Walk the Whithorn Way: Paisley to Lochwinnoch section

Walk this 10-mile stretch from Paisley to Lochwinnoch and follow in the footsteps of pilgrims who made the journey to Whithorn for hundreds of years.

The Whithorn Way is a 149-mile walking route to Whithorn, starting at Glasgow Cathedral.

The route consists of thirteen sections of between 10 and 15 miles, easily-walkable within a day.

Section 2 of the Whithorn Way is the 10-mile stretch from Paisley to Lochwinnoch.

Up to the 1500s, pilgrimage routes led from Glasgow, Edinburgh, Carlisle and by sea to Whithorn, which became Scotland’s most frequented pilgrimage site as the fame of its saint, Ninian, grew.


The following text is kindly provided by The Whithorn Trust.

Walk the Whithorn Way
Paisley to Lochwinnoch
10 miles

Starting at Paisley Abbey, originally a foundation for monks of the order of Cluny, you can enjoy the sturdy sandstone buildings of Paisley, whose wealth grew with spinning and weaving industries. Don’t forget to see the Barochan Cross, dating from 900-1100 AD, before leaving the Cathedral.

Nearby St Mirin’s Cathedral was built in the 20th Century, and named after a 6th Century Saint; the local football club is also St Mirren.

Rapidly, you leave the bustle of the city centre, along National Cycle Route 7 track, which skirts Johnstone and on to Kilbarchan, where you can visit a typical weaver’s cottage. The cycle track follows the old railway line through countryside, where you can see Barr Castle, a folly and, as you reach Castle Semple Loch, some rich wildlife.

Castle Semple Collegiate Church, on the edge of the woodlands, is worth a visit as an unaltered example of a family church, complete with monument to Lord Semple who died at the Battle of Flodden. The route ends by passing through the woodland towards the visitor centre on the loch.

This section of route is largely flat, in open countryside and beside a loch, suitable for cycling and wheelchairs.

Refreshments are available in Paisley and at Castle Semple Visitor Centre. There are railway stations at Paisley Gilmour Street and at Lochwinnoch.

Paisley to Lochwinnoch
Things to see

  • Paisley Abbey, a Cluniac foundation of the 12th Century, which one of the wealthiest abbeys in Scotland, well sited for pilgrimage near a ford on the Cart.
  • The Barochan Cross, one of the Strathclyde school of crosses, which has panels carved with human figures, some carrying spears and drinking horns.
  • Kilbarchan Weaver’s Cottage, maintained by the National Trust for Scotland – a typical weaver’s cottage built in 1723 and fitted out to show the life of a weaver in the 19th Century.
  • Castle Semple Collegiate Church, dating to the 16th Century, with a memorial to a Sempill family member who died at the Battle of Flodden in 1513.
  • Lochwinnoch RSPB reserve, a rare wetland survival in the West of Scotland, with special events, open days and a cafe.