Gowk Stane Road
Start location: Milndavie Road, Strathblane (NS 560 789)
End location: Broadmeadow Road, west of Craigend Castle (NS 543 777)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells
Path Type: Drove Road
Path distance: 4km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes, Suitable for horses
Newsflash: 27th April 2019 sees a guided walk along part of this old road as part of the Walks Programme arranged by ScotWays for its members. If you're not yet a ScotWays member, please consider joining up as membership helps support the Heritage Paths project and it'd be great to see you on the walks!
From Milndavie Road, Strathblane, this route crosses the river passing the former Milndavie Mill and then ascends using a good track. Having passed by the farm buildings at Boards Farm, the route turns south-west along a gravelled farm track. It meets the Red Brae route from Ballachalairy Yett and continues as a well-surfaced farm track, till it becomes a grass track along the edge of a plantation, emerging onto Broadmeadow Road west of Craigend Castle at a wicket gate by the edge of Mugdock Country Park.
This right of way has the local reputation of being an old drove road. Today it forms part of a network of leisure routes. Two of Mugdock Country Park's excellent and inexpensive Walk Mugdock: Paths Beyond The Park guides describe circular walks that use parts of the Gowk Stane Road; these leaflets are available from the visitor centre. The Gowk Stane Road is also used in part by the John Muir Way which as of 2014 runs from Helensburgh to Dunbar. Weaving its way through lowland Scotland, this 215km trail also takes in parts of the Stoneymollan Road, the Strathkelvin Railway Path, the Forth & Clyde Canal, the Antonine Wall and the Union Canal.
The Gowk Stane lies beside this old route. It is a rounded boulder thought to have been deposited when the glaciers that shaped the Blane Valley retreated. Being such a distinctive feature, it is perhaps unsurprising that it has its own local folklore. According to John Hood's Old Drymen and the Blane and Endrick Villages (2000), those who slide down the west face of the stone will have their wishes granted. It is also said to have been a point at which three estates met - Craigallian, Craigend and Duntreath? While we're not certain of the present day pattern of landholding, old photographs of the Gowk Stane show a gate (and later only gateposts) alongside the rock.
The Heritage Paths (Campsie Fells) Project is very pleased to announce that we have a lovely Campsies map leaflet showing this historic 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.