LETJOG – Day 41: Sunday 27 June – WEST LINTON to LINLITHGOW (22 miles)
Today’s section of my LETJOG Challenge was quite arduous, and one of contrasts: a morning hike in the Pentland Hills with not a soul for company, followed by an afternoon walk through the busy heart of Livingston and a final stretch along country lanes.
With a full day in prospect I breakfasted in my room and started walking by 7.30 am, with a chill in the air and the watery sunshine bringing out the lime greens in the hedgerows and around the fairways of West Linton golf course. Poling uphill for three miles, my road morphed first into a single-track lane, then to a private drive and becoming a farm-track, before entering the moorland near Baddinsgill Reservoir as a rocky path. This part of the Cross Borders Drove Road is also known as Thieves Road, harking back to its historic reputation for highwaymen and cattle reivers who would ambush travellers and herders alike along these passes. My crossing of the Pentland Hills marked the end of my journey through the Southern Uplands and my progression into the Central Lowlands of Scotland.
My ‘right to roam’ entry into the lowlands, down the springy heather of the pathless slopes of Corston Hill, coincided with the emergence of the sun and a distinct rise in temperature that made for a sticky afternoon. The guide books here opt for a route along the banks of the River Almond and the Union Canal towpath, but knowing that similar pleasures await me tomorrow, I decided upon a more direct route through the various central neighbourhoods of Livingston, a 1960’s ‘new town’.
After a snack lunch in the sun at Dechmont, I left the urban area once more for the countryside, my walk taking me along winding country lanes to Linlithgow through arable fields and pasture, with some pleasing views of distant hills around the northern horizon.