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Hiking trail

Milngavie to Balmaha Digital Delivery

Hiking trail
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Macs Adventure Verified partner  Explorers Choice 
  • /
    Photo: Fraser MacRae, Macs Adventure
Map / Milngavie to Balmaha Digital Delivery
0 150 300 450 m km 5 10 15 20 25 30 Craigallian Fire Memorial - The Fire That Never Goes Out Glengoyne Distillery The Beech Tree Inn Turnip the Beet Honesty Box - Snacks & Drinks Summit of Conic Hill

A gentle walk through countryside before climbing Conic Hill and ending on the shores of Loch Lomond 

difficult
30.7 km
9:00 h
434 m
474 m

After setting off from Milngavie today’s route passes through the ancient earldom of Lennox between the Campsie Fells and Blane Water. You follow a series of good paths through beautiful rural scenery to the outskirts of the small village of Drymen.  A recommended stop is the Glengoyne Distillery, where you can take a tour and enjoy a wee dram to send you on your way. Enroute to Drymen is the Beech Tree Inn, which has a lovely garden and serves great food.

Passing Drymen the route begins to climb towards Conic Hill, which sits astride the Great Divide, separating the highlands and lowlands of Scotland. The climb is fairly steep but on reaching the summit you can enjoy fantastic views over Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest body of fresh water covering 27 square miles. You will descend a steep path towards Balmaha, a small village nestling in a protected bay on the shores of bonnie Loch Lomond. 

Author’s recommendation

If you wish to visit Glengoyne Distillery today it would be advisable to pre-book a distillery tour on their website. There are several options, but we would recommend the 1 hour Wee Tasting Tour which allows you to sample their 12 year old and 18 year old malt. 

https://www.glengoyne.com/visit-us/distillery-tours  

 

 

 

outdooractive.com User
Author
Macs Adventure
Updated: August 08, 2019

Difficulty
difficult
Stamina
Experience
Landscape
Highest point
325 m
Lowest point
15 m
Best time of year
Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec

Rest Stop

The Beech Tree Inn
Honesty Box - Snacks & Drinks
The Oak Tree Inn
St Mocha Coffee Shop & Ice Cream Parlour
Turnip the Beet

Safety information

Today’s walk is gentle but it is your first day so we would advise you to take your time and take it easy. There are a couple of short sections where you will need to walk along and cross roads. The roads are generally quiet but, due to this, drivers in the Scottish countryside can often drive fast, so please take care.

The majority of the signposts do not state "West Highland Way" but are instead stamped with the thistle logo to let you know you are on the right path.

If you are taking advantage of the chance to visit Glengoyne Distillery, please be aware when crossing the road to reach the distillery. The road is long and quiet with clear views in either direction, but it does have a speed limit of 60mph.

There are several tastings and tour options available but remember to watch your whisky consumption at Glengoyne Distillery, as you still have 15 miles to go!

Take your time coming down Conic hill as it is quite steep and can be busy with walkers coming in the opposite direction. Coming down hills can often be harder on your knees than going up them, if you sometimes use walking sticks it would be wise to bring them today.

Maps

If you wish to carry a hardcopy map, we would recommend buying the West Highland Way map from Footprints. Alternatively, you may wish to print the daily maps directly from our app.

Guidebook

If you wish to bring a guidebook, we would recommend Trailblazer's West Highland Way: Milngavie to Fort William by Charlie Loram.

Macs Adventure Blogs

Using our decades of experience we have written several blogs containing helpful tips, daily wildlife information, lunch stops, where to eat, FAQ and more. Please follow the link below to read our West Highland Way insights:

https://www.macsadventure.com/walking-holidays/category/walking/west-highland-way/         

Equipment

Sturdy hiking boots, warm clothes and a waterproof/wind-break layer are all required. The weather can change quickly so be sure to take all equipment even if the weather looks okay. If you sometimes use walking sticks it would be wise to bring them today for the decent of Conic Hill.

Ensure your phone is fully charged; if you doubt the battery will last throughout the hike, it would be beneficial to bring a power bank.

 

Tips, hints and links

Noted on the interactive map are a few notable points of interest. Click the icons on the map for more information.

  

Before leaving Milngavie:

There are cash machines in Drymen but you will not get an opportunity again until Crianlarich or Tyndrum so it is a good idea to pick up some cash.

