Glasgow, Scotland, is one of the easiest cities to get away from, and I don’t mean that in any negative sense. Whichever point of the compass you choose, you’re never far from the great outdoors. Head northwards, around 19 km (12 mi) towards the wilds of Stirlingshire, and you’ll find the Campsie Fells.
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Walks Near The Campsie Fells
The Campsie Fells run from Denny Muir to Dumgoyne, itself a prominent hill and significant landmark. The entire range and the surrounding area are a haven for hill walkers and ramblers alike.
The Dumgoyne, a volcanic plug known as the ‘sleeping giant,’ stands around 427 m high (1400 feet) and is easily reached by a track from the village of Strathblane. The walk extends for a little over 3 km (2 mi) before turning right up a steeper path. This route passes the former historic site of a medieval Knights Templar hospital, the Spittal of Ballewan. Thus, the walk is certainly worth the effort. Additionally, once you reach Dumgoyne’s summit, marked by a small standing stone, the view is incredible.
Not far off from Dumgoyne Hill, you’ll see Dumgoyach, a small wooded area. Furthermore, Dumgoyach is an off-shoot from the West Highland Way, a very popular but lengthy 154 km (96 mi) walk.
The Kilpatrick Hills stretch from the town of Dumbarton eastwards towards the village of Strathblane. There are several viewpoints and interesting features. Not least is the Whangie, a strangely bizarre rock formation. Additionally, the views towards Loch Lomond, the Trossachs, and the Highlands are superb. If you’d like to visit Loch Lomond and The Trossachs directly, you can book a tour of the area.
If travelling by car, the Crow Road car park above Campsie Glen offers some fantastic views and access to some of the best hill and distance walks in the west of Scotland. One such is the stretch from Strathblane to the town of Kilsyth. Granted, it runs for around 21 km (13 mi), but the effort is well worth it. While en route, take time to look out for the Roman fort at Bar Hill, the highest fort on the Antonine Wall.
If the walk from Strathblane to Kilsyth sounds too energetic, the Campsie Glen to Clachan of Campsie walk is a lot shorter at 0.85 km (0.5 mi). Although there is an option to take in a scenic waterfall route with a steep climb, it’s a level path. The Aldessan or Kirk Burn flows through Campsie Glen to Clachan of Campsie before merging with the Finglen Burn. It’s well worth the steep climb tracking down. Since the Campsie Glen to Clachan of Campsie walk runs for a little over half a mile, it most likely will take around 30 minutes to complete it.
Attractions & Accommodation Near The Campsie Fells
The village of Strathblane on the Campsie’s southern flank is the main tourist hub. However, small communities such as the Clachan of Campsie also are worth a visit.
For something a little different, visit the Strathblane Falconry on the grounds of the Country House Hotel. The falconry caters to groups, families, or individual bookings. Plus, the experience of handling a live bird of prey is quite amazing! The business operates by appointment only over seven days and can be reached by calling 01360-770222.
On Strathblane’s border with Milngavie, you’ll find Mugdock Country Park and the ruins of Mugdock Castle. The Park offers plenty to do for the entire family and is a great day out. Whether it’s walking, cycling or orienteering, you won’t be short of activities. For local history buffs, Mugdock Castle, dating from around the 14th century, is well worth a visit with its terraced walled garden.
For those keen on a dram or two of Highland malt in a near-perfect setting, the Glengoyne Distillery provides the ideal location. Following the same distilling traditions since 1833, along with a deep passion for their craft and the environment, the distillery is open for in-depth visits and guided tours year-round. It’s just a few miles from Strathblane on the A81.
Just south of the Campsie Fells lies the small community of Clachan of Campsie. It’s here you’ll discover the 12th century St. Machan’s church and the Shrine of Schoenstatt with its peaceful and secluded gardens. These are ideal spots to escape the hustle and bustle and breathe in some fresh air.
Historically, the Kirkhouse Inn, dating from around 1600, is an ideal base and close to all the village amenities. Locally sourced food, comfortable rooms, and friendly staff will ensure a restful stay. The atmosphere is distinctly “Scottish,” and the business is family-run. For more details, call 01360-771771.
If you’re thinking of a more extended stay, try the Campsie Glen Holiday Park. Its location near the Fintry hills will provide a relaxing or action-packed break. The choice is yours. The Holiday Park offers caravan holiday homes or lodges as well as camping pods sleeping up to six. If you own a motor home, tent, or caravan, there are grass pitches available on-site. You can find more information and bookings by calling their head office on 01250-878-123.
Visit The Campsie Fells
Fortunately, the Campsie Fells are accessible year-round for hiking and climbing and have some of the most picturesque spots in the west of Scotland. Inevitably, the seasonal conditions have to be observed for personal safety. However, as long as you take care in the winter months, your enjoyment of the scenery won’t be dampened.
There is no denying that the Campsie Fells and their surroundings are a perfect retreat from the relentless bustle of the big city. The variety of scenery, quiet out-of-the-way places, and spectacular views all contribute to providing great walks and hikes and a chance to kick back and switch off.
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