The Tak Ma Doon road, with its quintessentially Scottish name, is accessible from Glasgow, central Scotland and even Edinburgh, for a longer ride. I assume it was originally a drover’s road – it climbs from Carron Bridge in the North, located in rural Southern Stirlingshire, over the Campsie Hills and down to Kilsyth. The Kilsyth side is a much more challenging climb on a bike however, as you start with less height and the changes of gradient are more testing, so I’ll cover that here.
It’s a classic Central Scotland climb but isn’t used in any races or sportives, due to the ford on the other side that crosses the road near to Carron Bridge.
It provides access from near Glasgow to a host of other riding in the Carron Valley and towards Stirlingshire, and is ideal when ridden in a loop with the Crow Road.
A sign in Kilsyth points the way.
After a few hundred metres are some lovely houses, but the road is already steep.
Typically, it then it flattens out- the undulations and gradient vary throughout this climb.
As you climb, you pass a quarry on your right and Kilsyth Lennox golf course on your lef, seen here on the right looking back down the drag.
As you leave the golf course behind, the road kicks up to 10% or so, and some of the toughest sections of road are ahead of you, into the trees.
Further up, the road flattens out a little yet again, and a quaint hump bridge adorns the landscape. This respite is short lived as it steepens and turns right, clinging to the hillside.
Looking back down the climb are great views, not necessarily shown by my amateurish camera phone shots. I’m not inclined to lug an SLR around while cycling unless I’m watching the Tour de France though.
Another change in gradient – two of the steepest bends are towards the end of the climb. Even to regular riders, this is a road that can feel like it never ends, especially if you ride it hard. You can trick yourself into thinking certain bend is the final one, when in fact there is still a section or two to go.
Although these are unspectacular shots of the road, I hope they can inspire some people to get out and enjoy some classic climbs again. The harsh Scottish winter is behind us and great roads like the Dukes Pass are back on the menu.
Route and elevation from bikehike.co.uk – click through for larger view.