Buchlyvie Muir Road
Start location: Culbowie Road, Buchlyvie (NS 573 936)
End location: Moor Road, Balfron (NS 548 890)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells, Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 6.1km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash! The Heritage Paths (Campsie Fells) Project is very pleased to announce that we have a lovely Campsies map leaflet which shows this old route across the moor and other paths in the area. To get your hands on one, simply send us an SAE c/o ScotWays (see address top-right) and we'll post one out to you.
Go south along Culbowie Road until you get to the bend just before Wester Culbowie and head straight south and then east around the field rather than going through Wester Culbowie. You shortly join a field boundary with an old looking tree line going straight south towards Little Drumtie. This is mostly easy going with occassional sections of bog. The Drumtie Burn is quite a deep drainage ditch now so it's best to leave the field boundary before reaching Little Drumtie and head south west towards the corner of the plantation at NS568904. Once you've crossed the Drumtie Burn and reached the corner of the plantation you meet a wall and merely have to cross this and follow it into Balfron. It gets quite boggy in places closer in to Balfron. The route is only really a field boundary these days.
OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area)
The religious history of Buchlyvie and Balfron parishes in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is a complicated one. This route across the moor appears to have played its part in enabling each congregation to attend the church of their particular denomination. The story told locally is that after the 1843 "Disruption" brought about a split in the Church of Scotland which resulted in the formation of the Free Church of Scotland, Buchlyvie folk wishing to dissociate themselves from the established Church of Scotland had no church building to go to as there was no "Free Church" there. A Free Church is known to have been built in Buchlyvie in 1876, so until that time it is thought that the Free Church goers walked this old route across Buchlyvie and Ballindalloch Moors to join the services held in Balfron's "Free Church".
However, the history of travelling across Buchlyvie Muir for religious reasons predates the Disruption. The "First Secession" in 1732 resulted in the formation of the Associate Presbytery and a church of this denomination was built at Edinbellie in the parish of Balfron in 1739. Some of this church's congregation are known to have been resident in the parish of Kippen, as they later left and built Buchlyvie's anti-burgher seceder meeting house (which became the North Church of Buchlyvie) in 1751 or 1752. This means that up until that date they too will have been crossing the moor to worship, heading south from Little Drumtie to reach Edinbellie.
There is a twentieth century story too, relating to the use of the Moor Road. Between the First and Second World Wars, folk from Balfron would walk this route to and from the Buchlyvie Inn, because Balfron was "dry" by order of the local millowners.
So, although the muir today is a quiet and isolated place, there would once have been plenty of passers by. These included drovers as well as drinkers and churchgoers. In Balfron, there is a plaque specifying the costs of allowing droves of cattle through: 1s 8d a score. They would have travelled in an easterly direction across Ballindalloch Muir to Little Drumtie. There were fairs at both Buchlyvie and Balgair. From Buchlyvie Muir, the cattle would either have gone south towards Ballochearn and hence Fintry, or south-east from the fair at Balgair Muir to Balafark and hence Fintry.
- with thanks to the Balfron village community website http://balfron.ning.com/page/places-of-worship, as well as residents (past and present) of Buchlyvie.