Total distance – 3.6 Kilometres
Ascent – 40 metres
Walking conditions – Well-defined footpaths, tracks and tarmac roads. Buggy compatible. No difficulties.
Time required – 1 to 2 hours
Nearest town – Glasgow
Pollok Country Park is the home to the Burrell Collection. So you might think that as the Burrell Collection is closed to the public until 2020, that there’s no point visiting Pollok Country Park. Well think again! It’s a great park with numerous paths and tracks, a great play-park, not to mention Pollok House. It’s particularly good if you have very small children with the buggy being the preferred mode of transport. All marked walking routes are buggy compatible and there are three of them. These walks are defined as the yellow route (0.7 miles), the blue route (1.4 miles) and the red route (1.9 miles). As there are a series of tarmac paths and dirt footpaths it’s really entirely up to you to wander about where you like.
On our particular recent day out we parked in the car park to the rear of Pollok House. We then walked along the tarmac road in a north-westerly direction then pretty much went the way of the red path. We stopped and had our sandwiches in the play-park across from the building that hosts the Burrell Collection. I demonstrated how to use a trampoline to best effect, then we made our way back to the car-park at Pollok House.
Total distance –10.2 kilometres
Ascent – 220 metres
Walking conditions – Well defined dirt footpath and tarmac cycle path. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 3.5 – 5 hours.
Nearest town – Kilsyth
What have the Romans ever done for us? If you’re a Monty Python fan you’ll know that there’s a long list of things that the Romans have done for us. What wasn’t mentioned in the Life of Brian however, were the numerous great walking routes for outdoor enthusiasts that the Romans built. The Auchinstarry Circuit is just one of them.
Start at the Auchinstarry car park which is just south of Kilsyth. Take a left from the car park and walk for about 200 metres and then turn left onto the Forth and Clyde canal path before the road crosses over the canal. Walk for about two Kilometres along the canal path. Cross the road bridge over the canal and follow the signed footpath up the slope of the hill. Veer right and that will take you up onto the higher ground. If you keep to the highest points along this broad ridge you’ll see signs of the wall together with tourist information. The path then drops down to the north end of Croy and then leads you across the road (the B802). Maintain the same westerly direction and after about one kilometre you’ll come to a very well preserved part of the Antonine Wall which then leads up to the top of Castle Hill. This provides a wonderful view of the surrounding area. The path then takes you on to Barhill Fort, down to Twechar, then a 2.5 Kilometre walk along the canal and straight back to the Auchinstarry car park.
The great thing about stopping at Auchinstarry is that when you’ve finished watching the rock-climbers on the quarry walls you can cross the road and go to the marina and visit the Boathouse for a good feed or some refreshments. The decked area is a fantastic spot and the wasps in attendance are friendly. Well, none of us got stung.
Total distance – 2.5 kilometres
Ascent – 50 metres
Walking conditions – Tarmac/dirt footpaths. No difficulties. Buggy compatible.
Time required – Around 1 to 2 hours
Nearest Town – Glasgow (South Side)
I’ve often wondered why house prices in East Renfrewshire are sky high, so it gave me an excuse for a visit to Rouken Glen Park. I doubt that being close to Rouken Glen Park adds £150k to local house prices but it’s still well worth a visit. There’s a brand new pirate themed play area in the middle of the park, so what further incentive do you need? What about an ice cream shop next to a boating pond? Oh, it’s got that as well. By the way, the answer to my original question is school catchment areas.
Park in the large car park in front of the garden centre. The path to the left takes you to the wide open section of the park. You’ll immediately see the ‘pirate’ play area. By continuing along the path for a few hundred metres you’ll pass the skatepark on your left and then you’ll reach a small incline that leads to the boating pond. Walk around the pond clockwise, buy an ice cream then take a left. This will lead you to a spectacular waterfall down the White Cart. Cross the waterfall via a bridge, and then immediately take a right onto a delightful footpath which follows the stream and crosses a series of little bridges. This will lead you back to the wide open section of the park. Make your way back to the car park.
