All posts by Glenda A. White

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.

Saturday, 12th October: United Again

It’s always interesting to do something a little different and our October walk is just that! We shall be meeting both at the church, as usual, and at Bethankie on the Union Canal where a canal boat will pick us up and take us for a three-hour trip along the Union Canal, over the Avon aqueduct and on to Linlithgow. Here we alight and after circling around the Loch, re-join the canal via the River Avon to walk back to the cars. This is a six-mile almost flat walk. 

The canal boat can take about 35 people easily but we may be limited by the number of car spaces available to get to Bethankie so please could you let me know early if you would like to come, and if you can offer car spaces? Thanks. 

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.

Saturday, 13 July 2019 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.

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.

Classes and Education

This walk from Dunblane to Bridge of Allan and back will take you through forest, along country roads as well as using a Sustrans cycle way. You will go via a rather affluent Victorian residential area and on to the Stirling University campus. The return route, by the Allan Water, may be a fairly muddy track!

Distance is about eight- ten miles.

Starting Point:
The starting point is at OS Reference NN 781 014 which is the car park on the north side of Dunblane Cathedral.

Getting there: 34 miles/40 minutes
Take your usual route (M8 from Glasgow) to M80 towards Stirling etc. Stay on this road to the large Doune, Perth, Bridge of Allan roundabout where you take the third edit (B8033) to Dunblane. This shortish approach to Dunblane is a dual carriageway. Ignore the first road left to the town centre and continue to the roundabout and turn left on to B8064. Follow this road down to the Cross, turn right to the Cathedral, then right, left and left to the car park to the north of the Cathedral.

The Walk: Dunblane to Stirling Uni Loop – 10 miles (Route can be shortened if required)
Turn left from the car park and left again and up the hill for about two hundred metres. Turn right between two white gate lodges into Holmehill and follow the path (left at T junction) to main road. Cross the road and turn right then left into The Crescent. Follow this to St Margaret’s Drive which becomes Newton Crescent. Continue to Leighton Avenue and turn right along public path to Sherrifmuir. Continue to entrance on right to Dykedale Wood.

Follow the path through the wood, taking left-hand fork, till minor road and turn right. Walk down hill to T junction and turn left into Glen Road. Continue through the very attractive Kippenrait Glen to the first house in Brig of Allan keeping to the left at the gushet and carry on till you reach the quarry at the edge of Coppermine Wood. Continue along the path at the edge of the wood and then follow Abercromby Drive to junction with Kenilworth Road. Turn left into Kenilworth Road and proceed to Sheriffmuir Road where you turn left and keep going till you reach the edge of Hermitage Wood. Turn right into a loan that runs along the edge of the wood. Then go through the second gate in the wall on your right into Stirling University Campus.

Follow the path to Airthrey Castle and turn right along the path between the loch and the student residences. Follow this till it takes you out of the campus and turn right along the main road into Bridge of Allan then right up Coneyhill Road, left along Kennilworth Road to Well Road. Then take another left at Alexander Drive and turn right at the main road.

After the Allanwater Café turn right into Blairforkie Drive. Just after Darnallan House turn left and follow the footpath along the river back to Dunblane along the Darn Road (which is now just a path). Cross the dual carriageway, then along the High Street back to the Cathedral.

Saturday, 13 April 2019: Seeing the Wood from the Trees

This 10 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 and then the A72 the route 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.

A Mugdock Muggle

Start at the Visitors’ Centre ( OS Reference NS 547 780 ) which has a good car park and splendid loos.  It also has the attraction of coffee, hot chocolate and enticing sugary items to ensure that you start off in good spirits.

Getting there: 10 miles/30 minutes
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 Waitrose, 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.

The Walk:  Mugdock Country Park Trails – 7.5 miles
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 Mugdock Loch to the Allander water.

This path emerges on Ellangowan Road where there is 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, 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, back to Craigend Castle and the Visitors’ Centre.