Saturday, 11 January 2014

A little bit more about... The Forth & Clyde Canal Pathway (Footpath No. 3)

The Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway (also known as the Edinburgh to Glasgow Canals Walk) runs between the Firth of Forth and the Firth of Clyde and is a 66 miles (106 km) long footpath and cycleway that runs across Scotland, between Bowling, west of Glasgow, and Lochrin Basin (Edinburgh Quay) in Edinburgh. The path runs on the towpaths of the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals and is entirely off road. The path is well maintained and its surface is generally good, although there are some stretches where wet weather leads to muddy conditions.
I will be walking nearly the entire length of this pathway, but rather than following an unnecessary southern loop at Milngavie, I will pick up the pathway at Westermains, on the north-eastern outskirts of Glasgow. Following this route east I will pass the Antonine Wall, which is an ancient Roman fortification and wall, near Twechar. Then the burgh of Kilsyth, with Colzium estate and park; the Falkirk Tunnel (which is the oldest and longest canal tunnel in Scotland) and the Falkirk Wheel and the Almond Aqueduct west of Ratho (which takes the canal 75 feet (23 m) above the River Almond). Still moving east, at Broxburn on the Union Canal the path runs between a number of large red shale bings (pile built of accumulated waste materials); then west of Linlithgow I’ll cross the Avon Aqueduct followed by the Slateford Aquaduct on the outskirts of Edinburgh. The Forh and Clyde Canal Pathway ends in the centre of Edinburgh at at Lochrin Basin, Edinburgh Quay, near Tollcross.

I have three reasons for going into the centre of Edinburgh. Firstly, Tollcross, Fountain Bridge a stone throw away, are the exact areas that several generations of my maternal ancestors, the Burnetts, worked as master tailors. Secondly, it was far easier in terms of route planning to join the Forth and Clyde Canal Pathway here from the Central Scottish Way. Lastly, I wanted to see Edinburgh Castle... simple as that.

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