One of the challenges this winter has been to go out for a walk without getting soaked. In an effort to find a dry yet interesting walk with some variety to it, I recently went back to Winchburgh. I have written about Winchburgh before but this time I walked out to the south-west, made a loop around Craigtoun in the north-west and came back along the canal. I still came home with wet, muddy feet but it was largely my own fault!
Here is the walk I took. Having come by bus, I started opposite the parish church. Down the steps by the canal bridge, through the canal cutting to Bridge 31(dated 1821) and up to Niddry Road, the B8020 for Broxburn. The bings become more and more part of the landscape, so I chose, rather than the direct road to Faucheldean, to stay with the B8020 as far as the Corecut site. (If you are feeling fit, there is a route over the bings, though itâ€™s a bit of a scramble.) Take the path by â€œFardoch MÃ³râ€. This path is on the track of an old mineral railway that once brought raw shale to Winchburgh works. The first house east of it at Faucheldean was the crossing keeperâ€™s house. A short distance westward is the Glendevon road.
This in itself is a pleasure to walk. As you come to the first houses, a black-and-white post marks the site of another railway crossing from the shale-mining era. Go straight ahead by the ford at the burn (or the footbridge!) and the swan pond to the main road, B9080. Again I chose a less obvious route on the line of the old mineral railway to Lampinsdub. (The track can be quite muddy and is often overgrown in summer but, with a name like that, I had to go!)
From the main road, I took the Auldcathie landfill access to come to Bridge 34 over the canal. I chose here to go straight ahead, over canal and railway as far as the south end of the motorway bridge at Duntarvie and out to the minor road by Craigtoun Farm to Twelve-mile Lodge. Incidentally I saw none of the resident buzzards at Craigtoun, although they are quite settled now.
The towpath is the obvious way back to Winchburgh for walkers. What a pity the access is wheelchair-unfriendly â€“ steps only at Bridge 35, an awkward ramp at Bridge 34 and a chicane before you get to 33; otherwise, the way through mature woodland, past the stage and mile-stones at Winchburgh Junction and exit to the Beatlie road from Bridge 33 (interesting aqueduct) or by the more direct line back to the parish church is easy.
There are many permutations of this figure of 8. Click here for a map showing, for example 4 possibilities between Bridges 34 and 35:- the Ladiesâ€™ Walk (south side of the canal); *towpath; *track through Craigtoun Quarry to Craigtoun Farm, minor tarred road by Duntarvie. Those marked * provide good, reasonably firm going.