Return to Whittle Wanderer

Glasgow, Clyde, Bannockburn, Antonine Wall, Firth of Forth, Edinburgh, Scotland..
(3 day bike-pack)
Wed 21 Jan - Fri 23 Jan 2015

Wed 21 Jan 2015

Wed 21 Jan 2015
Thu 22 Jan 2015
Fri 23 Jan 2015
I was up at 04:30am to get ready and cycle to Preston Railway Station. I set off at 05:45 on a dark and very cold morning. The temperature was slightly above freezing but the grove was still covered in frozen snow. The ride to Preston was OK and I arrived at 05:30am.

My bike on the Virgin train

On platform 3 it was useful having a bike marker so I knew where to wait for the correct rail carriage door. The train was on time at 06:40 and I wheeled the bike on-board. The bike compartment was different than when I caught the same service in December. Instead of the space accommodating bikes propped against the carriage side this had hooks on the roof intending the bikes to be suspended. I propped mine against the wall and lashed it there as best I could. As the journey proceeded and it started to come light I was concerned about the amount of snow around. It was 09:10 when we arrived and felt very cold as I wheeled the bike off the train.

Glasgow Central Rail Station

 Outside Glasgow Central Station I propped my bike up to set the gps then began my planned course heading for the north bank of the Clyde. I kept to the road and avoided the cycle track. At the Motorway fly-over I took the cycle track over the pedestrian bridge and was pleased to see it had been salted. Once across things didn't look good. The roads were OK but all pavements and cycle tracks were compacted and frozen snow. I reached Kelvingrove Park and then realised my plan to ride the same river and canal side trail as last December wasn't an option.

Frozen Kelvingrove Park

I would have to keep to the roads so decided to firstly head for Kirkintilloch. I headed east following roads that seemed to be taking me in the right direction. In Royston I turned north to Bishopbriggs where I joined the A803. It was an easy ride and not too busy. Part of the way I was parallel to the Antonine Wall though didn't get chance to see it as I was concentrating on the traffic. I came to Glasgow Bridge over the Forth and Clyde Canal and decided to join the towpath cycle track as it looked mostly clear of snow and ice.

From Glasgow bridge, Forth and Clyde Canal

It was mostly tarmac but a couple of short stretches had ice so for those I had to get off and wheel my bike. I kept on it the few miles into Kirkintilloch town centre but decided it best to rejoin the road. I left on the A803 and headed for Kilsyth. After about a mile I turned right on to the minor B8023 which followed the Antonine Wall and kept close to the canal. When I came to the canal I saw the towpath was narrow and snow covered so my decision to stick to the road was correct.

Forth and Clyde canal

In Kilsyth I called at the Lidl Superstore to buy 2*2lt bottles of water (50p) and a 0.5lt can of Graenwalder Pils lager for 85p. I rejoined the A803 and continued to Dennyloanhead. The main road on towards Stirling was the A872 but I turned right on to the continuing A803 which is now the lesser road. After a mile I reached the centre of Bonnybridge and turned right at the roundabout on to the B816.

Frozen path

The first part was a short steep climb to a mechanical bridge over the canal. Without going down to the towpath I couldn't figure out how it worked. I carried on under two railway line underpasses then left at High Bonnybridge to a minor road through a wooded area. The map showed a car park and I headed for it hoping to find somewhere to camp nearby. I came to the overgrown car park tarmac but the entrance had been blocked with large stones. I wheeled my bike through and up a hill to the rear. It was a large area of reinstated landfill but was a good spot to camp as it was quiet and had good views. There wasn't much to see because if the thin mist.

Camp one near Falkirk

Special treat for tea

Another special treat for tea