One of Glasgow’s huge benefits and a reason why outdoor lovers flock to the city to live and work is its proximity to the Highlands. You don’t have to go as far as Loch Lomond or Glencoe however, to get your fill of hiking and nature! 20 minutes by train from Glasgow Central Station lie the Kilpatrick Hills, just west of the Campsies. The trail starts more or less at the train station, which makes a hike in the Kilpatrick Hills the perfect day trip from Glasgow on a sunny day!
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For this particular day trip, I joined a group of instagrammers based for an #igersglasgow Instameet organised by Elsa @elsaannukka. The other people who joined were my friend Frida @fridakristina_, Ksenia @ksenia_zizina and Ross @s_u_n_s_h_i_n_e_nomad.
Together we followed the trail from the train station, first a paved road, then a gravel road for most of the way up and eventually an at times boggy path to a viewpoint towards Loch Lomond.
The views on our way up were gorgeous. The tide of the Clyde was high and the sun made the river look deep blue like the ocean. In the distance, you could spot Dumbarton Rock and the hills across the Firth of Clyde.
We came past some serene houses, a paddock with horses, some highland coos and of course sheep. The golden broom was in full bloom and turned the hills brightly yellow.
The view in the other direction was equally breathtaking. Looking towards the east you can see the West End and outskirts of Glasgow, and spot such iconic buildings as the Belltower of the University of Glasgow. Much closer to you though, you will not be able to ignore the beautiful Erskine Bridge crossing the River Clyde from Kilpatrick to Paisley.
Due to the position of the sun, this view was particularly good on our way back down in the afternoon.
I used the day to walk in my new Zamberlan boots which I get to review after taking them on my big West Highland Way adventure next month. For the first time wearing, they felt great, but will need some more breaking in before walking in them for days at end.
The gravel path climbs up steeply into the hills, those views have to be earned! At the top there is a reservoir where you can spot big birds such as geese and herons. I would suggest you stop for a lunch break here as the path along the water is fairly sheltered from the wind.
Expecting a view towards Loch Lomond, we pushed on beyond the reservoir and along a slightly boggy path through the grass. One final climb up a moderate hill and we finally reached the top from where we could see the southern end of Loch Lomond with its islands and surrounded by mountains. Truly magical!
Facts about hiking the Kilpatrick Hills
– From the station to the viewpoint over Loch Lomond it took us around 2.5 hours, but that includes generous stops for photos and chat. All in all we spent around 4 hours exploring the Kilpatrick Hills including a lunch break.
– You don’t necessarily need hiking boots for this walk, but if you plan to follow our footsteps and walk on the boggy path, you won’t regret wearing sturdy, waterproof shoes.
– You won’t really need a map or compass here either, although in bad weather both are advisable!
– Bring some lunch and plenty of water with you as there are no facilities in the hills and no shops directly at the train station.
– This is a very dog-friendly walk, so expect to meet plenty of cuddly friends!
– There is a nice pub in Old Kilpatrick, called The Ettrick, where you can get a drink after the hike before catching the train back to Glasgow. It’s a leisurely 10-minute stroll away from the train station.
Going for a hike in the Kilpatrick Hills makes for a great day trip to get away from the noisy city, but is also a good warm up if you plan to spend a little more time hiking in Scotland. The views alone are worth the trip, and if you’re lucky to catch a sunny day, you might even get a Scottish tan!
What’s your favourite day trip from Glasgow?
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All photos by Kathi Kamleitner.