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About Harelaw Dam & Dod Hill Walking Route
The countryside above Neilston is littered with fantastic lochs, including Long Loch and Harelaw and the higher ground above these two lochs, and the surrounding landscape, provide a superb walk with breathtaking views.
However the wild nature of the walk is the greatest surprise and at certain points no road or house can be seen adding to the sense of peace and quiet that prevails.
As well as passing Harelaw and Long Loch the route visits James's Hill and Dod Hill, both providing superb views encompassing much of East Renfrewshire, Ayrshire, and Galloway.
1. From the car park, turn L and climb single-track road towards Harelaw Dam. The road then descends past the fishing club hut and here turn L from the road.
2. Climb past the hut onto a path. Follow the path above Harelaw Dam to a gate. Go through the gate onto open fields, the path continuing beside the loch to reach a stile. Cross the stile, bear L slightly to avoid some boggier, tussocky ground then follow firmer ground to reach a low wall, which is easily crossed. Bear R back to the loch, follow a narrow path to reach another wall. Climb over a locked gate, cross a short section of boggy ground to reach the loch shore. Turn R onto an embankment, follow a good path above the loch. When the track peters out follow the loch edge to meet a narrow path, then bear L at a promontory. Follow the loch onto a good track, cross a stile, then continue alongside the loch onto an indistinct path to reach the head of Harelaw. From here follow a burn and a wall east underneath Lochend Hill over pathless ground to a metal gate. Go through the gate, cross a narrow burn, bear R, follow the wall to reach a dam at the head of Long Loch. Turn L, follow an indistinct path beside the loch onto a grassy track, continue underneath the slopes of James’s Hill to a fence. Turn R, follow the fence up grassy slopes to a gate. Turn R, climb another grassy slope to the cairn on James’s Hill, its 282m summit providing stunning views to the likes of Arran and Ben Lomond.
3. From James's Hill retrace steps back to gate, go through here, turn R onto boggier ground, follow the fence towards Dod Hill. The field then drops down onto a broad track, which crosses a burn then climbs gently to a flatter section of open moorland. Bear R onto a narrower path, walk east to the base of Dod Hill. Climb the short, steep shoulder of Dod Hill onto its plateau, which has exemplary views of Neilston Pad and Ballageich.
4. To return to the start, retrace steps back to Long Loch and to Harelaw. Follow the outward-bound route to Harelaw Fishing Hut, turn R onto the single-track road and return to the car park.
Time: 2.5 Hours
Download the East Renfrewshire Council Walking Guide which features 10 family walks around East Renfrewshire
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