All posts by Glenda A. White

Saturday 11th January, 2020: Linhouse and Murieston Water

This walk starts at Livingston South Station. From here we wander down the Murieston Water to Campbridge Pond, returning on the other side and taking a large arc towards Linhouse Glen Nature Reserve.

The walk through the Glen is optional since we meet up further on to wander up into Calderwood (where we have briefly been before). Here we find the Murieston Water again, traversing both sides (but not simultaneously!) taking advantage of our much-loved little wooden bridges. We continue with the path back to Williamston Bridge and thence on to the station.

The walk is flat and about 7.5 miles.

Saturday, 14th December, 2019: Christmas Kelpies

The Christmas walk starts at Helix Park, just north of Falkirk, and after passing The Kelpies takes to the south side of the River Carron westwards towards the site of the old Carron Iron Works. The walk is about 8 miles and mainly flat.

Near Mungal the route crosses to the north bank of the river and picks up a cycle path along a disused waterway. Near Camelon the route re-crosses the River Carron and traverses a cemetery before joining the Forth & Clyde Canal for the return journey to the start point.

After the walk we plan to meet at The Copper Top for a seasonal meal to conclude another 12 months of walking.

Saturday, 9th November 2019: Making an Impression

This circular walk from Clachan of Campsie makes use of the Strathkelvin Railway path and is mainly flat but can be a little muddy in places.

The route taken is through an area steeped in history, and an industrial past, when Lennoxtown was a thriving village with a print works. It then turns away from the flat path and makes gradually for a viewpoint of the beautiful Blane Valley, and then winds through the grounds of the old Lennox estate with the ruined castle before ending up in the grounds of a peaceful retreat.

The adventurous can also walk to waterfalls from the Campsie Hills.

Coasting

This walk from Prestwick to Barassie takes you along the seashore with views of the Clyde coast and reminds you that in years gone by, such an outing as this would have been a welcome opportunity for families from Glasgow to take the sea air! The walk will start on the seafront and follows the Ayrshire Coastal Path.  The walk is flat and approximately 9 miles with opportunities along the way for an ice-cream or a cuppa.

Starting Point:
The starting point is at OS Reference NS 345 263 which is the Links Road Car Park, Prestwick opposite the 2nd flight of steps to the dune path. This is adjacent to the old swimming pool (now a play area).

Getting there: 35 miles/50 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to join the M8 and then the M77 (Kilmarnock/Prestwick Airport). Continue onto A77 at Fenwick. At the Dutch House Roundabout, take 3rd exit onto A78 (Irvine/Prestwick) and at the next roundabout (Monktonhead) take 2nd exit onto A79 (Prestwick Airport). Continue on the A79 (passing two more roundabouts) and at the Shawfarm Roundabout take the 3rd exit continuing on A79 (Ayr/Prestwick). At the traffic lights in Prestwick turn right towards the seafront (Station Road). Pass Prestwick Town Station (on the right), go under the bridge and at the bottom of the road (observing the toilets on the right) go right towards the parking area. Parking & toilets are free.

The Walk: Prestwick to Barassie – 8.3 miles (other routes [2.7 miles to 10.5 miles] also available)
This walk mainly follows the Ayrshire Coastal Path (ACP) along or near the dunes/shoreline.

Starting from the car park, climb the second set of steps and turn left to join the path that leads to the dunes. The sea will be on the left and the golf course on the right. At a junction of paths with directional arrows to left and right (both for the ACP) continue onwards through the dunes on the path that bears and climbs slightly right. The practice area of the golf course will now be on the right. The sandy path takes a loop around the headland returning with the Pow Burn on the left. Depending on the state of the tides there is the option to paddle across the Pow Burn close to where it joins the sea. To do this descend through the dunes to the seashore and turn right. NOTE: Walkers choosing to do this do so entirely at their own risk!

If you want to keep your feet dry continue on the loop emerging onto the golf practice area and bearing left onto an obvious grass path. At the gravel path turn left [1] (now the ACP) and cross the Pow Burn. Close to the entrance to the Holiday Park go through a kissing gate and turn left. The tarmac drive leads into a grass path. Go through a gate and onto another sandy path with another golf course on the right. This path emerges onto the seashore where those undertaking a paddle should be waiting. Continue along the seashore until the southern outskirts of Troon. Join the promenade for the walk into Troon – part of it is sheltered from a westerly breeze. Toilets 20p. (End the route at Troon Station for a 4.8 mile walk). Continue round South Bay and at Port Ronnald climb the grass bank for excellent views over the Firth of Clyde and Glennon Brothers Group (timber processing). Follow Port Ranald Drive and North Shore Road round North Bay. After entering an extensive grass area return to the seashore and turn right. At the Barassie Burn turn right and at the cycle path turn left and follow it to its end opposite Hillhouse Road. Continue up the road, under the bridge [2] and turn right into Barassie Station. Return to Prestwick Town by train from Platform 2.

