Gorebridge to Romannobridge (the long way)

Route out – Gorebridge to Temple to Portmore Loch to Lamancha to Romannobridge. For route maps click here and here.

Route back – Romannobridge to West Linton to Penicuik to Roslin Glen to Rosewell to Bonnyrigg to Eskbank to Newbattle to Newtongrange to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – dry and cold, mostly cloudy with a few sunny intervals and almost no wind.
  • Distance travelled – 44.57 miles
  • Riding time – 4 hours 27 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 29.2 mph
  • Average speed – 10 mph

Last Sunday Dad took me on a tour of some of parts of Midlothian and the northern Borders that we hadn’t cycled through before. It was freezing cold but we still had a great day out in the countryside.

We left Gorebridge on the quiet B6372 road, soon passing by the entrance to Arniston House before turning off at the signpost for Temple. The village of Temple is a lovely place but unknown to most people, there are actually 2 sides to the village. Dad described it a being a bit like a Beatles 7″ single: most people choose to turn left and uphill through the main part of the village (the A-side. eg. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”) but if you turn right and head downhill, you discover an even nicer but less visited side of the village (the B-side. eg. “This Boy”). Anyway, enough of Dad’s nonsense… We chose the B-side and headed down the steep hill, stopping to have a look at the ruins of the Old Temple Kirk on the way. After that, we faced a monster climb which took us back up the narrow road until it joined up with the B6372 once again.

We stayed on this road for a few miles going up and down (mostly up actually) over the many hidden dips until we reached the turn off for the back road to Peebles. This is a great road for cycling on as there’s very few cars and the road surface is mainly very good (Dad thought it was the smoothest road surface he’s ever cycled on). The sun even tried to come out to melt away some of the low clouds and give us a decent view of the Moorfoot hills. We cycle this way quite often but we normally turn left and head along the side of Gladhouse Reservoir. Today we kept going straight, heading for the Scottish Borders. A couple of miles past the Borders sign, we stopped at the side of the road and Dad lifted the bikes over a locked gate which marked the start of the track to Portmore Loch. A few minutes of bumpy path later, we reached the loch, a very peaceful and picturesque place to stop and have our crisps. We then followed the track on the west side of the loch, heading south into the woods. It was rather muddy but as it was nearly all downhill for a mile or two, the going was fast and it was actually really good fun, with lots of nice bumps to jump over. Eventually, just after having a sneaky peak at the massive and very posh looking Portmore House (which seemed to suddenly appear amongst the trees as if from nowhere), the mud turned into a proper road surface again and we fairly zoomed downhill along this section of private road until we reached the gatehouse at the entrance to the estate.

At this point we had no option but to turn right onto the A703 road. It’s the main road from Edinburgh to Peebles and not one I’d normally recommend due to the amount of fast traffic that uses it. However, we only had to go a few hundred yards along it (as fast as possible) to reach the minor road on the left which took us to Lamancha. This road is a great road for cycling as it’s almost completely deserted, is surrounded by beautiful Borders scenery and has a very good road surface with lots of really long straight sections. Some of the long straights were even downhill! After about 5 miles of this we arrived at a junction with another main road, the A701. This is a relatively quiet main road so much safer for us to cycle on, but first we stopped for a boiled egg (me) and a Yorkie bar (Dad) to give us an energy boost before tackling it.

We headed south along the A701 through a very nice valley. The road wasn’t too busy but the surface wasn’t all that smooth for a main road. It was mainly downhill though and in no time we had speeded past the hamlet of Lamancha (not much to see there) and also a place that sells tractors before reaching Romannobridge. Romannobridge is a very long village and it took a while to cycle right through it. Near the end, Dad spotted the actual bridge, so we stopped there for a photo. We then turned right onto the back road to West Linton. This is another great road with lots of nice views of the hills, including the Pentland Hills which became visible as we neared the village. The village itself is really lovely and quiet and would probably be a nice place to live. We stopped at the park for our lunch (oatcakes, cheese and carrot sticks).

We left West Linton along Deanfoot Road which takes you about 7 miles, most of the way to Penicuik. This is yet another amazing road to cycle on with some of the best possible views of the Pentland hills on one side and bleak open moorland on the other. I imagine it would get quite exposed here but thankfully, there was virtually no wind today. The road surface is pretty good, traffic is light and most of the road is completely straight, with the last few miles downhill and very fast. Along the way we were chased up a hill by a Border Collie (the dog won the race) and saw some rather homemade-looking signposts pointing roughly in the directions of Lamancha, West Linton and Carlops. For the last half a mile to Penicuik, we rejoined the A701 and sped down the hill to the town at well over 20 mph.

