Category Archives: Within a radius of 10 miles

Any old iron: The Monklands Canal and Drumpelier Country Park

Coatbridge, was once one of the Scotland’s largest cities. It has six railway stations! The walk starts at Summerlee -The Museum of Scottish Industrial Life – and goes from there down to the canal basin. This area was once known as the muttonhole. It is unique in that the Gartsherrie Burn passes under the Monkland Canal. The canal is crossed by a road bridge which is then spanned by a rail bridge – possibly the world’s first ‘spaghetti’ junction!

From the muttonhole your walk, of just over 8 miles, takes you west along the Monkland Canal and into Drumpellier Country Park. After enjoying a circuit of Lochend Loch you return via Garnheath Wood to our starting point.

Starting Point

The starting point is at OS Reference NS 728 653 which is the car park opposite Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge.

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Getting there:  12 miles/25 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to join the M8 towards Edinburgh.  Exit at Junction 8 onto A89 (Coatbridge). Follow the road until you are in Bank Street and at the roundabout (with the Time Capsule Leisure Centre diagonally opposite on the right) turn left.  After 50m take the first right into West Canal Street.  Go under the railway bridge at Coatbridge Central station and then turn left into Heritage Way.  Parking is on the left opposite Summerlee Heritage Park and is free.

The Walk:  Monkland Canal/Drumpellier Country Park – 8.0 miles (It can be shortened if required)
You may wish to start the day with a visit to the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life (entry is free).  There is an exhibition hall, various outside attractions including Scotland’s only electric tram (charge applies), a replica of the first iron boat – Vulcan, and a recreated mine and miners’ cottages (a small charge applies for a 15 minute tour).  There is a café.

The walk itself starts from within the Heritage Park, after visiting the museum/café, and exits at the dry part of the Monkland Canal where the canal goes over the Gartsherrie Burn, the road goes over the canal and the railway goes over the road!  Turn right and follow the course of the canal under Blairhill Street and continue until Blair Bridge.  Pass under the bridge and turn immediately left, and at the road turn right.  Turn right into Drumpellier Avenue, left into Golfview Drive then left into an access drive opposite Davaar Drive.  Follow this slightly downhill and continue right on the access drive.  As you come to the last house turn left over a low stone ‘wall’ onto the golf course.  Turn right and follow the boundary of the golf course. At the bottom corner continue left hugging the boundary.  Opposite a clump of trees on the left take a short flattish path through the tree line (on the right) and turn left onto the canal towpath.  At the end of the towpath there is a choice (1) of returning along the towpath until a bridge on the left (opposite Drumpellier Home Farm).  Cross the bridge and bear left.  Continue until a bridge on the right (over the railway).  Or (2), cross the decking over the canal and follow the wide track (which may be wet and muddy) back to the railway bridge.

If you want a shorter walk cross the railway bridge into Drumpellier Country Park and turn left.  Follow the wide track down to the corner and turn right.  Follow the track until it joins a road just before the nursery and bungalow and continue onwards to Lochend Loch.  Take the path to the left around the loch and follow it to the visitor centre.

For the full walk cross the railway bridge and turn immediately left onto a path that hugs the railway line.  At the corner where a sign post indicates to go right continue forward onto a grassy path which eventually curves round to the right and passes a small lochan/pond on the right.  Follow the path into the woodland and bear left where there is an obvious choice.  Pass through a fence line and follow the path slightly downhill and cross the burn onto a good solid path.  Turn left and bear immediately right and follow this straight path to Lochend Loch.  Then take the path to the left; continue to the visitor centre.

Take the path to the east of the loch and at the southern end turn off left past the Peace Garden.  Turn right before the bungalow and follow the path past the nursery into the raised bog area.  Near a junction of paths turn left uphill through a large wooden access point.  After cresting the rise the path turns left downhill.  Ignore the path on the right and continue on until it meets the road slightly south of the bungalow.  Turn right and shortly afterwards bear right. This leads back to the railway bridge.  Cross it, turn left and after a short distance bear right (signed Coatbridge).  After crossing the canal bridge turn left and follow the towpath back to Blair Bridge and then back to your car.

Burncrooks Reservoir and the John Muir Way

This is the simplest of walks beginning and ending at a (very large) car-park with toilets and following well-sign-posted routes (excepted where I’ve cobbled together extra stuff) along the newest section of The John Muir Way (JMW). This section used to follow the road but has been developed at cost of half a million pounds so wear your best boots! The new route comes in from Balloch but, given the limitations of a circular walk back to the cars, you can do an extended loop from Edenmill Farm car-park. This is an unexceptional walk although Burncrooks Reservoir is pleasant and the views of the Campsies, the Kilpatricks and the Arrochar Alps from parts of the path are lovely. The two reservoirs are also pretty enough. The walk back looking across at Glasgow no more than 5-6 miles away is astonishing. There are two opt outs, allowing you to get back to the café for an extra cup-of-tea! The full length is just under 8 miles on mainly level paths.