Options:

[1] For a 2.7 mile walk, turn right at this point (also the ACP) and follow this back into and across the dunes (passing the directional signs previously encountered) and at the seashore turn left. Join the promenade and return to the car park.

[2] For a 10.5 mile walk, ignore the station and continue under the second bridge and into Adam’s Gate. Cross B746 (Kilmarnock Road) at the lights and turn right. As the street path rises take the downward path on the left. It soon turns left to parallel the railway. Continue past Marr College to the junction with A759 (Dundonald Road) and turn right. Take the first left into Harling Drive and continue to Troon Station. Return to Prestwick Town by train.

Circumnavigation

This circular summer walk around Loch Leven takes in many beautiful spots including varied woods and marshland.  It is particularly renowned for its birdlife.  There are several opportunities for caféstops along the way! The ruined Loch Leven Castle sits on a small island in the loch and can be visited by ferry (from Kinross pier) in the summer.  Mary, Queen of Scots was imprisoned here in 1567.  The largest island, St Serf’s, has the remains of an Augustinian Priory founded in 1150.Loch Leven is a National Nature Reserve and the route skirts the RSPB Loch Leven Reserve which sits on its southern shore.  Ospreys fish in the loch in the summer and there are also red squirrels.

Starting Point:

The starting point is at OS Reference NO 125 019 which is the parking area, near the toilet, at Kirkgate, Kinross (see map >).  

Getting there: 47 miles/60 minutes

Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to M8 (Edinburgh) and exit at Jct 13 onto M80 towards Stirling.  Continue on M80 until Jct 8 where the road splits – keep to the left and continue onto M876 (signed Kincardine Bridge).  Continue on M876 and merge onto M9 for a short distance leaving at Jct 7 back onto M876 (Kincardine Bridge).  At the roundabout take the second exit (A876) and cross the Firth of Forth.  At the Kilbagie Roundabout turn left (A977) and at the Gartarry Roundabout take 3rd exit and stay on A977.  Continue on A977 and at the roundabout on the outskirts of Kinross go straight on (2nd exit) onto A922.  Note the tourist sign for Loch Leven Heritage Trail.  At the next roundabout go straight on (Kinross).  This is now Station Road (B918).  Go straight on at small mini-roundabout and at the end of the road go right at the large mini-roundabout into High Street (B996).  Continue down this cobbled street and take the 3rd left (after passing the hotel) into Burns-Begg Street (signed Kirkgate Park).  Take second turning on left into Kirkgate (signed Kirkgate Park).  Continue along this narrow one lane road into the park and head for the second parking area opposite the toilet (20p).  Parking is free.

The Walk:  Loch Leven Heritage Trail – 10.0 miles (shorter if the small hill detour is omitted)

The walk is level, except for the detour, and follows the Heritage Trail in a counterclockwise direction from the Kirkgate car park towards the Boathouse and a cashmere factory.  The path continues and winds through fields with the loch on the left and views of Castle Island.  Although the path veers away from the loch side the next section is popular with nesting sand martins and in the spring and summer the fields are often busy with lapwings, oyster- catchers and other birds.  

Continue onwards along the path for just less than 4 miles until a covered viewing area is reached.  This is slightly raised and may be a suitable place for lunch before arriving at the RSPB Visitor Centre at Vane Farm.  Here the RSPB has set up an excellent viewing area upstairs with telescopes, enthusiastic staff, and a café- this is free.  However, if you wish to enter the reserve and visit the hides there is an entrance fee (unless you are an RSPB member).  You can have coffee here and stay to enjoy the sights.

RSPB Visitor Centre Amenities

Viewing screen past picnic area allows close-up views of birds using feeders.  

Indoor viewing area in café.  Telescopes, including one adjustable, overlook Loch Leven.  

Three hides on Wetland Trail.  Live birdfeeder camera action shown on large screen in café.  

Those wanting a elevated view over Loch Leven can continue on the Woodland Trail (1 mile) which leads through birch woods to a viewpoint at the top of Vane Hill (248m) and then back to the Visitor Centre.  From the RSPB Visitor Centre retrace your steps along the Heritage Trail to the Boathouse and then to the parking area at Kirkgate.

