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Falkirk to Croy Back to South of Scotland Way index Milngavie to Drymen

Brief route description

This final section of the South of Scotland Way once again follows Hamish Brown's route from his book, "From The Pennines to the Highlands". Apart from a diversion over Bar Hill the first half of the day is spent once again following the towpath of the Forth-Cyde canal. In the afternoon, however, Hamish takes us on a bitty yet interesting route of back lanes, footpaths and golf courses across the rural outskirts of Glasgow. You would never know that you are so close to one of Britain's principal cities.

Croy is, of course, conveniently reached by train from either Queen Street or Edinburgh. Today's walk begins from the north end of the village where you emerged yesterday after finding your way off Croy Hill. Bar Hill is a lesser eminence and its only real similarity with Croy Hill is that it, too, was traversed by the Antonine Wall and was also the site of a Roman fort. Walk north out of the village towards Kilsyth. You reach a road junction where the main road goes to the right (north) while a minor road heads off south (left). Take the north road and walk for about 100 metres to find a rough track heading off to the left. This is your route to Bar Hill and it's following the route of the Antonine Wall.

Basically you just need to follow your nose. After running straight for 600 metres your track curves left, right and then left again to reach the access point to Bar Hill. This route to the hill seems to be largely unfrequented for it's not until you reach the top that you start to encounter information boards and direction posts. As well as the Roman fort the hill is also the site of a more ancient earthwork. The latter fort lays at the hill summit while the site of the Roman fort is immediately to the west. The route to Twechar is signposted but still a little tricky to negotiate; apparently you are meant to head westwards off the summit then go round two sides of the Roman fort before finding a path heading briefly northwest to an old mineworking. A track from here heads southwest to the locality of Bar, where you come out onto a road; turn right along this road to reach a bridge over our old friend the Forth-Clyde Canal and then turn left to follow the A8023, here acting as the towpath, along its north bank.

Twechar lays on the other side of the canal. An odd little place, it has the appearance of a detached suburb, an isolated housing estate with no town. At Shirva Farm on the west end of Twechar the canal curves to the left and leaves the road; here we resume our walk along the towpath. The course of the Antonine wall is never far away and, a mile beyond Shirva farm, we reach te site of yet another Roman fort on the outskirts of Kirkintilloch. This town has some extensive suburbs and its centre is almost two miles further on. It's worth leaving the towpath for a bit to take a look at the town, which has some useful amenities as well as having a bit of character. It makes a good lunch stop.

Four more miles of towpath lay beyond Kirkintilloch and yet again you cross the line of the Antonine wall at Glasgow Bridge, which carries the A803 across the canal. Glasgow Bridge is two miles beyond Kirkintilloch; after a third mile you reach Hungryside Bridge, which was once a drawbridge that had to be lifted to allow canal traffic to pass. Nowadays it's fixed. The final mile of towpath walk is accompanied by a ribbon of trees. We're close to the city of Glasgow now but your immediate surroundings are very rural and there is barely a hint of the urban sprawl to the southwest.

The canal now bends sharply to the left to reach Cadder, a locality that nowadays lays on the very edge of Glasgow. The towpath comes out onto a minor road leading to Cadder church; leave the canal here for the last time and wave it a fond farewell, turning right. Immediately beyond the church the road becomes a track. Stay with it. The track bends to the right and crosses the grounds of Keir golf course; fear not, it's a right of way. At the far end of the golf course our track reaches the river Kelvin, which it crosses by a footbridge. The succeeding track briefly follows the north bank of the river before turnig away right to head for the village of Balmore.

Our next objective is Balmore golf club, and that's reached by crossing the A807 and walking north through the village, going straight on at the crossroads where the main road goes off right, then turning left after 200 metres to follow the access road to the golf course. This turns right in another 500 metres and crosses the Branzier burn by a bridge. Past the bridge go straight ahead for 100 metres then follow the edge of the golf course around to the left. After 450 metres go to the right, heading for a house known as Temple by a stand of trees at the foot of a knoll. From Temple the path goes clockwise around the foot of this knoll. At the ten o'clock position find the track off to the left that passes a school and emerges onto the road network once more.

The remainder of the walk is on tarmac and all the "bitty" sections of route are behind you. Your immediate destination now is Baldernock, not quite a mile away, and from there it's a straight run down into Milngavie (pronounced "Mill-Guy"). Turn left onto the lane at the school, and a short distance further on take the right fork. This lane runs clockwise around the base of another knoll before bending sharp left at Baldernock House. At the road junction beyond turn sharp right, then turn left at Baldernock war memorial a little further on. This lane runs southwestwards and downhill to another junction in a dip. Turn right here. That was your final road junction. The road ahead runs mainly straight, through a quiet and rather pleasant area of forest, to emerge almost unexpectedly into a built-up area. You've reached Milngavie. Just two hundred metres beyond is a crossroads, and just two hundred metres further on is Milgavie railway station and the town centre. To complete the walk stroll into the pedestrianised high street to reach the marker at the start of the West Highland Way.

That, of course, is for another time. Or maybe tomorrow.

Maps: OS 1:25000 Explorers 349 (Falkirk), 348 (Campsie Fells), 342 (Glasgow)

Falkirk to Croy Back to South of Scotland Way index Milngavie to Drymen

This page last updated 17th December 2010