Park at Edenmill Farm car-park

Take your favourite route to Canniesburn Toll (either Maryhill Road (A81) or Great Western Road, Anniesland, Switchback Road. At Canniesburn Toll, make sure you take the Bearsden/Drymen Road (A809). Drive up to and through Bearsden Cross, turn right, still on the A809 now called Stockiemuir Road (at what used to be Notre Dame College and is now St Andrew’s Brae opposite the Ski slope). Continue through two sets of traffic lights, across two roundabouts (Baljaffray and Crossburn), through Craigton and past the Hilton Golf Course. If you glimpse signposts for the JMW on your left just before Carbeth Inn ignore them. Go past Carbeth Inn and the junction with the A821 to Blanefield.

With Auchengillan Outdoor Centre on your right, turn left directly opposite clearly marked Edenmill Farm Shop, Christmas Trees, café etc.  It is marked on the OS map as Auchineden Farm and there is in fact an old name to this Farm at the entrance.

Drive along this picturesque, single-track road with passing places and, at a notice saying, PRIVATE, NO VEHICLES, turn left into an enormous car-park.

 The walk

Just to be awkward ignore the John Muir Way which comes into the car-park from the south (your left facing the café) and goes out on your north west (behind you at the corner where you drove in.) Or vice versa if you’re walking the other way! It’s surprisingly difficult to get this sorted despite the foot path signs. (If just want to do the JMW around the reservoir then go to the entrance/exit of the car park go back a little way along the road you came on but turn sharp left through the PRIVATE, NO VEHICLES sign and follow the JMW signs.

On this walk, however, facing the café turn left across some scrub land and then right as sign-posted. At the T junction of tracks sign-posted ‘Carbeth’ to the left, immediately turn right, in the opposite direction from the John Muir Way and follow the LRT. At a junction, ignore the path to the left to a huge wooden building and go straight on past the picturesque cottage called South Lodge. Keep to this LRT, ignoring any turn-offs, till you come to the main ‘road’ going straight up to the reservoir. The advantage of this route is that it keeps you off tarmac for a little longer, has pleasant views and the gentle gradient is even gentler!

At this ‘main’ road, turn left, now on the official route, and continue up past the filter station to a left turn with huge Forest Enterprise warning notices. The JMW turns left here but  you can go straight on which allows those wanting to opt out early to do a little turn around the dam and come back. This track goes past the path up to The Whangie and Auchineden Hill but you continue to the dam across the reservoir. Just before the dam there is a path down to a secluded second, smaller dam and a little glen. This is a picturesque sheltered spot for lunch. Up the other side of the glen turn left on the official JMW route coming in on your right from Balloch. This turns back to the other end of the main dam and there is a muddy local path from the path to the dam. Anyone wanting a short cut back can circle round here.

Otherwise you simply walk around Burnbrooks Reservoir. The views of Loch Lomond on the one hand and the Kilpatricks with Duncolm on the other are pleasant in either direction. This section is surprisingly lumpy!

Come back to the official exit/entrance of the JMW which you ignored on your way out.  Turn up the LRT to a T junction. If you’ve had enough, turn left here, and at the next T junction with the Forest Enterprise Notice Boards, turn right and go back down the road, past the Filter Station. This time, don’t go round South Lodge, unless you want to, but continue down the road to the little hamlet of Auchineden. Go past the bungalow on the left, turn sharp right, following JMW signs, and into the car park.

However, if you have time, turn right on exiting the path from Burncrooks Reservoir. At a junction, take the left hand turn past the quarry. This LRT curls round to Kilmannan Reservoir which is quieter and perhaps prettier than Burncrooks. On the map the track stops at the dam, where there are lovely views. However, he track clearly goes on and there are plans to develop a path all the way round. Return from the dam the same way and join the route taken above back to the cars.

Mugdock Country Park (1)

There are many delightful walks within Mugdock Country Park, and almost as many which take you out of the park in all directions, allowing for an extended walk.  This  route makes for the South Lodge car-park and exit before taking in the Milngavie Reservoirs, Drumclog Muir, part of the West Highland Way and the Boards walk. It avoids the dangers of the Khyber Pass and, at just over seven miles, is mainly on very firm paths.

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Park at the car-park at the Visitors’ Centre in Mugdock Country Park. To get there:

Take your favourite route to Milngavie. This is generally either:

  • Great Western Road or the Clyde tunnel to Anniesland and then the A739 (the Switchback) through Temple and on to Canniesburn Toll; or
  • Queen Margaret Drive to Maryhill Road, then Canniesburn Toll.

At Canniesburn Toll take the A81 to Milngavie. If you come from Maryhill Road you don’t actually reach the roundabout but take a slip-road to the right; if you come from the Switchback, go right the way round (second exit) ignoring the first road to Bearsden. The A81 takes you through the east end of Milngavie (past what was the East Dunbartonshire Council Buildings and is now a hotel); round the roundabout at Homebase, etc (sign-posted to Strathblane) and past the waterworks. On a straight stretch, with Dumgoyne looming ahead, a brown Tourist Board signpost points to a road on the left to Mugdock Country Park. At the T junction turn right and keep going past the first car park and on to a more imposing entrance with a well-laid out car park, sign posts and buildings etc.

