The following is an excerpt from Lesser Known Hill Routes. The photos don't fit as they do in the book but this is just an excerpt anyway.
6. Loch Garbad Approximately 3.5 miles / 2 hours
I’ve included Loch Garbad because it’s such a pretty wee stroll for a quiet or an easy day. With a round trip of under 3 miles and no hills to speak of, it won’t leave you exhausted but it will still be memorable and one to talk about over dinner for years to come.
On the C147, just opposite the westerly arm of the Kildonan road, there’s a wee car park (NS0189:2175). That’s about all of the directions you need as the path is clear and straight forward. There’s even an information board to provide that little extra.
Panoramic Auchenhew gorge
The path rises through mixed woodland that looks down upon the very impressive Auchenhew gorge. About 500 yards up the path there’s a viewing point where the sheer sides of the gorge and the Eas Mor waterfall can be viewed. Don’t miss it! In my opinion the gorge is more impressive than Glenashdale though the viewing points aren’t as well developed.
When you’ve torn yourself away from the wonderful views of the gorge and walked on a short distance you’ll come to a fork in the path and a sign pointing to the right: LIBRARY 200M.
This way to the library
On my first trip up to Loch Garbad I thought this was a joke. However, it’s not and it’s well worth a detour.
If you have decided to take the detour, you’ll cross a small stream that’s called the Allt Mor. The Allt Mor feeds the gorge waterfall.
Don’t be tempted to wander down the stream to have a look-see. It really is vertical and not worth the risk. Take care!
The ‘library’ is an outdoor learning centre, covered in children’s drawings and information about the area. It is not usually attended but always open. It’s a lovely place and looks out over Pladda and towards the Ailsa Craig. The gorge is close-by so again, take care.
There is also a path that leads from the library down to Auchenhew wood and a car park. I’d suggest returning this way after the trip to Loch Garbad as it leads past some pretty pools that simply beg to be the site of a short rest.
However, from the library return to the main path and follow it upwards past a few fields then through conifer on a forestry path. It’s never difficult though I always find mature pinewood, set in military precision to be slightly spooky.
Without much warning Loch Garbad appears. It is very picturesque and an ideal place for a picnic. It is possible to circumnavigate the loch but I wouldn’t advise it as there are no clear paths and only the determined will make it round. Far better to restrict yourself to the area at the most southerly point, watch the tiny fish and dip your toes for a wee paddle.
The return to the car park is by retracing your steps. However, this is often the best part of the walk as there’s more opportunity to relax in the downhill and take in what you missed on the way up. Close to the car park there are a few other paths that are worth exploring as are the paths on the other side of the C147.
As an aside; the road opposite the car park leads down to Kildonan. If you have the time, a visit to Seal Shore at Auchenhew is a ‘must’.
At the bottom of the hill take the dirt track to the right and park at the end of the road. Walk in a northerly direction along the shore and if you see fewer than 50 seals, it’s a bad day.
Around ½ mile from the end of the road and cascading down from low cliffs, the last gasp of the Levencorrach Burn tumbles. This small but spectacular waterfall is just off the shore at NS008:212. Since you’re there, why don’t you take a wee wander up.
What a lovely place
NOW... A short anecdote about Alfie - as told to Girvan Primary School during Book Week Scotland 2018
To give you an idea of what Alfie’s like and why I couldn’t really bring him into the school, I’ll tell you about something that happened last year.
I was out for a walk along a small hill path with Alfie, Mrs Allan and Mrs Allan’s mum Lesley (that’s my wife).
It was a lovely day and we were wandering along the path which went through some woods.
It was so hot that I’d taken off my jacket and tied it round my waist. It looked a bit like wearing a kilt.
And I was wearing a hat on my head to protect it from the sun.
And I was using a stick. You know, the kind that folk use when walking in the hills.
Anyway, we suddenly noticed that Alfie had disappeared.
We shouted on him and after a wee while, he reappeared….. COVERED IN POO.
He’d found a place where a deer had done a poo – and he’d rolled in it.
(It’s the sort of thing dogs like to do. I think they think it’s some sort of perfume.)
Well, we were not amused. It’s bad enough having a daft dog, but a smelly daft dog is much worse.
I thought, “I hope we don’t meet anyone on the path”.
We continued walking on trying to keep out of smelly Alfie’s way.
When suddenly, Alfie sprinted off along the path.
And, Oh no! there were people approaching.
And I knew that Alfie would jump up to say hello.
And they would get covered in deer poo.
So I immediately charged off after Alfie
Screaming at the top of my voice
“DON’T TOUCH MA DUG” “DON’T TOUCH MA DUG”
Now, all that these people would have seen would be:
A daft, dirty, smelly dog running towards them
And a crazy looking Scotsman (remember, my jacket looked a bit like a kilt)
Waving a stick and screaming something about a dug.
Well, these people just scattered to either side of the path
Into the woods, away from what they thought was danger
I of course just ran straight past still chasing Alfie.
Later, when Mrs Allan and her mum caught up with me they told me that the people who we’d run past were tourists from France.
They told Mrs Allan that there was a mad dog and a crazy Scotsman somewhere up ahead and that she’d need to be very careful.
Mrs Allan didn’t have the heart to tell them that the mad dog was Alfie and the crazy Scotsman was her dad.
And that’s why Alfie isn’t here today.
NB - Mrs Allan is my daughter Hannah who is a teacher at the school. The story was accompanied by a slideshow of photos - including one of Alfie covered in poo. The kids LOVED it!