Category Archives: Within a radius of about 40 miles

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.

Allan’s Bridge

Twixt Uni and cathedral,
yet cities not in view,
Our sylvan paths wend flatly;
some walked before, most new.
Avoiding white, round missiles,
and marsh we won’t go through,
With hills around to view,
although they are no cause to “phew”.
A railway option halves the trip,
Mud not enough to cause to slip,
Good value nosh, with drink to sip,
A grand day out, though air has nip.

Starting Point:

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

Dunblane, Scotland, United Kingdom

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 nearest toilets are at the Library in the High Street.

The Walk:  Dunblane – Bridge of Allan – 7.5 miles (12 km)

From the car park walk east away from the river.  Turn left into Braeport and at a Y junction turn left into Tannahill Terrace. Take the steps to the left near the Balmyle Grove sign which descend into Laighhills Public Park.  Go over the Scouring Burn and turn left onto a tarmac path.  Continue over the railway bridge and turn left.  After 200m turn left again to re-cross the Scouring Burn before turning right to cross the Faery Bridge over the Allan Water.  Turn left and follow the path adjacent to the river; the cathedral will be on the left on the other side of Allan Water.  Turn left again when the path joins a road (Bridgend) and follow this to the Stirling Road and go left again before turning right into Beech Road.  Continue until the B8033 and turn left.  Pass the Police Station and then, at a crossing point, cross the busy road.  Take the flight of 48 steps which rise to the right and into Dunblane New Golf Club.  Continue between buildings to an obvious track to the left of the golf course.  Follow the golf course perimeter for about 1km and after a short ascent and rounding a corner look for a rusty field gate on the left.  There is a short muddy section before the path levels out for views across farmland.  At this point turn right and then right again at a signpost along a surfaced path through trees.  At the junction of two paths ignore the left one and take the path that goes downhill (with a short steep section), with the golf course on the right and the Wharry Burn eventually on the left.  Turn left to cross the burn and then right to rejoin the Allan Water and pass Ben Gunn’s Cave.  After crossing Cock’s Burn continue on the path until it emerges onto Blairforkie Drive.  Continue down the road until it meets the A9.  

Turn right and follow the signs to Bridge of Allan railway station and then ascend stairs to rejoin the A9.  Turn left and after 50m cross the busy road towards a track to the left of a children’s nursery.  Follow this track to a cottage and then turn left (no signpost) to follow a small track, with the garden wall of a cottage on the right.  Fields will now be on the left and after 400m cross a double stile and a broken-down wall until a T junction.  At this point go down and to the left (the path is almost non-existent) and keep the fields to the right.  The path comes out of the wood at a junction.  Go straight ahead, downhill, until the path takes a sharp right turn.  Go through the field gate on the left and follow the field edge to reach the dual carriageway.  Go through the gate and turn right and follow the pavement for 400m.  At the gatehouse turn right up a driveway and after crossing the Allan Water once again turn sharp left and enter a field.  After 400m, ascend an easy grassy slope towards the entrance of a railway tunnel.  Cross the tunnel not the railway line!  Then climb, with woodland on the left, until meeting a driveway.  Turn left and follow this drive to reach the main road (B8033).  Continue into Beech Road and High Street to return to the cathedral parking.

A walk around the Kelpies

The 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.

Starting Point:

OS Reference NS 904 814 which is the first car park at Helix Park.

Falkirk, Scotland, United Kingdom

Getting there: 30 miles/41 minutes

Take your favourite route out of Glasgow towards the M80 (Stirling).  Exit M80 onto M876 (Falkirk).  Continue on M876 and join M9 (Edinburgh).  Leave the M9 at Junction 6 (just past the Kelpies on the right) onto A905 (Falkirk).  At the traffic lighted junction approach in the left hand lane and turn right, then get in the middle lane.  At Earl’s Gate Roundabout turn right (A904 Falkirk) going under the M9. On exiting the roundabout move to the right hand lane and continue to the Westfield Roundabout.  Turn right onto the A9.  At the Etna Road Roundabout turn right into Helix Park.  The free car park is on the left.  Toilet facilities are at the Kelpies Information Centre where there is a café. 

The walk, which is essentially flat, starts from the car park and heads towards the Kelpies.  Head for the right side of the Kelpies and follow the path over the canal and skirt the sewage works before enjoying a good path through woodland and wetland – the River Carron is on the right.  After crossing the Bainsford Burn there is a crossroad of paths.  

