Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Kilpatrick Hills To The Campsie Fells. Faifley to Milngavie.

                                              ALL PHOTOS CLICK FULL SCREEN.
As I thoroughly enjoyed my day around the Kilpatrick Hills in the last post I thought I might as well walk the rest of this range eastwards- this time starting at Faifley, on the northern outskirts of Clydebank/ Glasgow, then finishing at Milngavie. On another stunning sunny day the following weekend I again boarded the number 2 bus through Clydebank, seen here, to Faifley, a housing scheme on the upper margins of the urban sprawl.
I was also lucky enough to see a familiar small plane from the Emerald Isle coming in to land at Glasgow Airport. They often fly directly over Clydebank with the landing wheels dropping down before touching earth on the runway which is located just the other side of the River Clyde in Renfrewshire.
I jumped off the number 2 bus just before the Faifley terminus on the eastern edge of the scheme. A right of way path crossing Douglas Muir to Milngavie, skirting the edge of a large sand quarry, has always existed here, but has now been incorporated into the Clyde Coastal Path, a 55km long 3 day walk, from Clyde Coast Skelmorlie/Wemyss Bay to Milngavie. All over Scotland in recent years a plethora of long distance walks have appeared in practically every area covering the country. Most of the tracks and paths have always existed of course, mainly used by locals or keen outdoor walkers but now they are 'official' and  signposted. In some respects this is good because it does let you know where they all are without resorting to obscure guide books, pouring over countless OS maps, or developing a decades long knowledge of the various districts to find out where they all are. Now a mouse click or a smart phone is all you need.
Clyde Coast Path link here with a detailed zoom in map of the route. (and the section covered by this walk can be seen in large scale down to individual street names.)