Those wanting a much shorter route can stop at the Boathouse and get a ferry to Castle Island and visit Lochleven Castle which has an interesting history.  The ferry (maximum 12 people per trip) is weather dependent.  There is an entrance fee but it is free to Historic Environment Scotland members.  Booking is recommended. 

Alternatively, another walk option is a circular signed walk (3 miles) going clockwise from the parking area.

Drymen in the Highlands

This walk takes you from Drymen along the West Highland Way through Garadbhan Forest towards Conic Hill, descending to Milton of Buchanan and returning via Buchanan Castle grounds.

The ruined country house, Buchanan Castle, was built c1852.  The house replaced Mugdock Castle as the official seat of Clan Graham. Sold in 1925 it was used as a hospital during the Second World War.  The roof was removed in 1954 which accelerated its deterioration.

The walk takes you through the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park which covers some of Scotland’s most-loved locations including Ben Lomond.  Conic Hill, with a summit at at 361m, sits above Balmaha.  On a good day it provides an excellent viewpoint.

Meeting Point:

Take your favourite route towards Bearsden Cross then follow the A811, then B858, to Drymen.  In Drymen turn right at the Green into Stirling Road and the car park is a couple of hundred metres on the right. From Glasgow it’s about 17 miles and should take about 35 minutes by car.

Start at OS Reference NS 475 886 which is the car park in Stirling Road, Drymen.  

The Walk: Drymen and Garadhban Forest- 9.0 miles

Turn right from the car park and continue along Stirling Road to the sign for the West Highland Way (WHW).  Turn left and then follow the WHW until leaving the Garadhban Forest.  There are fine views here of Conic Hill and across Loch Lomond.  Next, reverse the outward route for about half a mile until a cross roads.  Turn right and walk past Creity Hall (just a farmhouse) down to the main road at Milton of Buchanan.  Turn left onto the B837 and after crossing a bridge turn right at a way-mark sign onto the ‘Gort Daraich Walk’.  Then turn left towards Buchanan Old House and skirt most of the housing at Buchanan Castle.  Having left the housing behind turn left towards Buchanan Home Farm.  Just before the farm turn right onto a track/minor road through woodland to emerge on the B858.  Turn left and head north towards The Square, Stirling Road and the car park.

Going Forth in Aberfoyle

This walk in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park near Aberfoyle will take in the beauty of this part of Scotland.

Aberfoyle is a gateway to the Trossachs and is well known for Rev Robert Kirk and his book “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies”.  This book was written in 1681 but not published until much later, 1861. Perhaps he should be equally remembered for an early translation of the Psalter in Gaelic (1684).

The plan is to exploresome of the forest trails to the south of the town.  Aberfoyle has plentiful parking and it is from here that the walk will start.  Public toilets are available near the main car park.

Starting Point:

The starting point is at OS Reference NN 520 009 which is the car park behind the Forth Inn at Aberfoyle.  

Getting there: 25 miles/50 minutes

Take your favourite route out of Glasgow towards Strathblane on the A81 (or towards Carbeth on the A809 and turn right onto the B834 and then left to join the A81 towards Aberfoyle).  At the Rob Roy Hotel by the roundabout on the outskirts of Aberfoyle turn left (A821) and in the town centre turn left at the sign Parking/Scottish Wool Centre.  Parking is free and there are toilets.

The Walk:  Aberfoyle Forest Trails – 9.0 miles (There are options for shorter walks of 2.8/4.5 or 7.5 miles)

The route starts by leaving the car park by the west exit.  Turn left into Manse Road and cross the River Forth onto the Rob Roy Way. Pass Aberfoyle Old Church and Burial Ground on the left, then ignore the road on the left and continue onwards. Bare right where the road splits ignoring the track on the left signed Downhill Fairy Trailand enter Loch Ard Forest.  Continue on and ignore the path on the right.  After a further 100m turn right off the Rob Roy Way.

Continue on this track and at the next junction turn left; then right at the next junction.  At the cross-roads, 1for a short walk turn right and return through Kirkton to the start point.  For the main route continue go straight on and at the next junction turn left.  The track passes Lochan Spling on the left before a short climb along the west side of Creag nam Fairenean.  Ignore the tracks to the left and to the right before gradually descending, via a series of meanders, to cross the Duchray Water. The track then emerges at the Forest Car Park near the hamlet of Milton.

