Walking part of the John Muir Way
A great walk is from Carbeth to Appletree Self Catering Cottage. This follows part of the John Muir Way – the first section cross country with paths and the latter part along quiet single track roads at the southern end of Loch Lomond
The John Muir Way is a walking and cycling route commemorating the John Muir (1838-1914) who founded the National Park movement in the USA. His activism was responsible for saving the Yosemite Valley wilderness and Sequoia National Park.
The trail runs from Muir’s birthplace in the town of Dunbar on the east coast of Scotland to Helensburgh on the west coast.
The section from Carbeth to Appletree Cottage is perhaps most suited to walkers and perhaps mountain bikes. There is an alternative part of the route which follows the quiet single track roads at this stage and is more suited to cyclists.
The best way to approach doing this route is with two cars. We left one car at Carbeth and walked back to Appletree Self Catering Cottage and then drove to pick up the car we’d left at Carbeth.
Carbeth is a small hamlet which over the last 200 years has grown around the former Carbeth Inn. The inn, made famous in Sir Walter Scott’s 1817 novel Rob Roy was popular, particularly with bikers. It closed in 2017 and is currently undergoing major - reportedly £1 million – refurbishment.
We parked the car in one of the spaces opposite the pub and walked along the path beside the road for about one hundred yards in the direction of Glasgow until we came to a track leading off to the right.
After going through the gateway we walked down this dirt road, past an old bunt- out abandoned house and followed signs for the John Muir Way.
Soon we were walking gently up hill with the famous Carbeth fisheries on to the right, between us and the main road. Stocked every day with rainbow trout it offers bait and fly fishing in its varous ponds. A lovely relaxing day out on a sunny day.
More information about Carbeth Fishery can be found here: https://carbethfishery.co.uk
After the fishery we continue walking along the dirt track, following signs for the John Muir Way and soon pass through the courtyard of Eden Mill.
Eden Mill, accessible from the main road and part of a chain is a Farm Shop, Café and Soft Play area. In late November and in December it is a popular haunt for Christmas Tree purchasers from Glasgow and the Loch Lomond area.
More information about Eden Mill in Carbeth can be found here: https://edenmill.co.uk
From Eden Mill the route climbs at a steady pace up into the hills. Through some pine trees and past a water treatment works. Near the top of the hill the trail enters a wood and soon opens out onto the Burncrooks Reservoir.
The path follows the shore of this attractive body of water. Right up in the hills the views from here to the north are both panoramic and spectacular.
Soon we come to the reservoir dam and our descent begins – with some gently ups and downs.
Travelling from north to south as we are (as opposed to south to north) we get the best views. Travelling in the other direction we would always be looking back over our shoulder.
First we travel through recently planted woodland which gives way to more mature forest.
Much of this forest to the north has been felled. After a bit our view to the north is clear again and in the middle distance we can see Appletree Cottage and Shandon Farm buildings.
Cameron Muir and Wester Cameron
We follow the path through the forest eventually joining a track with runs across Cameron Muir form Finnich Toll in the east to Wester Cameron Farm in the west.
We turn left and head for Wester Cameron Farm. Like our own ancient Shandon Farm the buildings at Wester Cameron bear testament to a long history.
Wester Cameron Farm is at the end of the tarmac single track road which we now follow west. We follow it happily without a car in sight, across the lands of Gallangad until we come to a cross roads where we turn right down to Caldarvan Station.
Caldarvan Station, so called because it was a station on the Forth and Clyde Junction Railway which ran from Stirling in the east to Balloch in the west.
Little more than a halt Caldarvan Station served the sparse local community with up to five trains a day. Although the line closed in the late fifties it is till possible to make out what was the platform. The neat little station cottage has recently been lovingly refurbished by its new occupants. More information about Caldarvan Railway Station is here: www.railscot.co.uk/locations/C/Caldarvan/
Shortly after Caldarvan Station we come to the T junction by the gates of Auchenlarich House and turn right, sign posted Croftamie. We’re still walking along quiet, single track road and have now joined the other half of this section of the John Muir Way which is more suitable to road bikes.
Just over half a mile before we arrive at Appletree Self Catering Cottage we pass another distinctive remnant from the former Forth and Clyde Junction Railway – one of the 32 former manned level crossings on the line. All that can be seen nowadays is the crossing house and a small embankment leading up to it.
Soon we’re back at Appletree Cottage and looking forward to a nice cup of tea before going to collect the car from Carbeth.