Total distance – 2.9 kilometres
Ascent – 60 metres
Walking conditions – Footpaths and tracks. Can be a little muddy after heavy rainfall. Buggy compatible on dry days. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 1 to 2 hours
Nearest Town – Milngavie
Milngavie is probably best known for being the town that always has its name mis-pronounced. But it’s also famous for being the start of the West Highland Way which is far more exciting. And Mugdock Country Park is directly across the road from the start of the West Highland Way. It’s an expansive park with countless walking routes in addition to playparks, a castle, garden centre, and second world war installations to name but a few things. A great day out!
For one of our favourite routes, park at the garden centre and make your way south past the courtyard and on to the gravel track. This southerly track quickly veers to the right and you will soon see a large ruin. The track then curves around to the left until you start to walk in an easterly direction. After about 300 metres keep your eyes out for the footpath leading off to the right (you’ll see the castle on the right so you can’t really go too far wrong). This path takes you out over marshy ground. Not to worry though, because you’ll be walking on wooden decking. And after no more than a couple of hundred metres you’re in Mugdock Castle.
To return, follow the footpath back to the track but this time turn right for a couple of hundred metres. Then take the footpath going left. This takes you on a nice loop back to the car park via the Walled Gardens. Visit the café and visitor centre, then let the kids run about the playplay. This should ensure that they’re suitably exhausted and you can guarantee yourself a good night’s sleep.
Total distance – 9.0 kilometres
Ascent – 440 metres
Walking conditions – Grassy footpaths with a steady, gentle gradient. Can be boggy in places. No difficulties.
Time required – Around 2.5 to 4 hours
Nearest Town – Lennoxtown
Cort-ma Law was one of the first hills we took the children up. It’s a very popular and busy hill. It’s also busy with sheep, as I’ve learned form past experience. Keeping dogs on the lead would be advisable, otherwise you might have to go up and down the hill twice in one day.
Start from the car park next to the shops at Clachan of Campsie (or if you prefer you can cut a bit off the walk by starting from the large car park at the Crow Road just up the hill from Lennoxtown). Make your way along the clearly signposted path going northwards for about 500 metres until you reach the car park on the Crow Road. There’s often an ice cream van here during the summer so it’s a great morale booster. From there, cross the road then make your way up the broad grassy shoulder going east. The ascent of Cort-ma Law is fairly relentless but the gradient eases off as you reach the high ground which is more or less a plateau. You will immediately notice the fantastic views over the Clyde Valley and beyond, and now it’s just a matter of continuing along for a couple of kilometres until you reach the summit of Cort-ma Law. The summit’s even got a trig point! It can however, be quite a long walk for the very young. As such, there have been times when we have turned back at one of the little high points marked with cairns along the way. Either way, it’s an excellent high level walk along the top of the Campsies. Return via the same route.
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!
Great Scottish Run/ Toddler Dash at George Square
Total distance – 5.2 kilometres
Ascent – 30 metres
Walking conditions – Entirely roads, pavements and good paths. No difficulties.
Time required – Approximately 2 hour’s walking time plus however long you wish spend at the numerous attractions
Glaswegians like a long lie at the weekend; apart from those who haven’t been to bed yet. This provides the fantastic opportunity of going for a morning walk around some of the Scotland’s busiest and most interesting streets whilst it’s still quiet.
Park at Templeton Street on Glasgow Green. Walk along this road and you will quickly reach the Doulton Fountain, which is the world’s largest Terracotta fountain and lies next to the People’s Palace. The People’s Palace is also a great tourist attraction. Apart from the museum (free entry) which charts the history of Glasgow there is a magnificent large glasshouse at the back which is home to a delightful café and features a variety of trees and shrubbery and leads out into beautiful gardens. From there, walk to the other side of Glasgow Green and cross the road at the High Court. Follow the path next to the Clyde for a few hundred metres then turn right just past the St. Enoch’s Centre. This will take you directly to the pedestrianized zone of Buchanan Street which my wife reliably informs me is one of Europe’s great retail centres. Walk as far as the Buchanan Galleries then walk down to George Square. There is always something going here including any manner of street performers and organised displays.
By now you will probably experience the dilemma of choosing somewhere to go for lunch. If you walk from George Square down Queen Street you will find a number of well-reputed places to eat at Royal Exchange Square. Then make your way back to Glasgow Green via Argyll Street.
There are some really good play-parks in Glasgow Green particularly the one on Templeton Street which should be close to where you’ve parked.