The Walk

Your walk begins from the Visitors’ Centre where you take the eastern (or left) side of Gallows Hill, past the Play Area on your right on a broad LRT sign-posted to Craigend Castle. This curves round and continues to and round the end of Mugdock Loch and down towards South Lodge car-park. At a T junction  turn left, as signposted and come down to a second T junction just before the actual car park which you don’t enter. Instead a slight dog-leg right and left leads to a short but lovely off-road path along and across a little nameless burn which runs down from Mugdoch Loch to the Allander water.

This path emerges on Ellangowan Road where there is now a pavement. Take this to the gates of Mugdock Reservoir, where you cross the road to enter on your left and then turn immediately right to continue beside the water to where a gap allows access to Drumclog car-park.

A very firm path exits the rear of the car-park by an excellent Information Board and map. The broad path continues to a broken sign-post where you turn left. (The indicators are missing but the path to the left is well-made and obvious whereas the path straight on is narrow and muddy. ) Turn left here and, with splendid views across Glasgow, go downhill to the West Highland Way where there is a blue bench and a sign-post pointing in all directions!

Turn right and follow a broad LRT with a packed surface along the lovely Allander. There is also a narrower path which is worth following occasionally since not only is it nearer to the river but is also free from cyclists. This comes out at Craigallian Bridge where you dogleg slightly left then right to continue the track towards Craigallian Loch. At the far end of Carbeth Loch we turn right, around the loch, and then take the track which leads up to the Boards Walk. This is the only steep bit on the walk.

At the T-Junction,  turn right which brings you, eventually, on to the Khyber Pass. Turn right and either take the short-cut on the left-hand side of the road or walk a short distance along the road and turn left into the Khyber car-park. Turn immediately left, opposite the car-park, and make  your way back to Craigend Castle and back to the Visitors’ Centre.

Calderglen Country Park

Calderwood Estate was once dubbed ‘one of the loveliest of western glens, magnificent in its grouping of craggy heights, sprinkled with trees and with the amber-tinted Calder winding through the richly wooded and festooned valley’. The history of the Calderwood estate can be traced back to the first half of the 13th century. The Castle, originally built in 1790, was the stately home of the Maxwell family. In 1845, the then owner, Sir William Alexander Maxwell, added a grand gothic frontage. The death of Sir William Alexander’s Widow in 1900, marked the end of the Maxwell lineage. The Castle subsequently passed through a number of owners, including the Scottish Co-operative Society, who worked the land and opened the grounds to the public. Sadly, by 1951 the castle had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it had to be demolished. Traces of the formal gardens and the family mausoleum are all that now remain of this once majestic country estate. Most of these paths are aggregate (plastic bottle (!), packed bark or grit ‘n stone), and are sheltered, fenced, bridged and boarded as appropriate. The exceptions are a country trail on the way to Langlands and a very muddy, but I think worthwhile, stretch at the back of Langlands Moss. Inevitably, East Kilbride intrudes occasionally but there is a surprisingly countrified bit on the way to Langlands. The route we did was about nine miles including a short wander up towards the Castle Falls a little way – towards either Trough or Black Linn and really the best bits of the park. There are several trails to suit all tastes and abilities.

Park in the car-park in Calderglen Country Park, G75 0QZ

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East Kilbride is not for the faint-hearted! If you take a wrong turning you have to turn around via Carlisle (for the geographically illiterate this is somewhat exaggerated!) so getting into the appropriate lane, remembering you’re going to Calderglen and not Calderwood and being prepared to go twice round the roundabouts is helpful!

For the adventurous: if you use the postcode (G75 0QZ) with your Satnav it will take you quickly and directly, making use of the new stretch of the M74. Generally speaking, keep in the left lane until I suggest otherwise! This route takes only 25 minutes from Glasgow!

Take your favourite route to the Kingston Bridge (get into or stay in the left lane), then exit at Junction 20, West Street (left lane) and at the bottom of the slip road, at the traffic lights, stay in the left lane turning left (Wallace Street), and then left again (Dalintober Street) as directed towards the M74. Stay in the left lane to curve naturally on to the M74 (signposted Carlisle and Cambuslang). Keep in the left lane, going past Junction 1A (to Rutherglen and Polmadie) and continuing on to Junction 2 to Rutherglen and Dalmarnock. At the bottom of the slip road turn left (sign-posted City Centre/ Dalmarnock) and then sharp left again on the A724 on Cambuslang Road ‘towards the City Centre A724 (A749) Drive on to traffic lights at a major crossroads with ‘The Laurels’ opposite with a clock on the wall and Lloyd street on the right. Turn left here along what is Farmeloan Road (but not named) and drive up to traffic lights at Farmeloan Cross. (Rutherglen High street is to the right and Boots is on the opposite corner).

Go straight across (A749), signposted ‘Burnside, East Kilbride and Rutherglen Shopping Centre’, up Stonelaw Road, past the Bowling Green on the left and curving to the right beyond some woodland into Burnside. At some shops, go underneath the railway and turn sharp left along East Kilbride Road (A749).

Follow this, going straight over at the first roundabout, straight over Nerston roundabout (first exit) and straight over the next roundabout (second exit) following the A749.

