Crawford, Crawfordjohn & Leadhills

The Lowther hills have been mined for gold and lead since Roman times and while the mines are now closed, there are many reminders of this past industry. While you’ll spot piles of spoil, old railway tracks and miners’ cottages, this doesn’t detract from the beauty of the hills but rather this adds interest for passing cyclists. This ride is straightforward with some steep climbs. The route follows a mix of country roads and the A702.



Scotland’s second highest village.

Leadhills Library

The library was founded in 1741 by the mathematician James Stirling and the poet Allan Ramsay. It is the oldest subscription library in Scotland. The oldest man? A gravestone of John Taylor in Leadhills Graveyard suggests he was 137 years old when he died. If this is the case, he is one of the oldest people in recorded history.

Curfew bell

Hanging from a pyramid of posts in the centre of Leadhills is a bell that is dated 1770. The bell was rung to sound the end of shifts and emergencies in the lead mines


Turn left (north) from car park on Carlisle Road. Leave Crawford and continue to a roundabout. 

Turn right at the roundabout for Abington to follow A702 (NCN 74) and join cycle lane on left.

Continue through Abington and then cycle to a roundabout at motorway services. ` Turn left for Douglas B7078, Crawfordjohn B740.

Rejoin cycle lane and continue to next roundabout. Turn right signed Douglas (NCN 74). ` After 0.75 mile, go left, signposted for Crawfordjohn.

Follow road to Crawfordjohn.

At Crawfordjohn, take left at fork and continue past Colebrooke Arms on Main Street.

At the junction at the end of Main Street, turn left and descend past a churchyard.

Climb steeply over a pass known locally as Apache and then descend to T-Junction with B797. Turn right for Leadhills. Follow road for 3 miles.

In Leadhills, turn left for Elvanfoot (Elvanfoot Road). Follow the road for 5 miles to T-junction with Dumfries Road (A702).  Turn left and continue through Elvanfoot.

At a roundabout, follow signs for Carlisle, Beattock and Crawford off to the left and go under the motorway. At a T-junction turn left and join cycle lane (NCN 74) and then the cycle path.

 After 1½ miles, turn right for Crawford and return to start

OS Landranger 72
Car park (public toilets), Carlisle Road, Crawford
Lanark (18 miles)
22.5 miles/36.2km
Moderate to strenuous
Mainly quiet back roads, although there is a section on a cycle path along the A702, which has fast traffic. The road surface and cycle path are rough in places

Image of Crawford, Crawfordjohn & Leadhills