Scottish National Trail: Linlithgow, amazing tunnels & Falkirk Wheel (day 2)

Today: 35km | Total: 55km

The weather was nicer today, but the day much longer with a total of 35km. The trail continues flat as a pancake on paved tow path along the canal. Including breaks it took us 10h to complete. On our way we visited historical Linlithgow, walked through some tunnels along the union canal reminiscent of caves and camped by the enormous rotating boat lift called the Falkirk Wheel. The wild berries on the way are also very tasty!

Laura’s comment (day 2): Hoy en nuestro segundo día. El dolor en las piernas era muy fuerte, los zapatos son un poco más suaves, pero el dolor continúa.  A medida que avanzamos en nuestro camino los paisajes son más hermosos, para finalizar el día llegamos a La Rueda de Falkirk, un hermoso atardecer, un poco de comida, y mucho descanso para nuestro próximo día.

The Union Canal

The Union Canal, full name the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal, is a canal in Scotland, running from Falkirk to Edinburgh, constructed to bring minerals, especially coal, to the capital. It was opened in 1822 and was initially successful, but the construction of railways, particularly the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway, which opened in 1842, diminished its value as a transport medium. It is 31 miles and after many years of closure was reopened in 2002 for leisure purposes.

Linlithgow 🏰 ⛪ – Back to Queen Mary of Scots

Home to one of Scotlands finest medieval palaces where Queen Mary of Scots was born (predecessor of Queen Elizabeth). Right next to it the fine St Michael church. Was really fun to stroll around. Some decent food options available too.

Falkirk Wheel 🎡 – Boat lift with a spin

The Falkirk Wheel is a rotating boat lift in central Scotland, connecting the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal for the first time since 1930. It was built in 2002 as part of the Millenium link project. The wheel lifts boats by 24m. Thereafter are another 11m covered by locks to reach the level of the Union canal. Here a video of how that looks like. At night the wheel is lit up in colours, which makes for a pretty sight. The canal is also great for a swim though Laura still has a different view on water quality 💦

Physical update 🏥 😷 💉

I feel pretty good and the boots get more comfortable by the mile (obviously, as the day goes on you feel the mileage more). Little sore back from the load (in my lightweight, but not well cushioned blue ice rucksack) and one blister. Laura struggles a bit more with some pain in her left knee and also a first blister.

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Scottish National Trail: Edinburgh all the way North to Cape Wrath (day 1)

So, the recovery time past the Elbe paddle is up and two big parties are digested. Now it’s time to get back outdoors to hike the Scottish National Trail from Edinburgh all the way North to Cape Wrath, the northernmost point on the british mainland. In total 750km of fascinating countryside, villages and people lie ahead (as well as rain, wind, sore feet…).

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Slateford – Ratho – Broxburn

Today: 20km | Total: 20km

The first day started only about 3pm. First we had to travel back to Edinburgh from Dunkeld, had a publunch before we finally got going in Edinburgh suburb of Slateford. We had no specific destination in mind for today – one of the positives of carrying camping gear.

 

The Scottish National Trail is an 864 kilometre-long long distance walking route running the length of Scotland from Kirk Yetholm to Cape Wrath. Devised by outdoors writer and broadcaster Cameron McNeish in 2012, the Trail offers very varied walking, following long-established footpaths for much of the distance but becoming progressively more difficult as it heads north, finishing with a tough stretch of backpacking – with some pathless and demanding terrain – on the final stretch of the Cape Wrath Trail.

All in, we managed 20km along the Union canal who will be literally on our side for at least two days. Our first major stop was at the pretty village of Ratho with its iconic The Bridge pub and nice residential developments around a small marina. From there further to Broxburn.

 

Obviously, it had to rain on the first day. Welcome to Scotland! Laura’s jacket was not quite up to the job. The rest of the gear was ok though (well, the new boots still need a little more breaking in).

Laura’s comment (day 1)

Otra aventura con Rocket ha comenzado. Las espectativas del viaje son muchas, aún conociendo las condiciones de los diferentes lugares y el común clima de Escocia, tengo la certeza que será un GRAN tiempo en este maravilloso país. 👧🏻

 

One highlight for me came late in the day, as we fixed our empty stomachs with dinner at a Broxburn burger place (one of the traditional ones). I tried fried Haggis… And i loved it. Defo gonna get some more of that stuff while up here. Not sure why i waited that long to try it.

Haggis is a savoury pudding containing sheep’s heart, liver, and lungs, minced onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, traditionally encased in the animal’s stomach though now often in an artificial casing instead. According to the 2001 English edition of the Larousse Gastronomique: “Although its description is not immediately appealing, haggis has an excellent nutty texture and delicious savoury flavour”.

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