New short hilly route from Edinburgh to Midlothian to East Lothian to Edinburgh

July 30th Ride Map and Section
July 30th Ride Map and Section

Lack of time…..

I wanted to do a repeat of my last Hilly Borders route but was running short of time. ( I was running late after a visit to casualty with my daughter until 2.30am the night before and slept in due to the corresponding lack of sleep- oh hum…I’m not good at getting up early at the best of times!!)

After checking out the excellent website, I had settled on a variation of a 80km route originally posted by someone else – I worked it out in my head to be about 40miles after “tweaking” by me ie. taking a short cut that lopped off a large loop of the original route out into East Lothian, that would have been great, but for which I, sadly, did not have the time.

My tweaked route would take me to Liberton, Roslin, Roslin Glen, Carrington, Gorebridge, Pathhead, Vogrie Country Park, Ormiston, Tranent, Cockenzie, Prestonpans, Musselburgh, and Newcraighall, and actually worked out to be 37.75miles with a gain of 1148ft over the course of the route.

You can get more details of the route here – 

Nervous start with new clipped pedals

The weather was good so I quickly got out onto the road, but was exceptionally nervous of any stops (such as traffic lights, junctions) etc) because I had just installed new Shimano R540 clipped pedals and was using my cleated bike shoes for the 1st ever time. Wary of falls, I had sat in my garden clipping in and out several times before feeling confident enough to move off. They were really good however, and I quickly fell into my normal ride with only one “wobbly” moment where I hurriedly had to unclip and get a foot down going over a pothole as I slowly approached some lights. (Edinburgh – GREAT cycle paths – rubbish roads).

Shimano R540 pedals, just installed
Shimano R540 pedals, just installed

I quickly cycled up Gilmerton Road, Liberton Gardens and out under the city bypass past IKEA.  The road was busy and traffic heavy, with me feeling obliged to push faster and harder than I really wanted to, to get clear of a coned single lane of traffic at the new Asda store site where everyone was stuck behind me until we got through. I’m sure they don’t mean it but cars and lorries travelling just a few feet behind you at 20mph does make you wonder what would happen if you did fall off just then. Can a 1.5 ton box of metal really stop that quickly ? Nah – I didn’t think so either. Shame the driver would have to find out after he’d driven right over me though eh?

Roslin and Rosslyn Chapel

I was glad to reach the turn off for the road down to Roslin, a really lovely village at the top of Roslin Glen, and home of the now very famous Rosslyn Chapel (yes, the one that featured in that movie,  with links to the Knights Templars etc – publicised very well indeed by Dan Brown’s book The DaVinci Code).

The road down the north side of Roslin Glen is steep , VERY steep and has a corkscrew like u-turn right at the bottom, so was tackled with much caution until I had swung round the corner and crossed the bridge over the river at the bottom. My brakes were well used.

Roslin Glen
Roslin Glen

© Copyright Brian MacLennan and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


A lo-o-o-o-ong gradient uphill on the south side eventually takes you out on the A6094 near Rosewell. A quick jaunt over the road and down into the valley and up the other side brings you into the town of Carrington, where I stopped at the timber benches in front of the lovely church building there.

 All rights reserved by kevin 76
Carrington Parish Church (now business premises)

Copyright All rights reserved by kevin 76

Another cyclist stopped and we chatted for a while, he had come up the NCN (National Cycle Network) Route No. 1 from Inner-leithen, which has some long tough gradients and he was querying how far I had come etc. Whilst we were talking, two other lady cyclists stopped and asked if they were nearing a coffee shop as they needed to stop for a well earned rest. Turns out the chap I was talking to was the SUSTRANS ranger for that section of the NCN route 1 so he knew it quite well and pointed them to the Retreat Castle Hotel, Bonnyrigg  (3.5miles away) which, apparently, welcomes cyclists as the NCN route goes past their front door.  Nice – and you learn something new everyday.

Moving on then,  I cycled past the bottom end of Temple, to the south side of Amiston, where a steep hill heading up the south east side of the town had me panting my way uphill on the lowest possible gearing for a good 10 minutes – it was tough as it was steep, but thankfully didn’t go on for miles.

Ormiston, then Tranent, Cockenzie and Musselburgh

The way was clear then for a relatively level road which I chugged along at a steady 20mph, making up for lost time. This road goes past the back of Vogrie Country Park,  and descends over the A68 at Oxenford Castle, and right onto the A6093 to Ormiston.

Ormiston Market Cross
Ormiston Market Cross

I cycled straight through Ormiston, and up the hill to Tranent – its a long slow relatively easy gradient.

Tranent to Cockenzie  and Prestonpans, is downhill and an easy run, and the route flattens out as you get to the coastline of the Firth of Forth at the Cockenzie Power Station. Its a big glass box, and has two huge concrete flue stacks  that are visible for miles along the coastline, so its a sight that you can see from Tranent all the way down to the sea.

Cockenzie Power Station as seen from the road
Cockenzie Power Station as seen from the road

It’s a level run along the coastline to Musselburgh – crossing straight over at the roundabout as you enter the town from the east brings you along the back road of Musselburgh rather than messing about with all of the traffic in the town. Cutting through past the new Tesco’s gets you back onto the main road and  through Newcraighall into Edinburgh under the A1.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s