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Easy walking along a disused railway track (now the Chris Hoy Cycle Way) between Hurlford and Galston, returning via the same route.
Buggy friendly (see route info below)
Dog-friendly walk (route info below)
Parking available – I parked just off Galston Road KA1 5HD. If you are taking a buggy or want to avoid the mega muddy section you would be better to park somewhere around Craigie Road KA1 5EB.
Route: You have a choice of where to start this walk. I began just off Galston Road where you will find a way marker on the right, opposite Mayfield Industrial Estate. However be warned that the first section from here until the start of the cycle track is extremely muddy so you may want to avoid (see photo below). If that is the case then start the walk from the top of Craigie Road (purple star shown on map image). You will see a small lane leading off it onto the cycle track. In either case, you will soon come to a bridge which is where you will see the lovely Cessnock Water. From there on the track is easy to navigate and signposted all the way into Galston. I chose to cut off just on the outskirts of Galston hence the small loop you will see on the map, but you can go as far as you want into the village.
WALK REVIEW: 7th April 2016
I had been curious about the old railway walk between Hurlford and Galston for a couple of months now, ever since I spotted the way marker for it off Galston Road one day when driving past. I recently walked an old railway between Darvel and Loudoun Hill and absolutely loved it so I was excited to do this one too. Unfortunately it was not what I had built it up in my head to be….
As it turned out, it was not my favourite walk to date and I don’t think I will find myself back there again in a hurry….**(see update at bottom of this post)
What did I not like about it? Well there wasn’t much to note of interest along the way, nor much scenery to take in. I was pretty bored if I am honest! For example, had it not been for the sign at the start telling me so, I’m not sure I would have realised this used to be a railway track. I don’t know whether this is a result of it having been re-surfaced to make way for The Chris Hoy Cycle Way or just the general lack of any iron fencing or bridges or other artifacts from its former days. Maybe I have just been spoiled having walked the fab dismantled railway in Darvel. There was also A LOT of dog poo around. Not on the path itself, but all over the grass at either side. I met quite a few dog-walkers so I assume it is used as a doggy toilet by some locals. Naughty! And litter. Not litter which had blown there or been washed in, litter that had been dropped. Shame.
Having said all that, no 6.5 mile (return) walk can pass by without SOME nice things to speak of and photograph! Like the gorgeous shot below of the Cessnock Water close to the start of the track. Definitely the highlight. Set me up for false expectations!
Or the lovely old bridge just under halfway along…
And…. I saw a rabbit!
And the base of Hamilton Tarmac.
And I passed a cottage with a horse box outside painted to look like a red London bus! As it turns out this is also the home of the Scottish branch of the Vintage Bus Bar which I saw parked up out the back!! The things that go on in Hurlford! So not a COMPLETELY boring walk I suppose when I really think about it :-)
[Update: I have actually gone back again, although it took me a few years…. I take back some of what I said above: if you are walking this route in summer time the wild flowers which grow along the sides give you plenty to look at. I would also point out that when I returned I had someone else with me and having company definitely helped with the long, straight sections. Plus we came home via a different route. So in summary my suggestions are: keep this one for late spring / summer time, go with a friend, and come back a different way (for example go up past Loudoun Academy and left along the country roads then down the river path into Crookedholm) or take the bus back.]