From there we took the old railway path (cycle route 196) for about 7 miles through Roslin Glen, Rosewell and Bonnyrigg until we reached Eskbank. This is a good path for cycling on and goes through some amazing railway tunnels along the way. It was very muddy in places though. In Bonnyrigg, we entered some sort of weird time warp, where at one point we were simultaneously both 2 miles and 3/4 of a mile from Eskbank…! (See photos for proof) At Eskbank we left the time warp (and cycle route 196) behind and took the B703 road through Newbattle. We then turned left onto a road called “The Beeches” which took us to Newtongrange. From there we followed the “Bryans” path which skirts around the east side of the town, eventually taking us through a small housing estate and onto Stobhill Road, which we then followed for the last mile or so back to Gorebridge.

Grand Tour of Midlothian

Route Out – Gorebridge to Gore Glen to Rosewell to Polton to Loanhead to Bilston Glen to Roslin. For route map click here.

Route Back – Roslin to Roslin Glen to Mount Lothian to Gladhouse Reservoir to Temple to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – sunny at first but light rain and windier later on.
  • Distance travelled – 29.4 miles
  • Riding time – 2 hours 58 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 27.0 mph
  • Average speed – 9.8 mph

On Saturday morning, Dad and I decided we would go for a grand tour of Midlothian and try to cycle to lots of places we hadn’t been to on our bikes before. We left Gorebridge via Engine Road which is possibly the bumpiest road in the word. This road takes you downhill to the A7 road where we turned right, and after about a hundred yards on the main road, we turned left onto the single track road that took us down into Gore Glen. The ride back up out of the glen is really steep and slow but it soon levels out and after a mile or so we turned right onto another even narrower, bumpy road which quickly led us to National Cycle Route no.1. Here we turned right, heading in the direction of Bonnyrigg but after half a mile we turned left onto the back road to Rosewell. This road was blocked by tree branches but there was just enough room for our bikes to squeeze past. We stopped for a quick drink and Dad spotted a mole that appeared to be lying on its back sunbathing with its mouth wide open…

We left the mole to rest in peace and sped away along the quiet road for a couple of miles until we reached the A6094. Here we turned right and then after a few hundred yards, turned right again into the village of Rosewell. We didn’t stop here but did see some houses with amazingly tall chimneys as we cycled through. Leaving Rosewell behind, we joined the cycle path of Route 196 for about 5 yards before crossing straight over the A6094 again onto the road to Polton. This road was little bit busier but it was nice and wide and had a good surface. When we reached the houses of Polton we took a turning to the left (the signpost said Springfield Mill) and at the top of the housing estate, we got a nice view over to Loanhead on the other side of the glen below us. Here the road becomes narrower and goes steeply downhill for a bit. It has quite a few corners so it’s not possible to go too fast but soon we foundĀ Springfield Mill at the bottom of the glen where there looks like there might be some nice walks in the woods. After a quick stop, we began the really steep climb up the other side of the glen to Loanhead. It reminded me of the steep hill at Crichton that we’ve cycled up loads of times before, the only difference being that it seemed even steeper and seemed to to on for much longer. Eventually, we reached the top without stopping even once, and entered Loanhead. We stopped for a well deserved packet of crisps (Dad) and raw carrot (me).

In Loanhead we joined onto the Loanhead Railway Path which is part of Cycle Route no.61. This is a lovely, scenic ride through Bilston Glen on a really good surface. It also has the most wild raspberries I’ve ever seen growing along both sides for the entire 2 miles to Roslin (we stopped to fill our faces of course…). At Roslin we decided to take a slight detour and followed a stream of tourists to Rosslyn Chapel where we stopped for a quick photo before heading back through the village and onto the B7003 road through Roslin Glen. This road goes steeply downhill and at one point there’s an increadibly tight bend where you have to go really slow to avoid crashing. This would be a really nice road to cycle on if it wasn’t so busy with traffic. Soon we turned off onto the quieter road signposted for Rosslynlee which was yet another very steep climb. We did get some good views of the Pentland Hills though. At the top we stopped to say hello to some cows and had a quick oatcake to give us some energy.

