Easter is the perfect time for some family adventures in the great outdoors. Winter has given way to Springtime with longer days, daffodils and crocuses, newborn lambs and rising temperatures. Not to mention a lot of chocolate to work off! Here are my top picks to give you some inspiration for over the holidays….
1 – Fairy Knowe Trail, Barr – South Ayrshire
A stunning circular route through the idylic south Ayrshire countryside, the Fairy Knowe Trail is most definitely one of Scotland’s hidden gems. Perfect for rolling eggs down too!
2 – Ness Glen, Loch Doon – East Ayrshire
An astonishingly beautiful short walk through a deep wooded glen following the River Doon as it begins it’s journey between Loch Doon and the Firth of Clyde. Expect waterfalls a-plenty! Form a loop by returning to the start via the hill path. Be sure to take a camera as there are MANY photo opportunities!
3 – Red Squirrel Trail, Devilla Forest – Fife
Take a short walk around this peaceful forest between Kincardine and Dunfermline. Devilla covers a massive 700 hectare area and is home to the red squirrel thanks to the plating of Scots pine trees back in the 1950s, which create the perfect habitat for them. On a dry day take a picnic to enjoy at the lochside.
4 – Dumyat Hill, Stirlingshire
A straightforward route to the summit of Dumyat (418m / 1371ft) from Pendreich Forestry car park. It is the westernmost peak in the Ochils and on a clear day offers incredible views down to the city of Stirling, the River Forth and across to the Southern Highlands.
5 – The Whangie – Kilpatrick Hills, Stirlingshire
The Whangie: strange by name and strange by nature! This massive and unique rocky outcrop seems to appear out of nowhere on an otherwise grassy hillside. Situated at an elevation of 300m (984 ft), the 10m high rocks have a narrow passageway through the middle, formed during the Ice Age. On a clear day enjoy the views across to Loch Lomond and the Campsies as well as the hills of the Scottish Highlands to the north.
6 – Nature Trail, Clyde Muirshiel Regional Park – Inverclyde
Quirky and fun! This trail starts along The Greenock Cut before heading off into some lovely woodland on a hunt for the 18 wood carvings hidden inside. Look out for the impressive waterfall near the start and the view down the glen towards the Firth of Clyde and mountains beyond.
7 – Troon Cliffs/Ballast Bank – South Ayrshire
This walk is a little different! You will begin by walking along a stone footpath built into the cliffs, followed by a stroll through some gardens and along the promenade towards Troon South Beach where there is an excellent play park for the kids to enjoy. If cliffs don’t sound like your cup of tea, walk across the Ballast Bank instead – you will be treated to spectacular views across the Firth of Clyde on a clear day.
8 – Loudoun Hill, Darvel – East Ayrshire
At just 361m elevation, the volcanic plug of Loudoun Hill near Darvel, East Ayrshire is where Robert the Bruce had his first major military victory. It is reputed that in 1307 he led an army against the English in a battle which took place beneath the hill. Despite being small, it’s steep slopes certainly pack a punch and on a clear day the views from the top make it a must-do in the area. A favourite with children and adults alike!
9 – Gorge Walk, Rouken Glen – East Renfrewshire
One of the most important geological sites in Scotland, the 143 acre Rouken Glen Park has some lovely walks, this one taking you through it’s famous gorge along the banks of Auldhouse Burn. See the boating pond “Swan Lake”, wander through the glen with it’s impressive waterfalls, try out the new boardwalk built along the historical “lover’s walk”, let the kids burn off steam at the massive play area and then try your hand at the outdoor gym before having a well-earned coffee at The Boathouse café. There is a reason Rouken Glen was voted the UK’s Best Park 2016!
10 – Eglinton Country Park, Kilwinning– North Ayrshire
Eglinton really is a unique Country Park in Ayrshire – unlike any other I have visited. It is spread over a vast area and has so many quirky parts, full of surprises. This short route is ideal with the kids and takes in the all-abilities play park, courtyard and cafe, headless statue (!), castle ruins and Eglinton Loch. Take a picnic on a nice day!