Cycling Scotland -

Family Cycle Route
Union Canal: Linlithgow to Falkirk (approx.7 miles)
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Start at the Canal Basin in Linlithgow.

This is an excellent route for families with young children. The route is reasonably smooth, has no difficult hills and is free of motor vehicles.

The starting point is at the Canal Basin in Linlithgow, situated behind the railway station at the east end of the town. Also situated here is the canal museum, a tea-room and toilets. We did this route on a lovely summers evening and had no difficulty parking the car at the basin before setting off on our journey.

The route starts off on the footpath on the north side of the canal (it's the route you can follow all the way along from Edinburgh to this point) and wanders past the back gardens of houses before it winds southward following the contour of the gentle hill.

Checking the route and map

In the distance you get spectacular views of the Ochil Hills. Before long you reach the aqueduct over the River Avon, and while you can cycle across, its best to get off and push as the pathway can be quite narrow in places. Although there is a guard rail its still a long way for a child to fall if not supervised properly. However the kids loved this bit and loved crossing over.

Just after here the canal becomes more overgrown and there is no chance of seeing barges along this section. On you continue across open country, free from cars or motor bikes.


Shortly after this you come to Polmont where the route takes you past the local prison - quite a conversation point for the kids.

Then it's back onto open country again until you get nearer to Falkirk. This is the bit the kids will really love! You have to go through a canal tunnel, and while its not too long it can be a bit gloomy and damp from the drips from the ceiling. Once through its not far to the end of the Union canal and you find yourself on the outskirts of Falkirk, Tamfourhill to be precise. There is the option to by-pass the Hallglen tunnel - just leave the towpath uphill to the right before the tunnel. Turn right and follow the road up and over the hill to the traffic lights, then turn left along Slamannan Rd. 100yds along there is a sign back to the canal at the other end of the tunnel. This is also very near the new section of canal leading to the Falkirk Wheel.

At this point it's time for a rest on the grassy bank, some drinks and a snack before retracing our way back to the canal basin at Linlithgow.

An easy cycle ride, which the kids managed with ease and took about 3.5 hours in total. They certainly slept soundly that night! From here you have the opportunity to join the Forth-Clyde canal and cycle all the way to Glasgow if you want.


Alternative Route
You can also travel to Edinburgh from the same starting point at Linlithgow - a route that, although a few miles longer, is said to be a more scenic journey.

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