For a 3 mile walk turn left and follow the path south through woodland eventually exiting onto Abbots Road close to a roundabout.  Cross the A9 using the underpass and continue down an unnamed road.  At the canal turn left and rejoin the main routeø.

Continue straight on and past some artworks.  The path then resumes it way adjacent to the River Carron before skirting some habitation and heading into Cobblebrae Community Woodland.  Exit the woodland and take the underpass (under the Carron Road), past a place of worship, and at the bridge turn right.  

For a 5 mile walk turn left (Stenhouse Road) then after a short distance merge right onto Carron Road (B902).  Continue down Carron Road and into Main Street and at Bainsford turn left onto the canal towpath and rejoin the main routeø.  

Having crossed the River Carron turn immediately left onto a small road.  This is still used so take care.  Continue past the Carron Phoenix works and take a gently rising path to the right.  For a loop around the Carron Dams bare right and downhill off the tarmac path. This optional extension adds 1 mile to the walk.  The path is generally good but includes sections of netted boardwalk.  Exit the Carron Dams loop by climbing a flight of steps and turning right to rejoin the main path.  Continue on this path as it follows the route of an overgrown lade.  When the path meets a narrow lane turn left.  After about 500 metres cross the bridge onto the south side of the River Carron and follow the tarmac path as it swings to the left – playing fields are on the right.  At the top corner turn left and take the inclined walkway up to the cemetery. Head towards the south-east corner of the cemetery and follow the Exit signs.  At the cemetery entrance turn briefly left, cross Dorrator Road and head up the lane opposite, past the Rugby Football Club and onto the grass (with the playing field on the left) and then go slightly downhill to join another tarmac path.  Turn left on joining the path and follow it to the main road (A9).  Cross the road using the protected crossing area and head for the minor road which is only a short distance away.  Turn right and just before the Clyde & Forth Canal turn left onto the towpath.  Follow this for about 4km, passing Bainsfordø, until reaching Helix Park.  Cross the canal and head back towards the car park or for a more interesting end to the walk, cross the access road and take the broad boardwalk pass the ponds back to the car park.


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.


[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.

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:

Wild and beautiful

This walk is in the  picturesque Glen Devon which is situated north east of Dollar.

The area has diverse habitats and features and includes grassy hills, woodlands, reservoirs and rivers. It is wild, remote and beautiful and there is the possibility of seeing ospreys, grouse and red squirrels as well as magnificent views.  Perfect for a 8-mile July walk!

Castlehill Reservoir, at the south end of the glen, provides the water supply for Fife.  There are other reservoirs including two, which were man-made, and known locally as the Frandy Reservoirs.  These were built to supply Dunfermline and Rosyth and constructed in the First World War by German prisoners.

Starting Point:
The starting point is at OS Reference NN 996 032 which is the parking area adjacent to Castlehill Reservoir.

Dollar FK14, UK

Getting there: 43 miles/55 minutes
To get there, take your favourite route to the M8 towards Edinburgh. Take exit 13 to merge onto M80 towards Stirling and Kincardine Bridge. After 15 miles take exit 8 to M876 Kincardine Bridge. Continue on A876/M9/A876 . At the Higgins Neuk Roundabout take SECOND exit towards Perth and M90. At the Kilbagie Roundabout take the FIRST exit onto A977. At the Gartferry Roundabout take THIRD exit to continue on A977. After 8.5 miles turn left onto A823 (Crieff); stay on A823 and turn right briefly onto A91 and keep left for 210 yards leaving the A91 and back onto A823 (Glendevon). After 1.4 miles you will see signs for parking on the right, beside Castlehill Reservoir.

The Walk: Glen Devon – 8.0 miles
The start of the route is directly opposite the lay-by and follows a metalled road to Glenquey Reservoir. Turn right before the house and the reservoir. Continue to follow the path veering to the left to pass the Fish ladder and to follow an old drove road which drovers used to take their livestock to market in Falkirk. It is also a Right of Way (RoW) that goes from Glendevon to Dollar. This path follows the reservoir and continues on beyond. The path is clear and at the time of the reccé was dry but can be wet and muddy.

Our route turns off the RoW at the end of the forest on the left, and below can be seen Castle Campbell and Dollar. At this point, folk who don’t want to continue can return by the same route to make a 6 mile walk. Otherwise turn left and begin to climb up a short hill at the end of which is a seat and a few tree stumps that make this a decent lunch stop, with a view.

