All posts by Glenda A. White

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.

At last! A walk along the Leven

I’ve been trying to do this walk for years but the weather, changes to the dates and Covid19 (to name but three) have contrived to impede our plans. However, as is often the way, the plot has thickened (and hopefully improved!)

We meet for coffee (provided) at The Balloch House Vintage Inn at 10.30 am. After coffee, we take the train from Balloch to Dalreoch (8 minutes) and then simply walk back along a surprisingly rural River Leven to Balloch. Somewhere along the way I hope to find a sheltered and clandestine nook for our carols! Our Christmas meal (remember those?) will also celebrate (a little late) my 75th birthday and will also be provided. Ah happy memories!

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.

A Canal, A River and A Park

The walk starts by going into Westerlands Estate by the old cinema at Anniesland and continuing through it until it reaches a small roundabout. Then follow the rough path to the left through a small, wooded area to reach Strathcona Gardens, then turn right onto a small path, then go left at a fork leading to the Forth & Clyde Canal.

Walk along canal passing Lock 27 and continue to Netherton. Cross the canal at the lock and turn right along the north bank of the canal. Go under two railway bridges to reach Islay Avenue then on to Bearsden Road. Turn left and opposite the entry to Garscube Estate take the pathway into Cairnhill Woods. The Woodland trust have been involved with these woods and there are some intriguing wooden sculptures to be seen along the pathways.

Continue through the woods, cross Henderland Road, and continue into the second section of woods, through a loop route and then back to Bearsden Road.

Carefully cross Bearsden Road (dual carriageway) and enter Garscube Estate (Glasgow University Vet School) and

proceed gently downhill until an open area. We may have lunch here. Cross the rustic stone bridge over the River

Kelvin and then follow the bank of the Kelvin and onto a path which leads out onto the Dalsholm Road. Turn right,

then right again and continue onto the (Old) Dalsholm Road. This old road crosses back over the Kelvin and then continues uphill. Before reaching the metalled section of Dalsholm Road, just before the entry to the recycling plant, turn right towards Dawsholm Park.

Cutting across the fields enter Dawsholm Park and proceed up the main avenue. Before reaching the main gate turn back left to follow the edge of the park eastwards. At the end of this peripheral path turn right and proceed downhill to reach Dalsholm Road again. Turn right and continue down the road crossing two railway bridges. At the small roundabout turn right, and after crossing the canal, turn right onto the canal towpath. Continue to the point just beyond the gas-holders and take the left track which continues into Strathcona Gardens. Turn left and cross therailway bridge to the Westerlands Estate. Retrace the outward route to return to the original starting point in Ascot Gate.

A Junction of ‘Ways’

Starting Point:

The start point is at NS 555744, the car park in Fulton Road adjacent to Milngavie Station.

The Walk: 10 miles (16 km)

Toilet facilities are available at Tesco near Milngavie station and at Mugdock Visitor Centre.

This is an undemanding ‘lollipop’ walk and is mainly on good wide paths.

Starting from the car park at Milngavie Station cross the busy dual carriageway to the centre of Milngavie and the signposted start of the West Highland Way (WHW).  Follow the WHW route out of town.  This section may have a few folks walking their dogs, but they are soon left behind as the route heads towards Drumclog Moor.  Leave the WHW at Allander Park to continue alongside the Allander river before rejoining the WHW.  Clear views of Dumgoyne are ahead.  This section heads towards Carbeth with beautiful views across Craigallian Loch.

On reaching the outskirts of Carbeth go right where the path forks and shortly afterwards take a sharp right turn (almost doubling back) onto the John Muir Way (JMW).  Where the JMW goes left at a T-junction leave the JMW by going right (towards Loch Woods) and then shortly afterwards take the track on the left and walk towards Craigallian Road.  Cross the road and enter Mugdock Country Park.  Cross an interesting bridge and walk past Gallowhill towards the Visitor Centre where toilets, coffee, ice cream and snacks are available.

Carry on past the ruins of the old house (with its interesting history) and the ruins of Mugdock Castle and continue past Mugdock Loch, with its swans and water lilies.  Then head through the Mugdock Wood (with its interesting paving poetry) and turn left to rejoin the WHW for the last couple of miles back to the starting point.

For a shorter walk, turn back at any point before Craigallian Bridge and retrace the outward route.

A walk in the park

Despite its popularity, proximity to Glasgow, and compact size this is a delightful walk. It’s easy to get to, has parking nearby and the walk by the White cart river is both beautiful and full of surprises. Its about 5-6 miles long.