2For the 4.5 mile route turn right towards Milton and pick up the route in the next paragraph. For the full walk turn left from the Car Park and head south west, passing Dalzell Wood on the right, and intermittently parallel the Duchray Water.  Ignoring the tracks going off to the left continue on the forest track as it gently climbs to Lochan a’ Ghleannain.  There is a scenic area at the east end of the lochan.

3For the 7.5 mile route turn right, away from the Lochan a’ Ghleannain, and return to the Forest Car Park and then on to Milton for the last leg of the route (see below).  For the full route, continue anticlockwise around the lochan, ignoring the tracks going off to the right.  Once past Creag Bhreac ignore the track on the left, then at the next junction turn right and shortly afterwards turn left.  As the track approaches Loch Ard turn right and follow this track, often close to the shore, back to Milton.  2,3At the hamlet of Milton turn right onto B829 (Aberfoyle) for the final level footpath that leads back to the starting point.

Seeing the woods from the trees

This six or ten mile walk starts and ends at the car park in New Lanark.

The route goes south, passing the power station to the Falls of Clyde which may be quiet in the sunshine.  Crossing the weir the path leads northwards along the other side of the Clyde to Kirkfieldbank.

Crossing the Clyde again, you can either stay with the Clyde and go back to the cars (and a cup of tea) or take the route which meanders across Mousemill Bridge to reach the A73. Careful crossing of this busy road leads to a beautiful path up Cartland Glen, past Woodend to the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve.  Here the route turns South over some open land to the edge of Lanark.  A short distance of town roads leads steeply down to the Clyde for the return walk along the river and back to the car park.

Getting there: 34 miles/40 minutes
Take the M74 going south and leave at exit 7 marked New Lanark 12 miles on the A72. After a twisting journey you will arrive in Lanark noting the join with the A73. Proceed up the main street past the short dual carriageway section and at the traffic lights take the right hand fork signed New Lanark. Pass the railway station and at the roundabout go right (A73) towards New Lanark. Continue down the road past the Old Lanark Grammar School and then turn sharp left into Braxfield Road and follow the New Lanark signs until a mini-roundabout, then turn left (signed Parking). Continue ahead past the “Welcome to New Lanark” sign (at the entrance to the visitor parking area) and park. Walk down to the New Lanark Mill Hotel.

The Walk: New Lanark Loop – 10 miles (Route can be shortened if required*)
The walk starts from the New Lanark Mill Hotel and follows a clearly way-marked path past the Falls of Clyde to the dam at Bonnington Linn. Crossing the dam turn right marked ‘Kirkfieldbank 3 miles’. Proceed down a good path and note a more picturesque narrow path on the right paralleling the more major track. Pass Corra Castle and continue on until the outlying house of Kirkfieldbank appears. Lunch beside the river. The path ends in a T-junction so turn right down the hill towards the river. Arrive at the old bridge (now pedestrian), cross the bridge and note the signs to the Clyde walkway. *There is the option to take the Clyde Walkway back to New Lanark for a total walk of just over six miles.

Hardy walkers will bear left up to the main road (A72), straight across to Mousehill Road and over Mousehill Bridge eventually climbing up to the right to arrive at Cartland Bridge on the A73. Directly across the road a path climbs steadily up the Cartland Crags. The path continues on and eventually descends to a bridge across the river at Woodend. *It is possible to shorten the walk by a couple of miles by crossing the river and returning down through Lanark to the main street (A73). Look for the Bank of Scotland on the far side of the road and follow the instructionsø in the next paragraph.

At Woodend, the even more hardy walker will descend towards the river but do not cross the bridge because there is a stile leading into a field where a path crosses the sloping terrain until the river bank is regained. Now a beautiful path runs beside the river, over a strong wooden bridge and curves right beside the river eventually arriving at the final bridge. Crossing the bridge we turn right (not straight ahead up stairs). A straight grassy path between fences leads us to civilisation and tarmac roads. At the T-junction turn left and then, after 50m turn right onto a quiet road which leads directly into Lanark, terminating on the main street (A73) with the Bank of Scotland directly across the road. øNow turn right on the A73 and after 50m turn left down Friars Lane. Strangely there are no signs to New Lanark. Go straight down the lane and enter Castlebank Park through its pillared entrance. Bear right in the park downhill towards Castlebank House. Walk to the left and find the notice to the Dell path which winds down towards the river. On meeting the Clyde Walkway turn left and follow this back towards the New Lanark Mill Hotel. The route parallels Rosedale Street before joining it just past the Youth Hostel (the New Lanark Mill Hotel is down on the right). Turn right into Rosedale Street and at the junction with the New Lanark Road turn left and after a short distance take the rising path back to the parking area.

