Spout of Ballochleam
Start location: unclassified road, Ballochleam (NS 656 927)
End location: unclassified road, Cringate, Carron Valley (NS 684 865)
Geographical area: Campsie Fells
Path Type: Rural Path
Path distance: 8.3km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
Newsflash: 8th October 2020 was to be the date for a guided walk using some of the Spout of Ballochleam route as part of a special 175th Anniversary Walks Programme arranged for ScotWays members. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, the postponed walks will likely be rearranged for 2021. Other historic routes featured include the Herring Road, the Stoneymollan Road, the Cauldstane Slap, the Old Road by Macduff's Cross and the Thieves Road (Feshiebridge). If you're not yet a ScotWays member, please consider joining up as membership helps support the Heritage Paths project; it'd be great to see you on the walks when we're all back out and about!
Starting in Station Road in Kippen, turn south east at the war memorial along Burnside. Continue beyond the national speed limits sign and turn to the right directly before the row of houses. After 100m or so take a turn to the east and follow this track over the Dasher Bridge till you get to the minor road from Inch of Leckie to Craigend. Go south west along the road for around 1km till you get to the turn off for the Spout of Ballochleam at NS657927
Follow the farm track to Ballochleam Farm. It passes to the east of the farmhouse and continues along a farm track. There is an openable gate across the track and from here the track follows the Boquhan Burn up the Spout of Ballochleam. The route continues along the track in a south east direction. There is a ford crossing Gourlay's Burn and then follows a well defined track to Burnfoot Farm, which is now a ruin. From the farm, the route heads southeast to cross the Burnfoot Burn where the Heritage Paths project has built a bridge alongside the ford, so crossing should no longer be difficult. There is no defined path from the burn east for a couple of hundred metres until you meet the Earlsburn windfarm track. Follow this south until you get to the bridge over the Endrick Water and there is then a choice of routes.
You can either walk along the east bank of the Endrick following the signs till you enter the plantation at NS684866 and end at the road north of Sir John de Graham's Castle. Or you can cross the Endrick and follow the windfarm road until it meets the B818 at Todholes.
OS Landranger 57 (Stirling & The Trossachs area)
Grassom's 1817 map clearly shows this route running from the north as far as Burnfoot. Backside is marked where the sheep enclosure lies today and Gourlay's Burn is labelled as the Endrick Water. This through route to the Carron Valley has been appearing in the Scottish Hill Tracks book since its first edition in 1947 - described variously as then continuing to either Kilsyth via the Laird's Loup route or to Queenzieburn via Johnnie's Dam Path.
A route up to the Spout of Ballochleam will have been of use for many years. The First Statistical Account for Gargunnock (1795) states: "The cleft of Ballochleam is still remarkable for the hawks, for which it was in great request in former times, when falcolnry was in fashion". By 1841, at the time of the Second Statistical Account, the fashion seems to have come around again as it is reported that: "The hawks build their nests on the almost inaccessible cliffs of Ballochleam. These are the falcon hawks; and gentlemen in several parts of England have sent repeatedly to take their young, for the purpose of taming them for hunting".
The route also has the local reputation of having been a drove road.
The Heritage Paths (Campsie Fells) Project has produced a lovely Campsies map leaflet showing this old route and other paths in the area. To get your hands on a paper copy, simply send us an SAE c/o ScotWays (see address top-right) and we'll post one out to you.