The Clyde Coastal path travels up the side of the last/ nearest row of tenements in photo above and then heads right through woodlands, across Concho Road then up over farmland towards Milngavie.
As I'd done it before around a decade ago I fancied a sneaky alternative so I headed left on good paths through attractive open woodlands to reach another right of way to the left of the electricity pylons (in photo above) then followed a signposted path through fields to the Jaw Reservoir.
Erskine Bridge in the distance. Although on opposite sides of the city sprawl, Faifley is very similar to where I grew up in Nitshill, two medium sized tenement housing estates on the margins of the urban jungle with loads of good walks in the surrounding countryside. I always feel very at home in Faifley.
One of the countryside trails just behind the estate. It has five or six of these scenic paths crisscrossing the gently rolling wooded landscape and roe deer, squirrels, foxes and other wild animals are only a few minutes walk away from tenement land. One great advantage of growing up on the outer rim of various estates/schemes is that it's so easy to escape into glorious nature on your own doorstep if you are that way inclined. I don't know if I would have discovered nature as my muse if I'd grown up in the heart of that dark jungle instead of on the outskirts.
This is five minutes walk from the tenements in the third photo and another scenic path leading up to Cochno Farm. Although I grew up in a fairly rough estate with the usual crime, grime and gangs, all my free time was spent in countryside like this- observing animals, having adventures with like minded friends, and exploring the exceptional drumlin wonderland I was lucky enough to grow up in.
A car park does exist on Cochno Road that is popular with dog-walkers and locals but it is secluded and can feel very empty in poor weather on the edge of an urban setting. I would park in it for an hour or two to walk the surrounding paths but would not fancy leaving a car there unattended for a full day trip.. and never overnight. It is handy however when popular and well used on a nice day to explore this underrated but beautiful area with a variety of woodland paths in the surrounding landscape.
Just beside the car park and Edinbarnet Nursing Home a signposted path is followed uphill then through a gate up the side of fields to gain higher ground and Jaw Reservoir. The route is obvious and well marked.
You soon leave the houses behind for the upper slopes, sheep pastures, farms and panoramic views. Dogs should be kept under close control here.
A waterfall higher up marks the Jaw Reservoir over-spill exit channel.
Before the mirror-like beauty of the reservoir itself and the surrounding high moorland.
My plan now was to head east taking a line along the side of this pine forest until I reached the Clyde Coastal Path again. Don't be fooled by the wide path here as it soon ends and the rest is wild and wet, frequently rough going underfoot, often jumping tussocks beside the forest. It's not that bad though and I kept to forestry land inside the pine fence across trackless but grassy ground. This is not a right of way path but fenced off private farm land so I avoided all the fences, around six, and the farmers fields by keeping very close in to the forest edge until I was well past and could descend easily to the Clyde Coastal Path again past the sand quarry. I have had a slight run in with farmers hereabouts many years ago coming up from the other side then getting turned back to find a different way but I'm never confrontational as its a difficult job already and politeness always gets better results. Invisibility gets even better results so I normally just 'ghost' past any place that seems tricky now. If no-one knows you are even there and you drift past silently everyone stays happy. Too often farmers on the edge of urban areas see the worst of humanity with dogs attacking livestock, general vandalism and rural crime so it's not unnatural they are slightly suspicious of any strangers intentions. Farm dogs can also be aggressive to strangers if wandering loose near the farm buildings.
Soon the northern side of the city came into view. Maryhill/Springburn hi flats in this photo. There are or were guard dogs in this sand quarry area the last time I passed.
When my route along the pine forest edge got too difficult to maintain and I was well past the farms I stepped over the by now knee high fence then cut down through open grasslands to reach the Clyde Coastal Path.
By this point the Campsie Fells were the dominant view ahead and the next few miles offered up some delightful scenery on paths I hadn't walked before. Always good to get new views and unexplored trails even in an area I know well.
Secluded house near the Stockiemuir Road, A809, above Milngavie.
A view of Dumgoyne, a distinctive volcanic plug that marks the western end of the Campsie Fells.
It was at this point, just above Tambowie Farm that an open gate and a very old wooden sign post pointed down  through a wet field towards this house in view. Having had run ins with farm dogs before I was in two minds about walking through the farm buildings on the track heading in that direction but this path down the edge of the field led through a stile to the left of this house then onto the A809 avoiding the farmyard altogether. Heading down through the edge of this field seems to be the correct route anyway as it leads to these signposts.
Immediately across the road further signs highlight a zig zag series of paths leading down into Milngavie. As the route from this point twists around and detours past various farms by using open fields the signs were handy for once as without them I'd have been completely lost as to the next move.
With the signs it was easy enough and a very pleasant journey. A classic five star walk on this stretch.
The countryside here reminded me very much of the childhood fields that I used to explore with friends a five minute walk from my house. Short grass, munching cows and tended hedgerows as far as the eye could see. It was paradise for children then to visit every summer. When you see Dams To Darnley Country Park now its an overgrown waist high jungle year round with the farms gone. Apart from a few paths cut through it D to D is now an impenetrable maze of small jaggy bushes, long grass and brambles with around 80 percent of it totally inaccessible. It used to look like this so a very clear example of what livestock and farmers do to manage landscapes we largely take for granted as 'natural' when in fact they are carefully maintained. Dams to Darnley is still a nice area for a walk of course- it just looks nothing like it did 45 years ago... a completely different landscape without bovine lawnmowers in it or farmers to manage the field systems and I wonder what one suits wildlife more..... I'd suspect this one. The well maintained variety. When the farms shut and the cattle and sheep go its not long before everything is waist high and completely tangled a few years later.
Another set of dams- this time Milngavie waterworks. Another lovely place for walking. The start of the West Highland Way runs through here so you can link up with that to continue this walk by adding on Mugdock Country Park and its varied woodlands before descending into Milngavie. Around 14kms total distance. Paths obvious on OS map sheet
This is the edge of it here.
I was happy with what I'd done however and with shorter daylight hours I made my way down into Milngavie before getting a bus home. Another cracking walk and day out. Around 4 to 5 hours for this one as well... easy pace.

One of the strangest but most memorable videos on You Tube. A personal long time favourite of mine. What's it about? The eternal battle of the sexes? A comment on religion and age old traditions? Or on cruelty to animals and people? Very ambiguous, but full of symbolism and hidden meanings. You decide.


Carol said...

Farm dogs are generally nasty and sly and regularly bite - walking with a pole or stick puts most of them off but I don't like walking with either.

The reservoir and waterfall look really nice. It will be really funny how many people living in the city won't even think to go and explore the wonderful countryside on their doorstep!

Kay G. said...

Adventures with like-minded friends...where were you when I was searching for the name of my blog?
I love the reservoir photo the very best...but of course, I am missing the lake where we like to walk, they drained it completely!

That song...oh dear, it is way too depressing for me I could only listen for a few seconds!

