and occasionally rides a bike.
A word of warning. The walk descriptions are not detailed enough to guide you - please take a map. The batteries never run out, and you always have a signal. Oh, And don't take left or right as gospel!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Glentrool circular

Sun, 2014 Mar 30 11:38 AM BST
From Visitor Centre to loch, round loch and back via Southern Uplands Way. Almost ten miles. Good tracks but hard on the legs - stony surface. Lovely weather. Over 1000 feet of ascent.

We call in at the Glentrool Visitor Centre for coffee, scones and info. By 11:30 we've decided it's to be a walk - to the loch, round the loch and back - a circular walk of somewhere around ten miles, or just a little less.  Fine weather, sunshine, and warm wherever it's sheltered.

The first couple of miles we walk along the road from the visitor centre to the loch itself. All well signposted - they are doing their best to attract visitors.  

 The first section of the path is fine, but there is a rather desolate section where trees have recently been harvested and the path laid - the stones are a tad large for comfortable walking.
This leads us back to another road section, but since the road leads nowhere other than the glen we don't meet much if any traffic. The main/only destination for cars is Bruce's Stone car park, the trailhead for the Merrick Trail.
 There's a fair bit of uphill and downhill walking - this walk is no gentle saunter by the lake. Most of it is quite a way above the water.

After the Bruce's Stone car park, we go through a gate on to an unsurfaced road, downhill for some time, and chat to a couple with a slightly nervous collie.  They tell us a bit about local walks including the famous Merrick. 

We head on through some oak forest, which is delightful after a surfeit of conifer plantations. We pass a few burns with waterfalls, Buchan Burn, then Gairland Burn before arriving at Glenhead. We cross a bridge over Glenhead Burn and join the Southern Uplands Way, turning right at the top of a slope to begin our return on the south side of the loch.


The  path is so steep that there is a flight of steps.
The battle of Glentrool was fought here in 1307, with the Scots rolling huge boulders down the steep hillside on the English below.
 We continue over bridges and along the path toward the Loch Trool car park, turning left along the Water of Trool trail (still following the Southern Uplands Way). A short detour takes us to the Martyrs Tomb where six Covenanters were buried in 1685.
 From now on the path is level and follows the river until its confluence with  Water of Minnoch.  We have to tread carefully, as several toads are crossing the path, diverting our attention from the covenanters. I only discover why when I look at my photographs later.

strange fungi

Over the bridge and follow the sign to the Visitor Centre - and a welcome pot of tea and sandwich. I think we've earned it.


Roy Norris said...

A nice change of scenery Alison.

aliqot said...

Indeed, and I'm pleased the legs coped well.