Sunday 23 August 2020

Stoneymollan Road - Coffin Road Balloch to Cardross


We hadn't had a decent walk on our trip so on the last day we decided to walk up part of the old Coffin Road to get in some views over Loch Lomond. We are familiar with coffin roads as we have a few in the Lake District. Basically there was no where to bury people in Balloch so they had to be carried all the way to St Mahew's Chapel in Kirkton, a distance of almost 6 miles! This route now includes parts of the John Muir Way (134 miles/215 km from Helensburgh to Dunbar) and Three Lochs Way (34.5 miles/55 km from Balloch to Invergulas):

One obstacle that didn't exist in the days of coffin carrying, is the A82. Luckily for us a pedestrian bridge takes you safely over the road. We even got a bit of a view of the Stoneymallon roundabout with its wild birds in flight:

The way marking on this part of the path was excellent. It also is on a tarmac covered surface as there are a few houses off the road. As we climbed we got a few glimpses of Loch Lomond below:

At this point we decided that instead of turning round at the highest point we would continue to Cardross so phoned my dad to ask him to collect us later! Once past the final building the path reverted to the kind of track the pall bearers would have carried coffins on. I hope they didn't have as driech a day as we did... At least they could rest the coffin at the high point on trail on the large rock:

The next part of the route was a bit like walking through a zone of devastation as it was forestry land with lots of felled trees. It might have looked better on a sunny day!

Eventually we came across a farm and a more solid road and the signs showing people which way to go to get to Balloch:

Walking along the road was a bit of a trudge when we were feeling cold, damp and hungry! At least St Mahew's chapel was nice to look at. Coffin bearers must have been made of tough stuff:

We had to carry on about a mile further to where the route now finishes in Cardross on the Firth of Clyde:

My dad had parked at the train station so we had even further to go. We passed the church, crossed over the railway line and reached the shore:

This route wasn't particularly arduous but it was a bit a of slog in the wet weather! I would love to try one of the longer routes that it overlapped with.

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