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Yes, and they are pretty smart as well plus I'd left my pole behind for this walk so was glad I could avoid going right through any farmyards as its always an anxious moment. Got surrounded by six snarling collies a couple of years ago at one farm which was more outdoor adventure than I expected or required.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Kay,
I didn't think you'd like that one but did think you would enjoy Back in time for Dinner or Good ol Freda, about the Beatles 1960s secretary.

Anabel Marsh said...

Interesting! We have parked in what is probably the car park you are describing a couple of times and walked up to and round (possibly the same reservoir). I’m a bit hazy in the details now. I’ve never thought of this linear walk.

Rosemary said...

I must return to Milngavie one day and see if it has changed much since I left. You keep tempting me with those wonderful views of the Campsie Fells, views that I lived with for 3 years, but so long ago now.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Anabel,
Probably the same car park about a stone's throw from the nursing home. As far as I'm aware none of the Kilpatrick reservoirs have visible paths round them, just rough ankle deep grass so they might be tough walking in places to get round them. The walk from Jaw across to the Clyde Coastal path is trackless and not recommended unless you can vault fences without damage and like a couple of km of boggy tussocks to negotiate before hitting any paths again.You would like the signposted path from Milngavie to the A 809 at Tambowie then a minor road past Laighpark to meet up with the West Highland Way along the bottom of Mugdock Wood. A good circular walk around the last six photos in the post I might well do myself. You would also like no 2 bus to Faifley then the Clyde Coastal Path itself, (with hubby of course not yourself as it is secluded)over to Tambowie and Milngavie. Bus from Milngavie to Maryhill was the one I got back. Its a cracking walk on good paths but boots required if muddy.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Rosemary,
No need to do that just type in Milngavie Map. United Kingdom Goggle Satellite Maps. to search engine. Once into map zoom in then use little person on side bar for 3D tour. dragging it with the mouse onto map where you want to go up streets and see for yourself in a virtual tour, even into some shops and offices. Wonderful technology but to my mind a complete invasion of privacy that I'd imagine car thieves, scrap metal 'collectors', scammers and housebreakers must find a very useful tool as well. Ah, the modern age.

Linda W. said...

I so enjoy photos from your walks in the countryside!

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Linda.

Neil said...

Useful information about the Cochno car park. I was looking to use it when I did these hills but I think that I'll see if there's anything better.

Anonymous said...

Always enjoy trying to follow your semi-urban walks by map. Like you I always try and avoid farmyards wherever I can. Plenty of bad experiences in the past with their canine protectors

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
That car park is probably OK if a sunny day and plenty of cars going in and out but I have seen it completely empty and very secluded midweek or poor weather. Old Kilpatrick beside the Bowling Club is also handy for those hills you mentioned and safe enough anytime.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers Andy,
some interesting and unusual ones coming up next.

Unknown said...

Enjoyed looking at these pictures, though they make me feel fairly melancholic; was brought up in Cluny Avenue Faifley 1955-67, torn down and now called ‘F/N’ Knowes View. Anyway Cluny looked directly up towards that Waterfall picture and in the summers many of the parents would group together and take all the kids in the Street up there for a picnic; they don’t do things like that anymore.

Wandered all these hills sometimes with others from the street but often on my own, aged from eight onwards, no chance of that today either. Fished Greenside, Cochno/Jaw reseviors the Black Loch and others including Craigton reservoir which was fed by the Caulderstream burn, don’t see it on google maps now, looks like it was drained a long time past.

I wished I had taken photographs of that time, I had a box camera then, even if I had taken a picture of Cluny Avenue that would have been good. The one interesting thing I did photograph was all the gang scrambling over the Druid stones carvings at the back of the scheme just below June Nobles house on the Field Road/Cochno Rd (she was rich); lost them years later, duh!

Been in sunny Ayrshire now most of my life after 67; unfortunately I couldn’t even clamber up these hills for a last look now; too many Hill and long distance races has destroyed my cartilage in my knees; it was these hills though that gave me that kind of appetite; I used to run up and down them as a kid way wellies on.

blueskyscotland said...

Cheers, You F'coffee,
Glad you liked the post. I also had a great time exploring my own local countryside as a teenager. My sister, who lives in Australia and emigrated in the early 1970s feels the same way when I show her any photos of where we grew up so distance and moving away elsewhere seems to make the feelings stronger. There's plenty of old photos on the internet of the various Glasgow estates as they used to look but not so sure about Faifley.