At the Whirlies Roundabout (with big metal golf balls) go straight over, third exit (but it looks like the fourth) and you must be in the middle or outer lane signposted A725, Town Centre, Strathaven, etc. (The inner lane takes you off to Calderwood.) Go along what is now Kingsway to Whitemoss Roundabout where you pick up the first brown tourist sign for Calderglen Country Park. Go straight over and turn left at Burniehill Roundabout, signposted A726, Strathaven and Calderglen Country Park. You must now get into the right-hand lane (the left lane is local.) This becomes a single lane and you turn into Calderglen on the left. Drive along the estate road until you reach a no-entry sign, turn right and you’ll come to a large car park by the main entrance.

For the afeart: It’s much longer but easier to take the M8 east towards Edinburgh and then, at junction 8, take the M73, quickly followed by the M74 at Junction 1 towards Carlisle etc. (Don’t let the Junction numbers confuse you, follow the signs to Carlisle, the South etc.) Come off on the A725, just past the Bothwell service station, and keep in the right-hand lane of the three-lane slip road as you come down to a huge roundabout controlled by traffic lights. Go all the way round the roundabout (The left lane of the slip road goes off to Bellshill etc. and the middle lane becomes the inside lane and leads off into Strathclyde Country Park.) Ignore the slip road back up on to the motorway, and keep in your lane which leads to a roundabout and a dedicated lane to East Kilbride. All this should be sign-posted A725 Expressway to East Kilbride. Follow the Expressway up and you’ll come to the Whirlies Roadabout (as above.) In your case, take what is the second and main exit signposted the Town Centre, Strathaven etc. Go along what is now Kingsway to Whitemoss Roundabout where you pick up the first brown tourist sign for Calderglen Country Park. Go straight over and turn left at Burniehill Roundabout, signposted Calderglen Country Park. You must now get into the right-hand lane (the left lane is local) This becomes a single lane and you turn into Calderglen on the left. Drive along the estate road until you reach a no-entry sign, turn right and you’ll come to a large car park by the main entrance.

The walk

The walk begins from the car-park turning left at an Information Board and then right at a junction of paths sign-posted towards the BBQ area and Horseshoe Falls. At a T junction, turn left and go straight down to the Rotten Calder (so-called because of it’s colour – red – not it’s smell). This is a glorious path (snow-drop covered in March) leading to the top of wooden steps which zig-zag down to the river. Turn right at the bottom and left over the river. Turn right, away from the Horseshoe Falls and BBQ area. Then follow an all-too-short sheltered stretch by the river.  At the obvious end of the path, turn right and back over a bridge, but head off left towards Langlands Moss. (You could leave here, following the top path back to the Visitors’ Centre.) Your path climbs high above the river but you are safely fenced and eventually it drops down to the water again, to wind under the Strathaven Road (tunnelled and bleak). Once under, however, the path becomes increasingly attractive. It follows the river round to a wooden bridge and a junction of paths. Turn left here – you can come back the other, shorter, way if the weather is bad. You now enter open countryside and continue following the river to Hurlawcrook Road. A dogleg right and over, takes you past the information board at the entrance to Langlands Moss. This is a gravel path and, at the junction with a board walk, you turn left along the boards. Do not step off – you are now walking over bog! There are information boards along the way and, in summer, the bog would be awash with heather! It’s a bit bleak in winter! The board-walk enters a wood where you turn left and follow the path to a clearing with picnic tables and benches.

Continue in the same direction, turning right down a path marked ‘Routes around Roots’ to a bridge. Turn right here. This stretch is very squelchy – just plough on!!! At a T-junction, a marker, again ‘Routes around Roots’, directs you right and up through a lovely path through woods and back to the board walk. Go back along the way you came.

At the T junction you can turn left and follow the track back to another entrance on Hurlawcrook Road but this way was a bit bleak and urbanised. It’s prettier to go back to the same entrance you came in. Follow the route you took on the way out. At the bridge, if you’ve had enough, go straight on to the Visitors’ Centre. We crossed back over the bridge we took in the morning to the foot of the wooden steps. There are other routes but this was the prettiest so you might as well do it twice!

However, we didn’t climb up the steps (you could leave here and go back to the Visitors’ Centre) but continued along the river. This bit is lovely again – and we followed the path up to the junction with the Tor Loop (yellow route). If the weather is kind and you have the energy, go on a bit and then return to this junction. The Tor Loop climbs up a little and then turns left to follow the Kelvin Burn. Again, this is lovely. The Tor Loop crosses the drive way by which you entered the park and enters woods. The path is dry and safe and has a pretty bridge across a nameless burn. There is a diversion to ‘The Tor’ (hence the name of this loop) which is the ‘motte’ of a ‘motte and bailey castle’. Soon it parallels the outward drive from the park and brings you plump back into the car park.

Dams to Darnley

The route is a picturesque ‘lollipop’ including all the ‘best bits’ of an old and fascinating walk known, presumably, to the locals but only now hitting the wider literature. I would guess that you will have beeen as astonished as I was to find this lovely walk just off a busy dual-carriageway thoroughfare, not far from Barrhead and running parallel to the M77. One minute you’re in a very busy, urban centre among the supermarkets and traffic and literally five minutes later you’re standing in a picturesque glen. East Renfrewshire has formed a number of paths around three picturesque reservoirs and we added two more lochs and a woodland walk. It’s totally surprising and lovely.

