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). No public transport to start point.
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.