If you wish a certificate to commemorate your West Highland Way achievements, then purchase a log book (£2.50) at the Iron Chef. To receive your certificate the logbook needs to be stamped along the Way.

Be sure to stop by Boots Chemist to buy any forgotten any toiletries or midge repellent.

Where to eat in Milngavie:

There are several places to head to for dinner in the centre of Milngave, here are some of our suggestions. 

The Burnbrae Bar and Restaurant - Right next to Bearsden Premier Inn and 600m from Milngavie Premier Inn is The Burnbrae Bar and Restaurant serving good standard pub grub. 

Fantoosh Nook - The centrally located Fantoosh Nook serves traditional Scottish fish dishes.

Jessie Biscuit Café – Stop for morning coffee or lunch at Jessie Biscuit. An excellent selection of cakes you can devour guilt-free as you will shortly be burning off the calories walking along the trail.

  

Balmaha is a bustling little village and makes an excellent place to stop on your way to Rowardennan or as an overnight. In the village shop you can usually pick up forgotten items, just be aware they will be a little more expensive than Milngavie. There is also an ATM in the shop if you require cash, please note the ATM charges £1.55 per use.

Start

Obelisk in Milngavie town centre (55 m)
Coordinates:
Geographic
55.941370, -4.317950
UTM
30U 417680 6200338

Destination

Town centre of Balmaha

Turn-by-turn directions

***To help you follow the route with confidence we have provided the below route notes to help you find your way. The West Highland Way is well-waymarked and being able to stay on track, while following the GPS tracks on the Macs App, will ensure you have a safe, enjoyable and problem free day. Additionally, if you wish, the daily maps can also be printed from the web version of the app.***

 

Your West Highland Way adventure begins at the Obelisk on Station Road which passes through this pedestrianised area of Milngavie.  Why not take a commemorative photo at the start to compare to a photo at the end point in Fort William?  From the obelisk make your way through the arch to the river and follow the white thistle on the way markers that lead you onto forest paths and through Milngavie’s outskirts. 

In 1 km you’ll enter Mugdock Country Park, popular with Milngavie and Glasgow locals seeking some welcome rest-bite from the city. 

At 4.5 km into your hike pass the Craigallian Fire Memorial on the shores of Craigallian Loch and continue following the way-markers on good paths and tracks as you make your way past Glengoyne Distillery – said to be Scotland’s prettiest, nestled in the countryside at the foot of Dumgoyne Hill.  Whether you are a whisky connoisseur or just a budding enthusiast we recommend popping into the distillery for a visit – why not try the “Wee Tasting Tour”?

The trail then passes the Beech Tree Inn at approximately 11 km, and an honesty shop beside the path at 15 km before reaching the outskirts of Drymen. Drymen town centre is a 10 minute, or so, detour from the route. 

At the T-junction with the main road turn left to head off the trail and make your way to your night’s accommodation in Drymen – please refer to your tailored accommodation sheet for specific directions.  Follow the B858 (Old Military Road which soon becomes Stirling Road into the town centre). 

To rejoin the West Highland Way from Drymen leave Drymen by Stirling Road, which soon becomes Old Military Road (B858).  On your left-hand side look out for the thistle way-markers that will lead you north away from the road (at 19.80 km) on a track through the forest.  Follow the way-markers through the Garadbhan woodland and begin the short ascent of Conic Hill (361 m), despite its small size on a clear day you’ll have excellent views over Loch Lomond.  Pause at the summit for a break and take in views of the Highland Boundary Fault (600 million years old) that divides Scotland’s lowlands from its highlands.  Descend from Conic Hill to the village of Balmaha, home to the visitor centre for the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park and the Oak Tree Inn.

 

*** N.B. - If you wish to visit Glengoyne Distillery, it is easily spotted underneath the peak of Dumgoyne at around the 10km mark. It is possible to cross the field but you alternatively you can follow the path until you reach the A81 and turn left. Please follow the road/cross with care. Retrace your steps to re-join the West Highland Way***

Arrival by train, car, foot or bike


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Difficulty
difficult
Distance
30.7 km
Duration
9:00 h
Ascent
434 m
Descent
474 m
In and out Scenic With refreshment stops Cultural/historical value Geological highlights Faunistic highlights Healthy climate

Statistics

: h
 km
 m
 m
Highest point
 m
Lowest point
 m
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