16th April – West Linton to Uphall

20190416 Covered bridge River Almond
En route: covered bridge over the River Almond

After 3 days off moving from Horton to Middridge and then up to Scotland, I arrived back at the Gordon Arms on April 15th.

I was able to organise an early breakfast and left the hotel at 7.45.  After all of the problems last year which ended the trip, it was good to be moving into new territory.

20190416 Agricola's Roman road
Agricola’s Roman road

There was a steep climb out of the village before the path joined a short section of Agricola’s Roman road.  Turning up the valley towards the col at Cauldstane Slap, I was back on the Drovers Trail.  Gentle climbing led to Baddingsgill Reservoir and the open moor.

20190416 Baddinsgill Reservoir
Baddinsgill Reservoir

I made good time up to and over the col in murky conditions, and was soon leaving the Pentland Hills and dropping into Scotland’s industrial heartland.

20190416 Harperrig Farm and Reservoir
Harperrig Farm and Reservoir from the path off Cauldstane Slap

The route took me past Harperrig Farm and Reservoir, before crossing the Waters of Leith and ascending to the A70.

20190416 Bridge over the Waters of Leith
Bridge over the Waters of Leith

Corston Hill was supposed to offer good views over Edinburgh but there was little visible through the mist.

20190416 Corston Hill
Corston Hill with misty views

After some tricky navigation in the park above Mid Calder, I started to follow the River Almond.  I stopped around 1.50 for a late lunch near an old railway viaduct, lamenting the lack of any seats.  Walker’s law was working well: 500m later there was a delightful picnic area with benches.

20190416 Lin's Mill aqueduct
Lin’s Mill aqueduct

Eventually I joined a feeder channel which would be followed until I reached the Union Canal at the appropriately named Lin’s Mill aqueduct.  At the last bridge, about 500m from the aqueduct, I found a sign saying “Path Closed”.  As no diversion was suggested or obvious, I chose once again to ignore the sign.  This time there was evidence of activity and I spotted two workmen digging out the channel.  Not wanting to admit to being a Sassenach who did not understand plain English, I nipped over a fence, crept past the workmen and rejoined the path.  Clambering round the barriers at Lin’s Mill, I was once again a law-abiding member of society.

20190416 Union Canal passing under M8 motorway
Union Canal passing under M8 motorway

The Union Canal will be my companion for 3 days, and I made good progress along the towpath to Broxburn.  I then faced a 3k walk along the main road before reaching the Orchard Hotel at Uphall at 4.15 after a 30k day.

After a quick shower I joined my friends Mark, Rachel and John for a delicious lasagne at Rachel and Mark’s home.  Rachel is joining me tomorrow when I walk on to Falkirk.

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