Return to Whittle Wanderer

Glasgow, Coatbridge, Airdre, Bathgate, Livingston, Cramond Island, Edinburgh, Scotland.
(3  day bike-pack)
Fri 21 Sep - Mon 24 Sep 2018

Fri 21 Sep 2018

Fri 21 Sep 2018
Sat 22 Sep 2018
Sun 23 Sep 2018
Mon 24 Sep 2018
I'm heading back to Scotland with my bike to check out some more cycle trails. For the past couple of days the weather has been really bad with very strong winds and lots of rain. I pre-bought my tickets over a week ago so I am fixed on the train to catch. The advanced rail tickets was 8.60 single which is considerably cheaper than the last time I was here and I can only assume it is a Friday special offer. I checked last night on train progress and most were delayed from Preston to Glasgow and one was cancelled.

Arriving at Preston Railway Station
First thing this morning I checked online and all trains were showing as running but with warning notices. The forecast for Friday morning was heavy rain and as I packed my bike it was torrential outside. Fortunately as I set off just after 5:30 a.m. the rain eased and almost stopped. I still put on full waterproofs and set off on my dark ride to Preston. On the final approach to the railway station the rain started again but it wasn't a problem.
Glasgow Central Railway Station
I waited at the usual platform 3 for the 6:40 a.m. to Glasgow. The departure board showed it being on time but with 5 minutes to go it's showed a delay of 4 minutes. As that time approached the delay change to 8 minutes which turned out to be correct. Considering all the recent disruption 8 minutes wasn't a problem. I got on the train to find three of the four bike hooks were occupied. I had to strip all my panniers off to fit my bike on the last remaining hook. I had to get up again at Lancaster to lift my bike off and allow the bike behind it to be taken off. On the final approach to Glasgow I took my bike down to start fitting the panniers. The other two bikes were road bikes with compact bags fitted in the frame and under the rear seat. The cyclists came up to prepare their bikes and it turned out they were going to ride back to Carlisle today. One was on a charity ride and the other was his friend who would accompany him for the first 2 days.
I wheeled my bike out of Glasgow Central Railway Station and then cycled south towards the Clyde. My first objective was to ride to Stockwell Street which was the site of the old Glasgow Metropolitan Theatre. The original Theatre was damaged by fire but repaired. In the 1970s was demolished for redevelopment. The theatre is significant because it was the first where Stan Laurel began his performing career. I continued riding along Stockwell Street then turned right onto Trongate and stopped outside the Britannia Music Hall which is still there.
Britannia Music Hall

Stan Laurel (1890-1965) performed here

Stan Laurel (1890-1965) performed here
This was another venue for Stan Laurels performances and there is a blue plaque on the wall outside. The rain returned and as I continued east along the roads. I had to stop and put on full waterproofs again. Fortunately I left the road to ride through a park area of Glasgow Green Park but then I returned to the main road which was London Road. It took me to the football ground at Celtic Park. Across the road was the Emirates Stadium & Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome but didn't have a sign on it from where I was standing.
Emirates Arena
I follow the roads to a foot bridge over the River Clyde which took me into a delightful Cuningar Park Loop. I don't know the meaning of the word loop. There was no one around as I followed the cycle tracks and I headed south through the park and stopped briefly by some concrete structures which were for bouldering climbing.
Cuningar Park
I left the park and follow the road for a while to re-join the cycle track on the south side of the River Clyde. I was now on the same route that I'd ridden on before. For a short where I was on a very fast road which took me over the Clyde again where I join a cycle track I've been on before.
Cuningar Park
I eventually left the river and joined the roads through Uddingston where I came to the pedestrian underpass below the M74 motorway. Some steep climbs took me through Birkenshaw and then along the roads to a very muddy cycle track that was signposted off the road. It took me through the woods and was very wet with some large flooded sections where I had no alternative but to ride through.
Under the M74
A short steep climb took me up to the towpath of the old Monkland Canal to Coatbridge. I continued on the final approach to the town where the canal is damned off and afterwards is drained.
Monkland Canal
The cycle route took me to the town centre where the Canal Basin is drained and made into a feature with interesting artwork and a large Steel Plug feature where I parked my bike to take a photo. My next objective is Airdrie and on previous rides I've used a cycle track that follows the canal and railway routes. Unfortunately long stretches had been ruined by vandals smashing bottles along them which seem to have been deliberately done.
Coatbridge art

Coatbridge Basin
Because of this I continued on the road through the centre of Coatbridge which turned out not to be a problem. I continued east and along Alexander Street to the centre of Airdrie where I was able to ride through the shopping precinct away from the traffic. Eventually I reached the eastern outskirts of the town and a Tesco store where I stopped to buy water and some doughnuts for my lunch. The busy A89 road continued east through Planes but after a mile and a half I was able to leave it for the cycle track that follows the line of the old railway.
View from camp one.

 My Ordnance Survey map shows the cycle track on the old railway but as this has now been rebuilt to a working railway the cycle track has been reconstructed to the north side of the line. I crossed under the Railway on the approach to Caldercruix where I reached the road and crossed over to follow continuing cycle track buy Hillend Reservoir. I'd previously camped here and decided to continue a short way to find a narrow past leaving the cycle track then overlooking the reservoir from a slightly higher altitude. The weather had improved and it was sunny though still quite windy. I found a nice spot for the tent and even though it was still mid-afternoon nobody passed during the remainder of the day.