All posts by Glenda A. White

July 9th: Bridge of Allan/Dumyat Loop

This summer walk starts and ends in Bridge of Allan and is a moderate 8.3 mile loop.

Starting at the railway station in Bridge of Allan, the destination is Dumyat (418m) where, weather dependent, there should be good views. Those wishing a shorter walk can opt for a smaller loop which excludes the climb to the Dumyat peak. The walk passes
through a variety of landscapes.

June 11th: Bonnyton/Hill of Droops Loop

This is a lovely walk starting and finishing in the village of Eaglesham. It is a clockwise circular walk and passes through the village of Waterfoot before returning to the starting point.

At about 8.5 miles it is a pleasant walk with undulating elevations mostly on country lanes. There are shorter options of about 4.5 miles and 6 miles for those wishing a shorter route. There is a ford to be crossed on this walk but at this time of year there should be no problems. There is plenty to see in and around the village of Eaglesham including an equestrian centre, a golf course, an
environmentally friendly housing development, a dog gym exercise area, and quiet country lanes. There are good views
northwards to the Campsies, Ben Lomond and the surrounding hills when the weather is clear.

May 14th: Kilmaurs Loop

The month of May sees us visit East Ayrshire for a loop around Kilmaurs. It is an easy 7 mile walk on quiet country roads, passing
through a gentle agricultural landscape. The walk has some interesting places including Chapeltoun House. The house was designed for Hugh Neilson, the owner of Summerlee Iron Company in Coatbridge. The walk also passes Watermeetings Bridge.
Check these websites from your browser – They provide some interesting information about Chapeltoun House.

Starting Point for the Walk:

The car park near Weston Tavern (Fenwick Road) – OS Reference NS 410 412.  Parking is free.

Getting there: 23 miles/35 minutes

Take your favourite route to the M77 (Kilmarnock).  Exit M77 at Junction 7 (Kilmaurs [B751]).  At the exit roundabout turn right and go under the M77 and turn left to join the A77.  At the next roundabout turn right towards Kilmaurs (B751 – Kilmaurs Road).  Continue on this road and enter Kilmaurs.  Just after the 20 mph limit sign turn left into the car park which is just down the road from the Weston Tavern which is visible from the car park.  Street parking is also available.

Trains run regularly from Glasgow Central to Kilmaurs.  Journey time is between 33-49 minutes.

The Walk:  Kilmaurs Loop – 7 miles (11 km)

This an easy walk along quiet country roads behind Kilmaurs.  It passes the Annick Water, alongside the Glazert Burn, and cross the local beauty spot known as the Watermeetings.  There are several lovely cottages (and mansions!) to admire, including those around the Chapeltoun Estate area.  The route crosses the East Ayrshire / North Ayrshire boundary 4 times!

From the car park, return to the Fenwick Road and turn left.  At the junction turn right into Main Street and continue until a road on the left called Standalane is reached.  Continue along Standalane for 1.7 miles to reach the B769 and cross this road continuing straight ahead.  After another mile (and passing through Chapeltoun), reach a T-junction and turn left onto Kilwinning Road.   After 0.6 miles look out for a left turn (it can easily be mistaken for a road leading to some farmhouses).  This quiet single-track road follows the course of Glazert Burn until it flows into the Annick Water at the Watermeetings Bridges.   It then emerges at the B769 again.  Continue straight ahead.  At High Langmuir Farm turn right and when it reaches the Irvine Road turn left and continue for about half a mile to arrive back at Main Street, Kilmaurs.  Then turn left and first right back to Fenwick Road and the car park.

Three trails and an amble in Ayr

Please park in the free car park at the beach by Ayr India, turning in right from Seafield Road. There are toilets close by but they accept cards only.

To get there
If you have one, set your SatNav for Seafield Road, Ayr.