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PARK in the car-park of ‘The World Buffet’ restaurant who have kindly agreed with East Renfrewshire to allow parking on their premises. You should park neatly in the larger car-park, fronting the main road (the A726), and well away from the entrance to the restaurant which will be very busy at lunch-time.

TOILETS The World Buffet toilets are for customers only and the usual practice, mentioned on every website, is to use the toilets at Sainsbury’s. To get there follow the instructions below to The World Buffet but as you come off the M77 and turn right on to the A726, look almost immediately for a large Sainsbury’s sign on the left and turn in JUST BEFORE SAINBURY’S. This takes you up to a roundabout which you go round to exit on the right, and then up the ramp, past a huge car park on the right, to the car park for Sainsbury’s itself. Afterwards, come back to the A726 and turn left to continue past the first road (Southpark Village) to the SECOND LEFT which has a large ‘World Buffet’ cylindrical advert on a pole. Turn left here, left again into the restaurant, and then park as above.

To get to The World Buffet Restaurant car park

(Note, the Post Code, G53 7RN, takes you too far. Use it to get to the A726 to Paisley and then follow the instructions below.) It will take about 25 minutes from Glasgow.

Otherwise begin by taking your favourite route to the Kingston Bridge and the M77 towards Kilmarnock and Ayr. If you come over the Kingston Bridge keep in the lane third from the left with the M77 on the gantry above. (The first two lanes on the left go down to West Street etc.) Stick with the inside lane on the M77, ignoring roads beside you which seem to be the M77 and which will soon join you. Stay on the M77 past Silverburn, with the Park and Ride and the brown Burrell notices, and go on to Junction 3 signposted ‘A726, Paisley and Barrhead’. I would keep in the outside lane on the slip road until you approach the junction when you should get into the middle lane of the three so that you are in the middle lane as you turn right signposted ‘Paisley and Barrhead’ to go back underneath the motorway. Keep in the middle lane and ignore the slip road going off on your left (to Southpark and Darnley) and go straight on towards Sainsbury’s. Turn left at the traffic lights for Sainsbury’s if you wish to use their toilets: otherwise continue on past a road on the left to Southpark Village and take the next road on the left to turn into the World Buffet Restaurant. You’ll see the cylinder advertising the restaurant on a high pole on the left, just before the entrance.

The walk

The walk begins by turning left on the lane outside the restaurant, away from the main road, and turning left again at the first entrance into a picnic area with various signposts. We ignored the direct route and took the path sign-posted for the Southpark Village entrance, crossing a picturesque bridge and turning right at the next junction to go alongside the left hand side of the little pond. At the end, the ‘pond’ path climbs a little to re-join the Southpark Village path and you follow this up to the main route up through the glen. Dog-leg left and right here, going between two piles of grit, to pick up a slightly higher path and, at the immediate junction, turn right to follow a lovely path through the woods and along side the rushing Brock Burn..

(The grit is going to be used for planting to prevent fly-tipping! If you miss it, or it’s planted, go on up the main route just a little, take the path on the right and then double back to a junction: this time the take the path on the left.)

A set of sturdy steps helps you to gain height easily and at the top bends left to the main route again. However, as the path bends left, look out for a path on the right. Turn right here, across some duckboards and follow a pretty, but muddy, path wiggling up through the woods. This is much preferable to slogging it up the road!. At the top, it re-joins the road at an idyllic view of a spectacular waterfall!!! (Well it was in February!)

The road curves round right and then left to the first of five reservoirs, this one the Waulkmill Glen Reservoir. Again the signpost gives a number of options. Follow the ‘road’ beside the reservoir, and you soon have Littleton reservoir and the Brock Burn on your right. The road ends alongside the Ryat Linn Reservoir and another lovely waterfall just below the Aurs Road. THIS IS THE END OF THE STICK and a nice place for a picnic.

To do the lollipop, your path turns left and goes up to a safe place to cross the Aurs Road. Cross over and for the next mile and a quarter you are walking round the Balgray reservoir to a car park with two picnic tables another nice , but rather bleak, place for a picnic. It is usual to retrace your steps from here.

If you want to do the full round, continue alongside Balgray Reservoir, as sign-posted, over the railway line, with fine views across Paisley, and come down to Springfield Road. A slight dog-leg left and right will take you t across the road to take some steps down to a safer road which you follow downhill (to the right). Where the side road runs out make for the Aurs Road (a continuation of Springfield Road) coming out at Albar Estates. You have to cross this road at a terrible bend so be prepared to nanny each other! At two lamp-posts up the hill a little (10 yards?) is a small path running alongside the Albar Estate entrance. The path soon grows up, goes into some trees, across a burn on a plank and up a track. The next bit is fine, with open views to Dumgoyne and Knockupple. It continues up to the railway line AND THEN GETS LOST! THE PATH CURVES ROUND AND FOLLOWS THE RAILWAY LINE BUT THE PATH YOU WANT, MARKED ON THE MAP, HAS BEEN OBLITERATED. Immediately under the railway line go straight up a muddy bank and pick up a path which makes for what we have come to call the ‘Oblong’ Reservoir. Cut through left to higher ground and take a come-and-go-path towards the wall on Aurs Road. As you get near the wall, you can see a gate on the left which you may as well make for since it’s open. Through here turn left and come back to the stick.

