Return to Whittle Wanderer

Glasgow, River Clyde, Monkland Canal, Airdre, Union Canal, Falkirk Tunnel, Edinburgh, Scotland. (3 day bike ride)
(3 day bike-pack)
Tue 27 Mar - Thu 29 Mar 2018

Tue 27 Mar 2018

Tue 27 Mar 2018
Wed 28 Mar 2018
Thu 29 Mar 2019
Set off on bike at 05:30 and cycled through the dark and rain to Preston Railway Station. Iíd previously bought an advanced ticket costing £10.55 to Glasgow on the 06:40am train. The train was on time with the bike area at the front of the train. I was able to strap my bike in by just removing the front right pannier. Last time I was instructed by the guard to take all my panniers off and hang the bike from a hook on the roof. With no other bikes on thatís pointless. The journey was enjoyable as I sat, read and looked out at the passing countryside.

About to leave Preston

Arriving in Glasgow
We arrived around 09:20am and I wheeled my bike to the front entrance of Glasgow Central Station. It was raining. I still had my full waterproofs on from the ride to Preston so set off south to join the cycle track along the Clyde. Previously Iíve always turned right to follow the river downstream. For the first time I turned left to head upstream. I hadnít been going long when I stopped by one of the first bridges over the Clyde the South Portland Suspension Bridge 1853. It was now pedestrian but in those pre-car days would have taken all the traffic.
1853 bridge
I continued to a large park area and monument to Nelson then back to the Clyde. Tree felling operations were underway but I was able to push my bike round the vehicles. The Clyde meanders for a few miles then became none tidal and some areas with dumped rubbish.
Through the park

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge

St Andrew's Suspension Bridge

Under the M74

Under the M74
I cycled under the M74 then up onto another length of cycle track. I left the river on the approach to Uddingston and came to an interesting pedestrian underpass to cross the M74 for a second time. Only one light had been smashed by vandals and the walls were painted in interesting murals. I headed north towards Coatbridge and using a very muddy track came to the towpath of the Monkland Canal.
Monkland Canal
The Monkland Canal gave Glasgow access to the mineral resources of North Lanarkshire. It was projected to provide the city with a plentiful supply of coal. James Watt began work on the canal in 1770. Work was finally completed by William Stirling & Sons of Glasgow in 1789. In 1790 an Act of Parliament allowed the construction of a junction between the Monkland and the Forth and Clyde canals by a cut from the Forth and Clyde basin at Port Dundas to the Monkland Canal basin. The Monkland canal was bought in 1846 by the Forth and Clyde Canal company (taken over by the Caledonian railway in 1867). The Canal was closed to commercial traffic in 1935 and was abandoned in 1950.
Drained Monkland Canal
It had water in it but as I continued east it was blocked off and had been drained and the towpath retained. I came to a large old basin area in the town that had been drained and a feature made of it with a large steel plug in the bottom. Leaving the town I continued along cycle trails and the light rain continued. Part of the route was along an old railway and I continue into Airdrie where I stopped to buy some jam doughnuts to keep me going and 4lt of water for tonightís camp. It was still only 1pm so reckoned Iíd have enough time to get to the outskirts of Falkirk.
Approaching Coatbridge

Coatbridge basin

For a while I was on a very busy road but thankfully came the cycle track that took me along the side of the railway into Caldercruix. I turned left onto the road to head out into open countryside to Limerigg. I was disappointed by the huge amounts of rubbish thrown along the side of the road. Each layby also had piles of rubbish and old fridges dumped in it. I turned north in Limerigg and headed to Slamannan where many of the buildings are in a sorry state giving the impression of a depressed village. I continued north where I could see large radio masts in the distance.
Memorial to the battle of Falkirk Muir

Camp on the battlefield

It was empty open countryside and not very interesting. On the outskirts of Falkirk I turned left to reach the monument that marks the 1746 Battle of Falkirk Muir. The adjacent information board about the battle was confusing because the map didnít have a north point. The description was wrong and I suspect it was intended to look the other way. Just to the NE was an area of open field so I wheeled my bike there and set up camp. The rain had stopped but started again shortly after I got the tent up.