Otherwise, take your favourite route to the M77/A77 towards Ayr and follow this to the Monkton Roundabout at Prestwick, turning left towards Ayr. At the roundabout with the A70 (with Dobbies Garden Centre on your left) turn right towards Ayr along Holmston Road. Take the first left along Hillfoot Road. Go straight across the A713 on to Belmont Road which becomes Ewenfield Road. At Monument Road turn right. Ignore Chapelpark Road directly opposite and Corsehill Park (1st left) and take the second left into Corsehill Road. This becomes Racecourse View, crosses the A719 at the Chestnuts Hotel, and continues into Seafield Road. Turn right at Ayr India and park (free). This is the route you will take back to Dobbies for our meal.

If you miss the left hand turn along Holmston Road, continue along the A70 and follow the signs to the “SEAFRONT”. At the junction with the A719 turn left and follow it south to the traffic lights with Seafield Road on the right and Racecourse View on the left. Turn right into Seafield Road.

The Walk
We begin our walk by returning to Seafield Road, crossing the A719 and immediately entering what was the Old Racecourse and is now playing fields at the corner of the A719 (Doonfoot Road) and Racecourse View. We take the red blaes path straight to the far corner and turn right following the rectangular shape of the park. At the southern end, the perimeter curves round to enter Belleise Park and, although there is a path across the golf course, out of courtesy we will continue until we meet a wide public track coming in from the left. This takes us past various golfing huts etc to a burnt-out hotel (on the right) where we turn sharp left. The path continues to be well-marked and trodden and leads directly to the B7024 which we cross carefully into Rozelle Park.

On entering Rozelle Park we take the second path on the left around a delightful duck pond. At the far end, just as it curves right to go back round the other side of the pond, there is a poppy enticing us into a number of paths which contain sculptures illustrating scenes from the 1st and 2nd War. We’ll meander here, allowing time to find the sculptures from the illustrated sheet (provided) and to take photos.

Following the path back to the duck pond, we continue around the duck pond to the main path and turn left towards the café, Art Gallery and toilets if required. We then continue straight on to the end of the park and turn left through a little woodland. At the end we turn right following the Slaphouse Burn, crossing the B road and following the same path to the A79. Here we turn right along the pavement and then take the cycle track along a disused railway towards the Burns Heritage Centre. This is on the left-hand side of the track and there is a cut-off leading to it. There is a shop, toilets, and a café if you prefer to eat at the Centre. The Centre is free. To eat a packed lunch, go straight through the Centre and the café, through the double glass doors and turn right at the play park towards ‘The Monument’. Go through a gate, across a church car park and turn left following the signs to the Monument. Find an attractive and, if necessary, dry place to eat. There are several alcoves and niches to explore.

After lunch, we’ll wander down to the Auld Brig and then come back along the small road alongside the River Doon to the Brig o’ Doon House Hotel. We turn right and cross the road to the Auld Kirk.

Unfortunately, the famous Tam o’ Shanter signs along the Poet’s Path towards Burns’ birthplace are being renovated but for the sake of completeness we’ll do a little loop around the ‘Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie’ (marked on the map in red). At the end, we leave the path, come back down towards the Auld Kirk but cross the road and turn into Shanter Way. At the end there is a path that continues either along the River Doon (steep steps down and back up again) or along the top (no steps). We join up and follow the path round to what is now the Ayr Coastal Path and turn left. There is a pathway beside this busy road. At the A719, (opposite the Secret Garden) a path continues along the River Doon and emerges on the beach. Here we turn right and follow the beach back to the cars.

In the car park at the beginning you’ll be given a wee pack containing:

  • Images of carvings from the First and Second World War to be found in Rozelle Park entitled ‘The Remembrance Trail’
  • Images from around the Burns Heritage Centre and the Poet’s Path entitled ‘The Burns Heritage Centre”
  • Extracts from ‘Tam o’ Shanter’ with images from the Poet’s Path, sadly removed for refurbishing.

After trying various restaurants in Ayr which seemed prohibitively expensive, we are booked for something to eat in Dobbies which is at least very good value even if the ambience is lacking. You’ll be asked to sign the menu in the carpark and I’ll phone in choices and numbers. At least it’s on the way home!

