Gorebridge to Ormiston (the long way)

Route out – Gorebridge to Edgehead to Elphinstone to Tranent to Ormiston. For route map click here.

Route back – Ormiston to Pathhead to Crichton to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

See route on Strava.

  • Weather – mostly bright and sunny and quite warm with hardly any wind.
  • Bike type – road bike
  • Distance travelled – 25.9 miles
  • Riding time – 1 hour 47 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 32.4 mph
  • Average speed – 14.4 mph
  • Height climbed – 1440 feet

Last week when Dad was off work we went for an early morning ride to East Lothian to take in some roads we hadn’t cycled on before as well as some we’d been on millions of times. We left the house not long after 7am and it was quite chilly at this point so I had to put my jacket on despite the sunshine breaking through the clouds. From the house it was straight up a steep hill to get out of Gorebridge, but once at the top of hill we got onto the B6372 and raced quickly along the smooth road slightly downhill for 2 or 3 miles. This is usually quite a busy road but at this time in the morning we saw very few cars as we passed by the beautiful Vogrie Country Park on our way to the village of Edgehead.

Edgehead is a lovely quiet village which would be a nice place to live I think. My favourite bus (Borders Buses 51/52) passes through here several times each day but we didn’t see it today. The village is also on the side of a steep hill but on our new road bikes, we made it to the top of the hill more quickly than usual. From the top you get a nice fast section of straight road for a bit and then the road heads steeply downhill heading for Whitehill. Just before Whitehill, we turned off onto a narrow and rather bumpy road that leads to Fordel Mains Farm. Halfway along the road you get one of the best views in Midlothian as the road is high up, overlooking Edinburgh, Arthur’s Seat, The Pentland Hills, Fife and East Lothian. We stopped here for a quick drink and to enjoy the view.

After Fordel mains Farm we crossed a bridge that took us to the other side of the main A68 road and then turned left onto the A6124. This is a fairly quiet road despite being an “A” road. This section is also very fast and all downhill for half a mile or so. Soon we passed the sign welcoming us to East Lothian and arrived at the traffic lights at the Crossgatehall junction. Here we turned right onto the B6414 to head for Tranent. We’d never been on this road before but found it reasonably pleasant to cycle on, not too busy and quite a good surface. It goes gradually uphill for a short while and on the way up, we found a large patch of early brambles so we stopped to stuff our faces before carrying on. Soon enough we were heading gradually downhill again, speeding through Elphinstone village and not long after that, arriving at the town of Tranent. We cycled through the town centre and this was quite busy with traffic but soon we were cycling out into the East Lothian countryside once more on the B6371. This is a lovely wide and smooth road (slightly downhill too) which passes by the Hibernian FC training ground just before we came to the village of Ormiston.

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Ormiston was very peaceful this morning and we decided to stop at a bench have a bag of crisps and a drink before heading home. We left Ormiston along a very quiet, narrow road, passing a new housing development that is being built before entering the countryside again. When we passed a house along the way, some stupid-looking dogs decided to run up to the fence and bark their heads off at us for some reason. Maybe they could smell cheese and onion crisps on my fingers or something… After about a mile of easy, flat cycling, we came upon the junction with the A6093  road. This is a lovely smooth road but also quite busy with traffic and we had to wait for a while before turning left onto it. Straight away, we passed an East Lothian sign again which means that at some point after leaving Ormiston we had actually gone back into Midlothian. I didn’t see any Midlothian signs though… Anyway, after a few yards, we turned off the main road and onto the B6367, heading uphill for a wee bit until we actually did come to a sign telling us we were back in Midlothian. After the sign it was a nice long, straight and flattish ride through the trees and fields until we came to Pathhead. Just before the village there’s a house on the right that has a vintage Shell petrol pump in the garden so keep your eyes open for that. Dad forgot to stop for a photo of it though.