After getting your breath back, take the right hand route and curve round Hillfoot Hill, descending a little then ascending slowly. As the route climbs, there is a panorama of the Forth Valley from the bridges at Kincardine eastwards. When the forest is re-entered, look out for a path going right from the forestry track with a metal gate at the end. This brings the route out into the open hills. Take this path off to the right (instead of continuing on the track) and it brings you out onto a fine grassy path on Commonedge Hill, with Seamab Hill in the distance. This is a lovely section on a clear day; but watch out for the deer! Head towards the large stile over the deer fence and quickly ascend Seamab Hill. Head down a clear path from the hill towards a Y-junction and take the left hand path to bring you down to the Reservoirs Trail. Follow this back to the starting point.

Bard Country

Start at OS Reference NS328 206 which is the car park adjacent to Ayr India on the seafront in Ayr.


Getting there: 40 miles/60 minutes
Take your favourite route out of Glasgow to join the M8 going west. Exit the M8 at Junction 22 onto the M77 south towards Prestwick Airport. The M77 becomes the A77 just before Kilmarnock. Follow the signs for Ayr. At the Monkton Roundabout take the slip lane towards Stranraer/Ayr. Avoid Ayr town centre! Continue on the A77 and follow signs for Alloway/Stranraer. After the Bankfield Roundabout continue on the A77 and follow signs for Alloway/Doonfoot/Heads of Ayr. Follow signs for ‘A719 Coastal Route’ and Burns National Heritage Park and turn right into Doonholm Road. Cross the small roundabout and continue on past the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum. At the end of the road turn right and at the mini roundabout turn left into Greenfield Avenue. At next roundabout turn right into Doonfoot Road and continue until traffic lights. Turn left into Seafield Road, go over a small roundabout and at the seafront turn right past Ayr India and into the car park. Parking is free but watch the speed bumps! Toilets are 30p.

The walk: 9 miles (Shorter options of about 6.5 miles are possible)
Follow the promenade south towards the River Doon and then turn left before the bridge. At the roundabout turn left and cross the road at the traffic island bearing right and then left into Greenfield Avenue and after 150m turn left into Belleisle Park. Follow the driveway towards the main house. Bear right at an obvious split in the driveway and after 50m turn left by the wall. Turn right through a gate in the wall into the garden and exit the garden to the left. Pass the greenhouse and continue on past the house (on the left) and follow a clear path across the golf course. At the Monument Road turn right and after 50m turn left into RoZelle Park. After 25m turn left onto the bridleway and follow the Poppy Trail. Just before a large poppy sculpture turn left and enter the Remembrance Woodland. Return to the Poppy Trail and take the path to the east of the pond and at the main drive turn left towards the McLaurin Galleries. Continue on the main path through the estate and at the bridleway turned left. At a T-junction of paths/bridleway turn left. Follow the path (crossing  Laughlanglen Road) until it exits the woodland (with the Slaphouse Burn on your left) at the Maypole Road. Turn right and after 250m turn right again to join the old railway line, now a cycle path. Exit the cycle path at Robert Burns Birthplace Museum.

From the museum turn left along Murdoch’s Lone and turn left onto the High Maybole Road (B7024). Just before the hotel turn left and enter the Burns Monument and Memorial Gardens. Exit the gardens via a stepped path down to the Old Brig of Doon. Cross it and at the end of a short muddy section turn right and carefully cross the B7024 into Long Hill Avenue. Keep to the pathway on the left until the bridge. Cross the road and takes a few steps down to rejoin the old railway line/cycle path and continue left until it ends at the Dunure Road (A719). Cross this busy road carefully. Take the path opposite and bear right and after a short distance turn left onto a straight minor road towards the coast. Where the road turns right* bear slightly left down a track to the beach and turn right along the shore. After passing Greenham Castle take a path through the dunes to the car park. Head towards the exit and turn left along a grassy area through another car park until you reach the River Doon. Cross the bridge and continue on the promenade (northwards) to return to the cars.

*Depending on the tides, it may be necessary to follow the road round to the right. Continue down the road for about 800 m and turn left towards the car park and then bear right along the grassy area.

Keep your eyes open:

For golf balls; Remembrance Woodland and sculpture Trail; the McLaurin Galleries; Robert Burns Birthplace Museum; the Auld Kirk; Burns Monument and Gardens; Brig O’ Doon; Greenan Castle; birdlife.