A Castle, a park and a river

Starting Point for the Walk:
Park at the Castleview Park & Ride area Stirling.  This is adjacent to Junction 10 (M9) NS 778 948.  Parking is free.

Getting there: 30 miles / 36 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow towards the M8 (Edinburgh).   Leave the M8 at Junction 13 onto the M80 (Stirling).  Continue on M80 and leave at Junction 10, going right at the Craigforth Roundabout onto the A84.  At the Kildean Roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Millennium Way and at the next roundabout go right into the Park & Ride area.
NOTE: There are no toilets at the start of the walk.  The nearest facilities are at the Stirling Services Area at Junction 9 on the M80/M9.

The Walk:  A Castle, a Park, and a River – 7.2 miles (11.5 km)
Leave the Starting Point via a path at the SW corner of the Car Park, and head through Castle Business Park.  After half a mile join the rather “over grandly” named Millennium Way which soon leads below the cliffs on the western side of Stirling Castle.  The next half mile meanders below the castle and eventually leads onto an area of intriguing grass-covered mounds called the King’s and Queen’s Knots (generally considered to be the remains of 17th century royal gardens).  The route then briefly enters a residential area before leading into Kings Park.  Continue around the edge of the Golf Course and Kings Park in an anticlockwise direction.  Weather permitting there will be plenty of good views on this section.  After another one and half miles reach The Pavilion Cafe (adjacent to Public Toilets). [Distance so far = 3 miles].  Nearby there is some park seating, making this a good place to have lunch.

Continue walking through Kings Park and then briefly enter another residential area and arrive at the Albert Hall.  The next three-quarters of a mile continues at a slower pace up a couple of paths of varying steepness, eventually emerging at the Church of the Holy Rude, followed by Stirling Castle.  After leaving the Castle, descend on the north side, ‘zig zagging’ down to the “Beheading Stone” – legend says this rock was once a chopping block for public executions.  After completing the descent, arrive at the “old Stirling Bridge” across the River Forth.  The majority of the final one and half miles meanders along the bank of the River Forth, before returning to Castle Business Park and Castleview Park & Ride.

All about Houston

This walk takes in part of the River Gryffe, and meanders through fields and woods. It passes the ruined Kirk of Kilallan which bears the date of 1635, and the current Houston & Killellan Kirk building which dates from 1875.

On a clear day there are lovely views of the Kilpatrick hills and views over Glasgow.

Starting Point for the Walk:The parking area in Ardgryfe Crescent NS 417 662.  Park on the road adjacent to a long stretch of grass near the river.

Getting there: 15 miles / 35 minutes

Take your favourite route to the Clyde Tunnel, and the A739 and follow the directions for M8 (Greenock).  Take Junction 28A signposted Irvine (A737).  After 3.4 miles take the exit signposted B789 (Johnston)/A761 (Bridge of Weir) and turn right onto B789 (Houston). ***

Continue straight on through the traffic lights, then at the roundabout sit in the righthand lane and take the 3rd exit onto Barochan Road (B789).  Continue on this road (there is a sharp left-hand bend) and after entering the 30mph limit on the outskirts of Houston continue through the traffic lights.  At the roundabout, take 2nd exit onto Houston Road (B790) and take the third right (after ½mile) into Ardgryfe Crescent and continue until a long stretch of grass at the river on the right hand side.  Park on the road.

*** There are no toilets at the start of the walk.  Morrisons in Johnstone have facilities.  To get there, take the left lane of the slip road and turn left at the lights into the lane for the supermarket.  After visiting, take the right lane at the traffic lights and turn right onto the B789 (Houston) and continue as above.

The Walk:  Houston Loop – 7.7 miles (12 km)

The walk can be muddy at the beginning, so boots and poles are recommended.

