Last updated on May 23rd, 2020
Burncrooks Reservoir near Carbeth, Glasgow
Burncrooks reservoir is a man-made body of water that offers a picturesque walk as part of the John Muir Way between Balloch and Strathblane.
Category: Forest, Landscape, Loch (reservoir), Nature
Suitable for ages: 11 to 18 years, 18+ years, 65+ years
Ideal for: Couples, Families, Tour groups, Solo travellers
I rate it: 7 out of 10
About Burncrooks Reservoir
The John Muir Way is one of Scotland’s greatest trails, running across the country from Helensburgh on the west coast to Dunbar on the east.
The trail is named after John Muir (unsurprisingly) who was born in Dunbar but settled in the US and was instrumental in developing many of America’s greatest national parks including Yosemite Valley and Sequoia National Park.
It’s fitting then, that a coast-to-coast route is dedicated to him, especially considering the entire length of the 134-mile trail is spectacularly pretty and passes through Scotland’s own first national park at Loch Lomond and The Trossachs.
Most walkers choose to do to this route in sections and the John Muir Way website splits it into ten distinct walks, each of which has been chosen to show off the best bits of Central Scotland.
One of these sections – route 2 – starts in the rural settlement of Balloch at the southern foot of Loch Lomond and finishes in Strathblane, giving walkers fantastic views over the Kilpatrick Hills along the way.
But mid-way between these two points is an expansive body of water that’s worth visiting whether you’re hiking the John Muir Way or just fancy a nice afternoon stroll in an exceptionally peaceful countryside setting.
Burncrooks reservoir partially supplies the city of Glasgow just 5 miles away and it’s only recently been developed as a tourist attraction.
The surrounding landscape might seem a bit barren but due to the fact it’s so elevated you’ll get amazing views across the hills to Glasgow and you’ll even be able to see the Campsies and Arrochar Alps from some sections of the path.
This path runs in a giant loop on a well-maintained gravel surface (installed as part of a half-million-pound development) that’s mostly level, though there are a few twisting/steep areas so I wouldn’t suggest wheelchair users attempt it, but if you’re mildly fit and fancy a scenic country walk I reckon Burncrooks Reservoir is hard to beat.
Things to do at Burncrooks Reservoir
The best place to start this walk is from the Edenmill Farm shop located west off the A809 near Carbeth. The farm shop is signposted but I suggest you get your sat-nav out as the roads are narrow and fairly non-descript in this part of the country.
Once you get to Edenmill you’ll find a large car park next to the farm shop which is a nice place to stop off for a bite to eat, and they’ve gone to great lengths to offer activities to children so if the weather turns grotty at least you’ll have somewhere to take a quick detour.
Inside you’ll find a soft play area, a small go-kart track and a mini-playground as well as a cafe and a quality butchers, and there’s even a dog-friendly outdoor seating area which I thought was a nice touch.
The route around the reservoir and back again is around six miles in total so it shouldn’t take much more than three hours to complete, and thankfully it’s well signposted from the car park so it’s pretty much impossible to get lost.
Along the way you’ll pass through the Auchineden Forest which seems to be a popular destination for both dog walkers and mountain bikers while an equally large reservoir lies to the south that’s partially circled by a road and a rough grass track.
But heading back to the main event leads you to Burncrooks Reservoir which opens up as soon as you exit the forest. It’s a surprisingly large body of water and it’s a lovely place to be on a summer day though it’s not quite so nice on a cold and damp morning in February – as you can probably see from the photos on this page.
Still, as a way to escape the city or as part of a walk on the John Muir Way it’s definitely worth a visit, and combined with a trek to The Whangie – yes that’s the name of an actual place in Scotland – you’ll have a very enjoyable jaunt in the Scottish countryside.
FYI – The Whangie is a rock formation in the Kilpatrick Hills that has stunning views towards Loch Lomond. You’ll find the car park to it on the A809 a few miles north of the turn off to the Edenmill Farm shop.
- This walk is just a short drive from Glasgow so you’ll find lots of other attractions nearby.
- The reservoir is lovely in summer and it’s very quiet mid-week.
- Got to love the food in that farm shop…
- Take your walk a bit further and follow the path along the John Muir Way to Balloch and Loch Lomond. I detail this walk in my Guide to the Balloch to Strathblane Trail.
- The farm shop cafe is very reasonably priced and the steak pies from the butchers are delicious. Yum!
- Make sure you’re wearing waterproof boots in winter because part of the walk around the reservoir diverts from the John Muir Way so it’s not as well maintained.
Photos and video
Address and map
The starting point of the walk:
Click the map for directions
Distance: 6 miles
Time: 3 hours
From the car park go through the gates and follow a tarmac road alongside a hedge, then turn left at an angled T-junction onto a private road.
Follow this road up a gentle incline in a westerly direction to a gate that leads into open countryside. A short way ahead you’ll find a track that leads into the Auchineden Forest which splits into two directions.
Take either one because this track forms part of the Burncrooks Reservoir loop so whichever you take you’ll end up back at the same place.
Once through the forest you’ll find the reservoir opens up in front of you with the newly-laid path ringing the undulating shoreline. This is a great spot to watch the buzzing wildlife at the water’s edge before heading up the incline where you’ll discover those amazing views of the surrounding hills.
At the far end of the reservoir is a signpost that points towards the Balloch section of the John Muir Way, but if you don’t fancy that excursion you can just follow the grassy track around the perimeter of the reservoir.
There’s a water-board building off a small jetty at the far end which is strictly off-limits so skirt around it and you’ll shortly pass a fishing club hut.
From this point it’s a short and easy walk back through the forest after which you’ll follow the exact same route you initially took from the farm shop car park.
Prices and opening times
There is no fee to visit Burncrooks Reservoir.
The reservoir and John Muir Way are open 24/7, 365 days a year.
Website: The John Muir Way
Getting there: Car park near the Edenmill Farm shop.
Getting around: Some tarmac and loose gravel paths. Uneven paths.
On-site conveniences: Hot drinks, Restaurant/cafe, Snacks, Toilets. All at the Edenmill Farm shop.