This walk is close to Glasgow and, at eight miles, is slightly shorter in length than usual. Part of its charm, however, is that it links up well – known and lesser-known paths, for example the West Highland Way, part of which you follow home. A walk for the memories, then, as much as for the views.
Park at the public car park in Drymen.
Most people will take the A809 to Drymen via either Anniesland and the Switchback or Maryhill Road to Canniesburn, then up to Bearsden Cross. Continue through Bearsden, swinging (carefully) right, at what was St Andrews College, into Stockiemuir Road. Continue straight on over two roundabouts including the old one with a service station on the left. A 20-minute drive follows past Queen’s View, Croftamie etc. This road becomes the A811 at the River Endrick but most people never notice as they drive on over the bridge across the river. However, just before Drymen, swing left (on what is actually the B837) which is well sign-posted to Drymen and the east side of Loch Lomond. Swing right at the village green along the A811 and then right again into the car park. The public toilets are closed but you are welcome to use the toilets in The Winnoch which have been made available for public use.
Your walk begins by walking back to the village green and then left down the main street towards the Buchanan Arms etc. The usual route to Home Farm goes up a narrow path on the right just opposite the Buchanan Arms Hotel. There’s a signpost on the lamp-post on the left pointing up the path on the right. However, you may take the alternative route up to the well-signposted ‘Viewpoint’ which is just before this also on the right. This metalled path leads up to a quite astonishing viewpoint overlooking the southern end of Loch Lomond. The villagers, bless ‘em, have beaten down a path from the viewpoint on the left to join the other path. So from the viewpoint step over a fence on the left, follow a firm beaten path to the right and then curve left down the hill to the other path. This route is a lot less muddy until you hit the low ground at the entrance to Home farm. The path comes out at a metalled road going down left but if you are courteous you might be given permission to turn right and then almost immediately left through the farm which keeps you off the Buchanan Castle road for a little while. (This is a riding stables: if you should meet with a horse and rider here, or further on, it would be courteous to hide your walking sticks.) If no-one is about to ask, turn left down to the main road and then right.
The farm track emerges on the main road, where you turn right up to Buchanan Castle and the Golf Course, so expect some traffic. Most of the traffic will soon go left to the golf course but you continue straight up to the most romantic gothic ruins of Buchanan Castle. Take the right-hand path round the castle and follow the road, past some delightful houses, to a T-junction. Here turn left and go down to a meeting of four paths with an old ice-house on the corner. Go straight on to Buchanan House which is now the Club House of Buchanan Castle Golf Course. Go straight past the entrance to the Club House and at a T-junction turn left down a lovely track to the golf course. Turn right here and follow the golf course round, stepping over a vehicle barrier, and continuing on what is now a cinder track across some scrub land. You might make a slight detour to the River Endrick partly for the view and partly to see where you could come in from the Balloch Road.
Re-trace your steps and take the track now on the left (on the right if you don’t go down to the Endrick) which is variously called Maggie Lapslie’s Loan or Maggie Leckie’s walk depending on the map you’re following! This takes you to High Mains where you turn right (see notes below). Turn next left down Gort Daraich which emerges at two white gate posts sign-posted Stuc-an-t-Sagairt. A right turn takes you on to the Drymen-Balmaha Road just east of Milton of Buchanan. Turn left and cross to the pavement opposite making for the telephone kiosk on the corner of Creity Hall Road.
At Creity Hall Road turn right and begin the long, gentle climb up to the West Highland Way. At the WHW (where the left-hand track goes off to the Conic Hill) turn right on an open track with good views of Loch Lomond and the route you have been following.
Turn right at the track to Coldrach Farm. Where the main forest track turns right there’s a small path going straight down, round a pylon, and this brings you out at a junction with Coldrach Loan. Turn left here, through Coldrach Farm and out to the Old Gartmore Road. A right-hand turn brings you down to the village green and the car-park!