Clyde - Forth cycle route
89 miles (143 kilometres)
Gourock - Glasgow - Airdrie - Livingstone - Edinburgh - Leith
Order a map on-line from Sustrans
Between the Clyde and the Forth lie Scotland's main cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, both very Scottish but very different in atmosphere. The route still gives glimpses of the shipyards and heavy industry of Glasgow, once the backbone of Britain's industrial economy and now largely disappeared.
But the vibrant atmosphere of Britain's 'coolest' and recently official 'European City of Culture', more than makes up for this loss. Edinburgh, Scotland's political capital, is more genteel, with stately stone tenements leading up to the national monuments of the Castle and Palace of Holyroodhouse. In between, Scotland's central belt offers miles of amazingly quiet open countryside.
The route starts at Gourock on the Clyde, one of the main ports to the West Coast. It offers fine views to the Highlands and an excellent traffic-free path which leads you almost to the centre of Glasgow. Following the Clyde east out of the city you get an intriguing taste of the industrial east end of Glasgow; the legacy of disused railways and canals forms the backbone of the route through Airdrie and Coatbridge.
The Airdrie to Bathgate Railway Path, a 15 mile traffic-free route across the central plateau, is a remarkable setting for a much-admired sculpture trail, before the excellent network of landscaped paths through Livingston New Town leads to Almondell Country Park. The approach to Edinburgh is virtually traffic-free, along the Water of Leith and Union Canal paths, before ending in the port of Leith.
The award-winning official maps of the route, based on Ordnance Survey data, are available from Sustrans, book and cycle shops.
Information courtesy of Sustrans