A Useful Link:
https://www.thinglink.com/scene/611151792541007872?buttonSource=viewLimits

Saturday, 11 May 2019 Going Forth in Aberfoyle

This walk in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park near Aberfoyle will take in the beauty of this part of Scotland.

Aberfoyle is a gateway to the Trossachs and is well known for Rev Robert Kirk and his book “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies”.  This book was written in 1681 but not published until much later, 1861. Perhaps he should be equally remembered for an early translation of the Psalter in Gaelic (1684).

The plan is to exploresome of the forest trails to the south of the town.  Aberfoyle has plentiful parking and it is from here that the walk will start.  Public toilets are available near the main car park.

Navigating with nerves of steel

This walk this month – with the possibility of a pre-walk cuppa at the Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Life, starts off with a short walk to Coatbridge Sunnyside Station to catch the train eastwards.

The canal meanders its way past Calderbank and Sikeside then through Coatbridge before passing close to Coatbridge Central Station and back to the museum, the cars and some food.

Alighting at Drumgelloch Station the route follows some surface streets before picking up the North Calder Heritage Trail.  This trail passes Moffat Mills and then joins the Monkland canal, which was started in 1770.

Meeting Point:

The meeting point is at OS Reference NS 728 653 which is the car park opposite Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge (see map >).  

The Walk:  North Calder Heritage Trail (NCHT) – 8.0 miles (Options: can be shortened if required)

Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to join the M8 towards Edinburgh.  Exit at Junction 8 onto A89 (Coatbridge). Follow 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 first right into West Canal Street.  Go under the railway bridge at Coatbridge Central station and turn left into Heritage Way.  Parking is on the left opposite Summerlee Heritage Park.  Parking is free. 

Getting there: 12 miles/25 minutes

The day starts 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.

After a cuppa leave the museum grounds and walk down Heritage Way, turn left under the railway bridge and at the roundabout turn left up Sunnyside Road. Cross the road at the bend opposite Sunnyside Station, purchase your ticket to Drumgelloch, then go over the road bridge to the platform for eastbound trains.

At Drumgelloch exit the station to the right and follow the boundary path/fence to the northeast corner and go right into Katherine Street.  Walk to the end and turn right (Towers Road), cross the railway bridge and turn left into Wester Moffat (Forestry Commission woodland). Take the left path and keep the railway on the left.  At the road, which is fenced off, follow the path for a short climb.  Keep left at the brow and as the path descends look out for the path to the right with the NCHT trail logo.  Descend the path to join the North Calder Water.  At Moffat Mills the path exits briefly into an estate.  Turn left and then left again, cross the bridge and after 50m cross the road to rejoin the NCHT.  Those wanting a much shorter walk (2.5 miles) can turn right and follow the road back to Drumgelloch Station.

Despite being so close to civilisation the NCHT has a country feel although it occasionally surfaces to skirt housing areas (e.g. Islay) before returning to the ‘wild’. The next road to cross is the A73 at Monkland Bridge.  Cross the main road into Woodvale Avenue, ignore first left and shortly thereafter turn left down the side of a house.  Cross the river and turn right.  Follow the path as it gently rises and at an obvious fork go right. Turn right again at another path junction.  At a crossroads of paths go right down the steps but do not cross the river. Continue on the broad path which comes out in an open space, ignore the path to the right and continue on.  The water will now be on the left!  At the next main road (B802) turn left, cross the road, and go right along a unmade road with houses on the right.  This leads to a dam and the end of the Monkland Canal.  Follow the path all the way to Sikeside and cross a busy minor road.  The path continues straight ahead and skirts a school. At the old railway viaduct turn left for a short ascent to the cycle path.  Turn left for 50m and then right and go down to another road.  Turn left, ignore the roadway on the left, and after 50m turn left to follow a broad path into a grassed area with warehouses on the right.  Follow this until the A725 and take the walkway over the busy road and exit to the right and then turn left to join an obvious path which passes buildings on the left.  At the minor road cross it and continue past the health centre.  As the pathway bends right to join a walkway over the main road turn off left and at the street turn left.  Then turn right at the end of the street.  With the railway high above on the left go to the end of the road, cross under the railway bridge, and then cross Bank Street and West Canal Street.  Turn right into Heritage Way to retrace the route back to the car park opposite the museum.