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This route shows off the scale and diversity of Whitelee, the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. It crosses from one side of the site to the other, passing through it’s less visited areas, many of which are rich in forestry. You will stand on the highest point in East Renfrewshire (Corse Hill), visit a WWII hurricane crash site, pass an active quarry, and even visit a memorial enclosure! Keep a lookout for dragonflies, small birds, woodland mammals and birds of prey.
Buggy friendly walk – note that much of the route is along loose gravel tracks
Car parking available at the windfarm entrance off Ardochrig Road (nearest postcode G75 0QN)
Route: Pass through the gate at the edge of the parking area and after a short walk turn right at the fork, onto Cleughearn Road. Keep a look out for a small pond where dragonflies can sometimes be spotted! Further along, at a crossroads, continue straight onto the Spine Road. Turn left at the end of the road to stay on the Spine Road. At this point you are below Corse Hill, the highest point in East Renfewshire and there is a faint (slightly overgrown) path on your left leading up to the top. Come back down the same way and turn left on the Spine Road. At another crossroads continue straight which takes you off the Spine Road. At the end of this track turn right and follow the track round, looking out for a cluster of trees surrounded by a wrought iron fence which will be on the hillside to your right close to Turbine 67. This is the Euphemia White Memorial. Just after Turbine 59 turn right and the track will lead you back to the Spine Road. Turn left and follow it along quite some way, passing a large Quarry before turning left along a track past Turbine 17 and the power station for the windfarm extension. You will come to a fork. Turn left to head back into the trees and take the second track on your left. After Turbine F192 take the track on your right. The forestry here has recently been felled so it is possible to see the white memorial cross marking the WWII Hurricane Crash Site if you look across to your right. Retrace your steps back until the power station comes into view again. Turn left at the fork then right at the next fork and continue straight until you emerge onto the Spine Road once again. Turn left and follow the road along, passing Lochgoin Farm and Lochgoin Monument on your left and Lochgoin Reservoir on your right. Take the third track on your right after the reservoir (through a gate) and turn left at a fork. This will lead you to the car park at Whitelee Windfarm Visitor Centre.
WALK REPORT: 31st July 2016
World Ranger Day! What better way to mark the occasion than head out on a 15 mile ranger-lead walk at Whitelee?! I have been coming to Whitelee Windfarm for almost 5 years now, starting when my first baby & I became regulars on the Tuesday morning Stroller/Striders walks. Normally I park at the Visitor Centre and have a favourite 4 mile loop which I have walked countless times. I had often said I would return with a map and venture further afield but for some reason I had never done so. Then a friend sent me information about the 30km Ranger Day Ramble to take place on 31st July and I emailed off to register my place straight away!
As the day approached I realised we were meeting at the Ardochrig Road entrance, which I had never heard of before! I found it pretty easily using a combination of Google Maps and directions provided by East Renfrewshire Council (see last page in this PDF brochure). It turned out to be much further from Ayrshire than the Eaglesham entrance so it took me around 40 minutes to get there.
We were a small group of 6, including Rennie and Ryan the two Rangers. I spent much of the walk chatting to Rennie, quizzing him about life as a Ranger on a windfarm, what wildlife could be found here, the history of the area, and so on. He really is a fount of all knowledge – a great asset to the windfarm! His passion for what he does really shines through. I would highly recommend going along to any event at the windfarm run by the Rangers, you will learn so much. Ryan, only in his fourth week working here, inspired me with his tales of previous jobs as a Ranger and his season spent learning to build mountain footpaths. It seemed like he had done all the things I have considered trying out over the past 8 months but never gotten round to. Although listening to his stories I am not sure I am cut out for volunteering on the mountains (midges, rain, cold, carrying heavy equipment…!! )
I much preferred this side of the windfarm to that surrounding the Visitor Centre. Perhaps because it was all new to me, but also thanks to the variety of different landscapes on offer: Areas of dense forest, open moorland with purple flowering heather, several ponds, views across to Dumgoyne and Isle of Arran.
My mum confesses that she is not a fan of walks at Whitelee, she doesn’t find the landscape around the visitor centre very interesting especially if out for a couple of hours. I can see what she means; it is all rather “samey”. However I do believe that should she agree to come to Ardochrig with me one day I could change her opinion of the place, it is just so much more scenic at that end. Not to mention all the knowledge I now have to share thanks to the Ranger Day Ramble! I would also like to bring the kids here on a warm sunny day to have a look for dragonflies – the pond being only a short walk from the entrance.