Coalsnaughton Walk

Starting Point
OS Reference NS 924 957 Muircot Farm Shop in Coalsnaughton (FK13 6LS)

Getting there: 38 miles/45 minutes
Take the M8 towards Edinburgh and exit on the left to Stirling on the M80. At exit 8 follow the signs to Kincardine. Merge with the M9 but stay in the left hand lane and take exit 7 to Kincardine Bridge still on the M876. The road changes to the A876 and at the next roundabout take the first exit to Alloa on the A907. Note this will take you over the Clackmannan Bridge which will take you to a roundabout and again take the first exit following the A907 to Alloa.

Two more roundabouts with the same instructions will bring you to a third roundabout where you will take the second exit marked Tillicoutry, Alva and Sauchie on the B909.

Another roundabout will see you take the second exit on the A908 to Tillicoutry, Glenochil and Sauchie. Two miles up this road, having passed through Sauchie, you will enter Fishcross which is marked as a major cross roads. Here you will turn right on to the B9140 and another two  miles will see you enter Coalsnaughton. Go through the village and the Muircot Farm Shop is on the left just before you leave the village and about 100m before the ‘national limit’ speed sign. Careful because you come on it quite suddenly. Park vertically to the fence at the road boundary of the car park.

The Walk:
8.5 miles (Self-guided shorter options are available) Coffee is available at the Farm Shop  before heading out on the walk.

From the Muircot Farm Shop, turn left on the B9140. The B9140 is a very busy road but there is a narrow verge on the other side of the road where one can walk in a single file. After 300m turn left towards the Devonknowes Livery.  Follow the track down to a cottage, ignoring the sign which says “Path”, and continue down to the right for about 100m to a silver metal gate. Do not go through the gate but climb over the stile to the right of the gate and set off down a very narrow grassy path between a hedge and a field. Down and down by rough steps which may be slippery until a good path is reached. Turn right and after 20m note the sign for the River Devon Trail. A long stretch along this path, which is muddy in places, eventually meets a LRT of red blaise. The River Devon Trail waymarks to the left but we go right up a steep hill which soon levels off and eventually returns to the B9140. Cross over the road, continue by the ponds on the right and Aberdona Gallery. Careful since there are no verges and the few cars seem to move fast. 200m before turning left at a signpost marked “Path”! Pass a cottage on the left and once through close the gate. Continue downhill, pass a broken tree on the right and keep on. The path terminates at a large field with a metal silver gate, which may or may not be open alongside a fence. Follow this track beside a lade, noting the Black Devon river steeply below you, all the way to a major four-way junction. Go straight on and observe Gartmorn Dam Reservoir on the right. Follow the excellent path round the dam view point and then Gartmorn House, both options for lunch. Continue on the path to the Visitors Centre, cafe and toilets. A further 1.6 km round the dam will bring us to a track, Jamie’s Loan, which, turning left, will lead straight back up to Coalsnaughton and the B9140. Turn right and walk the short distance along the road, single file on verge on right, back to the Muircot Farm Shop.


A Convolution around Muiravonside

This is lovely, varied walk is full of twists and turns, a canal and a river and paths not marked on maps! With a bit of history thrown in it’s perfect.

There are two opt-outs. The first is to stay in the park.  There are ample walks, an art trail (two pieces from which we all see) and a park café. The second opt-out is to return after the visit to Muiravonside Kirk by returning to cross the canal at Haining Bridge and following the route back which you will take alongside the canal. This cuts out three miles, in wet weather almost all  mud.

Park in the main carpark in Muiravonside Country Park. The Satnav postcode of EH49 6LW gets you to the village of Muiravonside but then misdirects you. If you’re following this, once in the village, keep on the road in the direction of travel and turn right into the park.

The Loan, Whitecross EH49 6LW, United Kingdom

To get there, for those without satnavs.

Take the M8 east (towards Edinburgh for the geographically challenged) and then the M80 off left to Stirling, Kincardine Bridge etc. Follow the M80/A80 as per usual, until you come to the M876 marked Kincardine Bridge, Falkirk and Grangemouth. (Just before the blue motorway sign you’ll see the brown tourist sign for the Falkirk Wheel.) Take this motorway to the left: the inside lane goes off on the M876 while the M80 continues on towards Perth. About seven miles further on ignore the M9 sign going north (on your left) and continue on for about a mile until the M876 merges with the M9 coming in on your right. It’s really very easy – just keep driving. When the motorways merge, the inside lane goes off to Kincardine Bridge so get into the middle lane and make for Linlithgow, Grangemouth etc. You sweep round Falkirk and make for Junction 4. Look out for the enormous Kelpies (horses’ heads) on the Forth and Clyde canal. Leave the motorway at Junction 4 and come down the slip road to a large roundabout. Go right round the roundabout ignoring a road to a ski slope, a slip road back on to the motorway and the A803 to Linlithgow ( and ignore  the seductive brown signpost to Beecraigs Country Park) and take the next exit, the A801 signposted to Bathgate, Livingston and Maddiston (and the M8). Drive straight down this road for two miles till you come to Bowhouse roundabout. Turn first left on the B825 (signposted in brown to Muiravonside Country Park) and half a mile on you’ll come to the Country Park on your right.

