This beautiful rural parish, at the western extremity of what used to be Perthshire, now comes under Stirling Council. Farming remains a major part of life here, despite the inroads made by the Forestry Commission and the predominance of tourism.
The backdrop of mountains, lochs and rivers combined with a sense of history appeals to country lovers and tourists and the parish is now part of the National Park of Loch Lomond and The Trossachs which was established in 2002. Visitors to the area enjoy the variety of attractions and, in coming to see the Church, enjoy some tranquil moments in their busy schedules.
The parish extends nearly 6 miles beyond the end of the public road at Inverlochlarig in Balquhidder glen and at its widest point measures some 10 miles between the summit of Glen Ogle in the north and Ardchullarie by Loch Lubnaig to the south. Much of the parish boundary follows a watershed which takes in summits over 3,000 ft such as Ben Vorlich and Stuc a Chroin in the east and Ben More and Stob Binnean in the west.
The parish church is situated in Balquhidder glen on a site where Christianity was introduced by St Angus some 1200 years or more ago. Nowadays, a total population of almost 8oo is divided between the two main centres of population of Lochearnhead at the junction of the A84 and A85, and Strathyre 5 miles to the south on the A84. The Kirkton of Balquhidder is loosely referred to as “the village” but the glen is officially described as a “dispersed rural settlement”.
Railways were at the heart of nineteenth century developments with stations at Lochearnhead and Strathyre, and Balquhidder had its own station midway between the two, plus a halt at Kingshouse. The railway route is now followed by a good cycle track all the way from Callander to Killin. Landslides (plus Dr Beeching) closed the railways and in 2004 affected the A84 road badly necessitating considerable engineering works which have worked well to cope with extreme weather.