In Pathhead we had to wait for a minute before crossing over the busy A68 road but we were soon back onto the mainly traffic-free B6367, heading gradually uphill to Crichton, which is basically a couple of houses, a church and a ruined castle. It’s worth heading off the “main” road to visit the church and castle, but today we didn’t bother and cycled straight down the Colegate Road hill. This is a very steep hill which takes you through the Beech trees, down into a gorge and then back up another steep hill on a very narrow but smooth road. There’s a quite a few corners on the way down and it was on one of these that Dad couldn’t slow down enough and his back wheel skidded on the damp surface causing him to crash into the muddy grass verge (luckily for him there were no nettles at that point). Amazingly, his bike suffered no damage but he did get quite a few cuts on his legs and elbow and (so he says) an amazingly huge black bruise on his “upper hip”. I was in the lead at this point so missed everything. I did wonder why it took Dad so long to reach the top of the next steep hill though as I had to wait there for a few minutes before he appeared…

After that excitement, we had an easy mile of so of cycling through deserted Midlothian countryside until we came to a crossroads. We went straight on, up to the high point of the route where we got some amazing views over to the Moorfoot and Pentland Hills before speeding back down another very steep hill (Dad was more careful this time) and then a nice gentle cycle for the last mile or so back to Gorebridge along Vogrie Road. We made it home long before 10am and it turned out to be our fastest average speed ever!

Gorebridge Local Loop

Route – Gorebridge to Newlandrig to Borthwick Crossroads to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – cloudy but quite bright, cool with a bit of a breeze.
  • Distance travelled – 6.78 miles
  • Riding time – 35 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 27.8 mph
  • Average speed 11.4 mph

This evening we decided to go for a very short circular route around Gorebridge. Silly Dad forgot to bring a camera with him so for once, we have no photos to show you. However, we’ve cycled on all these roads before so there’s plenty of photos of this area already on the blog.

Leaving the house it was immediately uphill and very steep until the top of Lady Brae. Not an easy way to start a cycle route but at least it meant that the rest of the route would be much easier. After Lady Brae we headed along the B6372, slightly downhill and very fast for about half a mile until we reached the hamlet of Newlandrig. Here, we turned right at the Tyne-Esk Trail signpost onto a very narrow road. As we sped past some trees, a Buzzard screeched and flew away right above our heads which was an impressive sight. There was then a short but steep hill to negotiate before we zoomed back down the other side, passing a horse farm, with nice views of the hills in the distance. Soon we came to a junction, with the ruins of Crichton Castle visible on the left. We went right though, speeding along the smooth single track road on the way back home.

We stopped for a quick drink at the Borthwick Crossroads where Dad spotted a dead badger at the side of the road. We left the badger to rest in peace and went straight ahead, climbing gradually up to the highest point on the route where we got some stunning views of the Moorfoot and Pentland Hills. We then came to the fastest part of the ride as we free-wheeled down the narrow road at nearly 30 mph, even with the brakes on. At the bottom of the hill we turned right to go back home, mainly downhill, to Gorebridge. It was lovely quick cycle through some very nice Midlothian countryside. The roads were also very quiet and I don’t think we saw any cars at all outside of the town which made the journey all the more pleasant. Tomorrow, we are planning to go on a slightly more adventurous cycle so stay tuned for that. Dad has even promised to bring a camera this time…

Gorebridge to Fala Dam

Route out – Gorebridge to Crichton to Fala Dam. For route map click here.

Rout back – Fala Dam to Tynehead to Halflawkiln Farm to Crichton to Newlandrig to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – cloudy but quite bright, not too warm and not much wind.
  • Distance travelled – 20.5 miles
  • Riding time – 2 hours 19 minutes
  • Maximum speed 28.0 mph
  • Average speed 8.8 mph

One of my favourite things about cycling in the countryside at this time of year, is that there is a foraging opportunity around every corner. During our cycle run on Sunday morning, Dad and I feasted on so many wild raspberries (and even some tasty early brambles) that we hardly even needed to eat any of the snacks we’d brought with us. I love free food!

