From one Black Hill to another…

I”d had some back trouble recently  and hadn’t been out for a week or two. With the fine weather here I was itching to get out. I’d recently renovated my old hybrid bike and had given it a few short runs to work. Good weather + time off= excuse to get the bike out.

I hadn’t cycled the new Sustrans Route 75 cyclepath, the replacement for the old cyclepath from Airdrie to Bathgate, but I had heard it was now open. Worryingly they seem to have missed the section from Drumgelloch to Plains, leaving cyclists to dice with heavy speeding traffic on the A89. I joined the new section at the ‘Fair Brig’ at Plains and followed this up through Caldercruix, Blackridge and Armadale to Bathgate.

The new cyclepath at Hillend

All in all I’m quite impressed, it’s a good wide surface and was in heavy use, with runners, walkers and cyclists all much in evidence. Also in evidence were many orange tip butterflies and it was a close thing what I saw more of, orange tips or planes approaching Edinburgh Airport. I think the butterflies won-just. At Bathgate the route picks up with the existing route which I followed as far as Livingston Village, before taking to the roads to Kirknewton and Balerno.

From Black Hill at Airdrie I can see the Pentlands, and one of the hills visible there is Black Hill, so it was fitting that I went up this hill. After a 34 mile cycle it was good to stretch the legs. I left the bike at Bavelaw Castle and was up on top in less than an hour, with cracking views of Castlelaw, Salisbury Crags and the city, along with Scald Law, Carnethy Hill and East and West Kip.

Castlelaw from Black Hill

Coming back I cycled along the north side of Threipmuir Reservoir in search of a geocache, before heading for Edinburgh. Dropping down into Currie I was doing 38 miles an hour on the bike, it could have been more had my map not blown out of it’s holder and I had to stop and go back for it.

After a grand total of 48 miles I arrived at Waverley station, sunburned down one side. A good test for the bike, my back and my knee. All passed with flying colours, I just hope the weather holds so I can get out again soon.

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