John Muir Way: Section 6

Linlithgow to South Queensferry

I had planned in two more sections of the John Muir Way before the end of my summer holidays. The leg between Falkirk and Linlithgow was completed in constant rain, this next section couldn't have been more different. The forecast was for record temperatures, albeit down south, however I would be walking in temperatures of about 27 degree Celsius, this is considered hot by Scottish standards. I was lucky that for most of this walk that I wouldn't have to face the full brunt of heat, this was mainly due to the sections of woodland walking where the temperature would be a few degrees cooler. 

How to get there

As always there is a regular train service from Glasgow to Edinburgh that stops at Linlithgow. Likewise, trains run every 20 minutes from Edinburgh. This time I decided to take the car, this was more convenient for me this time.

Linlithgow to Kinneil House

I managed to park at almost the exact spot that I had stopped at a couple of weeks ago. With the temperature starting to creep into the early 20's I decided to head off and hope that the day wasn't walking into the blazing sun. The walk down Mill Road was a simple enough start, at the bottom the road continued on over the motorway, although for this half mile it is important to note that there is no path and you are forced to walk on the grass verge. 

Road over the Motorway

Road Walking

Luckily this doesn't last long and the views ahead open up to a gentle hillside with crops growing on  both sides. Once you have crossed over the motorway, the road descends and bends to the right, at this point a path starts on the left hand side and this leads to a gate that will start the next part of the walk.  As I entered through the gate and walked up the tree lined path, I already had a good feeling about this walk, that feeling was reinforced as the trees melted away to be replaced with golden fields  on both sides of the track, full of either wheat or barley. This image was enhanced by the farmer harvesting the crops in one of the fields as I was walking by. The path here does ascend for a mile or so, but it is gentle and the track is firm.  At the top the path takes a left turn then a right through some woods past Hamilton Cottage (looks really nice) and then into the woods again. You can see Bo'ness in the distance, peaking out of the shrubbery and the trees, however it is the shape of a old house that captured my attention next. 

Farm Watch 2019

Woods outside Kinneil House

Kinneil House

You come in at the back end of Kinneil house, it is if someone has just plunked a stately home at the edge of the woodland. There is more information about the house below. Although it didn't look like you could access the interior of the house, I'm sure I saw signs for a gift shop.  That aside, the most interesting fact about this part of the walk was the small stone cottage that James Watt worked on his steam engine. 

James Watt Cottage

Bo'ness Coastal Walk

Once you walk out of the expansive entrance driveway to Kinneil House, you come out to the upper end of Bo'ness. At the gates to the stately home, you take a left crossing over the road down to the Kinneil Foreshore, a nature reserve that also crosses over the Bo'ness railway at Kinneil halt. The path winds it way down along the coastal path, next to the river forth. From here the town centre is accessible with cafes, supermarkets and toilets all readily available. The track continue to hugs the river and there is a quick dip through a forest to cool down. The track then makes it way past a boat yard and a factory before you are rewarded with the first sight of the three bridges. The track enters the woods again, before re-emerging back along the coast to Blackness Castle. This is a place that I will come back to with the kids and do a follow up post. 
Kinneil Foreshore

Bo'ness Railway

River Forth

Coastal Walking

Blackness Castle

Hopetoun House

By now the script pretty much writes itself, from Blackness Castle I followed the curves of the coastal path of the river forth before it diverted through, yes you've guessed it, a woodland walk. This time the walk in the woods (minus Robert Redford) was about 3 miles in length, this was useful as he temperature was reaching the late 20's and I was glad of the respite from the heat.  At the end of the forest section the track leads to Hopetoun House, which by the way has a nice food and garden centre. On this occasion though the track leads you through open fields, where the sheep were trying desperately to stay cool under the trees. You can catch a sight of the house itself, which dwarfs the impressive Kinneil house. You can find more about Hopetoun house below. 

Woodland Walking

Ruins of a House

Hopetoun House

Entrance to Hopetoun House

On to South Queensferry

The Track leads you out of the main gate, which I can use the word impressive again but I'll just include an image of it above. There is half a mile of road walking but you start to get excellent views of the bridges. As the route enters South Queensferry, it passes under the two road bridges. From here it was a quick walk down to the centre of town, and the end of my day.

The Bridges at a Distance

Under the Queensferry Crossing

The Rail Bridge

Town Centre

Overall, the walk took just over 5 hours to complete, which wasn't bad considering the conditions. The train station is just under a mile from the town centre. There is no direct link to Glasgow from South Queensferry, instead you must travel into Edinburgh and back out again. This doesn't take long, I took the train into Haymarket and then the Springburn train back to Linlithgow, both journeys taking 15 mins and 20 mins respectively. 

To finish I would say that I would highly recommend anyone to walk this route for its interesting historical buildings that you will discover along the way.  


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