Turn right into Muiravonside Country Park. Drive right up the magnificent drive way, past the overspill (woodland) car park on the left , to the main car park and turn in left for cars as directed. The journey from Glasgow is exactly 35 miles and should take about 40 minutes.

Toilets: there are two sets of toilets at the main car park: the nearest are at New Farm next to the car park; the others are at the café which, in fact, you walk past on the walk. 

From the main car-park walk back down the main driveway to a substantial signpost pointing left along a good track towards Candie. Turn left here and, ignoring a signpost directing walkers back to the river, continue on to an unnamed, unmarked path above the farm of Redford. This unnamed path is best noted by the angle of the track, which is marked, to the left. On the map it looks as though there is no continuing path but in fact a good path curves round and down just above the farm. It joins the official route along the River Avon just above the river. Turn left here to make your way down a steep, muddy slope. (You may find it easier to keep to the fence until you reach the river.) At the bottom turn left to  follow the river through a delightful meadow and then through the steeply wooded section of Carriber Glen. The exit is barred by a landfall and you are, gratefully, directed up to the café and toilets. You continue above the river stopping to admire the ‘Owl’ bench and owls in the tree which are part of the ‘Art in the Park Trail’. Go through the Stirling family cemetery which is strangely moving. The path slopes down eventually, joining an old mill lade, and coming,as directed, to the old Mill and the Park offices.  Continue along a particularly beautiful stretch of the River Avon to the magnificent aqueduct towering above you. Steep steps take you up the considerable height to the Union Canal towering above you. At the top you turn back on ourselves to the canal. Once on the canal bank,  turn right towards Falkirk and away from Linlithgow but if you’ve never been here it’s worth walking back along the aqueduct to admire both the river below and the engineering miracle.

You now follow a metalled path along the canal bank, passing Bridge 49. Pass a canal inlet with tied up barges. Note when you come to Haining Bridge since this will be the return route for those opting out. However, it is well worth continuing  to Muiravonside Kirk. This is hidden to the right but is easily found at a small burn flowing over the canal path and into the canal. Just before this burn, there is a path over a broken wall with stone steps which takes you into the large car park at Muiravonside Kirk. (If you wish to avoid the additional 3 miles, turn back here and retrace your steps to Haining bridge where you can cross the canal and continue down along the opposite side. When you come to a junction of paths, continue straight on and follows the notes below.)

However, it is worth at least glancing at the cemetery, before continuing your way parallel to the canal path. From here there are fine views of Almond Castle. This little path soon rejoins the canal towpath.

Continue along the canal bank to Bethankie Bridge. Just across the road below, a fine set of steps goes down to the right on to the road. The road then goes under the canal by a narrow tunnel. This part of the road is also used by cars who exercise caution but who cannot see the tunnel until they are almost on it. Beware! Just under the tunnel, to the left, is a Public Footpath sign directing walkers through a gate and up through the woods. The path climbs to a driveway coming up from the road and into The Haining. Cross this driveway, following a public footpath sign. The path should go straight up the hill, but locals have struck off diagonally to cut off a corner. At the top, the official path comes in from the left and continues to the right but, again, the locals have continued diagonally. It all meets up by Parkhall Farm where you are directed by the footpath sign straight down and then to the right. This emerges at a metalled road with the path ahead barred for obvious reasons! On the metalled road, turn left and follow the road across the Manuel Burn.At the T junction, turn left and then, at signpost, cross the road and climb up beside some trees towards some houses. The first part of this path can be very muddy. However, as you circle round the houses the path improves and comes out on a lovely country road with views across the Bathgate Hills and towards the Forth Bridges. Pass signposts to Muiravonside (on the right) and Haining Bridge (on the left) both of which you ignore.

As you near the Union Canal a signpost directs you to the left and down on to the canal bank. There are three choices. One sign points back to Haining Bridge where the ‘Opt-out group’ will come in. Those coming from Haining Bridge will go straight on. One sign points to the canal which simply goes to the canal bank then back up onto the road. The third sign points towards Muiravonside and continues under the road. Those joining here will turn left at the signpost towards Muiravonside.

