Strathyre, the village, lies some eight miles north-west of Callander and stretches along the east side of Strathyre, the valley, formed by the winding River Balvag as it makes its way south from Loch Voil and past Balquhidder en route to Loch Lubnaig. Today's Strathyre not only lies mostly on the east side of the valley, it also lies mostly on the east side of the A84, one of the main routes connecting central Scotland with the Highlands.
The name Strathyre comes from the Gaelic for "broad winding valley" and throughout history it has been a main highway, variously used by drovers and their herds of black Highland cattle en route to market, by armies of various allegiances moving north or south, or by fugitives like the fictional David Balfour and Alan Breck who came this way in 1751 in Robert Louis Stevenson's classic novel "Kidnapped".
The valley of Strathyre was first settled by crofters cleared from land in Balquhidder Glen to make room for sheep. The original few cottages were built on the west side of the bridge over the river constructed by Major William Caulfield in the late 1700s as part of a network of military roads built in the years either side of the 1745 Jacobite uprising.
Everything changed in Strathyre with the arrival of the Callander & Oban railway, which reached here from the south in 1870. The line, which further south went around the west side of Loch Lubnaig, crossed the river before running through this part of the valley close to the east side of the river. A station was built on land that now lies between the main road and the river.
With the arrival of the railway, Strathyre very quickly became a popular resort, allowing visitors right into the heart of the Trossachs, an area that the author Sir Walter Scott had done so much to popularise. The old settlement on the east side of the river was quickly overshadowed by a new village along the east side of the valley, as cottages, villas and hotels were rapidly built to provide accommodation for visitors, and for locals pulled in by the new job opportunities created by the tourist boom.
In the late 1800s, Strathyre station became famous for its superb gardening displays, which on one occasion won the stationmaster a "best kept station" award. The prize was an ornamental fountain complete with a statue of a heron. When the station, like the line on which it stood, closed in 1965, the fountain and its heron moved to a nearby garden.
Today's Strathyre would have been recognisable to visitors who came a century ago. There has been some new housing development in the area once occupied by the station, but for the most part the village remains strung out along the east side of the main road. And it remains home to a significant number of visitor facilities. Between the Inn & Bistro at the south end of the village and Rosebank House B&B at its north end, the village is punctuated by two imposing hotels, the Ben Sheann Hotel and the Munro Inn.
Opposite the Ben Sheann Hotel and close to the village shop and post office is the Buchanan Monument, erected in 1883 to commemorate the Highlands' best known religious poet, Dugald Buchanan, who lived from 1716 to 1768.