At just 361m elevation, the volcanic plug of Loudoun Hill near Darvel, is where Robert the Bruce had his first major military victory. 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!
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Exit Loudoun Hill car park via a wooden gate, signposted Spirit of Scotland.
Follow the path downhill past the Spirit of Scotland Monument. From the monument follow the path which goes downhill to a stile and a footbridge over the River Irvine.
Cross the stile and bridge then continue along the path as it leads you uphill and onto a flat area.
(1) Cross over a farm track and follow the remains of a dry stone wall as it heads uphill (North West) and around the base of Loudoun Hill.
It will lead you into some trees, then past a stone ruin.
(2) After passing the ruin, choose a point at which to start your climb to the top of the hill. There are no distinct paths unfortunately!
From the summit head West across the flat top, to pick up a steep path down the other side of Loudoun Hill, leading to a stone boundary wall.
(3) Follow the wall right (North East) along the base of the hill a short distance, looking out for a stile on your left-hand side which will allow you to safely cross the wall.
Cross the field North (if in crop stick to the field edge) towards a second stile on the fence opposite.
Follow the fence-line North to a third stile, emerging onto a minor road. Turn left (West) and follow the road downhill for 500m.
(4) At this point you will come to a gate on your left with a track heading South East across the field.
Follow this track as it heads around the base of Loudoun Hill and meets up with the flat grassy area you were at earlier, close to point (1)
Turn right to rejoin the path back to the Spirit of Scotland Monument and retrace your steps back to the Loudoun Hill car park (D/A)
D/A : km 0 - alt. 216m - Loudoun Hill car park, just off A71
1 : km 0.47 - alt. 230m - Remains of dry stone wall - begin ascent
2 : km 0.67 - alt. 275m - Stone ruin
3 : km 1.15 - alt. 261m - Stile over boundary wall
4 : km 1.94 - alt. 221m - Gate into field
D/A : km 3.1 - alt. 217m - Loudoun Hill car park, just off A71
There is no public transport to the walk start point. The car park is signposted off A71 "Spirit of Scotland / Loudoun Hill"
There are no distinct paths on Loudoun Hill and it can be very muddy. It is also extremely steep, with crags on the south side. Several stiles.
Sheep are often present on the land around the base of the hill.
For a longer route option try the walk along the disused railway line from Darvel.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
A linear walk from the village of Darvel along a fantastic disused railway track to the Spirit of Scotland Monument beneath Loudoun Hill.
A pleasant walk around one of the quieter areas of forestry within the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. Starting at the parking area just off Ardochrig Road (near Strathaven), you soon find yourself on a mossy track through the trees. In this area it is possible to spot jay, bullfinch, merlin, peregrine, roe deer, and occasionally goldeneye ducks on the ponds.
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.
Follow the River Ayr along a pleasant woodland trail to Sorn, passing through Catrine Voes Local Nature Reserve and alongside the historic Catrine Weir. On reaching Sorn, cross the humpbacked ‘Auld Brig’ before passing through part of the village and into the “Spooky Woods”. The return route to Catrine is via Chapel Brae, a pleasant single track road which passes Catrine War Memorial.
Starting in Catrine, follow the course of the River Ayr through woodland to the impressive Ballochmyle Viaduct. It is the highest masonry railway viaduct in Britain and even featured in a scene in the movie Mission: Impossible!
Ayr Gorge Woodlands reserve is the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Scottish Wildlife Trust Ayrshire. Follow the path of the River Ayr as it flows through a deep red sandstone gorge. This circular / figure-of-eight route takes you around most of the main trails, giving you the opportunity to explore this beautiful ancient woodland including the popular viewpoint at Peden's Cove.
Peden’s Cove is hidden inside Ayr Gorge Woodland, a Scottish Wildlife Trust reserve. This beautiful and ancient woodland is formed around an incredible red sandstone canyon, which gives the water of the River Ayr a vibrant red appearance when the sun shines directly onto it! Peden’s Cove, a set of steps carved into the red sandstone cliffs, is reached a mile along the footpath.
Duncarnock Fort (known locally as The Craigie) is a craggy hill (204 m / 669 ft) which stands invitingly on the banks of Glanderston Dam. Pausing on the summit of what was formerly an iron age fort, take a moment to wonder about it’s history and all that may have happened here many years ago! On a clear day, just as Mary Queen of Scots is rumoured to have done, you will enjoy panoramic views over greater Glasgow extending to the Campsies in the north.
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