start: Longniddry Station
A varied route on mixed terrain around East Lothian. Visits the historic town of Haddington, North Berwick and the villages of Gullane and Aberlady.
Leave the station and follow the Cycleway signs to join the disused railway which leads to Haddington (5 miles). This is a good dry track - even in winter. Arriving at Haddington the route passes under the main A1 and leads almost into the town centre. Numerous pubs and shops, including an excellent cycle shop.
Leave Haddington heading North and negotiate a series of roundabouts to join the minor road signed for Camptoun. Follow this to the top of the hill (relentless slog) and then pick up a path heading East (signposted Right of Way). This path crosses a field, passing a TV mast, and joins a rough track leading to Barney Mains Farm.
Pass through the farm - still heading East - and continue on a good track which passes the strange, derelict Barnes Castleuntil a side road is reached. Turn left towards the small village of Athelstaneford where the Flag Heritage Centre can be visited. (This part of the route can be avoided by continuing on the road towards Camptoun and turning right at the bottom of the hill towards Athelstaneford). From here follow backroads to North Berwick - well signposted.
Places of interest on this section include the Museum of Flight at East Fortune and North Berwick Law. There are also excellent views of the Bass Rock and, on a clear day, the Fife coastline.
North Berwick is a busy little town especially in summer and has many facilities (pubs). Now for the good bit!
Leave town heading West and at the golf course join the beach which is followed until Gullane. Easy! Well most of it is except for a few rocky sections and a few sections where the sand is too soft to ride on. There is a path that makes its way through bushes (prickly) and sand dunes (steep) but this is probably best avoided, where possible, by travelling on the beach. On a good day the views and scenery are superb. It would be best if this section is done at low tide and on a calm day. Sand cycling into a wind is very tiring!
On reaching Gullane leave the beach and head into the village and join the main road. Follow this passing golf courses to the village of Aberlady and on to the starting point at Longniddry. While this final section is a little bland you may, like me, be glad to be riding on a relativly solid surface!
Remember to give your bike a good clean! Sand and salt water could damage your bike's health.
w k dodds, lauder
[Many thanks to Keith for this route - I can confirm that the beach section is, indeed, hard going! - jb]
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