The west end of the route is just north of a small road bridge over a disused railway at Clarkston / Airdrie at Grid Ref NS 78123 66264. There is a signpost at this end of the path, but no sign on it (it currently displays a sign about dumping of rubbish).
A metal field gate prevents vehicular access, but there is a wooden pedestrian slip-through at the side. In all but the driest weather this access is difficult to use, due to a large puddle which forms inside the field. Crossing either side of the gate is difficult, as fences are topped with barbed wire or electric fencing.
A grassy tractor-track leads gently uphill, through open grazing land, northwards briefly then veering north-east at Burnhead Quarry (SM9 can be followed north from this point), to reach a ruin in a stand of trees at GR 782 667.
SM8 passes through what was a farm. The ground here is extremely churned up by cattle and is covered in dung. In wet weather this requires high boots/wellingtons to pass through.
The track then turns ENE, at a disused gate/ pedestrian slip through at NS 78257 66655, then heads along a tree-lined ‘avenue’ to reach a N/S fence one field’s length before Plains.
The final field is rough grass, with two parallel, trodden lines leading to a final gate and slip-through at NS 78884 66915, Meadowhead Road.
There is an old Council pole and green and white sign here, reading: ‘Right of Way to Clarkston 1.2 km (3/4 m)’. Due to rusting of the pole, the sign is regularly moved by the wind to point in the wrong direction, which can be confusing.