The Barcraigs Reservoir tour

March 2012
50 km

My cycle season 2012 had started very positive back in January and I was eager to continue this trend. February had a lot of bad weather though and the frost returned too. Every sunny day were frosty. So I went for some walks instead on those days. I only got two bikerides that month. But I was hoping that March would be better. It was and I did a lot of bikerides that month. This is one of them.

It was an overcast, but mild day when I set off from my flat at 0930 in the morning and down the road to Renfrew. I turned off here and took the road past the northern side of the runway at Glasgow Airport past Inchinnan and down to the road to Houston. This flat road took me both under the motorway and the railway. The flat road was fine. I normally stays on the road bypassing this village. But as a variation I had never done before and to avoid a vertical climb after a roundabout, I decided to take the road throught the village this time. A pretty hilly road with three small climbs. But this is a good variation and probably one I will do from now on.
I continued the road over to Bridge Of Weir where I took the road towards Linwood for a kilometer through the village. I was heading for the Kilbarchan Road. A road that started with a pretty vertical climb. After five hundred meters, I thought I had reached the top and was happy with that. I was in for two big surprises. Two small vertical climbs, one starting from a corner and totally blind (so much I was in fifth gear and could not gear down to first again....) gave me a lot of problems and heavy breathing. But I was finally on the top just outside Kilbarchan . The descent down through this village was a vertical drop down to the crossroad in the middle of this village.
My original plans to take the Kibbleston Road and then the disused railway down to Lochwinnoch was scuppered by the closed road signs just outside Kilbarchan. I was forced onto a very steep minor road over the hills to Lochwinnoch. The same as described in the Kilbarchan ride. But I did this one the oppostite way and was suffering pretty hard on the long, vertical climb up this hill and then on this up and down road to Lochwinnoch.

Looking down at Loch Semple from this hillroad between Kilbarchan and Lochwinnoch

This was a very hard ride and I had to buy a chocolate bar when I reached Lochwinnoch . After this visit to this shop, I continued down the village to A760 and past the birdwatcher house and the new Lochwinnoch railway station before I started the climb up to the roundabout at A737. I continued straight over this roundabout and up the hill on the Auchengrange Hill road until I reached the Belltrees Road. I took the road to the left. A pretty undulating, but also very scenic and funny road through farms and a small settlement called Belltree, took me to a crossroad and the start of the Glenhead Road. I took this pretty vertical road up to Barcraigs Reservoir. A momentary bit of a confusion followed over the road choice just before reaching this lake. But I managed to find the B776 road past a horse rider who was happily greeting me, but I could not hear a word of what he said. I reached this road and took this road to the right for one hundre meter and then the next road up to the left again towards the Gleniffer moor.

Looking down towards Lochwinnoch from the road up to Gleniffer moor

I reached familiar terrain at the top of this climb. I had been here before many times. I took the road down a small valley and the climb out of it. I had a small break here while I was munching the chocolate bar. This had so far been a very hard ride and it was not over. I continued the climb up a small valley towards some farm and the main Gleniffer Road. A wayward sheep gave me a fright (these feelings was mutual) before I turned of the road and continued through a farm and around Caplaw Dam (complete with a lot of swans) until I reached Gleniffer Road again. For a change, I decided to follow the mainroad this time over the carpark-in-the-sky as this carpark is called. The climb up past the trafo station was a lot of easier than normal. I was soon at the top of Gleniffer Brae and stopped at the carpark on my way down towards Paisley again.

Looking down at Paisley from the carpark in the sky, Gleniffer Brae

The views was a welcome reminder why this viewpoint is one of the best viewpoints in central Scotland. After this small break, I continued down to Paisley and home again.


A short, but very hard bikeride. The first 15 km is pretty flat. The rest is mostly vertical up and down. Mostly having been forced over the hills from Kilbarchan to Lochwinnoch. But the Lochwinnoch to Gleniffer Brae is also very hard.... and funny. Altogether, this is a very hard bikeride and one of the hardest 50 kilometers rides in this area. I would recommend it though and will probably do it again.