A Cycle to Whitelee Windfarm

A wind turbine at Whitelee Windfarm

A wind turbine at Whitelee Windfarm

I decided to kick-start my get-fit-for-summer fitness regime the other day with a cycle to Whitelee Windfarm, Europe’s largest with over 140 turbines.

I’d been meaning to visit the site for some time as there’s over 70km of trails making it an ideal and unusual location for walking, cycling or soaking up the fresh air and wildlife.

There’s also the Whitelee Visitor Centre which contains interactive exhibits on everything to do with generating renewable energy – lot’s of slick imagery and interesting information. The centre is free and there’s a cafe, gift shop, toilets and outdoor decking area for gazing across the Eaglesham Moor on the long hot summer days we all love. There’s even an electric bus that will take those who don’t want to walk on a tour of part of the windfarm.

I was cycling to the windfarm from Shawlands on the southside of Glasgow. Travelling up on the road through Muirend, Clarkston and onwards to Eaglesham I was pleased to have google maps on my mobile as it wasn’t easy to find any road signs indicating Whitelee. In fact, I ended up going straight through Eaglesham and into some deep countryside. I could see lot’s of turbines and felt like I might still get into the network of trails running through the windfarm, but, it wasn’t to be and I reached a dead-end blocked by a forest and a house (with only a private road extending beyond).

Looking beyond the countryside to Glasgow

Looking beyond the countryside to Glasgow

Fortunately, I had all day to waste and I cycled back to Eaglesham and found a different more promising turn-off (though still not signposted). After a long uphill cycle I eventually reached my goal of the entrance to Whitelee Windfarm and its Visitor Centre. By this time of course I was shattered and my little legs were throbbing! I know, I know… but it was my first cycle in months.

The entrance to Whitelee Windfarm

The entrance to Whitelee Windfarm

Trail map at Whitelee Windfarm

Trail map at Whitelee Windfarm

I locked-up my cycle in the handy little bike shed (there’s even showers if you need them) and stepped inside the Visitor Centre. There were lots of people in suits (I figure there must have been a business event of sorts going on), but also a fair few day trippers. I had a quick look around the interactive exhibits (as that’s my bag being a science communicator), but decided I better spend more time outdoors on such a fine day.

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

Signpost detailing the construction of wind turbine 40

Signpost detailing the construction of wind turbine 40

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbine at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbine at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

Wind turbines at Whitelee Windfarm

The wind turbines themselves are very impressive as they cut through the air with their imposing blades. Actually, I thought they’d be a little quieter than they turned out to be but it does help create an unusual atmosphere.

I cycled around the windfarm for a couple of kilometers, but I was tiring and the thought of cycling home (despite being mostly downhill) was lying heavy on my mind.

Looking back down the road towards Eaglesham

Looking back down the road towards Eaglesham

The cycle home was much faster (being downhill) and I hit an impressive 30mph – not bad for unfit me on my hybrid bike! In total, I cycled some 26 miles by the time I got back to my start point – I was quite chuffed!

Derek on his bike at Whitelee Windfarm

Derek on his bike at Whitelee Windfarm

Next time, I plan to spend more time exploring the trails at Whitelee and hopefully spotting some of the moorland wildlife like black grouse and merlin. I also like the ‘big’ view of the sky you get so expect more pics of clouds following my next adventure too!

About Derek Shirlaw

I'm passionate about science communication, social media, and my home country, Scotland. In particular, I have a real interest in astronomy, digital marketing, and the great outdoors.
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