Two days after I hiked Ben Lomond, I ventured out for another adventure. Originally, I wanted to do The Whangie, but there didn’t seem to be a reasonable public transportation that would take me to or nearby the hike. The only option was to walk from Mulgavie for about 2 hours to just reach the Queen’s Car Park starting point. A lady in the information office in Glasgow recommended Duncolm and the Slacks instead. I hesitated for a while between going to Conic Hill (recommended by friends) and Duncolm, but at the end the reports and pictures on this website helped me to decide in favor of Duncolm.
The weather forecast for the day was perfect – cloudy with showers. Somehow it felt appropriate for a hike on the moors. Though it was warm and partly sunny when I arrived at Old Kilpatrick. The sun beams danced on the River Clyde as I was heading up to the hills on the tarmac, among the lazily grazing sheep and Highland cows. This was my first time seeing a live Highland cow. I’d only seen pictures up to this point. (I guess that shows I don’t live in Scotland…). The idyllic weather did not last forever. By the time I reached Loch Humphrey, the first shower came. Dark clouds hanged low and cold wind picked up. Perhaps waterproofed pants may have been a good idea, but the fast drying ones I had proved quite adequate, as they dried incredibly quickly in between the showers. But I was certainly grateful for my waterproofed boots on the soaked moors.
I continued toward Duncolm, getting deeper into the moors and leaving “civilization” behind. I met only few people at the beginning of the hike, but after Loch Humphrey I was completely alone, lost in my thoughts, enjoying the views. Though perhaps I got lost in my thoughts little bit too much, as I started heading the wrong direction. Not paying as much attention as I should have, I turned onto a wrong path taking me too much to the west. Looking back, I could have probably just added Fynloch Hill to my route and approach Duncolm from a slightly different course. But being unfamiliar with the area, I opted for hopping across the moors to get back to the right grassy path. No harm done, it was rather adventurous and I was up on Duncolm in no time. The wind picked up and I wished again I brought gloves with me on this vacation. I enjoyed the views of Loch Lomond with its islands, Fyn and Lilly Lochs, Burncrooks Reservoir, and glimpses of Glasgow.
Heading back, I kept checking the map to make sure I was following the right route up Middle Duncolm and back to Loch Humphrey, where I forked left to follow the path for The Slacks. The grassy path up on a hill along a fence offers great views back at Loch Humphrey and the surrounding hills. The showers came and went and the sun showed its face uncertainly few times. Once I reached the trig point at The Slacks, I was rewarded with a view of blooming heather ridges (la la la… will ye go, lassie, go….) and Glasgow. And yes, I broke out singing, because, well, there was no one around.
The way back to Old Kilpatrick took me through those heather ridges that eventually gave way to fern. That’s when I met a human being again, first one in hours. Soon the Erskine Bridge came to view, Old Kilpatrick and the River Clyde. Zig zagging down the hill I joined my route from the morning, retracing my steps past the train station into the town for a cup of hot coffee, before catching the train back to Glasgow.
This was a beautiful hike. I could hardly believe Glasgow was so close, because I felt completely engulfed by nature.
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Warning Please note that hillwalking when there is snow lying requires an ice-axe, crampons and the knowledge, experience and skill to use them correctly. Summer routes may not be viable or appropriate in winter. See winter information on our skills and safety pages for more information.