Route out – Gorebridge to Newlandrig to Crichton to Pathhead to West Saltoun to East Saltoun to Bolton to Haddington. For route map click here.
Route Back – Haddington to Samuelston to West Saltoun to Saltoun Station to Windy Mains to Whitburgh Mains to Pathhead to Ford to Edgehead to Gorebridge. For route map click here.
- Weather – cloudy, dry, quite warm and not very windy.
- Distance travelled – 40.35 miles
- Riding time – 3 hours 54 minutes
- Maximum speed – 28.4 mph
- Average speed – 10.3 mph
The weather forecast was for heavy rain in the afternoon so I decided we would wake up at 5:30am so we could go for a very long cycle to Haddington in East Lothian and be safely home before we got wet. I actually slept through my alarm but luckily Dad woke me up and we were on the road by 6:15am.
We headed out along the B6372 and at the village of Newlandrig, just before Vogrie Country Park, we turned right on to a really smooth single track road which took us up a steep hill for a mile or so. At the end of this road we turned left and soon got a good view of the ruined Crichton Castle. The road took us very quickly down into the steep gorge and then very slowly up again to Crichton, which is really not much more than a few houses. From there we took the B6367 to Pathhead. This road is all downhill and we got there in only a minute or 2, entering the village on a nice newly resurfaced road with lovely speed bumps which we zoomed over at almost 20mph (which was fun).
The main A68 road passes through Pathhead but it was quieter than normal at this time of day so it was easy to get across the road and onto the minor road that took us downhill towards the massive lions guarding entrance to a country estate. We didn’t go in but instead headed for East Lothian, cycling passed millions of pylons along the way. The roads in East Lothian are quite flat compared to Midlothian so we sped along the route quicker than ever. We stopped at Lempockwells bus stop for an apple and a drink before heading for our first Saltoun of the day – West Saltoun. There’s a really good bus stop here too but we decided not to stop here until the way back. We did manage to take a photo of the most amazing 4-way signpost though (which lists all the mileages in fractions) and then cycled the 7/8 of a mile to East Saltoun. Here we discovered an old phone booth which had been turned into a library called the Book Nook.
Our next stop was in Bolton where we stopped for a nosey at a nice looking church. Then it was only a few miles to Haddington along a nice quiet road near the Tyne Water river. We arrived there by about 8:25am and headed to the public toilets. Unfortunately we were too early (they open at 9am!) so after a quick chocolate digestive and an oatcake we headed back into the countryside to look for a suitable tree. We took Cycle Route 196 out of the town, following a path along the river for a mile or so and then joining onto the road again. We followed Route 196 for a while, cycling along a really quiet road through Samuelston. Just before we got to West Saltoun again, we really did need to have a bathroom break so we stopped behind a massive tree to relieve ourselves. A herd of cows in the field ran up to investigate and after seeing what we were doing, decide they would join in too…!
We stopped in the amazing bus stop in West Saltoun for another oatcake before heading back along Route 196 for 3/5 of a mile to Saltoun Station. This is where there used to be a railway station and is where the cycle route turns into a cycle path again, heading to Pencaitland and Ormiston. We went the opposite way though along a narrow road through a farm. At one point we came to a locked gate and were about to lift our bikes over when the nice farmer came and opened it for us. After that we cycled passed the sawmill at Windy Mains and then onto the single track road which takes you down to the ford. According to the massive ruler thing at the side of the road which measures the depth of the water, I am now 5 feet tall! Last time we stopped here, a brown bear stole my chocolate digestive but this time the bear was nowhere to be seen so I enjoyed my biscuit…
The next section was completely traffic-free and took us onto Salters Road which heads steeply downhill. It was here that I reached my fastest speed of the day (for the first time). A couple of miles later, just passed Whitburgh Mains Farm, there’s another long downhill section where I reached my fastest speed of the day again before heading back along Ormiston Road into Pathhead. From here, we zoomed down the steep road to Ford without even breaking the 30mph speed limit. In Ford we got a great view of the Lothian Bridge viaduct which carries the A68 road in and out of Pathhead. That was my favourite view of the day. It was a steep climb out of Ford and up to Edgehead but after turning left onto the narrow farm road home, it seemed to level out a lot and it was mostly easy going for the last 3 miles to Gorebridge.
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