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Routes:

Helensburgh to Balloch

The start/finish of the route is marked by a seat made from Scottish oak and a circular stone plinth with engraved footprints and a John Muir quote. Starting out from this seaside holiday town is a treat. There are more than enough cafes and eateries to choose from in this west coast holiday town before you set off up the hill on your trip. Take time out to look seawards and imagine sailing off to America from those waters like John Muir did well over a century ago. If you’ve time, why not visit the National Trust for Scotland's Hill House and enjoy some arts and crafts splendour. Once up onto the hill you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Loch Lomond against the National Park mountain backdrop. With that tremendous view, the route winds its way down to Balloch, where your first set of home comforts lie.

Path Quality

The Way uses pavements, gravel & grassy paths and quiet roads. Walkers and cyclists share the route for some of the way until just outside Helensburgh where the walkers route heads up over Gouk Hill.

Alerts

Forestry operations at Bannachra Muir

From June 2018 until spring 2019, Scottish Woodlands will be carrying out felling, extraction and restocking works at Bannachra Muir on the John Muir Way walkers’ route between Helensburgh and Balloch. 

The John Muir Way will remain open, but users are asked to take extra care and follow any on-site signage and instructions from the contractor. The forest road will have forestry traffic during extraction and may become muddy during wet weather.

The works can be avoided by following the John Muir Way signed alternative via the Three Lochs Way – as shown on the map here

The John Muir Way cyclist route is unaffected

Overview

Key things to note about this route section.

Distance:
9 miles, 14.4 km
Average time to complete:
4 hours' walking, 1.5 hours' cycling

Points of interest

Route Terminus

The route starts or finishes by the engraved circular stone plinth and seat at the entrance to Helensburgh Pier at the start of the West esplanade.

The Hill House

Managed by the National Trust for Scotland, the finest of Charles Rennie Mackintosh's domestic creations, The Hill House sits high above the Clyde, commanding fine views over the river estuary.

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Scottish Submarine Centre

Scotland only submarine museum has a Stickleback sub on show & audio/visual displays.

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Maid of the Loch

Loch Lomond's own steam ship experience.

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VisitScotland iCentre, Balloch

Tourist information centre located in the old station building near Balloch train station.

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Sweeney's Cruises

Luxury cruise options for exploring Loch Lomond.

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Loch Lomond Shores Retail and Leisure Centre

Retail and leisure centre by Loch Lomond.

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Loch Lomond Sea Life Centre

Dive in and let us take you on a fascinating journey from the coastline to the depths of the ocean. Discover a magical underwater world filled with a dazzling array of amazing creatures.

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In Your Element TreeZone

A fun way to get a view of Loch Lomond - from the treetops & 65m zip line. Plus other activities available in the national park.

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Helensburgh Town Centre

Modelled on Edinburgh's New Town, Helensburgh owes its creation to Sir James Colquhoun of Luss and is named after his wife Helen.

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Helensburgh Heroes Centre

(CURRENTLY CLOSED - we will update on re-opening) The Heroes Centre celebrates over 100 local figures from John Logie Baird to actress Deborah Kerr and houses a 50's themed cafe. John Muir Way certificates, maps & guidebooks are available here.

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Duchess Wood Local Nature Reserve

Often known as Bluebell wood, Duchess Wood is a rich and diverse woodland with a variety of different plant and animal species.

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Helensburgh Golf Club

With stunning panoramic views across the Clyde Estuary towards Arran and over Loch Lomond to the Trossachs, our exciting moorland course is a 'Must Play' experience.

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Helensburgh Central Railway Station

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Helensburgh Upper Railway Station

Visit this station if only for the biodiversity-attracting wildflower displays! This station is on the West Highland Line.

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Craigendoran Railway Station, Helensburgh

Station south-east of Helensburgh traveling from Glasgow.

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Balloch Railway Station

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Alexandria Railway Station

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Facilities

  • Helensburgh Cycles

    Route maps & guidebooks are available in this bike shop just 50 yards from the route start/finish.

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  • Helensburgh Swimming Pool

    You can claim your completer certificate from the swimming pool, located beside the route terminus in Helensburgh. Open 7 days until 8.45pm weekdays, 3.45pm at weekends.

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  • Helensburgh's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.

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  • Balloch's selection of restaurants, cafes and take-away food.

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Accommodation

56.0023, -4.7340
https://johnmuirway.org/assets/routes/walkingRoutes/4e30e2f45e/1_Helensburgh-Balloch_walking.txt
https://johnmuirway.org/assets/routes/CyclingRoute/7890ec9d09/1_Helensburgh-Balloch_cycling.txt