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Amidst the swirling of the wind turbines you can enjoy this energising walk from the Visitor Centre to a view point atop Blackwood Hill at Whitelee Windfarm, from which you will be rewarded with stunning panoramic views on a clear day. You will be pretty exposed for the majority of the walk so ensure that you dress appropriately for the weather conditions.
Parking Available at Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre (G76 0QQ)
Route: starting from the car park take the main path at the information boards downhill and then turn left at the wind turbine. Continue on this track all around Brown Hill, ignoring any roads off to your left until you see the waymarker pointing towards Blackwood Hill. Follow this track downhill and through the gate at the cattle grid. It swings around to the right and starts to head uphill again. At the top you will see a narrower and steeper path which you can take to reach the viewpoint and cairn on Blackwood Hill. Enjoy the views and then head back down, retracing your steps to the way marker. At this point turn left and look out for a track on the right which completes the circuit round Brown Hill and leads you back to the main path towards the car park.
WALK REVIEW: 8th April 2016
This is a loop I have walked many times and never tire of! On a Tuesday morning at 10am I used to be found in the visitor centre car park at Whitelee Windfarm unpacking the buggy to start a ranger-led walk with the Whitelee Stroller Striders. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world, definitely not a ‘fair weather walker’! Rain, hail or shine I was there with buggy and baby and bags of enthusiasm.
In fact one week I was even filmed by Scottish charity Paths For All talking about why I love the walk so much. It’s my 20 seconds of fame – be sure to check it out (I’m second to speak) :-) I only stopped going when my eldest started nursery because I couldn’t make it back home in time to pick him up. Now I try to get out there whenever I can and on this occasion I was more than happy to show my good friend Carolyn and baby Thomas around for their first ever visit to Whitelee. It was only polite seeing as she volunteered to be my tour guide on a recent walk around Galston!
I would love to say that everything went perfectly to plan but when you have a 2 and a 4 year old with you this can never be true. I expected my eldest to complain a lot as he does get bored quickly if there is no promise of a play park or a snack at some point along the route. However he surprised me and was completely lovely for the entire time, agreeing to hop off the back of the buggy any time we came to an uphill stretch. It was my youngest I needed to worry about today, and it came as a surprise to me because he is used to being taken out on long walks and is normally fine. He moaned the ENTIRE time: “its a long time mummy”, “mummy when can we have a snack?” “mummy, mummy, muuuuuuummmmmmmmy, you’re not listening to me mummy” Then onto screaming at me. Even ‘put’ him in timeout at one stage for being cheeky. Yes this can be done in the middle of a windfarm when you have company and he is in a buggy! Meanwhile… Carolyn is pushing a perfect little angel along in her buggy who never once causes the slightest bit of bother!
Back to the walk & the reasons I love it so much: it’s a good length at just under 4 miles; there are uphill sections involved which means it’s great exercise (a true workout if you have a buggy with you!); the views are magnificent; even though you are only 15 mins from either Kilmarnock/Glasgow you feel like you are a million miles from home. My friend was a little freaked out by the turbines! To be fair they do seem like monsters when you are right under them and the whooshing sound the blades make as they turn can be a little unnerving the first time! Her advice is to ignore them and keep looking straight ahead ;-)