Colzium House and Tomtain
Start: Colzium House, Kilsyth
Finish: Tomtain (453metres) up in the Kilsyth Hills.
Transport: Train – Croy 2 miles; Bus stops – Kilsyth 1mile (follow footpath by lade from foot of Tak Ma Doon Road).
Refreshment: Café Refresh, 84 Main St, Kilsyth, 01236 827652; The Coachman Hotel, 4 Parkfoot St, Kilsyth, 01236 821649. The Scarecrow Bar & Grill, Main Street, Kilsyth, 01236 827444. The Carronbridge Hotel, Carronbridge, 01324 823459,
Distance: 3 miles (height gain 350 metres) to summit of Tomtain.
Time: 1½ hours.
Terrain: Hillside can be very boggy. Stout footwear and suitable clothing are recommended.
Map: OS Explorer 348.
The Kilsyth Hills form the continuous bluff along the northern edge of the Central Lowlands that hides the Highlands from view.
Climbing Tomtain and Garrel Hill, the highest points in North Lanarkshire, however, reveals all.
From the summit of Tomtain there are excellent views over the Carron Valley of the Southern Highlands and to the south across the Kelvin Valley to the Southern Uplands.
Nearby Kilsyth is one of only two official “Walkers Welcome” towns in Scotland.
Points of Interest on the walk
1 Colzium Lennox Estate – centred on the 18th-century Colzium House. The surrounding parkland includes the ruins of the 15th-century Colzium Castle. The site of the 1645 battle of Kilsyth fought between the Royalists and the Covenanters, the grounds also feature a picturesque walled garden and one of the oldest curling ponds in the world.
2 Ice House, built in 1680 to preserve meat and game it is to the right of the path by the Colzium Burn.
3 Chapmen’s Graves are marked by two cairns a short distance from the summit of Tomtain. Chapmen were essentially travelling salesman who feature in folklore as murderers or victims of murder. In this case one Chapman murdered the other and when the murderer was executed he was buried alongside his victim.
The Cozium House and Tomtain Walking Route
Starting at Colzium House go to the right but do not cross the bridge. Go to the left to follow signs for icehouse, Glen nature trail and Granny’s Mutch. Path follows burn upstream.
Cross stone bridge and continue upstream. At top waterfall cross bridge and go off immediately to the right and follow path out to road.
Turn right and follow Tak-Ma-Doon road uphill to car park and viewpoint. Here you have spectacular views of Lanarkshire and beyond to the south and east.
On the downhill turn left off the road at green gate. Follow the footpath that follows the fence, stone dyke and skirts forestry to summit of Tomtain.
Retrace outward to Colzium House.
NB To visit the Chapmen’s graves and climb Garrel Hill (small cairn) continue along the stone dyke to the west from Tomtain. However, only experienced walkers confident, with a map and compass and on steep ground should attempt to descend from Garrel Hill via the Laird’s Loup waterfall.
To get to the Carronbridge Hotel continue north on the Tak-Ma-Doon road at the green gate, and progress downhill across the ford and the river bridge. Retrace towards Colzium House and Kilsyth.