The next section is a delightful soft path along the canal but slightly above it. You soon reach a picturesque inlet where canal barges  are tied up. Some of the barges are residential. There are benches here to sit and admire the view. There are several paths leading back to the park but the best is to continue past this inlet with the barges, following a signpost to Muiravonside, which comes out in the car park of Bridge 49. Go up through the car park, turn left at the road and then, just before the bridge over the canal, cross the road and take the signposted track back into the park. At a major junction of paths turn right and follow the track back to the car park.

The Stank Glen

This is a lovely, and gentle, circuit of The Stank Glen below Ben Ledi. The steady but gentle climb up the track from the car park at Kilmahog soon gives you unexpectedly lovely views of Loch Vennachar to the south and then Loch Lubnaig to the north. You continue along a much-changed path below Ben Ledi to Stank Glen. Despite it’s off-putting name, Stank Glen, an alternative route down from Ben Ledi, has stupendous views both up to the rugged top of the mountain and down to the magnificent depths of Loch Lubnaig. There is a real mountain feel to this part. The path continues up over a mountain which can be full-flowing in winter but is which was just about navigable. The way back is a muscle-achingly long flat trek  along the Strathyre to Callander railway path!

Park at the Forestry commission car-park on the A821 just before it joins the A84 at Kilmahog near Callander.

Callander, Stirling FK17, UK

To get there, go to the roundabout on the A81 at Aberfoyle near the Rob Roy Motel. (To get there take either the A82 (Great Western Road) to Anniesland and then the A739 (the Bearsden/Switch Road); or the A81 (Maryhill Road) both of which take you to Canniesburn Toll. Here, take the A81 through Milngavie, Blanefield, Strathblane, Dumgoyne, etc. to the Rob Roy Motel and the mini-roundabout) At the mini-roundabout, the quickest way is to turn right towards Callander on the A81, driving past Braeval, the Port of Menteith, turning left with the A81 and following the signposts to Callander. At the traffic lights at the main street in Callander turn left; drive through Callander and just past the Kilmahog Woollen Mills, turn left on the A821.

There are TWO car-parks. Kilmahog is the one  on the left; a little further on is the less-frequented Bochastle car park on the right.

The walk

Depending on where you’ve parked, the walk begins either by taking the safe, off-road path from the Kilmahog car-park to the Bochastle car-park and going straight up the LRT (with the car-park on the right); or by returning to the entrance of the Bochastle car-park and picking up the LR to the right. The LRT gently winds its way up through the forest on a clear LRT. There are several places where the trees have been cleared and a quarry which you’re warned not to climb!

You reach a wider part of the LRT where trees were being cleared on our walk. This should be less muddy and more attractive when the forestry work has finished. On the left is a little hidden sign-post up to Ben Ledi. On the right is a new path back down to the path alongside Loch Lubnaig. It is raw and new but well-made and will soften over time. (This is a good escape route for those not wishing to go further. This path goes down steeply, but very safely, to join the track at Loch Lubnaig. Turning left takes you to Strathyre while turning right takes you first to the bridge at the Stank Glen car-park, where climbers for Ben Ledi usually park, and then on to Kilmahog and Bochastle car-park. At this point, anyone who wanted to do Ben Ledi should continue on up, and either come down the same way or walk along the ridge and come down the Stank Glen. But beware, Ben Ledi is a strenuous climb which will take several hours. It’s much further than it looks on the map.)

 Your walk, however, continues straight on, below Ben Ledi but high above Loch Lubnaig, with lovely views up to the mountain ridge and down to the River Leny and then the beginning of Loch Lubnaig. Stroll along the LRT to a junction (with Coireachrombie written across it on the map) where you take the LRT to the left which initially curves round left and then right and then straightens out to reach Stank Glen. We had lunch at a magnificent viewpoint along this stretch.

At the next junction you can go straight on to cross the burn and begin the descent. For those opting to go higher you turn left up another shortish climb, again on a very well-made path, up the left-land side of the Stank Glen. Both routes open out with a real mountain-feel under the ridge above you.

After crossing the Stank Burn make our way down the other side of the glen, dropping all the way. The LRT eventually comes out on the cycle track along Loch Lubnaig and back to the car, which is easy walking but, I’m afraid, sore on the calves! To relieve the tedium, at a concrete seat supported by railway sleepers, you can leave the old railway track and take a path closer to the river which will bring you out at the picturesque Falls of Leny.