I decided that I’d like to go for a cycle on some of the local roads that I hadn’t been on before so for a change, we left Gorebridge along Vogrie Road, heading in the same general direction as the Borders Railway line. Just outside Gorebridge you get a good view over the village and also the Pentland Hills so we stopped for a quick photo. This road is very quiet and you’re unlikely to meet any traffic at all but if you are lucky you may see a train. Just before Fushiebridge, we turned left to head steeply uphill for a while and at the top we got great views across to the hills all around. Then it was downhill for a short section, straight over the crossroads and downhill again for a bit. It was here that I reached my fastest speed of the day (and also where I found the ripe brambles). Soon, we could see the ruins of Crichton Castle in the distance and that meant the road would soon go steeply downhill into the gorge. This is a really fun piece of road to cycle on but it’s so steep and has lots of corners so you have to keep your brakes on to stop flying down the road far too fast… After the fun bit you have to cycle back up the other side of the gorge which is just as steep and seems to go on forever. Luckily I spotted a massive patch of raspberries about halfway up the hill so we stopped for a long time to fill our faces before carrying up the slope to Crichton.

At Crichton, we turned onto the B6367 for a few hundred yards before turning left onto a very narrow road which took us uphill once more. We got some good views across to Fife from here and also found loads more raspberries to fill up on. Some “kind” person had even left a couple of old sofas at the side of the road in case we needed to sit down and have a short rest. We didn’t bother but headed over the other side of the hill to the junction with the main A68 road where, believe it or not, we saw our first traffic of the day after already an hour or so out on the road. There’s a very short downhill section on the busy main road before you reach the Fala Dam turn off, but if you don’t want to ride on the A68 (and I don’t recommend it if you want to stay alive), there’s a section of pavement you can use instead to keep safe.

After another mile or so of deserted single track roads, we arrived in Fala Dam, speeding down the steep slope into the hamlet, where we stopped for a drink of water. A nice dog came over to make friends with us but we didn’t feed him any of our raspberries…  Then we turned right and headed back out of Fala Dam up another steep road and soon came to the A68 once again, where we had to wait for about 3 minutes until there was a gap in the traffic before we could cross over onto the B6458 road to Tynehead. This road should win a prize for being the straightest, quietest and more importantly, the flattest B road in Midlothian. It was a lovely road to cycle on. It also had plenty raspberries to growing along the side, so we stopped to forage once more on the way to Tynehead. At Tynehead we turned right onto the B6367 to head for home but not far along the road Dad decided it might be fun to take the turning for Halflawkiln Farm. He’d seen a road marked on the map which would take us to the A7 near Middleton and that would make the route more of a loop (and avoid going back via the steep hill at Crichton). The road to Halflawkiln Farm crosses a bridge over the Borders Railway and this morning, we spotted a few people with cameras lurking around. On a Sunday this normally means only one thing so we stopped to ask. Sure enough, a steam train came puffing passed only a few minutes later so this was easily the highlight of the day. Unfortunately, when we reached the farm, the road that Dad had seen on the map appeared to have disappeared into thin air and we ended up with a choice of going back or trying to find another route through a field of cows. We had been walking in this area before so knew the area well enough and ended up on the path that leads you through the trees to Crichton Castle. Unfortunately at this time of year, the path was extremely overgrown with nettles and ferns that even pushing our bikes was a real struggle. So after wasting about half an hour and getting stung several times, I had had enough and we turned around a headed back passed the farm to the B6367. Annoyingly, this ruined our average speed for the trip but we did get some nice views across Midlothian.

Back on the road, we speeded downhill to Crichton and then back down the really steep hill (stopping to eat some more raspberries) and then back up out of the gorge once more. I decided that it would be fun to see how fast I could cycle up the hill this time and managed to go over 8mph. Dad couldn’t even keep up… At the top we turned right and went along the single track road to Newlandrig and then headed back along the B6372 to Gorebridge in time for lunch. No more raspberries though – just cheese on toast!