Explore a canal towpath, four old railway lines and the Pentland Hills, some urban sections but great scenery too. This is the first easy part.
The disused railway by the Water of Leith is the former Balerno railway line. It's about forty years since trains ran along here, the main piece of evidence that the railway ever existed is the tunnel at the east end, apart from this it now just seems a leafy path by river. Between 1874 and 1963 though it echoed with the sound of little steam trains taking people to work from Currie and Balerno and serving the nearby paper mill. On Sundays it was an escape route for city dwellers going to the Pentland Hills or for a picnic by the river.
This route uses National Cycle Network, Route 75, from Edinburgh to Balerno. After this it crosses the Pentland Hills. Return to Edinburgh is on the Penicuik to Dalkeith Cycle Route, then via National Cycle Network, Route 1 to central Edinburgh. Much of the route is really beautiful, for example cycling through woodland by the Water of Leith, or crossing the Pentland Hills. There are urban sections too, but most of the route is a park of some kind. Finding your way is quite easy until the Flotterstone Inn, after that more care is needed. The Cycle Network sections should be signed, but pay attention to instructions as some signs could be missing. Doing the route anticlockwise is best. SECTION 1 - Tollcross Balerno (8 miles. route 75) Start from the King's Theatre at Tollcross in central Edinburgh. Go up Gilmore Place opposite. Take the first right by a church to Lower Gilmore Place, join the Union Canal towpath. After two miles you go over a high aqueduct. Soon after this cross a footbridge over the canal and the Lanark Road (A70). Keep right along a disused railway line by the Water of Leith, passing through a tunnel. The route crosses access roads a couple of times. When this happens continue in the same direction looking for the dirt path on the other side. This section ends by Balerno High School in Bridge Road where you leave Route 75.
For the next part, click on Related above.