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An easy 7 mile circuit around Whitelee Windfarm’s Lochgoin Reservoir. The route is way-marked meaning that navigation is simple and underfoot is a mixture of loose stones and grass. Look out for Dunwan Dam and take a detour to Blackwood Hill Viewpoint, from which on a clear day you will be able to see as far as the Isle of Arran and Ben Lomond.
Buggy friendly walk (bumpy terrain – make sure your buggy is suitable)
Dog-friendly walk (passes through a sheep grazing area – dogs must be on leads)
Plenty of car and bike parking at Whitelee Visitor Centre (G76 0QQ). No public transport to start point.
Route: From Whitelee Visitor Centre follow the road back down to the information board. Turn right (South) to go through the barrier and downhill to Turbine 40 . Turn left (East) here and after 280m when you reach a sign for the mountain bike trails, turn right (South) to walk along a narrower track. This track cuts across to a wider track, emerging at a large boulder. Turn left (East) here. Take the first right (South East) onto a track heading downhill towards Loch Goin. Keep left (East) at a fork to cross a cattle grid (there is a gate to the side if you prefer). Loch Goin is now on your right-hand side. After a short uphill section there is another fork – turn right (South) and begin following the perimeter of the loch around. Just before turbine 43 you have the option of a short detour to the Blackwood Hill Viewpoint. If you wish to do that, turn left and go up the hill path to the trig point at the top. Return via the same route. 2.6km after the Blackwood Hill Viewpoint path, you will reach a crossroads. Turn right (North West). The track starts to head back towards Loch Goin after a brief spell “inland”. Just past Turbine 27 look out for a way marker pointing to the right towards Lochgoin Dam. You can shorten the walk by 1.6km by following that track across the grassy dam wall and meeting up with the rest of the route at Lochgoin Farm. If you don’t wish to shorten the route, keep left (South) at Turbine 27. This track takes you away from the loch again and joins up with the Spine Road. Turn right (West) when you reach the Spine Road. Keep right (West) at a fork approx 600m along. When you reach Lochgoin Farm there is a crossroads. You can take a short de-tour from here to visit Lochgoin Monument and the Covenanters Museum. If doing this turn left at the crossroads then come back to this point and turn left to continue the route. If not going to the monument, continue straight ahead (North) at the crossroads. Take your first right (North East) to pass Turbines 11, 26 and 42. Just after Turbine 42 turn left (North West) at the fork. At the top of the hill turn left (West) and then take first right at the large boulder. At the end of the path, at the sign for the mountain bike trails, turn left (West) and on reaching Turbine 40 turn right (North) to retrace your steps back to Whitelee Visitor Centre.
NOTE: you can download the official walk map from East Renfewshire Council’s website, which shows the turbines and their numbers.
WALK REPORT: 27th November 2016
My friend Nicola and I have been keen to try out this circuit since we started coming walking at the windfarm with our babies 5 years ago! Every Tuesday morning we would venture out with the Whitelee Stroller Striders on a 3 mile loop and the Lochgoin Circuit is actually an extension to that.
Leaving the kids in daddy daycare for the morning 😉 we set off around 10:30am with the intention of completing the walk in perfect time to enjoy a bowl of homemade soup at the Visitor Centre afterwards. Imagine our disappointment when there was no soup on the menu today! At least part one went to plan: the chance of a long overdue catch up as we walked!
Things didn’t quite go to plan during the walk either, as we reached the far end of the reservoir the path was closed and we had to take a de-tour. As it turned out, the de-tour was actually a highlight of the walk so I have included it as an option in my route description above. It took us across the dam wall and past some fishing huts, which was a nice break away from the gravel windfarm tracks.
Another couple of de-tours you can add in are up to the viewpoint atop Blackwood Hill (short, steep path – excellent views, well worth the effort!) and also to the Covenanter’s Museum and Lochgoin Monument which are next to Lochgoin Farm towards the end of the walk. Both are detailed in my route description.
All in all this is a great walk and is well signposted with tall wooden marker posts. The windfarm can by its nature be a very exposed place in bad weather so I always expect worse than I have at home and take extra layers to be on the safe side – it will be windier for sure!
Other walks at Whitelee which you may be interested in: