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Glasgow, Falkirk, Linlithgow Palace, Forth Road Bridge, Edinburgh, Scotland. (3 day bike ride)
(3 day bike-pack)
Fri 02 Feb - Sun 04 Feb 2018

Fri 02 Feb 2018

Fri 02 Feb 2018
Sat 03 Feb 2018
Sun 04 Feb 2018

Waiting for the 06:40am train at Preston
Iíd planned a cycle ride across Scotland partly to have a birthday that is a bit different. Yesterday I replaced the rear brake shoes on my Surly bike and as I set off for the rail station this morning they rear brake failed completely. Itís possible a brake pad had detached but there was no time to investigate so I had to set off with just my front brake operational.
Glasgow Central Rail Station
I set off just before 05:30am and cycled to Preston Rail Station where I arrived with plenty of time. I was on the 06:40am Virgin train to Glasgow. My ticket was booked in advance and cost £10.55. I had to take all my panniers off to hang my bike from the roof hook. It was a pleasant journey and I arrived at Glasgow Central Station around 09:10. I set off north through busy traffic to connect with the canal that would take me to the Forth & Clyde canal.
Speirs Wharf

Forth & Clyde Canal
I reached Speirs Wharf in cold sunshine and set off along the towpath. For a while I was riding on cobbles and was glad to leave them when the towpath had a smooth surface. After a few miles I left the canal to ride along the road to the industrial estate where the workshop is of the artist Andy Scott.
Sub-station camouflage

Forth & Clyde Canal

Speirs Wharf

Sunny morning
I was hoping to say hello but the security guard on the gate said he was in America and had been working there for the past 6 months. I have cycled to see some of Andyís work previously including The Kelpies near Grangemouth & Aria near Cumbernauld. I re-joined the canal and set off towards Kirkintillock. After a couple of miles a couple of cyclists were riding towards me and stopped for a chat. They were on road bikes and interested in my bike. They were from Glasgow and both 71 years old but didnít look or sound it. Even though the lovely sunny day continued it was quite cold and earlier there were some patches of ice. I stopped briefly as I crossed the road at Kirkintillock to enjoy a bit of warm sunshine before continuing.

Forth & Clyde Canal
Further along the canal were some lady canoeists. Further on was a man on a bike giving instructions to one of them. It was an enjoyable ride as I continued to Bonnybridge where I left the canal for a short way to descend the hill to the Tesco Express supermarket to buy 2, 2lt bottles of water for 49p each. I re-joined the canal and continued to the Falkirk Wheel boat lift.

Forth & Clyde canal

Below the Falkirk wheel

Falkirk Wheel boat lift

Kelpies copy & Falkirk Wheel
I followed the path up by the lift to the higher car park where there was a small scale copy of The Kelpies artwork. I re-joined the towpath again and was now I was on the Union Canal. It immediately went into a short concrete tunnel with a wide towpath and lighting. Once through there was a basin then an upward flight of locks. Above these I was hoping to camp but I couldnít find anywhere suitable. I continued for a few more miles then came to an interesting tunnel. It was longer and had quite a bit of water falling from the rock roof.
Top of the boat lift

Canal tunnel above the Falkirk Wheel

Canal tunnel above the Falkirk Wheel

The impressive and colourful Falkirk Tunnel

Falkirk Tunnel

Falkirk Tunnel
There were lights for the whole length and some were of different colours making it look very attractive. I tried a few photos.
It was the Falkirk Tunnel and is 636m long and constructed by working from both ends and from the bases if three shafts driven down from the surface.
The first passengers were so scared that the canal company laid on horses and carriages to transport them overland.

Camp 1

 The Union Canal in Scotland is 31 miles long and united Edinburgh with the Forth & Clyde Canal from 1822. After a period of decline it closed to boats in 1965. Following restoration it was reopened to all in 2002.
Further along the canal I reached a bridge and a sign saying "Old Drove Road" I crossed the bridge and wheeled my bike into the woods where there was a nice pitch for the tent. A bonus was a good phone signal and an FM radio reception.