The walk starts at the River Gryfe and follows it for a short distance until it reaches a ford.  Turn left (away from the river) and enter a wooded area before crossing a field and heading down towards a private road.  Continue along this road and cross the B789 (Houston Road), which can be busy, and continue straight ahead to follow a Right of Way between two fields.

Continue on the Right of Way as it rises slightly uphill towards Chapel Road.  Turn right and walk along this road to the end (near the entrance to Barochan House/Farm) and then head left up Corsliehill Road (single track) which passes the site of the old Barochan Cross (now in Paisley Abbey).  Cross the B789 (Barochan Road) and continue past Corsliehill House.  Continue on this walking lane, which meanders up and down, until a pathway on the right leads down to the ruins of the old Kilallan Kirk.

After returning to the lane, continue to the end of the road and turn left onto Kilallan Road.  Keep on this road, veering to the left before reaching the B789 on the outskirts of Houston.   Cross the B789 into the narrow Kilmacolm Road and at the end bare left into Kirk Road to pass the Houston and Killellan Kirk where there is an opportunity to buy coffee nearby.

Suitably refreshed, continue along the Kirk Road until the junction.  Cross the road and do a short dogleg into Quarry Brae.  Follow this until the main road (B790) and cross it.  Then take the footpath leading left back towards the River Gryfe and the cars.

A walk along the River Leven

Arriving by car by train: The walk starts and ends at Balloch or Dalreoch Station and is easily reached by train from Glasgow

Coming by car: Park in the Balloch Country Park which is on the left just past the Balloch House Hotel (Vintage Inn). To get there, take the A82 (Great Western Road) through Anniesland, along the Boulevard, up the dual carriage-way towards Loch Lomond to the big roundabout which marks the gateway to the National Park. Turn right here (third exit) for Balloch. At the next roundabout, by Macdonalds, turn left (1st Exit) and at the next roundabout turn right (3rd exit) to Balloch.  Drive down through Balloch, past the station, across the bridge over the River Leven and the Balloch House Hotel (on your left) and St Kessogs Church and turn left into Balloch Country Park. It’s about 14 miles from Glasgow and should take about 40 minutes.  

For both forms of transport, you can either take the train to Dalreoch and walk back or  walk to Dalreoch and get the train back. These directions assume you are taking the train to Dalreoch. Alighting at Dalreoch  go over the bridge, exit the station and turn left through the car park sloping down to the River Leven. If the weather is kind you should add in a mile by turning right and following the walkway along the river to  Levengrove Park, Dumbarton, where there are lovely views of the Clyde and the Castle and an old ruined church. If you’re lucky, the toilets at the Pavilion may be open. After this little excursion return up the river to the station car park but keep to the path along the banks of the River Leven. It is tarmac underfoot for most of the way  and makes a good winter walk. Although you pass by some towns this is a surprisingly beautiful walk with the fast-flowing river besideyou all the way.  There are two loops into the river which are well worth exploring but can be muddy. As you approach Balloch there are lovely views ahead to Ben and Loch Lomond. The marina at Balloch is interesting as are the unusual views of the towns you pass – which most of us have known only from the road through them!

If you do Levengrove Park and the loops it’s about 7-8 miles.

An upside down trip to Loch Ard!

Starting Point for the Walk:At the Riverside Car Park in Aberfoyle (NN 521 009).  There are Public Toilets available nearby.

Getting there: 25 miles / 50 minutesTake your favourite route out of Glasgow and head towards Bearsden.  Then take the A809 towards Carbeth and continue onwards eventually turning right onto B834.  Turn left where the B834 meets the A81 and head towards Aberfoyle.  At Aberfoyle turn left at the roudabout onto A821 into the outskirts of the town.  Look out for the brown ’Trossachs Discovery Centre’ signs and turn left into the Riverside Car Park.  Parking is free.