This time, take the road straight down, ignoring the little path through the woods. Just past a ruined building and through two pillars, turn left and either go down the first on the right (shorter) or take the path you came up (longer but prettier!). You come out by the two piles of grit and either cut through here or a little further on to the main route. Turn right and then immediately left for the ‘official’ path off the road (between two round stone pillars) which is shorter and prettier to come back to the start of the walk.

The Pipe Track

This is a tried and tested route popularly known as ‘the Pipe Track’. It’s a delightful walk, following the route of the pipe (hence its name) bringing clean water from Loch Katrine to Glasgow. The route twists and turns and takes in some very pretty little waterways as well as distant views. The outward route joins up with the West Highland way back. Those not wanting to do the full ten (very flat) miles can opt out at Killearn, have a very civilised coffee in one of the several olde world tea shoppes and bus it back.

PARK in St Kessogs Roman Catholic Church at the War Memorial in Blanefield. (you may wish to leave a donation for the privilege.) To get there from Glasgow take either the A82 (Great Western Road) to Anniesland and then the A739 (the Bearsden/Switch Road); or the A81 (Maryhill Road) both of which take you to Canniesburn Toll. Here, take the A81 towards Milngavie, (not Drymen). Continue on the A81 to the roundabout at Homebase etc. and then continue towards Mugdock, Strathblane and then Blanefield. As you go through Blanefield you’ll pass ‘The Blanefield Inn’ on your right, , and then immediately the War Memorial also on the right. You might get parked here but, if not, turn right into the Campsie Dene Road and then sharp right again up a steep but short road to the car park at the back of St Kessog’s Roman Catholic church. It’s awfy pretty. There is a notice at the bottom saying that walkers are welcome to use the car park from Monday to Saturday.but, The journey, which is 10 miles, should take no more than 30 minutes.

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TheWalk

Begin by walking up the broad path which runs, firstly up Campsie Dene Road and then along and sometimes on top of the water pipe. Despite being just beside the A81 all the way, it seems like another world. Among the twists and turns are magnificent bridges, arches and other examples of nineteenth century engineering; the distillery at Dumgoyne; to the right, lovely views of the Campsies and Dumgoyne itself; and to the left even lovelier views of the Glen Luss horseshoe above Loch Lomond across the Strathblane valley. Ahead is the towering lump of Ben Lomond.

On the outskirts of Killearn, after High Lettre Farm, continue on to a gate and a cottage. Leave the Pipe Track on a path on the left which goes straight down with a wood on one side and a very new building with turrets etc. on the other. The path turns sharp left and emerges on Branizert Road where you turn left to come down almost opposite Drumbeg Loan, a road youe need to get on to the West Highland Way. At the end of Drumbeg Load turn left. A track to the left at Arlehaven (now burnt down), past our famous ‘Private’ sign’, wanders round to the left and then curves right. If you go straight on here you come out at a very dangerous bend on the B821. Turn left here, go downhill to the old railway line with an obvious railwayman’s cottage and platform, now a more upmarket house, and turn in right along the old line. However, if you turn left at the junction of tracks before this you come down on to the old railway line itself and avoid the dangerous bend on the B821.

The old railway line takes you more-or-less back, past a water works site to a sign saying ‘overhead cables’ with a dog poo bin etc. Turn left here along a track then up some steep wooden steps to the main road at Blanefield Community Centre.

This is quite along walk but there is no effort of climbing and plenty of variety. For a walk so close to Glasgow, it’s really a classic!

The Whangie

This short walk, on a good day, offers a nice panorama over Loch Lomond and surroundings and is justly popular with walkers. It’s amazing how many Glaswegians, even those who walk, have never done it!

 Park at the Queen’s View car-park alongside the A809.

Most people will take the A809 to Drymen via Anniesland and the Switchback to Canniesburn, then up to Bearsden Cross (A809). 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 and after a several miles you will reach the Queen’s View car-park, situated at your left-hand side,

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The walk

The walk up to the Whangie begins from the Queen’s View car-park and is clearly sign-posted with a step over a wall and boards across what used to be a very boggy patch. The path is very clear until you are two-thirds up to where the path divides. If you take the lower path (more accurately straight on) you come to the right-hand side of ‘The Whangie’ – the rock cleft. This is less demanding, especially if you come back the same way.

However, it’s almost as easy to go left at the fork and climb up on to Aucheneden Hill to the trig point. Here the 360° views are spectacular on a good day. The top of Aucheneden Hill is rounded and you can come off, more-or-less in all directions. However, if you want the Whangie, follow your nose about north west (or if facing the trig point at about 2 o’clock off to the right) and look for an easy way off the hill and on to a clear path below. Turn right and it will bring you to the left-hand side of The Whangie. It’s more difficult to enter the cleft from this direction so you might want to continue on the path below and then enter from the right-hand side.

Either way it makes a nice ‘lollipop walk’ to take the left-hand path at the fork, go on to Auchineden Hill, then down to The Whangie. Then take the lower path back to the fork (where you went off left on the way up) and then back down to the car park.

