Kilpatricks Off-Road Epic
The most remote section of the John Muir Way is the venue for this challenging but beautiful mountain/gravel bike loop, using both the walking and cycling waymarked routes.
Leaving Strathblane, the route climbs on forest tracks and after a brief stretch on the road, meets the West Highland Way, also waymarked as the John Muir Way cycle route. Enjoy the views of the Campsies on the descent (giving way to walkers) and set aside time for a wander round Glengoyne Distillery before continuing towards Gartness.
There’s the option to explore the Devil’s Pulpit, a picturesque river gorge nearby, and then you’ll follow tracks, back roads and even a narrow pipe bridge. The section over the Kilpatrick Hills towards Burncrooks Reservoir twists and climbs, often steeply, and there’s a real sense of adventure at the route’s highest point.
This is a route that will reward the more experienced rider as there are steep gradients and rough ground to cover.
This route uses a mix of quiet roads, sealed cycle path, forest track and rough singletrack footpath. There are steep sections out of Strathblane, towards Dumgoyne and over the Kilpatrick Hills The path alongside Burncrooks Reservoir is surprisingly steep and undulating. We’ve rated it as ‘expert’ difficulty due to the distance, remoteness and severity of gradients.
By rail: There are no train stations in the immediate vicinity but it is possible to start from Balloch with a few extra miles’ cycling.
By bus: Strathblane is serviced by the X10 Glasgow-Stirling route.
By car: there is a small car park opposite Strathblane Parish Church and a larger car park at Edenmill Farm, west of Carbeth, depending on your preferred starting point.
Following section 2 of the John Muir Way, this ride is fully waymarked (following the main walking and cycling routes to form a loop) so look out for the signs. Be sure to pack tools and supplies as the Kilpatricks are relatively remote. You’ll find a few pitstop options though at Gartness, Dumgoyne and Edenmill Farm and several options in Strathblane.
For a full listing of businesses and attractions on this route, view it on the Plan Your Trip page.
Points of interest
There’s a track all the way round this remote body of water, which provides views all the way to Loch Lomond and beyond. It’s also possible to hike from the north side up Auchineden Hill.
Mugdock Country Park
Although a small distance from the John Muir Way, with its castle and network of off-road trails, Mugdock provides an interesting detour for those looking to extend their ride.Visit Website
The Devil's Pulpit
Located in a 60-foot deep gorge in Finnich Glen, this unusual rock formation and red-tinted stream earns the eerie sounding name. The track is unmarked and take care on the slippery steps.