The Three Lochs Way: stage 1

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Images also under a similar Creative Commons Licence.


NS3481 : Three Lochs Way marker post by Lairich RigThree Lochs Way marker post

The Three Lochs Way is a 32-mile (52-kilometre) route that begins at BallochExternal link, and which leads through HelensburghExternal link, GarelochheadExternal link and ArrocharExternal link, to finish at InveruglasExternal link. It is described in detail at the official Three Lochs Way websiteExternal link.

The present article is a collection of photographs illustrating the first stage of the walk, namely, the 9 mile long (14.5 km) section between Balloch and Helensburgh. A full description and mapExternal link of this section of the Three Lochs Way can be found at the official website; walkers should refer to that site for details of the route, and for any updates.

As for the present article, it should not be used as a guide to the Three Lochs Way; it is simply a photographic record of the walk, intended to complement the map and description given at the official site.

Important: since this article was written, one section of the route has been changed, in the vicinity of Gouk Hill; see the maps at the official site for the current route. In time, the present article will be updated to reflect those changes.

Balloch to Helensburgh

In Balloch

The Three Lochs Way begins at the tourist information centre in Balloch; the following pictures show the route from there to the start of the Stoneymollan Road.

NS3881 : Balloch Tourist Information Centre by Eddie MackinnonNS3981 : Path to Loch Lomond Shores by Lairich RigNS3882 : Path to Loch Lomond Shores by Lairich Rig(left) Starting point: Tourist Information Centre in Balloch
(middle) Start of the riverside walkway
(right) The riverside walkway
NS3882 : Path to Loch Lomond Shores by Lairich RigNS3882 : Loch Lomond Shores by Lairich RigNS3882 : The National Park Gateway Centre by Lairich Rig(left) Path to Loch Lomond Shores
(middle) The Retail Crescent (note: viewed from off the route)
(right) The National Park Gateway Centre
NS3882 : Path to Luss Road by Lairich RigNS3881 : Old Luss Road by Lairich RigNS3881 : Lower Stoneymollan Road by Thomas Nugent(left) The path to Old Luss Road
(middle) Old Luss Road
(right) The start of Lower Stoneymollan Road

The Stoneymollan Road

From the start of Lower Stoneymollan Road, the next 2.8 km or so of the Three Lochs Way is also part of the Stoneymollan RoadExternal link, an old coffin road that is now a heritage pathExternal link.

Not all of the photographs below are views along the direction of travel from Balloch to Helensburgh. Here, and in subsequent sections, views in the opposite direction are marked with an asterisk.

NS3881 : Lower Stoneymollan Road by Lairich RigNS3881 : Footbridge over the A82 by Lairich RigNS3781 : Upper Stoneymollan Road by Lairich Rig(left) Lower Stoneymollan Road *
(middle) A footbridge over the A82 *
(right) Upper Stoneymollan Road *
NS3681 : Stoneymollan Road by Lairich RigNS3681 : Gate on the Stoneymollan Road footpath by Lairich RigNS3581 : A junction of paths by Lairich Rig(left) Stoneymollan Road *
(middle) Entering the woods
(right) A crossroads; turn right here

On Darleith Muir

From the crossroads, the Three Lochs Way and the Stoneymollan Road go their separate ways. This part of the Three Lochs Way crosses Darleith Muir, where much of the forestry land has been cleared. It ends with an ascent, on forested slopes, to Killoeter.

NS3581 : Forest track on Darleith Muir by Lairich RigNS3582 : Forest track on Darleith Muir by Lairich RigNS3481 : Gate at edge of the woods by Lairich Rig(left) This track leads to a T-junction
(middle) Looking back from the T-junction *
(right) Take the left branch at the T-junction, and follow the track to this gate
NS3481 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3481 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3481 : Dry-stone wall by Lairich Rig(left) At the gate, turn right, and follow the gap between the fence and the woods
(middle) Following the edge of the woods
(right) The old wall makes a brief detour here, then resumes its westerly course *
NS3481 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3481 : Forestry track by Lairich RigNS3482 : The edge of the woods by Lairich Rig(left) Heading uphill through the trees
(middle) The Three Lochs Way cuts straight across this forestry track
(right) Emerging into the open again, on the Killoeter plateau

The Killoeter plateau

When the following pictures were taken, there was, as yet, no made path from the edge of the woods to the Red Burn; after leaving the woods, it is necessary to cross to the north-western side of the Red Burn (it is easy to do so at this point; downstream, the glen of the burn rapidly becomes much deeper). The route crosses the plateau, and leaves it on the approach to Quarry Wood.

NS3482 : Drainage ditches by Lairich RigNS3382 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3382 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich Rig(left) Avoid the forestry drainage ditches
(middle) Path above the north-western side of the deep glen of the Red Burn
(right) Looking back along the same route *
NS3382 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3382 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3382 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich Rig(left) Passing Northfield Wood *
(middle) Crossing a new forestry track *
(right) On the approach to Quarry Wood *

At Camis Eskan

After leaving Quarry Wood, the route once again follows well-defined tracks and roads.

NS3281 : Gate at edge of Quarry Wood by Lairich RigNS3281 : Path through Quarry Wood by Lairich RigNS3281 : Leaving Quarry Wood by Lairich Rig(left) Entering Quarry Wood
(middle) The faint track through Quarry Wood
(right) Leaving Quarry Wood
NS3281 : Sheep fank by Lairich RigNS3282 : The Three Lochs Way by Lairich RigNS3181 : Road from Camis Eskan Farm by Lairich Rig(left) Passing a sheep fank *
(middle) Passing a large barn *
(right) The road leading to Craigendoran

Craigendoran to Helensburgh

The Three Lochs Way next follows the main road through Craigendoran to Helensburgh. In Helensburgh, the route heads uphill along Colquhoun Street. The course of that street is interrupted by Helensburgh Upper Station, and it is necessary to go around the station. The route then resumes its uphill course by means of Upper Colquhoun Street, which leads to the Hill HouseExternal link, where this first stage of the Three Lochs Way ends.

NS3181 : Cardross Road, Craigendoran by Lairich RigNS3181 : Old milestone in Craigendoran by Lairich RigNS3081 : Railway bridge at Craigendoran by Lairich Rig(left) The main road through Craigendoran
(middle) An old milestone
(right) The main road enters Helensburgh *
NS2982 : West Clyde Street, Helensburgh by David DixonNS2982 : West Kirk, Colquhoun Square by Tom SargentNS2982 : Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh by Lairich Rig(left) West Clyde Street
(middle) Colquhoun Square
(right) Colquhoun Street
NS2983 : Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh by Lairich RigNS2983 : West Rossdhu Drive, Helensburgh by Lairich RigNS2983 : Helensburgh Upper Station by George Rankin(left) The top of Colquhoun Street
(middle) A small detour around the railway station
(right) Passing the entrance of Helensburgh Upper Station, on Sinclair Street
NS2983 : Munro Drive West, Helensburgh by Lairich RigNS2983 : Upper Colquhoun Street, Helensburgh by Lairich RigNS3083 : The Hill House, Helensburgh by Lairich Rig(left) Munro Drive West leads to the start of Upper Colquhoun Street
(middle) Resuming the uphill course: Upper Colquhoun Street
(right) The end point: the Hill House



For a similar article about the second stage of the walk, see The Three Lochs Way: stage 2External link.


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