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42. Balerno

start: Slateford
distance: 19 miles
OS map: 65 and 66

BalernoA leisurely route taking you from the suburbs of Edinburgh along a disused rail track that follows the Water of Leith out into the open countryside past Balerno.

No doubt you could join this cycle route at several points - this one is described from the B&Q car park in Inglis Green Road, Slateford. Opposite the car park entrance is Redhall Drive and just a few yards down here a track leads off to the L. Follow it into a park, skirting the left hand side of a football pitch, go L under a railway bridge and go up onto the footbridge over the canal.

The cycle route is clearly marked as it crosses and recrosses the river going up the glen. This is a popular walk as well as a cycle track and I've found that bear bells are a useful tool to gently warn walkers of your presence as opposed to the abrupt ping! of a bike bell. Signs of Edinburgh's industrial heritage are there for all to see but the glen is insulated from the rest of the city.

As you pass under the ring road the country starts to open up a little - after 200m or so be sure to take the R hand fork to follow the path, rising slightly. It's 3 miles to Balerno where you'll come out on the main road by the High School. Go past the school and turn L onto Bavelaw Road signed for Marchbank. The road rises gently at first, then more steeply to a turn on the R for Red Moss - you could extend this trip to take in the reservoirs if you follow a L turn coming out of Balerno for Balleny Farm.

Open country with good views of the Pentlands as you go over Red Moss. The road swings to the R and Dalmahoy Hill is now ahead of you. We head downhill, then L at a junction and on to a dry ford before emerging onto the A70 Lanark road. Turn R then R again after half a mile for Glenbrook and a quiet road back into Balerno. From here the route retraces the cycle route to Slateford.

jb, galashiels

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