The Walk:  8.2 miles (13 km)The walk starts from the Riverside Car Park in Aberfoyle.  Leave the Car Park via the west exit and then turn sharp left to cross the River Forth onto the Rob Roy Way, heading initially in a south westerly direction along a quiet rural road.  After 0.5 mile leave the Rob Roy Way and head in a south easterly direction along a forest road that skirts the southern edge of Doon Hill.  After a further 0.5 mile, the Forest Road splits into three separate routes. Take the right-turn option and continue for about 0.8 mile in a south westerly direction.  Then take another right-turn and a short series of meanders through the forest, heading broadly in a northerly direction.  In due course turn left to briefly re-join the Rob Roy Way.  [Distance so far = 2.3 miles]

After about 0.1 mile turn right, leaving the Rob Roy Way.  About 10 minutes later turn left, promptly followed by another left turn then a right turn – this is the start of a significant gentle climb along the northern slope of Garbeg Hill.  Soon after the forest road starts to descend Garbeg Hill, there is an extensive ‘open’ area of woodland which gives lovely views of the hills above Loch Ard.  Weather permitting, this would be a good place to have lunch.  [Distance so far = 4 miles]

Continue the gentle descent of Garbeg Hill.  After about 0.2 mile turn right onto the “Statute Labour Road” and continue along it for 1.2 miles.  Note: this was the starting point of the January 2012 walk!!  Then turn left and pick up the path that soon heads west along the north side of Lochan Spling.  Then it is a short climb along the west side of ‘Creag nam Fairenean’ before gradually descending via a series of meanders, across the Duchray Water, duly emerging at the Forest Car Park near the hamlet of Milton.  [Distance so far = 6.5 miles]

From Milton Car Park head to the hamlet of Milton.  The final section is along an (almost) level footpath along the B829 which returns to the Riverside Car Park in Aberfoyle. [Total Distance = 8.2 miles].

A whirl around Irvine

Starting Point for the Walk:
Park at the car park close to the Pilot House (a rather obvious white square structure) towards the end of the quay at Irvine harbour.

Getting there: 34 miles / 45 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow and head for the M77/A77 towards Kilmarnock. Leave the A77 at the Bellfield Interchange (signed Irvine A71).  Just before the roundabout note the local signage and exit the busy roundabout towards Crosshouse.  Note the speed restriction on this road!  Continue on the A71 and cross the Warrix Interchange (signed Harbourside).  At the next roundabout go left towards the Rivergate Centre.  At the next roundabout go left (signed Harbourside) and continue on the A737.  At the car dealership turn right at the mini roundabout into Heatherhouse Road which becomes Portland Road.  At the Portland Roundabout take the second exit into Beach Drive.  Turn right into any of the entrances to the parking area and head towards the Pilot House.  Parking is free.

The Walk:  Irvine-Barassie Loop – 9.5 miles (15 km)
Please note:

  1. For those wishing a shorter walk (about 4 miles) return to Irvine by train from Barassie.
  2. The walk makes use of cycle tracks so please take care and be observant – not every cyclist has a bell!!
  3. Toilets should be available near the Pilot House and in Barassie (750 metres south of Hillhouse Road).
  4. Bring a towel if you want to have a paddle!

The walk starts by descending the steps at the end of the quay onto Irvine beach.   Usually this stretch of beach is a pleasant meander towards Barassie, with the dunes on the left and the sea on the right.  At Barassie turn left up Hillhouse Road and under the railway line.  Barassie station is on the right.  Trains run approximately every half hour back to Irvine.

