The cycle route follows quiet back roads and uses a cycle lane along the busy A702 to link the two historic villages of Crawford and Abington.
The River Clyde is never far away as you ride first north through the Clyde valley, along the eastern side of the river and then south on the western side.
The nearby hills are the Lowthers, which have been described as God’s Own Treasure House thanks to the naturally occurring gold.
The hills have been mined for this precious mineral since Roman times and while the mines are now closed plenty of reminders remain, including mining villages and miners’ cottages, piles of spoil and old railways.
Mercat cross There is a mercat cross (market cross) at Crawford. The origins of a mercat cross – they can be seen all over Scotland – is that it was erected as a symbolic representation of the right to hold a regular market or fair. It served as an indication of a town’s relative prosperity.
Also called Lindsay Tower, the castle is now a ruin, but in the 16th century it was the location for a dinner between King James V and the French ambassador. The king, who was about to be married to Magdalene of France, presented his guests with cups full of gold pieces.
The village was strategically important for the Romans and there is still evidence of forts and settlements in the area. Just north of the village, earthworks date from the 12th century.
Upper Clyde Parish Church
Located in Abington, a grey-and-brown stone church, which is edged in red, has a foundation stone that was laid on August 9, 1898.
Turn left as you leave the car park (heading north)
Follow the road uphill to pass Crawford’s mercat cross, located on a red-chipped traffic island.
Turn right on to Camps Road, signed for Camps Reservoir and Lindsay Tower.
Once over the River Clyde take first left uphill.
Continue for a couple of miles then turn left at Mountview Caravan Park and continue uphill to Abington.
At the fire station in Abington turn left.
Follow A702 and join the cycle lane.
Continue to a roundabout at Crawford where you take the first left and descend into the village on Carlisle Road to return to start.
With miles and miles of paths, Kilsyth is a great place for gentle cycling away from the traffic.
Colzium Estate, the Forth and Clyde canal, the Dumbreck marshes and a brush with the Antonine Wall mean that there is enough interest to turn a short route into a full day of exploration.
Colzium Lennox Estate Centred on the 18th Century Colzium House, the surrounding parkland includes the ruins of the 15th Century Colzium Castle, the site of the Battle of Kilsyth (1645), a walled garden and one of the oldest curling ponds in the world.
Forth and Clyde Canal Engineer John Smeaton chose a similar route to the Antonine Wall for his canal linking the North Sea and the Firth of Clyde. Work began in 1768 and it was opened in 1790.
From Market Square go to the left, turn left into Burngreen and along cobbled road past park and old library.
Continue straight on to road indicated as dead end. Dismount to tackle small sets of steps, emerge at Stirling Road.
Cross Stirling Road on to Tak-ma-doon road. After short distance take right on to path signposted for Banton, Colzium and Bluebell Wood. Short steep climb takes you to level path.
Keep right along path (though you can climb to Colzium house by taking a left at the small stone bridge) until you reach driveway at children’s playpark.
Turn right on to drive and follow to entrance to estate on Stirling Road.
Turn right and follow footpath for 250 yards, then turn right, carefully crossing main road to take the road for Dullatur.
Follow minor road round to the left and then round to the right. Take left fork for Dullatur on the downhill.
Continue to canal and go to the right to join towpath. Follow towpath under bridge at Auchinstarry and continue to Twechar.
Leave towpath at Twechar bridge and loop back on to road and take next left towards Queenzieburn. Continue for 150 yards and take up footpath on right for Dumbreck Marsh and Kilsyth.
Follow tarmac path downhill and over narrow bridge then follow gravel path – Dumbreck Marsh is on your left. Stay with the gravel path and the Dock Water.
Just after Dumbreck marshes take left fork signed ‘Kilsyth town centre’. Path becomes rough.
Follow stream into Kilsyth past Astroturf playing fields. At St Patrick’s Primary follow gravel path straight ahead. Dismount, go under bridge.
Continue through small shopping centre. Follow stream through Burngreen park and cross park to war memorial, turn right and right again to return to Market Square.
At Auchinstarry take the gravel path signed Colzium Lennox Estate via Coach Rd. After ½ mile of continue onto Coach Rd for 1 mile.
At the end of Coach Rd turn left, continue carefully on main road for 200 yards. Just before entrance to Colzium Lennox Estate take gravel path on the left behind row of houses for ½ mile, cross road at Burngreen Brae and follow signs for Burngreen park and Town Centre.
It’s worth spending a little time thinking about the past before starting this cycling route.
Until around 70 years ago there was a village and mining community on the site of Strathclyde Country Park and loch. The pit was closed in 1959 and the population of Bothwellhaugh was evacuated in 1965 before being demolished to make way for a new motorway and country park, including the man-made loch. Its residents were moved to nearby towns, and the ruins of the village lie underwater to this day. Today, the park and loch are popular with people who enjoy outdoor activities, on land and water.
