Shotts to Blackridge
From Shotts Railway Station turn left and continue along Station Road, which after passing through the town Centre becomes Shottskirk Road. Carry on uphill on Shottskirk Road, passing two streets on the left before coming to a 4-way junction. Here Shottskirk Road continues on the left out of Shotts, and so does the route. Turn right at the T-junction following the sign for Caldercruix.
After passing the parameter fence of HM Prison Shotts, the road begins to climb uphill, sometimes steeply for short distances, for 1.6km until the summit, at 300m above sea level, is reached. On this incline after about 800m is the Fortissat Stone or Covenanters' Stone, which is clearly visible as it protrudes out on to the road. This stone was used as a meeting place for conventicles by 40 Covenanters from Shotts parish.
At the top of the hill, as a treat for the effort made to get up, there is a splendid view over the west side of North Lanarkshire and beyond. After 800m the road begins to climb again for a short distance before making its descent to the Kirk o Shotts. This beautiful old parish church was built at the beginning of the 19th century and stands in a most imposing position on the hill. A few hundred metres past the church the junction with the B7086 is reached. Here turn right, then almost immediately left and continue across the bridge, which spans the M8 motorway.
After crossing the motorway the road climbs steeply for 500m to where once more there is another incredible panoramic view all the way to Glasgow and beyond. From here also there is a good view of Roughrigg Reservoir, a short distance to the west. In the next 2.4km the road is very undulating climbing gradually with 3 short expanses of steep incline interspersed with short downhill stretches until finally it reaches the summit. Almost at the top of this hill is located the Blackhill Transmitter, which , with its near neighbour, Kirk o Shotts, to the east, beams television signals across Central Scotland. The road then descends for a little over 1.5 km to where a T-junction is located, at which turn left. After only 200m, at the next junction, turn right into Brownieside Road and commence downhill once again.
This road becomes Station Road Plains, where the Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle route bisects. Turn right here on to the Glasgow to Edinburgh cycle track and follow it for the next 12.9km to Blackridge. Since this cycle route was built on the disused railway solemn of the Glasgow to Bathgate railways line, and it is well defined and signed along it's length, it is not necessary to describe the route in detail.
However, this is a particularly attractive are with a wooded backdrop on the other side of the loch. It is used by many anglers, who can be seen sitting on the banks, rod in hand, fishing at all times of the day during both summer and winter. This part of the Cycleway is also used by many people enjoying a walk along the lock side. Also along this stretch are 2 sculptures: the first called 'Calorman' depicts a fisherman with rod and line and the second called 'Bedrock Bicycle', as it's name suggests, a bicycle of gigantic proportions.
Both of there were constructed from an idea by Dave Holliday, formerly of Sustrans. Once Hillend Reservoir is passed, it is about 10km along this pleasant cycle path, from North Lanarkshire into West Lothian, to Blackridge At the end of the cycle path, continue along a road for a few hundred metres to a T-Junction. Here turn right and continue uphill, on the B718 out of Blackridge. A hundred metres past the village there is a minor road off to the right. Follow this very pleasant little road for about 3km as it climbs south-west, sometimes steeply, towards the M8 motorway. After passing under the motorway the T-junction with the B7066 is reached. Turn right and follow this road for just over 1km to the next junction, at which point turn left on the B7057. Now follow this road for about 3km to a roundabout. Here turn right into Shotts, where after a short distance Shotts Railway Station is reached.
This page is an extract from '25 Cycle Routes Around Glasgow' with kind permission from Erl Wilkie.
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