Camp Wood Hill Route

Route – Gorebridge to Camp Wood to Southside Farm to Gorebridge. Google Maps couldn’t find the off-road part of the route so for a map, see below.

See route on Strava.

campwood map

  • Weather – cloudy but dry, warm enough and not much wind.
  • Bike type – mountain bike
  • Distance travelled – 7.66 miles
  • Riding time – 50 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 32.5 mph
  • Average speed – 9.2 mph
  • Height climbed – 640 feet

A couple of Sundays ago, Dad and I took my little sister Isla on a short but very adventurous cycle route, cycling over the hill behind our school, St Andrews Primary. Part of the route follows a path that we often walk along but this time we decided it might be fun to try it on bikes. And it actually was fun.

We headed straight up the steep hill from our house, using mostly residential streets for almost a mile until we reached the B6372 road where we headed in the direction of Vogrie Country Park. After less than half a mile, we turned left onto a quiet and narrow road with a lovely smooth surface. Soon, this road starts to go very steeply uphill (Isla had to stop and push here!) but eventually we reached the high point in the road at around 250m high. The carries on back down the other side of the hill to Mayfield but today we left tarmac behind and followed the path on the right (signposted for Edgehead) which took us into Camp Wood. The first part of the path takes you through a small farm and in the past we’ve seen all sorts of animals here including donkeys and Highland cows. Today there was only a few goats and 1 horse to be seen so that was slightly disappointing. The actual track itself is rather narrow at first but then becomes much wider after you go through a gate and enter the woods. It’s also pretty bumpy and muddy in places. However, it was relatively pleasant to cycle on.

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After a short while of bumping slightly downhill through the trees, we came to a steep grassy section which was quite hard to cycle up. Dad and I managed but once again Isla had to push… At the top there is a clearing where you get amazing views across to the Moorfoot Hills in one direction and Fife, Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat and the Pentland Hills in the other direction. Next we had to lift our bikes over a locked gate (or rather Dad did) before following the much less bumpy path through another patch of woodland for a short distance, foraging for blackberries along the way, until we emerged from the trees onto a very narrow road with a stunning view over to East Lothian in the distance. We could even see North Berwick Law and Traprain Law.

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Back on road, we headed right and our next challenge was to cycle as fast as possible down the steepest and straightest section of road in Midlothian. So Dad says anyway… I once went over 40 mph down this hill but today I only managed a reasonably poor 32.5 mph. This is a very quiet road (you’ll be more likely to meet a horse than a car) but you still need to be careful as at the bottom of the hill there is a sharp bend to the left so you must slow down before you get there or you might end up going straight on into the entrance to Southside Farm (if you don’t get run down by a tractor coming round the corner the other way that is…). We slowed down safely enough but did go straight on to follow the farm road from Southside Farm for a couple of miles, most of the way back to Gorebridge. It’s quite a well surfaced road, not too bumpy and only a few potholes to avoid. You probably wouldn’t want to drive your BMW along it but I think you could manage on a road bike if you are careful.

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About halfway along the road we came to a huge pile of massive tree trunks so we stopped there for a quick snack. Soon enough we came back to the narrow, smooth road we’d cycled on earlier on our way up to Camp Wood. This time we turned left and headed back to the B6372 for the last mile down the hill to our house in Gorebridge where we got home in time for an early lunch of poached eggs with smoked salmon.

Gore Glen Circular Loop

Route out – Gorebridge to Gore Glen to Arniston Estate to Temple. For route map click here and then, because Google Maps isn’t clever enough to go off-road,  follow the black line drawn on this map:

gore glen map

Route back – Temple to Carrington to Gore Glen to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – dull with light and patchy rain. No wind though.
  • Distance travelled – 8.78 miles
  • Riding time – 1 hour 7 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 29.8 mph
  • Average speed – 7.8 mph

On Easter Sunday, we had some time to kill before going to Grandma’s house for tea so Dad and I decided to go for a short local cycle. Just to be a bit more adventurous than usual, this included a 5 mile off-road section along one of our favourite walking routes through Gore Glen and the Arniston Estate following the Gore Water and then the River South Esk all the way to the village of Temple.