Strathclyde Loch Watersports Centre
The watersports centre is a hub of sports activities and clubs. It was the focus of the triathlon race at the Commonwealth Games in 2014. The paths and quiet roads around the loch are perfect for a walk or cycle.
M&D’s, Scotlands Theme Park, and Amazonia, the indoor tropical rainforest, are great attractions for families.
Fort, bathhouse and a bridge
See the site of Bothwellhaugh Roman Fort, visit a refurbished Roman bath-house and try not to get confused by a medieval bridge anachronistically named “Roman Bridge”. Contemporary with the fort, the bathhouse was in use between 142AD and 162AD.
There are plenty more cycling and walking paths at Dalzell, where you can also see historic Dalzell house and ornamental gardens. The core of the house is a 15th century tower house, with extensive additions built during the 17th and 19th centuries.
RSPB Baron’s Haugh
The nature reserve, which is a flooded marshland located in a bend in the River Clyde, attracts wintering wildfowl, including widgeon and whooper swans. Look out for bird hides here.
The cycle route starts at the Watersports Centre, although you could begin at any point around the loch, and then head clockwise.
Follow the path that hugs the shore of loch all the way around. It is shared with walkers and cyclists so take care when passing or approaching walkers and runners.
When you come to the car park next to the beach area head up on to the park road and cross the road and follow the path that will bring you out at the corner of Strathclyde Road and Ladywell Road.
Head up Ladywell Road and shortly after you cross the junction of Neilsland Drive go right and downhill on a tarmac path. After a short distance, join a gravel path to the right.
You’ll emerge at Hamilton Road and go to the left to cross at lights. Go left and then first right into Malcolm Street and follow round to the left on to Crawford Street.
Where Nigel Street meets Crawford Street, head right into Duchess of Hamilton Park, which is laid out in a formal design with a network of footpaths around a skate park. Follow a path on the right-hand edge of the park.
You will emerge where Avon Street meets Airbles Road before crossing Avon Street and continuing to a pedestrian crossing. Cross Airbles Road and go first right on to Leven Street. Take second right on Leven Street to head along North Lodge Avenue.
Continue to the end of the avenue and turn right downhill at garages. This is sign for RSPB nature reserve and Clyde Walkway.
Go to the left and descend on the White Walk to the very bottom of the hill. Note that White Walk isn’t signposted, but it is the name of the road. Take care because the hill can be steep.
Follow a path to the left around an old cemetery and cross a stream on a narrow bridge. Turn right on to Chestnut Walk and follow to River Clyde. Note that part of the route has been washed away but there is an obvious diversion in place.
Turn right on to the Clyde Walkway and cycle along the river shore until directed to right through a residential area. Go left and continue to end of a cul-desac where you can rejoin a path by the River Clyde (steps) and continue to Clyde bridge.
Cycle under the bridge and follow the River Clyde back to the watersports centre.
Making use of part of the Glasgow-Edinburgh National Cycle Network 75, the route starts at Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Heritage and finishes at Drumgelloch train station. You could choose to return the same way by bike, instead of taking the train.
Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Heritage
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. Read more here.
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.
From Summerlee Museum of Scottish Industrial Heritage, head towards Coatbridge Town Centre on the Heritage Way.
At the T-junction turn right and once under the bridge continue for a further 100 yards.
Turn left to enter the park that now occupies the Bank Street basin and follow the lower path under the railway bridge.
Go up the ramp and cross the road at the pedestrian crossing.
Go to the left and follow NCN 75 signs to the right past Reilly’s.
Cycle round to the left at the police station. NCN 75 then goes right.
Continue up ramp and follow road past Coatbridge health centre.
Cross the road at the supermarket to follow NCN 75 signed for Edinburgh, Airdrie and Caldercruix.
Follow NCN to the right and over dual carriageway on footbridge.
On the far side go to the left and rejoin the canal. Emerge at Locks Street
Turn right towards the railway bridge and then turn right again before you reach the railway bridge and go uphill.
At the top, turn left and join a railway path. Continue straight on when NCN 75 goes to the right. The cycle path eventually starts to climb in a series of looping bends.
At the top, head to the left signed for Drumgelloch and Plains. Keep left to follow NCN signs painted into tarmac surface.
The cycle path then follows a residential street. Go in the direction of the community centre and pass the building to the right.
Continue along path by blue fence before following a further path through barriers and then go down lane to emerge at Burns Stewart distillers.
Turn left and continue to pedestrian crossing. Cross the road and on far side, take Craigneuk Avenue and follow road past football stadium.
At the top of Craigneuk Avenue (at shops), go to the right and then follow road round to the left.
Go straight over at crossroads on to Torrance Avenue.
At the end of Torrance Avenue, cycle uphill on a tarmac path.
At the top go to the left and follow street to dead end opposite Wester Moffat Hospital.
Turn left and continue over railway bridge.
Take first left opposite play park and continue downhill to Drumgelloch station. You can return the same way by bicycle, or take a train to return to the start.