Fauldhouse to Levenseat

Walking from Fauldhouse to Levenseat and back, some of the earlier industrial development in West Lothian seems to us now, unbelievably tasteless and destructive. But it was seldom on a huge scale and towns and villages stayed fairly compact, so that people did not lose touch with open country. Again, as mining and heavy industry have died out, the scars disappear, to leave behind areas of country that are often enhanced by recent industrial history.

Fauldhouse might be a case in point. When I came to West Lothian in 1965, this was certainly not a place noted for its beauty and rural charm. I first walked there quite recently and was surprised to find good walking set in country that does not always live up to its bleak reputation.

There is a ‘railway walk’ east of the town along the track of the old line that came from Bathgate. Part of this can be linked with a return by Breich Water. The path to Whitburn is interesting and easy enough to follow along the perimeter of the old Polkemmet bing. Perhaps not quite as simple on the ground as it looks on the map, however, as there are ditches and fences to cross and one electric fence when I was last there.

This suggestion is a straightforward walk to one of West Lothian’s less well-know viewpoints – Leven Seat. (It was actually in Midlothian until the boundary change in 1975!)

Start near the western edge of Fauldhouse near the railway station. Head towards the centre, turning right into Eldrick Avenue to follow the ‘railway walk’ for a short distance. Turn off right at the first surfaced road you cross, which is the continuation of Bridge Street and leads to the golf club.

Alternatively, you could stay on the ‘railway walk’ a little longer, until you reach one of the Council’s familiar brown signposts which reads ‘Leven Seat’.

Go down with the golf course on your right to cross the bridge. The present day railway crosses the valley on an impressive viaduct and is quite busy. Your route heads towards it after crossing the burn.

I was last there on a bitterly cold morning in mid April but skylarks sang all around and curlews trilled. After a blizzard the previous day, the air was crystal clear and I saw Arran due west, the Strathyre and Crianlarich hills north (Stobinean, Ben More, Stuc a’ Chroin, Ben Vorlich) as well as the Ben Lawers group. From the top, the southern hills also came into view – Culter Fell and Tinto – Tweedsmuir was obscured by a cloud. The mouth of the Forth shone but Edinburgh and the Pentlands, present in most other West Lothian views, are end on to you here.

Come back the same way or, to vary it a little, go left as you come out on the A71. In 100m you cross a bridge under which the quarry railway used to pass and there is a track beside it heading for the viaduct; or, in 300m, a wooden signpost sayiing ‘Public Path’ points ot another path in the same direction. From these you can rejoin your outward steps or follow the fence along the western edge of the golf course.

Make sure you go on a clear day!

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