Campsie Ridge Route
Start location: Tak ma Doon Road (NS 735 815)
End location: Forestry north of Birkenburn Reservoir (NS 678 810)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells, Stirling, Clackmannan and Falkirk
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 6km
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 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.
The entrance to this path is a little tricky to find but once on it, it is quite easy to follow. It starts on the west of the Tak ma Doon Road a couple of hundred metres north of the car park; the point where it leaves the road is marked by a green barrier. It carries on westwards over the tops of Tomtain and Garrel Hill with occasional crossings of the wall marking the boundary of the forest estate. The track has always been quite wet when this surveyor has been on it, but then these surveys have been during extremely wet weather so it is probably fine in nicer weather. The path peters out at the point where it meets the route up from Birkenburn Reservoir, although the historic route likely came from much further west.
OS Landranger 64 (Glasgow, Motherwell & Airdrie)
There is very little direct evidence for this ridge route having been used for droving, but there are quite a few clues that point towards it having been used for this purpose.
The route to the east of the Tak ma Doon Road is well documented as having been used for droving and was named as Drove Loan in many old maps. This asks the question of where drovers were coming from in order to travel this way. Coming north up the Tak ma Doon from Kilsyth makes the trip to Falkirk Tryst longer and coming south from the Carron Valley may be marginally shorter, but surely far harder as there is such a steep climb to get onto the ridge. It would make sense that drovers were ascending the ridge much earlier, perhaps from the Crow Road or even the Balfron, Killearn or Strathblane area. This way the steep climb is undertaken earlier and there is a lot more free grazing to be had and a lot fewer tolls on the undulating route over the hills - only once the route goes east of the Tak ma Doon Road does it need to be contained with dykes as that is where the cattle would be passing farms and so that it is the only part that is formalised as a road whereas the rest to the east is more of a rough route.
This theory is backed up by a local tradition of the ruins of a drovers pub/bothy being located on the top of Clachertyfarlie Knowes north of Strathblane. Additionally, on current OS 1:25,000 maps, Drove Hill is still marked on a northern shoulder of Lecket Hill, but older maps such as the OS 6" (second edition) also show two Drove Gates at approx. NS646831 and NS656832.
This route can be followed further west than is marked on this website but is little walked and, in keeping with its rough droving history, there is no specific path to follow.