East Lothian Riding – an Englishmans first timer question
We have close family that live in West Barns, just outside Dunbar. They have been there a good 10/11 years now. Well settled and very happy. Its a lovely part of the world.
We live in Bristol so its something of a trek to go and see them but we try and go a few times a year. However, I have never taken a bike.
This August I’ll get a good chance to take my bike and disappear for the day on a big ride & also get the chance to disappear for a few hours in the evening when the kids are in bed.
I have downloaded the 1:25 & 1:50 OS maps in Viewranger and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that to the west there are the Lammermuir Hills. What is the riding like there? I want to ride from the house, rather than driving out, and happy with 40 / 50 miles.
I have never ridden in Scotland in the ‘wild’ (only really 7Stanes way back in the day) and I am aware of the enlightened Scottish access laws. I’m at my happiest with an OS map and a vague plan when at home. Am I right in thinking in Scotland I can ride unimpeded, so long as I apply Rule #1, don’t ride through crops, follow the countryside code, be sensible &, yes, follow Rule #1?
Am I likely to encounter ‘No Cycling’ signs and animosity towards cyclists?
Cheers, PaulPosted 5 days ago
East Lothian is fairly flat but windy. We do a weekly 20-25km ride from near Tranent and hardly touch a road. If you do a Google search for east Lothian and Singletrackworld you’ll find previous threads about where the good stuff is.
My favourite bits to ride are:Posted 5 days ago
– The John Muir way out of North Berwick heading east.
– Butterdean woods (could ride around here for hours of rooty good fun).
– River Tyne path out near Pencaitland but is now getting overgrown this time of the year.
Also try the heatmap on Strava 👍Posted 5 days ago
Did quite a few offroad rides in Lammermuirs, used to live in East Lothian.
Miles and miles of paths and tracks but somewhat bleak was my recollection. It’s heavily used for shooting and windfarms to access tracks are plenty but maybe a bit light on gnarr if that’s your thing. Used to love riding in EL though, lots of good exploring to do elsewhere.
“Am I right in thinking in Scotland I can ride unimpeded, so long as I apply Rule #1, don’t ride through crops, follow the countryside code, be sensible &, yes, follow Rule #1?”
Yes. Also away from the towns most of the paths and tracks will also be very quiet in that part of the world. The grouse botherers start shooting 12th August which you should be considerate of and can at times cause some access issues.Posted 5 days ago
You can ride pretty much where you fancy, just note two quite important aspects of ‘exploring’.
1 A mark on a map doesn’t mean there’ll be a corresponding trail on the ground.
2 You can guess, it’s the opposite to 1.
There’s tons of riding around, I’m down in the Borders but have ridden the southern side of the Lammermuirs, think cross-country/gravel rather than enduro. I use a combination of http://www.bikehike.co.uk and Bing maps (OS and aerial) for planning.
Nearest gnar is Penmanshiel, about 10 miles south of Dunbar and brilliant fun (check Strava).Posted 5 days ago
Penmansheil has some proper gnarly bits and is good funPosted 5 days ago
JMCP is filled with trails crisscrossing the whole place and the Lammermuir hills have trails like the old herring road that are worth a ride
Further West round Tranent and Haddington there are loads of off-road sections plus the Pencaitland railway walk for a coffee run type of day
As has been said you can pretty much ride where you like
I used to have a small house in East Lothian and used spend many a weekend exploring the area.
I found CoastKid71 videos on Youtube a great inspiration, but not sure if you would find the routes without some local knowledge, but this is where Strava Heatmaps helps.
I never did managed to get out to visit the wreak of the midget submarine.Posted 4 days ago
East Lothian is best known as a beach/dune riding area but inland there is a fair bit going on. The Coastrider blog has a lot of recent stuff behind Dunbar and is a good place for inspiration. Long gravelly hill days in the Lammermuir Hills and old farm roads are other possibilities. A good tool is the East Lothian Council core paths map
Most tracks and paths shown on maps around Dunbar are worth a look although vegetation will be a Summer issue. Eases after harvest when the fields are available
A good trip by Dunbar is out to Halls and following the meltwater valley to the coast near Torness and return along the coast at Barnsness
Worth noting that East Lothian is Coffee/cake central: Lanterne Rouge at Gifford is in the centre of a large selection of good paths for instance. See also Steampunk at North Berwick, the Smeaton garden centre and Bostock at East Linton, Tyninghame amongst othersPosted 4 days ago
I live in Dunbar. Don’t listen to those who say East Lothian is flat. South of the A1 it isn’t 🙂
For pottering about in the evening head out John Muir Park, Foxlake, Tyninghame beach way.
For planning a day out this might be useful East Lothian Core Paths. Anything purple or light blue will be exploreable (but avoid the golf course, the rewards are not worth it). Some of the paths can be a little overgrown by August. Classic old school XC is what we do best rouund here. That and road riding. There are big circular road rides out from Dunbar over the Lammermuirs with next to no traffic.
DonaldPosted 4 days ago
Just checking in quickly while at work – thank you so much to all who have taken the time to reply.
Old skool XC is sounding marvellous!
I’ll check out the Core Paths website and start planning in earnest a bit more now I have had some positive replies.
You lot are brilliant! Roll on August and riding somewhere new.
Many thanks, PaulPosted 4 days ago
Markus Stitz has just posted a bunch of mostly gravel routes in East Lothian. You can find them on his komoot: https://www.komoot.com/user/642038402014/tours
I’ve done some of his routes (not in East Lothian) and they were very good fun.Posted 4 days ago
I rode Markus’ route around North Berwick a few weeks back after work one evening. It was fantastic! This is the trails east of North Berwick that I alluded to in an earlier post. I was on a cyclo-cross bike though so could be a bit dull on a mountain bike.
I know a fair bit of “gravel” riding in East lothian and when you get here gies a shout and I’ll show yo some of the riding I knowPosted 4 days ago
Falko Konditormeister is in Haddington…. cake central. Tyninghame cafe is lovely.Posted 4 days ago
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