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 a 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.
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, the 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.