An easy circular route along quiet back roads in East Lothian.
A one-day cycle route that can be stretched to a weekend trip to enjoy all of the attractions. Takes in many of East Lothian's beautiful beaches before meeting such attractions as the Hopetoun Monument and Tantallon Castle. The route begins in Longniddry. Of course you can drive to the start if you have a car but it's also possible to get a train from Edinburgh. Instructions are also given for cycling from central Edinburgh (an extra 14 miles, mixture of bike paths & roads). East Lothian has some really beautiful beaches and there are many interesting places to visit, castles, a restored water mill, the Museum of Flight to name just a few. The main roads tend to be busy but this route avoids them. Another useful feature is the railway line between North Berwick and Edinburgh. Normally you will have no difficulty taking a bike on this train. This can be useful if it starts to rain, or you want to shorten the distance. Trains stop at, Drem, Longniddry, Prestonpans, Musselburgh, & Edinburgh (For train times call: 08457-484950). Trains do not carry large numbers of bicycles.
Leave Longniddry on the B6363. From the train station turn left then go along the A198 for 400 metres, turning left again underneath the railway line. There's a gentle climb for 500 metres then you turn left to a minor road (no sign).
After a mile, you pass under a bridge which carries the Longniddry - Haddington railway path. We continue along the road. Turn right at a T junction, go on a little way, under a small electricity line, and take the left fork in the road up a hill. Turn left at the top. At a T junction turn left on to the A6137, then take the first right to the B1343 after a short descent.
On the right here is the Hopetoun Monument. It stands on the 168m high Garleton Hill - a great view. Continuing to Athelstaneford turn right and left at a staggered junction. Turn left in Athelstaneford after the school by a shop.
You might like to visit Athelstaneford Heritage Centre which depicts a 832AD battle where the Picts and Scots defeated the Northumbrians. It's behind the church and is free.
Leaving Athelstaneford keep on the B1343 for just over a mile then turn right to the B1377 heading towards East Linton.
The Museum of Flight is nearby at East Fortune Airfield. East Fortune was the place from which the first air crossing of the Atlantic took place in the R34 airship. The aircraft collection includes Britain's oldest aeroplane, a Spitfire and a Vulcan bomber. There is a tea room (01620-880308).
East Linton is an attractive village with shops and hotels providing bar meals.
Leave East Linton on the B1407 following signs for Preston Mill. You cycle right past the mill so have a look as it's very picturesque with ducks and geese. The water mill dates from the 18th century and it has been restord to working order.
About 300 metres after the mill turn left to a minor road leaving the B1407. You pass through a wood. After two miles turn left at the top of the hill then immediately turn right. After this take the first left then the first right and continue straight on towards North Berwick, the pointed hill of North Berwick Law in the distance.
There is another possible diversion here to Tantallon Castle. This is one of the most spectacular castles in Scotland. Perched on a high sea cliff, it has an excellent view of the Bass Rock with its vast cloud of Gannet sea birds. The massive 14th century curtain wall still stands. It has a tea room and toilets (01620 892727).
Cycling from North Berwick you leave the town by the High School which is on the B1347, follow signs for North Berwick Law, the obvious conical hill. Turn right to a minor road which passes down the side of the school.
After a couple of miles turn right again at Kingston to pass over the railway line. Just before the railway line crossing there is another possible diversion to visit Dirleton Castle. There's also a very attractive beach at Yellowcraigs in the country park just north of the village.
Dirleton Castle dates from the 13th century, it's not as dramatic as Tantallon but the associated gardens are very attractive and include a 17th century bowling green. It was besieged by Edward I in 1298.
After crossing the railway you turn left then right on the B1345 near Fenton Barns turkey farm. The B1345 is not quiet. After this you turn left at the next three junctions. On the way you pass Myreton Motor Museum. Continue along to Longniddry on the B1377 to complete the circle.