Continue past the station and bear left across a small open grassed area into Whins Road.  Then turn left into Lang Road, left into North Neuk and onto to a connecting pathway.  At College Park go left and take another connecting path into Plateau Drive and another link into Citadel Way.  Then turn left into Lochgreen Avenue and at the turning area take the rising path and exit left onto a short stretch of pavement to cross a railway line.  After about 100 metres cross the road carefully (it can be busy at times) and take the downward path under the A78.  Continue on this path, crossing a railway line at a gated crossing, and bear left to pick up a now abandoned road towards the paper mill.  Just before the boundary to the mill turn right into Shewalton Wood (Scottish Wildlife Trust).  Follow the path through the reserve and exit right (at the north side of the paper mill) and cross the road.  Continue along the pavement beside Meadowhead Road and, after about 100 metres, turn left and continue on another good path past a loch on the right.  Cross the A78 again, this time using the footbridge.  On meeting a road (Auchengate) cross it carefully and take the pavement on the other side of the road.  Follow this pathway round to the left as the road approaches the roundabout.  Continue on this path until a car park on Marine Drive.  Turn left through this car park to join a path through the dunes.  This leads back onto Irvine beach for the final kilometre of the walk.

 

The Murieston Water

Getting there
You can either get the train from Glasgow Central to Livingston South Railway Station or take the car.

To go by car
Although this seems a long way, once you’re on the M8 it’s a very easy journey taking about 40 minutes. Leave the M8 at the main exit for Livingston on the A899 signposted for the Town Centre, Designer Outlet, etc. The slip road curves round to cross the motorway and come to the roundabout with the whale arch. Ignore all turn-offs to right or left, following the signs to the A71 to West Calder, Kilmarnock etc. At Lizzie Bryce’s roundabout for the A71, go right round taking the third exit, signposted A71, West Calder, Bankton etc. You are now on Bankton Road. Take the first exit to the left, now sign-posted Murieston, Bankton and South Livingston Railway Station (EH54 9AP) with the red railway logo. At the T junction turn left, similarly sign-posted, and follow this road round in a huge arc to another roundabout and turn left. You’re at a row of shops (Co-op) etc and the very obvious railway. There is parking here.

The walk
Go towards the shops to find a tunnel underneath the railway  bearing right past the nursery school to a T-junction of woodland paths. Turn right (you’ll come back from the opposite direction at the end of the walk) and follow the signs for the Murieston Trail, a tree-lined driveway with the Murieston Water below you. This path winds above the water, slightly twisting around housing etc, for a mile to arrive at a gate on the left and a large Notice Board signalling Campbridge Loch. Turn in here and come to a tree-bench.

You can turn left or right  around the loch but the left-hand turn is perhaps the more attractive.  The left-hand path comes down to a junction of paths: go straight on towards the road and just before another entrance into the park,  turn sharp left again. Then take a glorious path beside the Murieston Water flooded with meadowsweet, foxgloves etc. The path is firm, over chicken wire and little bridges where the going might have been be ever-so-slightly-slippery, before reaching a main bridge on the left which will take you back to the railway station and car park if you’ve had enough. Otherwise,  continue on, turning left and then right with the water.

Turn right across a bridge (with a bench on the left) and follow this surfaced path right round towards a football pitch and play swings etc. A sign-post directs walkers up to Murieston Road – a busy road  at a very nasty bend. Cross over to the right making for the litter bins and then go through a gate. Go straight on here and then right following a path which literally goes round two sides of a square. About half-way round there’s a track on the right with a large notice leading to a Site of Special Scientific Interest. This crosses the railway line and comes down to a clearing with path to the left. This is very overgrown in the summer but does continue, parallel with the river valley below, steeply down under a magnificent railway viaduct and the re-joins the original  track.

If you wish to avoid this overgrown path, continue on past the track to the SSSI to a junction of paths.  Take the path sign-posted to Oakbank which is more-or-less straight on. Continue along this path, down under the railway, through a tunnel under the A899 and into Oakbank.

Here  turn left and follow the path alongside the A899 before quickly curving away to a little bit of Oakbank.  Ignore a sign-post and look for a large wooden post on the left marking the path to take down to Murieston Water . This is difficult to find .  It goes down steeply to the Murieston Water where you turn left. After a lovely bit of river walking,  go back under the road and walk along a ‘boulevard’ beside the river to a dead-end.   Turn right and up to a bus shelter. Just behind the bus shelter, the path continues and just as you’re feeling that you can walk no more,  turn right and into Livingston South Railway Station.