Getting there

Take your usual route onto M77 towards Kilmarnock. Leave the M77 at Exit 3 (A727) and go left at the lights. Continue over the Speirsbridge Roundabout. Note: approach in the left line and as that splits keep right so you end in the middle lane at the entrance to the roundabout. Continue ahead (Rouken Glen Road) and over the Eastwood Toll Roundabout (still the A727). At the Clarkston Toll Roundabout take the first exit (B767) which goes tightly over the railway. Take the first right into a public car park by Clarkston Library.

The Walk

From the car park head towards the Library and the path that rises to meet Stamperland Hill. Turn left. At the junction with Stamperland Gardens (opposite a church) turn right and then take the first left (Orchy Drive). Turn right into The Oval and continuing round, take the first road on the right and then turn left onto Randolph Drive. Continue for 200m and turn right down a short path between properties. At the end, turn right onto Nethervale Avenue. At the end of the road turn right (Netherview Road) for 150m and take a narrow pathway between houses on the left. This goes down to the White Cart River. At the bottom of this descending path turn left and follow a pleasant path with the river on the right. Continue until the White Bridge but keep on the main path – do not cross the bridge. The sound of a waterfall will increasingly be heard from the right. After about 250m take the path downwards to the right to follow the river more closely. There are views of the waterfall here. Continue on this path and when it joins the main path turn right. Continue past Holmwood House (National Trust) and cross Millholm Road. The next section towards Snuff Mill Bridge, is undulating (and can be muddy when wet or after rainfall) and involves a number of short ‘stairways’. There is no rush, take them at your own pace. At Snuff Mill Bridge there are beautiful views of the river. On approaching the bridge turn right and cross the river. After 75m turn right again into Linn Park – it is signed at the entrance railings. The walk now follows a broad tarmacadam path back to the White Bridge although there is a more attractive path (again muddy when wet) which runs closer to the river. At the White Bridge turn left and retrace your steps to the car park.

Frontline Alba

This is a very respectable walk along the Antonine Wall worthy of its bigger brother further south. It includes some of Dullatur, Bar Hill Fort, Westerwood, Castlecary, Seabegs Wood, Croy Hill, the Antonine Wall and the Forth and Clyde Canal.

Starting Point:
Park at OS Reference NS 720 768 which is the rear car park at the Boathouse Restaurant.

Getting there: 16 miles/30 minutes
Take your favourite route to the M80. Exit at Junction 4A, using the left hand lane to exit towards Kirkintilloch/Kilsyth /B8048. Keep left and follow signs for Kirkintilloch/Kilsyth /B8048/B802. At Back O’ Hill roundabout, take the 2nd exit onto B8048. At the next roundabout (Craiglinn) take the 3rd exit (continuing on B8048) and at the next roundabout (Blackwood) take the 3rd exit onto B802 (Howe Road) signed Croy/Kilsyth. Stay on this road for about 1.5 miles. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit for Auchinstarry Marina. The Boathouse is on the left. Park behind the Boathouse; there is plenty of parking.

The Walk: 7.0 miles (Shorter option available)
Take the path up behind the toilets and go through a gate onto the road. Turn right to cross the bridge and take the path down to the canal on the right. At the canal turn right to go under the bridge. Follow the canal path and at Twechar turn left over the canal and follow the road up hill. Just past the war memorial turn left (signed Barhill Fort/Antonine Wall /John Muir Way) where a track goes uphill. Keep right where it forks and turn left at the kissing gate (with John Muir Way sign). Pass through the next gate and head diagonally uphill to reach the remains of Bar Hill Roman Fort.

After exploring the fort continue ENE (from the top of the fort), to pick up a grassy path that soon climbs to the top of Castle Hill. This is the site of an iron-age fort. Continue on the grassy path, which curves slightly right, to join the edge of the ditch of the Antonine Wall which was built by the Romans as a northern replacement of Hadrian’s Wall. Passing an area of forestry on the right, continue until a stone wall (with a sign about the wall) and turn right. Shortly after turn left along a track. At a gate continue ahead and, likewise, at a later junction.

Anyone wanting a shorter walk can descend the footpath marked on the OS map to Auchinstarry.

At the B802, cross the road and go straight ahead. Turn right at a fenced enclosure, following a surfaced track for a short distance, then turn left after a gate signed Croy Hill. The track becomes a grassy path and ascends steadily to the summit of Croy Hill with great views of the surrounding land. The final steep climb can be by-passed on the left. Descend down the ridge, with the ditch still on the left, through a group of four large isolated trees, past a waymark for the John Muir trail and continue to a good path turning left towards to Castlecary. Ignore a good path on the right which goes steeply down to the canal and continue on the path as it curves round to the left and pick up the signs to Auchinstarry. The path arrives at the canal bank and hence to the Marina.