A figure of eight around Chatelherault

This walk starts by taking the train from Chatelherault to Uddingston (change at Cambuslang) and then following the River Clyde with beautiful views up and down an idyllically flowing river. Bothwell Castle perches dramatically above the path and the David Livingstone is well worth exploring. The Clyde walkway itself is currently closed, but it is possible to take a third train from Blantyre to Larkhall and walk back through Morgans Glen to Chatelherault Country Park. This can be combined walk with a second one from Larkhall to Chatelherault –So there we are  – three trains and two good walks. Check the trains from Chatelherault to Uddingston and Blantyre to Larkhall before you start.

 Park at the Park ‘n Ride Car Park at Chatelherault. The Satnav for Chatelherault Country Park is ML3 7UE. If you use the Satnav for the station (ML3 7UD) don’t turn into Valleyfield Road as directed. Go on for 100 yards and turn left into the car park.

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To get there

This is the easiest of journeys for most people. From Glasgow take the M8 (or the M74 if you prefer) going East towards Edinburgh. From the M8 at Junction 8 (Coatbridge) take the slip road to curl round on to the M73. Then take the inside lane(s) to automatically take the M74. Of course, if you’re already on the M74 you go straight through.

Once on the M74, go past the A725 Interchange for Strathclyde Park and continue on to Junction 6 where you take the slip road sign-posted A723 to Motherwell and Hamilton. Get into the right-hand lane on the slip road to curl round towards Hamilton and down onto the A723. At the first roundabout take the second exit (it seems like the first) more-or-less continuing on the A723 towards Larkhall, Strathaven etc. At the next junction, keep left in a designated lane to take the A72, Townhead Road, towards Larkhall etc. At the next small roundabout go straight on.

Just after the Ferniegair village sign you come to a set of traffic lights. If you wish to use the toilets at the Visitors’ Centre, turn right into Chatelherault Country Park and drive right up the carriageway, following the signs to the Visitors’ Centre. When the Hunting Lodge is in view turn left up a narrow road to reach the back.  Curve round to the left as directed. There are three disabled bays on your right; three ordinary bays just below on your left followed by a further three. Park for a few minutes and go back to the Visitors’ Centre. Once inside, the toilets are through the glass doors to the right. Return to the cars, follow the one-way system back to the carriageway and then back to the traffic lights. Turn right here, and then sharp left into the free Park ‘n Ride by the station.

 The walk

Take the train from Chatelherault to Uddingston. The first part of the walk begins by exiting the station at Uddingston, walking up to the main road, crossing the railway and turning left down the other side of the line. This comes out at Anne’s Pantry, where you cross over, go straight on for 100 yards and then take a path with an Information Board (The Miners’ path originally) to the left which leads down to the river. Here you turn left under the railway viaduct, ignore the Clyde walkway coming in from the right, go past the new Uddingston Grammar School, and very soon you are walking along a beautiful stretch of river. It is worth pausing at Bothwell  Castle to go up the little hill to look inside. If you go towards the castle and then take the right hand circuit, you’ll be between the castle and the lower path and can return easily to your route.  However, the best views are from below, on the path you’re taking anyway.

A little further on the route forks with the main path going left over a hump and a small path hugging the river on the right. Anyone young would have no problem and it is prettier. However, the main route goes over the hump to join up with the little path and then continue to the great iron bridge which takes you into the David Livingstone Memorial. Even if you don’t visit The David Livingstone Memorial the grounds are beautiful; there are seats and picnic tables; and you can get a good external view of the tenement in which he grew up in Blantyre.

From the memorial, turn back left and then cross the road to follow the Clyde walkway a little (a bit of urban grot here but not too bad) exiting at a green space where you turn right and sharp right again to come into the car park for Blantyre Station.

Here you have a choice of trains to take us straight to Larkhall. The train stops at Chatelherault so if you’ve had enough, you could get off.

 At Larkhall alight and take the pedestrian footpath at the end of the platform straight on to the cycle track running past the Leisure Centre on the left. Carry on along the track and, at a very muddy path to the left by a football pitch, go straight on. Then as the path straightens take a better track down to the left and then continue in the same direction.  Any of the local paths to the left will take you across a green open space or you can continue right to the end and turn left. This increasingly pleasant path takes you to the top of the 100 steps which you, go down! At the bottom you’re in Morgan’s Glen walking along the River Avon.

All of a sudden it’s it’s beautiful again. Coming out under the arch at Millheugh you’ll reach the attractive hamlet and the old bridge. Cross the bridge and turn immediately right along side the Avon. The path has been substantially upgraded with proper footways and bridges. It takes you to the end of the circuit above the Green Bridge in Chatelherault Country Park where you can turn left or right. If you go right, go down to Green Bridge, up the steps and along the edge of the ravine on the Claybank Braes Path. Continue to Claybank Steps where you go back down to the river side. Here we take the Hoolet Row Path along the river, under the Duke’s Bridge, pick up Mineral Rail Path along the river and then turn back along the Deep Park Path towards the footpath down the carriageway and down to the cars at the station. The walk is about 9 miles in two halves!

Drymen Circular

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.

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 The walk

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!

