Neilston & Eaglesham
- Distance: 43.5km/27 miles
- Time: 3 hours 45 mins
- Grade: Challenging
- Ordnance Survey Explorer OL342; Landranger 64
- Start at The Bank GR NS478572
A route combining Neilston with Eaglesham is a tough, hilly ride and includes many steep ascents – there is nearly 1800 feet of ascent. However, outstanding scenery throughout offers the ideal excuse for a breather.
From The Bank follow Station Road to High Street and turn right. At Kirkton Road go left and after a short climb rises over a blind summit, a speedy drop leads to another sharp climb. Once the gradient eases the cycle continues high above Neilston to a junction. Turn right onto Craigton Road from where a marvellous descent allows you to zip through gorgeous countryside for 2 miles to reach Dodside Road (B769).
Go left then right onto Malletsheugh Road and after 0.4 miles turn right onto Pilmuir Road, a quiet, narrow road that soon culminates at the A77.
Turn right onto a shared use cycle footpath and follow it south alongside the A77. En route the cycle lane crosses the entrance of both East Renfrewshire Golf Club and a refuse site and at both points watch for traffic entering or leaving. This section has a couple of steady pulls but generally provides fine, straightforward cycling (and a great view of Arran) for nearly 5.5 miles.
Upon reaching the B764 carefully cross the A77 from where a series of steep ascents lead across the wilder and exposed landscape of Eaglesham Moor. Initially a 2-way road proceeds but it soon narrows to a single lane carriageway and cycle lane.
After a steep climb passes the entrance to Whitelee Windfarm (which holds a magnificent array of cycling and walking opportunities) another steep pull leads to the highest point of the road. Here Ballageich (at 333m the highest point of East Renfrewshire) sits a couple of hundred feet above to the left.
From here a fantastic descent, where legs can spin freely and views extend across Glasgow, drops for 2 miles into Eaglesham where Montgomery Street descends to the village centre.
In 1960, due to its distinctive ‘A’ shaped design, Eaglesham became Scotland’s first village to be listed as a place of special historical interest. Its layout was the idea of Alexander Montgomery (1723-1769), the 10th Earl of Eglinton who had seen similar designs during his extensive travels across Europe.
Go left onto Gilmour Street then, after 0.27 miles, turn right onto Holehouse Road and follow this away from Eaglesham. Beyond the last house the road narrows. Another steep descent gets the speed up and passes through lovely open countryside but be wary of a couple of blind bends.
Once beneath the A726 veer right to cross a ford over the White Cart Water (after periods of heavy rain the road here may be closed). A gentle climb soon reaches a fork.
Keep left for Waterfoot where a quiet, minor road twists through more glorious countryside. After 1.2 miles go left at a junction, and drop down over the White Cart Water to gain the B767 Glasgow Road.
Go left and follow this for 0.5 miles then turn right onto Floors Road. A long, stiff drag eventually culminates at Humbie Road and here go right for Newton Mearns, taking in a superb view of the Campsie Fells.
A steep drop crosses the Earn Water after which there is a tight turn – watch out for oncoming traffic in the middle of the road. Keep on to a roundabout and follow this right onto Mearns Road. At Eaglesham Road go left and continue into Newton Mearns at Mearns Cross.
Turn left onto the A77 then right onto Barrhead Road, which drops then rises steeply to gain a roundabout.
Keep left and, once across a bridge over the M77, Aurs Road winds downhill. After 0.5 miles turn left into Dams to Darnley Country Park. It is a very tight turn into the country park so make sure an early signal is given to traffic. Follow the cycle/walkway alongside Balgray Reservoir for 1 mile to Balgraystone Road.
Turn right out of the country park and cycle down to Springfield Road. Turn left and after a steady climb to 5-Ways Junction keep straight on. Springfield Road continues high above Neilston
through great scenery. There are some tight bends but once the road drops down over a blind summit cycle into Neilston along Sykes Terrace.
Beyond traffic lights go right at a roundabout onto Kirktonfield Road where a deceptively steep rise culminates at Main Street. Turn left and return to The Bank.