This week in my Sunday Mail column I wrote about the new trail that has been created in the Kilpatrick Hills north of Glasgow. It is part of an extension to the long-distance coast-to-coast walking route, the John Muir Way. The route heads past beautiful Burncrooks Reservoir.
Read the full story here or below.
Burncrooks walking route opens
A new way-marked walking and cycling path in Central Scotland officially opens this Easter.
The off-road trail provides a scenic re-routing of the long-distance Scottish coast-to-coast route, the John Muir Way.
The five-mile trail also aims to open up the beautiful Kilpatrick Hills, north of Glasgow, to more people.
The natural-looking man-made path includes a circuit of picturesque Burncrooks Reservoir.
The £500,000 Burncrooks project has been funded by sportscotland, Legacy 2014 Active Places, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Forestry Commission Scotland.
Matthew Buckland, Forest Enterprise Scotland Community & Recreation manager, said: “This is a really exciting development for the Kilpatrick Hills and we’re delighted the path is now open.
“We are encouraging everyone to visit the hills for the amazing views, sense of space, rugged beauty and wildlife.
“The path also creates one of the wilder sections of the John Muir Way and offers walkers, cyclists and horse riders a more dramatic element to their experience of the long-distance trail.
“We believe that all of these qualities reflect what John Muir was all about, which is why we’re delighted to be part of this project.”
To find out more about the new path, the public can attend an opening day next Saturday (March 26) in the Kilpatricks from noon to 4pm.
The event will be held in Auchineden Forest and people should meet and park at the Edenmill Farm Shop.
A shuttle bus service will take people from the car park to the forest entrance.
There will be a host of family activities on the day including story telling, free bike hire and workshops in willow weaving, photography, stone carving, cycle skills and green wood working.
A new cafe will be opening at the Edenmill Farm Shop.
Walk this way
The easiest access point to the new path is from Edenmill Farm Shop, just off the A809, at Auchengillan and some 10 miles from Glasgow.
Walkers and cyclists can leave their cars in a large parking area and follow a traffic-free route to circuit the reservoir.
The way starts on a tarmac road before heading steadily uphill and on to a wide off-road trail.
After about 100m of ascent over 1.2 miles of walking, a path heads south (left) into Auchineden Forest.
A right hand turn then reveals the new path that travels an undulating route clockwise around the edge of Burncrooks Reservoir.
On a fine day, the views over the reservoir, the wider Kilpatricks hill range and towards Loch Lomond and the Trossachs are stunning.
Amy Telford, Education Officer for Forest Enterprise Scotland, said: “Although they are so close to urban life, the Kilpatricks offer an amazing and remote-feeling experience.
“The hills are easily accessible, especially thanks to the new path, but give a real sense of freedom and getting away from it all.
“It will be great to see more people walking and cycling in this area.”
At the northern end of the reservoir the path splits. Taking the left path, and heading northwards, walkers are led away from the reservoir and towards Balloch.
This is part of the re-routing of 134-mile John Muir Way, which extends from Dunbar in East Lothian to Helensburgh in Argyll.
To complete the Burncrooks circuit, walkers should take the right-hand path and then join a wider trail along the edge of forestry again.
The route returns down the track to the car park at Edenmill Farm Shop.
To enjoy a longer route, walkers and cyclists can start at Milngavie, heading to the Kilpatricks via Carbeth and finishing at Balloch.
It’s possible to return to Milngavie by train from Balloch, changing at Westerton Station. This route also provides a fantastic upland experience for John Muir Way walkers.
New JMW signs point the way from Carbeth, via Burncrooks, and across the hills to Balloch, as a replacement for a stretch of public road and path.
Find out more at www.facebook.com/visitkilpatrickhills