Kirkintilloch, Torrance and Birdston

This is a pleasant if unexciting walk linking up a few rivers, canals, places and footpaths which you will sort-of know. The canal is lovely, although the metalled bit is sore on the calves. Cadder Church and graveyard are a treat as is the walk alongside Cadder Golf Course. The walk along the River Kelvin is geographically enlightening and the route through Torrance and along the railway line is fine with open farmland on both sides, unfortunately accompanied by the dubious smell of rotting sprout stalks. At Hayston Golf Club you can opt out for the delights of Kirkintilloch. Otherwise you take a circuitous route to Birdston, which officially gives this walk its name, and a tedious walk along the Glaizert River. The path is almost entirely flat and firm underfoot apart from an occasional short muddy stretch.

Despite calling itself a ‘Walker-Friendly’ town, Kirkintilloch has no convenient car park which will allow you to park for more than three hours and you really need longer than that, especially if you are stopping for coffee or food anywhere along the route. We parked at ‘The Stables’ restaurant, and the notes below assume you are parking nearby. There is a layby on the main road (and you might be lucky to get a drink from a mobile van here). Opposite the layby and across the canal from The Stables is a large overspill car-park. If you are eating at The Stables afterwards, as we did, you might ask permission to park in their car -park.

To get there
The postal code for The Stables Inn (G66 1RH) worked well but takes you along the M8 towards Edinburgh, then off at Junction 15 towards Springburn and the A803. Follow the A803 straight through Colston and Bishopbriggs. At the roundabout at Cadder take the first exit (i.e. go straight on) and at the next roundabout (with Torrance and Lenzie options) take the second exit i.e. continuing on the A803 along Kirkintilloch Road to Kirkintilloch. You will see the Stables Inn on your left as you go over the canal. The layby is on the right, before the canal; and the overspill car park on the left.h

The walk

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The walk as described here begins immediately in front of the Stable Inn, where you turn right towards Cadder, Bishopbriggs, the Leisure Centre etc. The canal can be joined from the main 803 on either side. Just BEFORE Cadder Church (up to the right, and a particularly picturesque spot) turn right up the hill, with the church on your left. It is worth stopping to look in the graveyard – and especially at the two railed graves and the heavy iron coffin ‘lid’. to prevent grave-robbers stealing the bodies. The road becomes a path and levels out through the Kelvin Valley. Once past Cadder and then Keir Golf courses (keeping going straight on a narrow path), at a bridge on the left, and sign-post right to Torrance, take a good track right along the River Kelvin.

The path comes out at a set of pedestrian traffic lights on the A807, Torrance Road, and you should cross the road and turn left up towards the Torrance roundabout and the main street of Torrance. Go up to the second bus stop on the right, just by a little children’s play-park. Go through the park taking a path on the left which then straightens to take an old railway track across farmland. At a disused railway bridge, turn sharp right and at the next corner, signposted Kirkintilloch and the Forth and Firth Canal, go sharp left. At the end of this track you reach Hayston.

You can turn right here, sign-posted Kirkintilloch and make your way back down to the canal. A path to the right leads onto a bridge which you will cross over to take you onto Hayston Road. At the end of the road cross over and head to the right and join Campsie View. At the end of this road there is a path leading to the canal with another small bridge to cross leading to a short steep hill to the canal. Turn left and return to Kirkintilloch or right to return to The Stables.
If you’re doing the whole circuit, go diagonally left (not the main track sharp left) up a red path towards the Hayston Club House where you turn left to take the driveway down to Campsie Road. You have to turn left here and walk along this country road for about 300 yards and there is no pavement. It is normal to face oncoming traffic (i.e. walk on the right) but you are going slightly uphill at first so I suggest you stay on the left so that you can see the traffic more easily, and then cross over when it is safe. You come to a very dodgy set of wooden steps on the right going down to the railway line you were on before. There is an equally dodgy hand-rail until the bottom where you are left to your own devices. At the bottom is a path to the right going round Kirkintilloch Golf Club! At a very sharp left-hand turn, turn left on an improved path and this leads up to a huge kissing gate and a T junction on a track with Wetshod Farm to the right.
At this point you could be seriously lost, since the map goes blank and the East Dunbartonshire notes leave you stranded! However your bold reccéist followed her nose and with the help of the USA satellites, turned right and eventually emerged on Birdston Road. Turn right here, cross the road, and at the bottom of the hill continue, as signposted, towards a Heritage cycle track. This bit was short but attractive. You reach an astonishing bit of railway industrial architecture with information boards about same and then turn right along what turned out to be the Glaizert Water. I found this bit boring, but it isn’t long and you eventually reach a foot bridge across the River Kelvin. Cross this, and continue on to pedestrian lights at Kilsyth Road (and the Indian Cottage if you’re still with me!). The path continues (dog-leg right) on the other side and emerges at the Hillhead roundabout. Take the second exit to the right (NOT up Canal Street – I got lost here) on the Peter D. Stirling Road and then almost immediately turn left into the grounds of the Nursing Home. Just before the tunnel, take steps up on the left to the Firth and Forth Canal and turn right towards Kirkintilloch. Cross the Barleybank car-park and the main road and continue along the canal, noting the John Muir Information Board as you go down the steps. Continue to The Stables.

About 9 miles: almost entirely flat and therefore boggy in winter!