A bikeride around Stewarton




April 2012
85 km



Another bikeride I had wanted to do for some time. Since I spotted this line some months ago, in fact. But the bad weather and other more tempting bikerides had distracted me from doingthis ride. The cold weather in the morning (minus two degrees) and the potential for black ice (= a serious accident) almost scuppered my idea though.



My alarmclock went off at 0645 in the morning and I made myself ready for the Chinese Formula 1 race. The roads was far too unsafe to venture out on them in minus degrees so I watched the race on TV instead. A pretty good race won by Nico Rosberg. I was pretty OK when it finished though and I could finally hit the road at 1030. A very good choice as it was still dead cold when I rode through Paisley on my way to Elderslie and the start of the cyclepath. It bypassed Johnstone and I met some other cyclists who asked me for directions to Lochwinnoch. I told them to follow in my wake as I was going past that place myself. The ride down past Loch Semple to Lochwinnoch went without any problems. There was some traffic on the cyclepath, but not more than usual. The ride up to Kilbirnie also went without any problems. I chose to still follow the cyclepath bypassing this village on my way to a crossroad on the other side of A737 at Highfield.



Looking down towards the lakes at Kilbirnie and Lochwinnoch from the road between B777 and Highfield at A737

After passing this road, I was meant to do a right and then left turn. I did a right and then a right turn instead of following B707 to Stewarton. It took me some hundred meters to see my error. But the weather was nice and I was OK with missing this crossroad. I continued my way down and up and down some hills to Kilwinning. Not the most interesting road, but the weather was nice and I was OK with my error. I had forgotten my maps at home and was going on my flimsy memories alone.
I reached the B778 road down in Kilwinning which I followed up a couple of steep hills and then over some moor like flat roads to up to Auchentiber at A736. I followed this road towards Irvine for some hundred meters before I reached the B778 up towards Stewarton. This road was very interesting with some good climbs inbetween some more flat terrain. The views was excellent too. I rate this road.
I reached some new housing estates just before Stewarton and learned that this village was far bigger than I thought. It is more like a small city, in fact. I was a bit tired and some big hills was awaiting me. A sandwich was consumed and I started on the climb up B769 towards Kingsford. I caught up with two other cyclists and followed in their wake up the hills past Kingsford. I do not think they were too impressed with me, but I was not strong/fit enough to pass them and neither did I want to stop and let them go. They were simply pacing me up these hills. This is a very good hillclimb I would love to do again (and I will !). The two guys stopped just the steepest section a couple of hundred meters before I peeled off at Corsehouse Reservoir. I aimed for some trees. But these threes was gone and I suspected the 3. January storm for being the culprit. That storm has changed Scotland and not to the better. So Google Earth is not entirely to be trusted, I am afraid. But I found a road I thought was the right road and went up it. The road was very steep and I took a picture among some bah-bah sheep which made a heck of a lot noise.



Looking down the road towards Goatfell and the hills of Arran in the background

A passing bikerider confirmed to me that I was indeed on the right road. I continued up to the top of the hill. The views was absolute brilliant from here and I could almost see Ireland in the far distance. I saw the Gallowhill mountains and the mountains up in the Highlands too. Many of them snowcovered. This viewpoint goes into my top 5 viewpoints list in this area.



Looking down the hill towards Corsehouse Reservoir, Stewarton & the coast in the far distance

The descent down from this hill past a nameless lake and down to A77 was both vertical and very good. Another new favourite. I reached the road and followed that for some hundred meters before I crossed it and went down Mearns Road through Newton Mearns. The first part of the road through a rural setting. The last part through suburbs of Glasgow before I reached Clarkston where I joined the very busy A727. Not a good idea on a Sunday afternoon and I had some problems in the traffic past Rouken Glen Park and the traffic machine under M77. I was not pleased. But I reached the crossroad below the mental hospital and took the road over Barshaw and home again after a good bikeride.



Conclusion



At times, an excellent bikeride. It would had been five kilometers shorter and a lot better if I had not continued down to Kilwinning. But no complaints. The ride up to Stewarton and up to A77 was excellent though. The ride through Newton Mearns and home again was not that interesting though. But I would still recommend this ride if Clarkston and A727. The hill over Corsehouse Reservoir is alone worth this bikeride. It is recommended.