After our snack we cycled back down to the exact same spot on the A6094 which we’d come to earlier in the day just before Rosewell. This time we turned in the opposite direction along the main road. Today was the first time we’d cycled on this road and, although we only went on it for a couple of miles, it wasn’t very much fun as it was quite busy with cars overtaking us. We were quite glad to turn off at Rosslynlee Trout Fishery onto the quiet road to Mount Lothian. Here I spied some brilliant raspberries so we stopped to fill up again… At Mount Lothian we almost ended up joining a cycle race but the hundreds of cyclists we saw were speeding past us in the opposite direction. Soon we had the road to ourselves again and as we turned off onto the road to Gladhouse Reservoir, we started to feel the first spots of rain coming down. We stopped to put our jackets on and decided we’d try to get home as quickly as we could before we got completely soaked. The road alongside the reservoir (as well as the 4 or 5 miles from there to Temple) is one of my favourites: it’s a lovely smooth surface, it’s very quiet, has some great views of the mountains and most importantly, there’s tasty wild raspberries growing everywhere! Needless to say, our plan to get home a fast as possible was delayed by several foraging stops…

We sped downhill over the speed bumps in Temple at exactly the 20mph speed limit and then headed back to Gorebridge along the B6372 as fast as we could, arriving home just in time, as the rain really started to pour down. It was an interesting and varied route and despite lots of steep climbs, was a very enjoyable grand tour of Midlothian.

Gorebridge to Penicuik Circular Route

Route out – Gorebridge to Bonnyrigg to Rosewell to Roslin Glen to Penicuik. For route map click here. Google Maps says to go onto the A6094 for a short section before Rosewell but you don’t need to do this – just follow the path of Cycle Route 196 instead.

Route back – Penicuik to Mount Lothian Farm to Edgelaw Reservoir to Carrington to Gore Glen to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – mostly cloudy, cold at first but warm later, some bright spells and no wind.
  • Distance travelled – 22.18 miles
  • Riding time – 2 hours 9 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 32.8 mph
  • Average speed – 10.3 mph

On Sunday morning we got up early and by 7am we were already on our way to Penicuik, which is near the Pentland Hills about 10 miles from our house. I had been thinking of cycling there for a while and there are lots of different ways to get there. Today, we decided to go there along the Dalkeith to Penicuik Walkway which follows the route of the old railway line.

To save time, we headed straight out of Gorebridge along the main B704 road. At this time of the day on a Sunday traffic is really quiet, but I wouldn’t recommend cycling on it normally. This road heads steeply downhill and me and Dad both reached 30mph before we reached the traffic lights at the crossroads with the A7. We went straight through the lights and headed downhill again passed Dalhousie Castle where we stopped for a quick photo. Soon we reached the town of Bonnyrigg which is about 3 miles from Gorebridge and just before the town centre, we turned left onto Cycle Route no.196 which follows the Dalkeith to Penicuik Walkway. Straight away we saw evidence of the old railway with the disused Bonnyrigg station platform. At this point the cycle path is a nice smooth surface and quite flat. The only real hazard is that you have to make sure you don’t cycle through dog poo – there is a lot of of it on this section of the route. Dad also discovered that you have to watch out for the wildlife too – he accidentally ran over a massive slug and it splattered all over his knee!

The next village along the line is Rosewell and here I spotted a no.49 double decker bus heading into the village. We stopped here for our first snack of the day: I had an apple and Dad had a banana. After Rosewell, the path becomes much more bumpy and muddy in places as you head into the picturesque Roslin Glen. We didn’t see any dog poo on this section of the path but there was a lot of horse poo to avoid instead… We passed another old station platform and cycled under and over some bridges and through 2 old railway tunnels before we eventually arrived in Penicuik.

Penicuik is a bit bigger and has more shops than Gorebridge but we didn’t go into the town centre,Ā  just stopping for a few minutes to have our crisps. We then turned onto the B6372 and cycled up the really steep hill out of the town and into the countryside. The road was very quiet apart from lots of other cyclists and we stopped for a few photos along the way, including one at Mount Lothian Farm. This road is quite high up and in the winter you get a lot of snow here but today it was far too hot for snow… After a few miles, we took a turning off the road and followed a track through the trees and down to Edgelaw Reservoir. On the way, we spotted a deer and at the reservoir we spotted lots of people fishing. We didn’t spot any fish though.

After the reservoir we left the muddy track behind and went back onto a nice smooth, straight and deserted road which took us a few miles (almost all downhill) to Carrington. It was on this section that I managed to go over 30mph two more times. Dad even went over 35mph at one point. Carrington is a very quiet little village and it has some nice benches so we stopped for our last snack of the day – chocolate digestives! From Carrington, we sped downhill all the way to Gore Glen on the really quiet single track road. Just before the glen, I reached my world record fastest speed of 32.8mph. All these downhill sections came at a price though as the road from Gore Glen back to Gorebridge is uphill all the way. It was fine though because we eaten our digestives so had lots of energy. Soon we were back home, less than 3 hours after we’d left. Amazingly our average speed was also a world record for us today at 10.3mph.