A pleasant walk along side roads and a cycle path, joining the West Highland Way and the John Muir Way. ‘There and back’ with a variation at the end.
|Distance||12km / 7.5 miles|
|Time||2.5 hours approx. plus breaks|
|Terrain||Side roads; cycle path; track (West Highland Way)|
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Depart from the Monument (*1) towards Balfron and take the first left down Station Road. At Spittal Cottage turn right (signposted to Killearn Cemetery) down Gartness Road. (*2). Continue on down past the Cemetery, the Woodland Cemetery, Drumore Farm and – on the right at 1.7km the old Curling Pond. Proceed and carefully cross the busy A81 main road towards Gartness with glorious views of Conic Hill and Ben Lomond to the right. At 2.6km cross the bridge over the old railway line where the West Highland Way and the John Muir Way joins the road. Continue through Gartness and up a steep hill the other side. Continue on this road (and the West Highland Way) until Dalnair Farm at 3.8 km (*3). Here the John Muir Way and the West Highland Way separate: take the left fork onto the cycle track to Croftamie.
Continue along the cycle track – another old railway line – across a high level metal bridge that also carries the water pipeline, with a good view of Dalnair House to the left. At Bilsland’s depot pass Station House (the old station for Drymen) and reach the busy A811 main road at 5.5k (*4). Stop for a breather (or visit The But and Ben coffee shop 100 metres on the left).
Retrace the route back towards Gartness on the cycle track – note the fine view of Gaidrew House on the right, back at the metal bridge. At Dalnair Farm where the cycle track meets the road turn right up the hill. After 500m take the right turn along the ‘No through road’ (*5). (An alternative at this juncture is to continue on the outward route back through Gartness to Killearn 3.25 km). Otherwise continue along this farm road with lovely views of The Whangie on the right, past the entrance to Castle Mill, with views of Dumgoyne and Croy Cunningham, down to Barnsford footbridge at 8.5 km. Cross the bridge – an old ford.
At the A81 main road (*6) either turn right, cross the road and, after 50m, turn left across the field to the West Highand Way – or turn left and walk carefully along the busy road for 250m and then turn right to join the West Highland Way / John Muir Way back towards Killearn. After 10km at the bridge, by the old Killearn Station master’s house, (*7) leave the West Highland way: turn right onto the bottom of Station Road and double back across the bridge up towards the village. (An option is to continue to the top of Station Road, turning right on the Balfron Road in front of the Village Hall.) Otherwise, after 11.5 km, just beyond Drumore Road on the left and Endrick Road on the right, take the Public Footpath on the right, signposted to the Black Bull (*8). At the end of the path turn left and re-join the Heritage Trail at the Buchanan Monument.