fruin
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Glen Fruin
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Glen Fruin
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Not often you see a peacock on your run
Glen Fruin farm road
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Cow's playing spot the runner
Glen Fruin farm road
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Farm gate to go through from Glen Fruin road and back onto trail
Glen Fruin farm road
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Glen Fruin farm road
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Your feet are going to get wet here
Glen Fruin farm road
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Glen Fruin farm road
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Glen Fruin farm road
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3 Lochs Way to Helensburgh
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Sign for trail to Helensburgh
3 Lochs Way to Helensburgh
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3 Lochs Way to Helensburgh
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Stay away from the wee cows
3 Lochs Way to Helensburgh
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Road block, usually early morning only
3 Lochs Way to Helensburgh
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Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Submarine coming up the Clyde
Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Turn left
Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Downhill with the Clyde in view
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Ending at Helensburgh upper
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Ending at Helensburgh upper
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Hill House, though now in a protective shield
Ending at Helensburgh upper
Gallus Running : Helensburgh upper
Helensburgh Upper, where we started at 06:01 am
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