A large hare was seen bouncing around Appletree Cottage garden this morning. The first sighting this year.
Walking from Appletree Cottage
Croftamie used to have a handful of water powered mills and one of the larger ones was a sawmill. The site of this sawmill is visible by way of some overgrown flat ground to the left of the path between the path and the burn. The site has been completely cleared however and almost no evidence of this ancient industry remains.
After a pleasant walk we're out of the woods and into the open courtesy of an old iron gate. The views are excellent. To the north west we can follow the Endrick Water as it makes its way to Loch Lomond. It passes under the former Forth and Clyde Junction Railway Bridge which is now used to carry a section of the water pipe way which runs from Loch Lomond to Edinburgh. There is now a pedestrian and cycle bridge built over the pipe way and this forms part of both the Sustrans Cycle Route 7 (which runs from Sunderland in the north of England to Inverness in the Highlands) and the John Muir Way.
Walking south, along the route of the Endrick for a bit we have great views of Killearn in the distance. Before the bridge at Drymen was constructed there were various ways to cross the Endrick. One of these was a ferry at more or less the same place where the bridge is now. Otherwise fords were the order of the day. Many of the fords have washed away but the old roadways leading up to them on either side can sometimes still be discerned either by ground levels or by lines of trees or both.
At Dalnair Castle
Our route across the parkland took us back to where we had come in - the former service entrance gates. From there we walked back into the village and down to where the former Fourth and Clyde Junction Railway used to cross the main road. The station house is still visible on the eastern side of the road. From there we walked up the former railway track which is now a cycle and pedestrian walkway forming part of the John Muir Way.
Back to Appletree Cottage
The former railway line forms an excellent short cut from Appletree Cottage to the village of Croftamie. In the village the former famous Wayfarers Inn has undergone major refurbishment under its new owners. It was to re-open in April as the But & Ben bistro but due to covid this has been delayed. We are hoping that all is well and that the new owners will open with huge success when the pandemic is over.
On the railway path the gorse (known in Scotland as Whin) and the Broom are in full bloom.
In Autumn there is also a huge display of sloe berries which are popularly picked by locals for their home made sloe gin.
At the top of the railway path we join the back road leading to Appletree Cottage and Shandon Farm. This road is quiet with occasional farm traffic making it an excellent route popular with walkers and cyclists. There are good views across the landscape towards Stirling and Killearn giving a beautiful open aspect to living in and visiting this area.