Key:

Overview

Distance:
17 miles,
27.2 km
Average time to complete:
2 hours
Route type:
Cycling
Total elevation:
221 metres
Difficulty:
Medium

Description

Take a tour of the history and wildlife of the West Lothian and Falkirk areas on this circular ride. Starting and finishing in Linlithgow, you’ll cycle to some of the most spectacular historic sites on the John Muir Way.

Start or finish with a visit to the impressive Linlithgow Palace by the loch before following the Union Canal west for a gentle warm-up. Heading north from Linlithgow Bridge, you’ll tackle the rise up Fishers’ Brae before entering the wooded tracks through Kinneil Estate where you’ll discover its grand house and part of the Antonine Wall.

Continue to follow the John Muir Way signs to Bo’ness with its steam railway and then along the flat shoreline path to Blackness, where you can enjoy another historical fix at the imposing Blackness Castle.

Climb on quiet roads from Blackness, taking care on the short section of A904, before arriving at the Union Canal for a relaxed spin back to Linlithgow.

Terrain

This route follows canal towpath, footpaths, forest tracks and quiet roads. As you’ll encounter mixed surfaces, a bike with wider tyres is recommended. Much of the route is flat, following the Union Canal and the coastal path to Blackness. However, be prepared for a couple of steep pitches over the rough track of Fishers’ Brae towards Kinneil and on the road leaving Blackness.

Getting There

BY RAIL: Linlithgow sits on the Edinburgh-Glasgow train line.

BY BUS: the X38 bus service links Linlithgow and Edinburgh.

BY CAR: parking is available in Linlithgow beside the Burgh Halls and some free spaces are available beside the loch. Avoid starting this route in Blackness as parking and congestion can be an issue there.

Facilities

Set aside some time to explore this route’s historical places. Both Linlithgow Palace and Blackness Castle are Historic Scotland sites with paid entry and both have been used many times as filming locations. Stop for a bite or an ice cream in Linlithgow, Bo’ness or Blackness.

For a full listing of businesses and attractions on this route, view it on the Plan Your Trip page.

Points of interest

Kinneil Local Nature Reserve

Great mixed woodland walks with an opportunity to visit Kinneil House, a 15th-century tower house.

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Blackness Castle

This imposing 15th century castle has hosted garrisons, prisoners and more recently many a film crew. Climb the towers for fantastic views of the Forth. Please note parking in the castle car park and external grounds is limited to paying customers only.
Open 10am-4pm daily

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Linlithgow Palace and Loch

Linlithgow Palace was the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. Its magnificent ruins are set in a park beside a loch which is rich in wildlife.
Open daily 10am-4pm

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Kinneil House

Historic Home of the Dukes of Hamilton, the house dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries. It's open on selected days throughout the year and guides from The Friends of Kinneil take people through the House and tell its fascinating story. Check with Kinneil Museum for information on the next open days.

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Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway

Take a step back in time with a ride on a steam train and learn all about the history of rail travel at the museum and visitor centre.

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House of the Binns

Home of the Dalyell family since 1612, this house reveals their lives and interests through the centuries. The Estate is open all year but the House is open from 1st June-30th September.

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Bo'ness Town Centre

This quiet coastal town has an incredible range of historic buildings dating back to the 16th century, alongside a steam railway and Scotland's oldest cinema.

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Bridgeness Slab

A replica of the ancient Roman distance slab found here at the eastern end of the Antonine Wall.

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Kinneil Museum

Kinneil Museum is located in the 17th-century stable block of Kinneil House, and acts as an interpretive centre for Kinneil Estate. The exhibition '2,000 Years of History' tells the story of the park from Roman times to the present day.

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