Learn the history behind Scotland's ancient castles and buildings
The walk from Balloch to Strathblane is around 18 miles and will take walkers of average fitness levels around 6 to 7 hours to complete.
Easy-medium difficulty. There are a mixture of forestry tracks, public roads and stone paths on this route, with some steep sections in places, especially as you get into the hills. Note that in winter the natural sections of pathways through the Kilpatrick Hills can get very muddy.
There are several points of interest along this route, with most of the really good photo opportunities featuring at the start and midpoints of the walk. You will initially pass through Balloch Country Park, the only park around Loch Lomond, which is home to the impressive Balloch Castle. The park itself covers over 200 acres and offers superb views of Loch Lomond and the surrounding countryside, and there will probably be a temptation to forget about the John Muir Way and concentrate on the park instead!
Moving further on you will enter the wilderness of the Dunbartonshire countryside and eventually begin your ascent into the Kilpatrick Hills. This hill-range is probably the highlight of the walk, with amazing panoramic views of the Trossachs and the deep wilderness of Dunbartonshire visible in all directions. In fact, it’s all too easy to forget you’re only 10 miles outside of Glasgow, but the ascent will allow you to view the city and the famous River Clyde if the weather is clear enough.
The end destination is the village of Strathblane in Stirlingshire, which will allow you to have a rest and take in some refreshments before either heading back to Balloch or continuing on with the next section of the John Muir Way.
From the centre of Balloch, follow the path into the country park and around the castle until you reach signs pointing towards Mollanbowie Road. Follow the public footpath east towards Stirling Road, and once at the junction head north until you see signs for Auchincarroch Road. The footpath here will take you towards the Kilpatrick Hills, and there are intermittent signposts to keep you on the John Muir Way once you enter the natural-made sections of pathways.
You will eventually reach Burncrooks Reservoir which you can follow around until you get on the minor road heading towards the small village of Carbeth. Continue heading east along the various man-made tracks and natural paths until you reach Carbeth, and then head north along the A809 a short way until you reach the next section of off-road path which will eventually take you past Carbeth Loch. Join the West Highland Way as it continues north, before finally walking the last section of the track taking you to Strathblane.