Cardross to Balloch via Overton Muir

Route: Balloch to Helensburgh

Date walked: 26/01/2018

Time taken: 3 hours

Distance: 11km

Ascent: 300m

Welcome to my first report!

Myself and the good lady are getting back into our fitness (January resolutions etc), resident in Glasgow, don't own a car, and so have decided to do weekly walks, accessible from Glasgow via public transport. The great advantage of ditching the car means you can plan linear walks (and have a pint in any suitable hostelry). You are of course reliant on the vagiaries of the Scottish transport network, but there are plenty of cracking walks you can do without heading too far from the city. We aren't geared up for full winter conditions either, so planning on fairly low-ish level stuff until the onset of Spring.
This approach works best if you can be fairly flexible in your routine and grab the nicer weather when it decides to come. I hope these reports will be useful to others planning similar ways out of the city.

This week's walk took us on a lovely route from Cardross station to Balloch, via Kilmahew, over Carman and Overton Muirs to meet the Stoneymollan road then down to Balloch station. Roughly 7 or 8 miles. This wee bit of upland between Balloch & the Vale of Leven and Cardoss/Helensburgh really has astonishing views for not a lot of 'up'. Also there's plenty of archaeological and historical interest if you're into that sort of thing, which luckily I am. The most popular route here is the 3 lochs way/John Muir Way track, but this wee diversion up Overton Muir is worth a touch of bog trotting, if only for the views!

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The route takes the western entrance to Kilmahew estate then out by the north near Kilmahew farm. Then you are following farm tracks to Askew farm, then along to the foot of a track under Carman muir.

Kilmahew estate holds the ruins of St Peter's Seminary- a weird brutalist ruin which looks like something from a dystopian horror film. Very creepy. It has of recent years been the subject of many art projects and installations, and there are plans afoot to do something artsy with it. For now though, it's a strange testament to 1960s architecture and decay. You probably aren't supposed to go in, for the insatiably curious there is a hole in the fence....


Also Kilmahew castle- an odd pile, a late medieval castle which has been prettified to look like a gothic ruin by some Victorian gent no doubt.


Then tracking up farm tracks to find the path to take us up onto the moor. I find that these paths are well marked on openstreetmap, but not on OS.
Views opening up the Clyde towards Cowal:


Eventually you reach a path heading left up the moors. Off to the right of the main path, Carman muir holds the traces of a prehistoric hillfort. One of many in Scotland, these defended enclosures were places people lived during the Iron Age. Astonishing views up the Clyde valley to Dumbarton Rock, the Cowal Peninsula, and across the vale of Leven to Renton, Alexandria, and Balloch.


Trotting North over soggy sheepy tracks on Overton muir, we eventually trudged to the trig point. The views here were quite special, not even a bunch of pylons could ruin it. It was very wet underfoot though, the rapid thaw of knee deep snow of the previous week had seen to that. A wee touch of frost crusted it up just enough to make it tolerable for us.

Overton muir trig point panorama:


what a view of Loch Lomond- better than the Conic I would say for the sheer 360 degree-ness of it (and less folk)


My phone went to sleep for the last half of the walk meaning no more pics from here on.

We ambulated across the muir avoiding the squelchier bits until we arrived at the 'cross stone' on the Stoneymollan road. Here we find a well built path. Supposedly there was once a cross here, when this route was used as a coffin road they would have rested up and said their prayers before heading on their way down to Kirkton near Cardross. It's another stunning viewpoint.

If you wished to make this a circular route, then take a left where there are signposted ways taking you to Cardross and/or Helensburgh. Otherwise take the track down to the right to Balloch, passing the famous avenue of Beech trees (looking like something from Middle Earth), then down the metalled road and over the A82 footbridge. A pint quite possibly awaits you in one of the many public houses there. or a poke of chips and the train back to town.

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Activity: Walker
Pub: Inn Deep

Munros: 12
Corbetts: 3
Grahams: 2
Donalds: 1
Wainwrights: 11
Hewitts: 11
Sub 2000: 4

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Trips: 1
Distance: 11 km
Ascent: 300m

Joined: Oct 10, 2016
Last visited: Aug 10, 2019
Total posts: 11 | Search posts