The Ring of Breadalbane is, in fact, a bus route. But it is not, as our five-year-old points out in admiration, just like any old ordinary bus.
Instead, the Ring of Breadalbane Explorer takes you on a journey through some of Scotland's most beautiful scenery. The circular route takes in Crieff, Comrie, Kenmore, Aberfeldy and all the sparkling lochs, magnificent mountains, pretty villages and rushing waterfalls in between.
Set up two years ago by the Breadalbane Tourism Co-operative, formed by 12 like-minded businesses keen to boost tourism and support the community, it's the only initiative of its kind in Scotland.
Project manager Thomas McMonigle explains: "Transport is an issue for business in rural areas so we got together and decided to do something about it. As far as we are aware, this is the only public bus service which is part-funded by the private sector. We have had a fantastic response, lots of positive feedback, and passenger numbers are growing. Around 55% of passengers are visitors to the area, and according to our last survey, around 80% of those who used the bus said they would not have otherwise made the trip, which is really encouraging."
Teresa Milsom, who manages the Royal Hotel in Comrie, says the Explorer is having an impact on visitor numbers at the hotel, particularly from locals who come to enjoy a meal or night out and visitors who, having driven to the area, want to take a break from the car for the weekend. "People are very positive about the service, it is making a difference," she explains.
The Royal Hotel is one of a number of hotels, guest houses, B&Bs and self-catering accommodation along the route. Look out for Highland Heather Lodges in Comrie, The Four Seasons Hotel, Killin Hotel and the Ben Lawers Hotel in Lawers Village. A bit of planning is required if you intend to use the service as a 'hop on, hop off'. Once you disembark, you have roughly three hours before the next one so use your time and plan your stops accordingly.
Breadalbane means 'the high ground of Scotland', which is appropriate given it is home to the mountain, Ben Lawers, the highest in Scotland outwith the Nevis and Cairngorm ranges.
Comrie is the starting point for our day trip, and we are at the stop bright and early in the autumn sunshine. It is a beautiful place, with a pretty bridge over the River Earn and distinctive White Church, now a community centre, at its heart. On our short walk to the bus stop, we pass a whitewashed shop which was designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
We're heading clockwise, but a short distance outside Comrie on the anti-clockwise route lies Comrie Croft, an award-winning green destination which is home to a farmstead hostel, campsite, walking trails, wildlife viewing and mountain-biking.
Seems a shame to leave this village with its friendly people but the bus is here, and we're off. The road takes us into St Fillans and alongside Loch Earn, where the boys spot mysterious, reflective figures rising from the loch. "Are they statues? Or magic people?" asks Harry. "They are ghosts coming out of the water," offers his big brother, Archie, helpfully. This will probably come back to haunt us at bedtime.
They are in fact an art installation by Rob Mulholland, commissioned by Andrew Low, owner of the Four Seasons Hotel, and refer to homecoming and returning (they stand beside the pier) and the natural cycle of the seasons which are reflected in the figures themselves.
Our first stop is Killin, where we marvel at the rushing Falls of Dochart and enjoy lunch at the Bridge of Lochay Hotel.
The difficulty lies in choosing where to go, as there is so much to see and do. The Scottish Crannog Centre, near Acharn, a reconstruction of an early Iron Age loch dwelling, is a must for history-lovers, while Karelia House near Kenmore is a crafters' paradise. A trip into the hills with Highland Safaris reveals a whole other side to the landscape while Dewar's World of Whisky in Aberfeldy is a brilliant, interactive insight into the ancient art of distilling, complete with trivia, games and audio-visual presentations.
Our journey ends in Aberfeldy where we admire the town's art deco cinema, the Birks, and enjoy coffee and a browse in the Watermill bookshop before catching the bus via Crieff to Comrie.
No hobbits, but plenty of adventures.