Total distance – 3.7 kilometres
Ascent – 180 metres
Walking conditions – Footpaths, faint in places. Easy going over grassy expanse. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 1.5 to 2.5 hours
Nearest Town – Largs
It’s hard to go wrong on a day out to Largs. You can wander along the coastline, visit the amusements and funfair, or perhaps board the ferry to the Isle of Bute and go for a cycle around Millport. We like to do all of these but we also like to go for a walk in the hills over-looking the town. The great thing about the Largs Hills is that they make for a fantastic summer stroll amongst magnificent surroundings.
Park at the picnic spot near the Haylie Reservoir which is on the left hand side of the A700 just up the hill from Largs. You’re already at a height of 150 metres, the view is breath-taking and there are several picnic benches adjacent to the car park. From there you’ve pretty much got a free reign to wander anywhere you like. The ground is undulating and features a number of little hillocks. We chose to go on a 180 metre ascent to Cockle Loch, but in truth on this bright and sunny day we could have picked just about any point on the landscape. There are a number of footpaths which tend to be quite faint but the going is easy and even walking on rough ground is not a problem.
Make sure you explain to the children why there are palm trees in Largs because it’s always good to mention the Gulf Stream. And don’t forget to go to the chippy!
Christmas time at M & D’s
Total distance – 7.1 kilometres
Ascent – 50 metres
Walking conditions – Tarmac footpaths. No difficulties
Time required – Around 2 to 3.5 hours
Nearest Town – Hamilton/ Motherwell
Strathclyde Loch could never be described as a Mecca for hill-walking enthusiasts. However, it’s a good, healthy circular walk with an excellent view of Tinto Hill. It’s both buggy and pram-friendly. Indeed, it’s the place where I used to jog with the pram to accompany my wife when she took up running. Strathclyde Park is also home to M & D’s as well as a state of the art water sports centre which was used for the Commonwealth Games. There’s also play-parks at various points around the route. In a nutshell, there’s loads to do and most of the the population of Lanarkshire know this. So go early to avoid them because it can get really busy. Oh, and make sure you scare the children with ghost stories about the abandoned mining village of Bothwellhaugh, which can be found, still in tact at the bottom of Strathclyde Loch.
The route could not be simpler. Park close to M & D’s and make your way to the loch-side. Then walk around the loch (we prefer anti-clockwise) on the tarmac path which goes around the edge of the entire the loch. The one deviation we would suggest is a quick visit to the Mausoleum. To get there cross the footbridge over the River Clyde which you will find just to the rear of the water sports centre. From there walk through the M74 underpass and you’ll see the Mausoleum in all its splendour just ahead of you on the right hand side of the path. Then about-turn back to the loch-side to finish off the circuit.
Total distance – 1.8 kilometres
Ascent – 140 metres
Walking conditions – Track well-defined footpaths.
Time required – Around 1 to 2hours
Nearest Town – Aberfeldy
We sat in the wonderful Kenmore village square pondering whether to travel on the road north or the road south of Loch Tay. We were swayed by the prospect of visiting the Crannog on the south road. However, when we got to the Crannog there appeared to be building works so we drove on for a couple of miles to Acharn village. By sheer chance I had parked next to the sign for the public footpath leading to the Falls of Acharn. Why not go for a walk, we thought? There was a packet of crisps and a Fruit Shoot in it for the children so they were up for it. And what a good impulse decision it turned out to be. As well as the chance to visit the spectacular Acharn Falls we were treated to a great view of Loch Tay and a visit to the Hermit’s Cave.
Park in the village of Acharn. It’s a tiny village so it won’t take you long to find the footpath sign on the main road pointing up the track to the Acharn Falls. From there, it’s just a steady ascent up the track for about 650 metres until you come to the Hermits Cave. Perched on the edge of a precipitous gorge this 18th Century folly is well worth a visit. It’s then a very short walk to the falls. If you’re crossing via the viewing platform please keep a hold of your children as, although a magnificent crossing point, a child could easily crawl through the side of the platform (You can avoid this by crossing slightly further up). To return to your car, make your way back down other side of the gorge, again, keeping a tight hold of small children as there are steep drops in places just a few feet from the footpath.
Total distance – 3.2 kilometres
Ascent – 60 metres
Walking conditions – Nearly all tarmac paths. No difficulties. Buggy compatible.
Time required – Around 1 to 2 hours
If you thought that the abundance of squirrels was the only reason to visit Queen’s Park you couldn’t be more wrong. Apart from being in the ‘trendy’ part of Glasgow’s South Side, Queen’s Park has a number of attractions including a glasshouse featuring the Zen Garden, ponds, tropical fish, exotic birds and an excellent reptile house. There’s even a small soft play area for the under 5s. And it’s all free! There is also much to keep you occupied on your way around the park.
Make your start/ finish point the Queen’s Park Glasshouse. From the Glasshouse exit right. After a few metres take another right leading onto a dirt footpath that takes you along the rear of the Glasshouse. After about 400 metres you will come out at the Queen’s Park Flagpole which is the highest and best viewpoint in Glasgow City. When you make your way down form there you’re pretty much just circum-navigating the park. Try to ensure that you visit the play-parks, nature pond and rose gardens. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for squirrels!