Uddingston, Bargeddie, Drumpellier & Coatbridge
Start: Uddingston Railway Station or Bargeddie Railway Station (No service on Sundays)
Finish: Summerlee; Scotland's Museum of Industrial Life (Coatbridge Central or Sunnyside railways)
Refreshment: Uddingstone is well served by cafes; Drumpellier Country Park visitor centre and Summerlee museum also have cafes
Distance: 10.5 miles
Time: 2-3 hours
Difficulty: moderate (one short, hard climb)
Terrain: traffic-free cycle paths, residential roads, canal towpaths and gravel paths
Avoiding busy roads it carves a route through Central Scotland to make cycling surprisingly pleasant. Not far beyond Bargeddie station the route leaves the roads behind to follow the towpath by the Monkland Canal and to explore the tracks through Drumpellier Country Park and around Lochend Loch. The peace is shattered, however, when you reach your final destination – Summerlee, ‘Scotland’s noisiest museum’ …
Points of Interest
1. Monklands Canal
– Designed by James Watt in 1770, the 13-mile-long canal was built to take coal from Coatbridge and Airdrie to Glasgow. Look out for the quays and “windings”, where boats were loaded with coal.
2. Drumpellier Country Park
- 54 hectares of ancient semi-natural woodland. Stop off at the visitor centre for a snack. Tel: 01236 422257 www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk
3. Bank Street Basin
– Bold art installations bring alive memories of the area’s iron, coal and steel industries. Look out for the stick of gelignite and Bleezin – an excerpt from a poem, recalling the sight of tens of blazing factory chimneys, by Janet Hamilton. Also look out for the giant Lees’ snowballs and the Beat the Goalie street art installations.
4. Summerlee Museum
– Based around the site of the Summerlee ironworks, this vividly recreates Lanarkshire’s industrial past. There are tram rides, tours of the recreated mine and working machinery. Hundreds of exhibits tell the story of the area (free entry; open daily). 01236 638460. www.visitlanarkshire.com/summerlee
Leave Uddingston railway station and continue to Main Street. Cross at the pedestrian crossing to the right and straight over to join the cycle path on opposite side running parallel to the railway track – signed as NCN 75, Bargeddie 3, Coatbridge 6. At the end of the cycle path, you’ll enter a residential cul-de-sac. Continue straight on to miniroundabout and turn left. Follow NCN 75 (not NCN 74).
Follow the cycle route through an underpass and continue to the traffic lights at New Edinburgh Road. Go straight over and climb a moderate slope up Spindlehowe Road to the junction with Old Edinburgh Road and turn left. At Tannochside Old Club turn right on to Armstrong Crescent. Opposite No 35 Armstrong Way take the short cycle path off to the right. At the end of the path turn left and follow NCN 75 along Vallantine Crescent.
Continue to the junction with Guthrie Drive – second on your left – and follow to a roundabout. Join the footpath/cycleway at the roundabout on the right as directed. Continue over Tannochside Drive and past Tannochside Business Park to take the next exit, Aitkenhead Road. Follow the cycle path down then uphill towards Showcase Leisure Park. Follow the cycle path to the right and then over a road. Return to Aitkenhead Road and continue under the M8/A8 – signed Drumpellier Country Park 2.
Remain on the footpath, and use it to negotiate a roundabout at the entrance to the leisure park and travel in the direction of the A752, Gartcosh and Muirhead. After a short distance, enter Bargeddie and follow the road to Bargeddie railway station (an alternative starting point). Continue past the Langmuir Inn – using the footpath/cycle path. At the roundabout at Bargeddie Community Centre, turn right and continue to a pedestrian crossing and across the dual carriageway. Travel a short distance to the left and then turn right down a lane. At the end of the lane, turn right along Maple Grove, with good views of Tinto Hill.
At the next junction turn right into Cherryridge Drive, and follow to a roundabout. Turn right and then immediately go off to the left to join a red gravel path signed for Drumpellier 1, Coatbridge 2, Airdrie 5. Cross a steel bridge and continue through woods to emerge at the Monkland Canal. Turn right and follow a towpath. Go under the Drumpellier Bridge and then uphill to the right and cross over the bridge. At a T-junction of paths, turn left to follow a gravel path running parallel to the railway line. After a short distance turn right over a railway bridge and continue to the entrance of Drumpellier Country Park.
Lift your bike over a specially lowered fence and turn left to follow a gravel path downhill through woodland, then to the right. Stay on the red ash path, keeping left, until it joins an access road. Turn left and continue through a gate at nursery woodland. Continue to Lochend Loch and go around the loch in a clockwise direction to return to nursery woodland (there’s a visitor centre halfway round).
Leave the loch by the Country Park access road and follow uphill, then downhill past a school and playing fields. Go under the railway line and continue to the junction with Blair Road. Turn right and descend over Blair Bridge. Go through a gateway on the right signed for Monkland Canal NCN 75. Turn right and go under the Blair Bridge and up a tarred path that follows the route of the filled-in canal across West End park and then under Merryton Bridge. Follow a broad tarred path, past the artworks in Bank Street Basin.
At the giant Lees’ snowballs under railway bridge, turn left and go between barrier and bridge support to join West Canal Street. Take the first left, Heritage Way, and follow to the Summerlee Museum.