Run or walk: Doughnot Hill in the Kilpatrick Hills
The summit of Doughnot Hill in the Kilpatrick Hills, north of Glasgow, offers fantastic views across to the southern Highlands, including iconic Ben Lomond. This route starts from Overtoun House, Dumbarton.
The Kilpatricks are situated close to many urban settlements yet, when you are amid the hills, it feels like you are miles form anywhere. On a good weather day, the views over Dumbarton, Clydebank, Glasgow, along the River Clyde and to the open sea are stunning.
I have enjoyed two routes recently. One extends to almost 11km and takes in Doughnot hill and the Lang Crags. The second does an extra loop to summit Doughnot twice.
Both routes start at the car park at historic Overtoun House. After following a well-laid track for a short while, the path goes though a strangely shaped gate to access more open countryside.
The path heads over grassland and starts to rise quite steeply. Helpfully, steps have been built into steeper sections and if I am running the route I usually slow to a fast walk up. The path continues to rise and then follows more of an undulating terrain, still generally gaining height.
It’s worth stopping every so often to look back over your shoulder at the view across the wider countryside and towards the river.
Doughnut Hill summit is 375m and it is reached after a section of wet bog and open moorland, then a final steeper rise over heather and grass. It is rare that this area dries out so be prepared for wet running shoes, or wear waterproof boots and gaiters.
It’s not a long hill climb but from the trig point it feels brilliantly remote, and as if you might be the only person for miles around.
If the skies are clear, the views over the many local hills and out towards the mountains of the southern Scottish mountains are superb.
Where next from Doughnot Hill?
It’s possible to retrace your steps to get back to the car park although I prefer to make a circuit. Heading over wet and boggy ground again, the route heads southeasterly to reach the edge of Black Linn reservoir. It then climbs again, this time on a forest track, and to the north-west.
Suddenly, you pop out on the top of crags in the wider Woodland Trust area called Lang Craigs.
The crags offer another great vista before you run (or walk) westerly along the tops. The path is sometimes close to the edge but never feels dangerous.
At the start of the crags. look out for marker posts painted with a white ring. These can be followed along the crag tops and down towards a farm called Middleton. As you descend, the countryside starts to feel more urban again although not overly built up.
Descent to the road (route 1)
A path accessed via a new gate and around around three edges of a field finally takes you to a wide track that then meets with a quiet public road. From here the final section is along a tarmac road back to the car park.
It’s not a long outing but it has a lot of ups and downs and can be rough underfoot. It is usually more than enough to restore feelings of outdoorsy happiness and perfect for a work-day afternoon or a weekend morning.
Why not carry on for more?
Instead of heading downhill, at the track junction west of Greenland Reservoir No3, turn northwards to head uphill again. It is a wide forest track and easy to see.
Pass the reservoir on tour right and keep going upwards to reach Black Linn Reservoir again.
On a recent run, my friend Epic Nic and I chose to ascend to the trig on Doughnot Hill again before descending the same route that we had followed to reach the hill summit at the start of the outing.