We headed out of Gorebridge along Engine road (which is the bumpiest road in the world) and soon turned left onto the single track road which leads you through the trees into Gore Glen. After a short time, you have to pass a through a gate and the road turns into a narrower but still tarmaced track running close to the Borders railway line. Our route was on the other side of the railway track so unfortunately, we had to hump our bikes up and over the pedestrian bridge. Luckily Dad is very strong and he carried my bike up to the top of the bridge…

After that, the fun started with a very steep drop down into the glen which takes you underneath the main A7 road. The surface was quite loose and very bumpy but with brakes fully on, we both managed to get to the bottom without falling off. We then had a nice ride for about a mile or so along the good quality but narrow footpath which follows the Gore water, passing through endless amounts of wild garlic on both sides of the track. I stopped to forage some garlic at one point (the leaves are really tasty!). We then crossed over a rather rickety looking hump-backed bridge where the Gore Water joins the larger River South Esk. From that point the path follows the South Esk the rest of the way to Temple. However, the path is nowhere near as good after that and we had to watch out for lots of tree roots, pine cones, rutted dried mud, swampy wet mud and fallen trees. We saw some amazing caves, a badger’s den, a waterfall, an old water-pumping-station-shed-thing and some massive, ancient Beech and Giant Redwood trees along the way. We had a great time and it was a pleasant change from cycling on the road. Just before we reached Temple we passed under a rather impressive road bridge and then had to endure the impossible section, resorting to pushing our bikes up and down a lot of steep steps before eventually emerging out of a wooden gate and onto the road once more.

From Temple, we followed the quiet road to the peaceful village of Carrington. I’m sure people must live in the houses there but strangely, you never see anyone… Today, we stopped to have a nosey at the unusual looking church. We then sped back down the narrow road past Carrington Barns farm and fields of oil seed rape and then down a really steep hill and into Gore Glen once more. From there, we headed straight back up another monster hill, over a bridge across the Borders Railway line again and back into Gorebridge via the new cycle path through Arniston Park. We made it home just in time to go to Grandma’s where I had my favourite broccoli quiche for tea…

NOTE FROM DAD: We often go walking along the off-road section of this route and although it was basically fine to cycle at this time of year, once the nettles, ferns and brambles start to grow in the next month or two, much of the River South Esk path will be overgrown and probably impossible to ride on. It will also likely be much muddier through the summer too so best to attempt this route when it’s dry in the winter or spring. ie. go now before it’s too late…

 

Gorebridge Local Loop

Route – Gorebridge to Newlandrig to Borthwick Crossroads to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – cloudy but quite bright, cool with a bit of a breeze.
  • Distance travelled – 6.78 miles
  • Riding time – 35 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 27.8 mph
  • Average speed 11.4 mph

This evening we decided to go for a very short circular route around Gorebridge. Silly Dad forgot to bring a camera with him so for once, we have no photos to show you. However, we’ve cycled on all these roads before so there’s plenty of photos of this area already on the blog.

Leaving the house it was immediately uphill and very steep until the top of Lady Brae. Not an easy way to start a cycle route but at least it meant that the rest of the route would be much easier. After Lady Brae we headed along the B6372, slightly downhill and very fast for about half a mile until we reached the hamlet of Newlandrig. Here, we turned right at the Tyne-Esk Trail signpost onto a very narrow road. As we sped past some trees, a Buzzard screeched and flew away right above our heads which was an impressive sight. There was then a short but steep hill to negotiate before we zoomed back down the other side, passing a horse farm, with nice views of the hills in the distance. Soon we came to a junction, with the ruins of Crichton Castle visible on the left. We went right though, speeding along the smooth single track road on the way back home.

We stopped for a quick drink at the Borthwick Crossroads where Dad spotted a dead badger at the side of the road. We left the badger to rest in peace and went straight ahead, climbing gradually up to the highest point on the route where we got some stunning views of the Moorfoot and Pentland Hills. We then came to the fastest part of the ride as we free-wheeled down the narrow road at nearly 30 mph, even with the brakes on. At the bottom of the hill we turned right to go back home, mainly downhill, to Gorebridge. It was lovely quick cycle through some very nice Midlothian countryside. The roads were also very quiet and I don’t think we saw any cars at all outside of the town which made the journey all the more pleasant. Tomorrow, we are planning to go on a slightly more adventurous cycle so stay tuned for that. Dad has even promised to bring a camera this time…