Johnnie's Dam Path
Start location: Queenzieburn (NS 693 773)
End location: Birkenburn Reservoir (NS 676 807)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells, Strathclyde and Lanarkshire
Path Type: Industrial Path
Path distance: 4.5km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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Newsflash! The Heritage Paths (Campsie Fells) Project is very pleased to announce that we have produced a lovely Campsies map leaflet showing this old route 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 north from Queenzieburn by road uphill to Corrie. Beyond there a well-used track continues up to the Birkenburn Reservoir. The route is easily distinguished and has been relatively recently upgraded. It heads north and then north-west up over the Kilsyth Hills in the direction of the Meikle Bin to the Birkenburn reservoir. The views both to the north and south are excellent, and the reservoir is in a picturesque setting.
This route can be extended via Meikle Bin to the Carron Valley:
Cross the dam and continue north alongside a fence for about 200m, until it meets another fence at right angles. Go west along it for almost 300m to a third fence going north, and follow this down to the edge of the mature forest at NS673812, where a ride leads to a forest road. Follow this down to the south side of the Carron Valley Reservoir. As it has been noted that the forestry paths and tracks shown on many maps do not necessarily reflect what is on the ground, this Carron Valley Walking Trails leaflet is recommended.
Another way to extend the route is to again continue north from the dam to the forestry. However, instead of heading through the forestry as above, head east along the Campsie Ridge route over Garrel Hill and Tomtain to reach the Tak ma Doon Road.
OS Landranger 64 (Glasgow, Motherwell & Airdrie), plus OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area) if continuing to the Carron Valley Reservoir.
Johnnie's Dam is a local name for the Birkenburn Reservoir which was built in 1830 to regulate the flow of the Garrel Burn. Water from Johnnie's Dam follows a complicated route from the dam down the Garrel to Garrel Mill where it is intercepted by a weir and diverted off through a lade past Colzium House into Banton Loch (Townhead Reservoir). From here it is taken by another burn and another lade into the Forth & Clyde Canal at Craigmarloch.
This path was originally used for the construction of Johnnie's Dam. In 2009, it was resurfaced and re-used by British Waterways for a £1 million refurbishment of the dam. It is also known locally as the Fishermans Path, named after those who head up the track in the hope of catching trout in the reservoir.
- with many thanks to Friends of Kelvin Valley.
As part of a through route to Kippen via the Carron Valley and the Spout of Ballochleam, Johnnie's Dam Path has been appearing in the Scottish Hill Tracks book from the 1970s to the present day - earlier editions saw the route head from Kilsyth more directly via the Laird's Loup.