This route starts at the popular Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Heritage and can be walked or cycled. It is almost entirely traffic-free and follows the National Cycle Network route 75 and North Calder Heritage Trail.
There are plenty of signs and information boards for added interest and a visit to Summerlee before or after your outing will help you imagine the heyday of the canal when it was busy with boats carrying coal from the many pit heads once found in what is now tranquil and rolling green countryside.
Based around the site of the former 19th century Summerlee Ironworks, the visitor attraction vividly recreates Lanarkshire’s industrial past. There are historic trams, tours down a recreated mine, working machinery and many exhibits that tell the human story. visitlanarkshire.com/summerlee
Now home to ducks and heron, the canal was designed by James Watt as a route for carrying industrial goods. The building project started in 1770 and the canal opened in 1794. It was used for carrying mainly coal to Glasgow. Closed in 1935, much of the canal was then filled in.
Painted black and white, British Waterway’s colours, this is an evocative piece of canal furniture. It was near here in 1819 that Thomas Wilson launched the Vulcan, Scotland’s first iron-hulled ship. A replica can be seen at Summerlee.
From Summerlee, proceed straight ahead down Heritage Way to a junction with West Canal Street.
Turn left and cross to go back under the railway bridge at the giant Lees’ snowballs artworks.
Continue to a pedestrian crossing and cross. Turn left and then first right into Ellis Street (cul-de-sac).
Follow around to the left and continue past the police station, up a ramp at the foot of the pedestrian bridge.
Go around the car park, passing Coatbridge health centre on your right.
Continue to the pedestrian crossing and continue in the direction of Caldercruix, following the path to the rear of a supermarket and continue to cross the bridge over the dual carriageway.
Turn left in the direction of Calderbank, NCN 75.
After a short downhill ride, turn right to join the Monkland canal basin and emerge at Locks Street.
Staying on this side of the road, turn right and right again before going under the viaduct.
Head up a ramp to reach the level of the railway path then turn left to cross the viaduct.
Follow the railway path until it goes uphill past a primary school. Turn left at a junction of footpaths (do not go out to the main road) – signed as “Drumgelloch 1¾, Plains 3, NCN 75”.
Continue beyond the primary school and astroturf pitch, following the tarred path around to the left for about 100 yards.
At a wooden fence, leave NCN 75 and turn right to follow path that involves negotiating a series of staggered gates. On the left is the Brownsburn Country Park.
The cycle path will then meet up with a road signed for Calderbank and Chapelhall. Cross straight over and take a path across a field, which is narrow in places.
At Calderbank Road turn to the right and join the road, entering the Calderbank 30mph zone.
Continue past Calderbank Primary School and then downhill through the village. Turn right into Crowwood Road just before the village hall.
Take the second left – Woodhall Avenue. Go to the bottom and pass through a narrow swing gate on the right.
Descend on to a tarred road which is closed to traffic and at the bottom of hill cross the canal to take up the towpath on the left.
Stay on the towpath to the end of the open section of canal, then cross the bridge over a weir and continue to Paddock Street/ Sykeside Road.
Cross the road, take up a gravel path and follow to the railway viaduct. At Drumgelloch, you can take a train west to Coatbridge Sunnyside (six-minute journey).
Come out of station through car park, at roundabout cross over to the right, walk to the end of the road, at roundabout, take a right turn which will take you back to Summerlee Museum.