Walk 167 – Uplawmoor Hillside Trail – 4.8 miles

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Loch Libo and Uplawmoor

A very rewarding hike across the hillside, starting in the pretty village of Uplawmoor, East Renfrewshire. Pass the 16th century Caldwell Tower, enjoy views of Loch Libo, Ayrshire, Greater Glasgow and the Largs/Lochwinnoch hills. A mixture of good solid surfaces and boggy moorland with several gates and stiles to climb (some stiles in disrepair on last visit and locked gates required climbing). 

  Ample on-street parking on Neilston Road, Uplawmoor or at the Uplawmoor Hotel if you plan on doing lunch before/after the walk (G78 4AF). Closest train station is in Neilston and from there you can travel by bus to the walk start point.

route image  Route: Walk begins at the Uplawmoor Hotel. Leave Uplawmoor Hotel car park and turn left onto Neilston Road. At the bottom of the hill turn left onto Lochlibo Road (A736) and follow the pavement for a short distance until opposite the B776 at Caldwell Golf Club. Carefully cross Lochlibo Road onto the B776 and a short distance along the road move onto a footpath on the left. Continue uphill until reaching Old Barn Road on your right. Turn into it, passing Old Barn Farm and at the end of the road when you are next to Greenside Farm, turn right again. Continue ahead and go through two gates onto the Lochliboside Hills. After the second gate follow the fenceline along to the left where there is a stile in the corner. After crossing, keep the fence to your right and follow a rough, boggy track along the field-edge, where livestock may be grazing, go through a gate and continue along the hillside eventually passing through another gate. The track splits so take the left fork, walk along the field-edge, with the fence now on the left past a radio mast. Go through another gate and continue to cross a stile. The grassy track then crosses open farmland to reach a fence before a conifer plantation. Follow this to a padlocked gate. Climb over this onto a short section of uneven ground through conifers, then follow the line of a ramshackle wall through gorse thickets to pick up a good grassy path which passes a wood, then a gate before reaching another gate at Fereneze Road. Turn right, descend Fereneze Road eventually crossing a railway bridge to reach Shillford at Lochlibo Road (A736). Cross over Lochlibo Road onto a minor road signposted for Uplawmoor. Follow this as it climbs gently past the old Ardrossan to Glasgow Railway line, the road crossing the line to reach Neilston Road. Turn right, walk along the grass verge beside lovely woodland back into Uplawmoor.


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Who even knew that a village called Uplawmoor existed?! Tucked away in the south western extremity of East Ren, this pretty, rural little place just makes it out of Ayrshire. All the more surprising that I had never come across it before! In any case, that’s where I was meeting my friend Nicola today. Google maps took me on the 34 minute drive along the A736 from Kilmarnock. En route I was surprised to pass two restaurants I had been to – The Blair and The Canny Man (now permanently closed). Isn’t is great when the map in your head suddenly all comes together! A sharp right-hand turn into Uplawmoor almost resulted in a coach smashing into the back of me….. hadn’t the driver seen me indicating for the past mile??? Sake!

Blessed with a beautiful crisp sunny day, Nicola and I set off to discover the Lochliboside Hills. The leaflet promised fine views and boggy tracks. Perfect 😀 Before starting to head uphill, we were surprised by the sound of bagpipes. A wedding?? No, just a piper – dressed in normal everyday clothes – out in his garden practicing! It was very surreal.

The route took us almost full-circle around 16th century Caldwell Tower, sitting majestically on the hillside. It is thought that it was once part of a larger courtyard-style castle. Unfortunately when seen from the back, this eye-catching building reveals a rather (in my opinion) ugly pale blue wooden extension….. not at all in keeping with the original stonework.

Caldwell Tower
Easy walk up to the hillside

From here the footwork became more challenging with boggy conditions underfoot as we crossed the hillside. There was slight confusion at one point about which fence we were supposed to be following but we eventually worked it out. We were treated to lovely views in all directions:  East across Glasgow’s southside; South to Loch Libo and Ayrshire; and West to the rolling hills above Largs and Lochwinnoch.  It was then a straightforward walk along minor roads back to Uplawmoor village. We crossed over the former Lanarkshire and Ayrshire railway, opened in sections between 1888-1904 to provide a shorter route for mineral traffic heading to Ardrossan Harbour. These always fascinate me and I loved that this one looked to be in a good walkable condition (rather than having been covered in tarmac and converted into a cycle track as so often happens with dismantled railways). I will have to do some research into what the rest of it is like!

Boggy hill ‘path’

Some other walks in this area which you might enjoy: 

Duncarnock Fort (The Craigie) – 5 miles

Dams to Darnley Country Park – 4 miles

Gorge Walk, Rouken Glen – 1.75 miles

Lochgoin Circuit, Whitelee – 7 miles

Blackwood Hill Viewpoint, Whitelee – 3.5 miles

Around Brown Hill, Whitelee – 2 miles

Picnic Huts, Whitelee – 1 mile

The White Cart Walkway – 7.7 miles

Pollok Country Park – 2.6 miles

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