UPDATED Monday 26th July; Day 4 complete – Jonathan Dawson Charity bike ride

RR’s Editor, Jonathan Dawson, takes to the roads for 10 days on a charity bike ride. Starting at Hexham, the aim is to reach John O’Groats, a distance of approximately 470 miles, in 10 days. The route will take in a number of rail trails and disused stations and we are showing the railway aspects of his journey here. If you’re enjoying this blog, please any feedback on the Facebook page.



Day 4 (Monday 26th July) – Linlithgow to Callendar

57 miles today from Linlithgow to Callendar. Leaving the comforts of my friends’ house and ending the day in a tent in a forest! But my son and daughter have arrived with the support car and are joining me in the wild camping experience!

Railway interest today was again abundant and varied: great views of the Forth Rail Bridge as I cycled across its road cousin; some interesting remains in Dunfermline…

Forth Railway Bridge, pictured from the South Queensferry branch. JD Bike Ride

The truncated Buffie Braes Viaduct in Dunfermline (I think that’s its name)

The excellent West Fife Way took me from Dunfermline to Alloa. Very little in the way of railway ‘furniture’ to be seen, except for this surprising survivor at Bogside Station

Forth Railway Bridge, pictured from the South Queensferry branch. JD Bike Ride

Bogside Signal Box

The trail on to Stirling is also very good and uses some trackbed sections. Here I caught my first views of the hills and tomorrow enter the Highlands.

Forth Railway Bridge, pictured from the South Queensferry branch. JD Bike Ride

Between Alloa and Stirling

Day 3 (Sunday 25th July) – Penicuik to Linlithgow

One of the best rail-related days today as much of the itinerary was on old lines turned into trails. I can do my homework on the various branches when I get home if anyone wants to know the details – or feel free to correct or supplement what I have written by posting yourselves.

The Penicuik-Dalkeith Walkway meant I started on a trail straightaway from near the site of the branch terminus. On a beautiful morning, this was a gorgeous ride. JD Bike Ride

Highlights included Auchendinny Station and tunnel (picture below) JD Bike Ride

Platform remains on right, bridge over river and short tunnel ahead. JD Bike Ride

Firth Viaduct is a gem tucked away in the countryside JD Bike Ride

The clue’s in the name!

Rosslyn Castle Station

Here I popped up to the road, went a quarter of mile up the lane – and found this JD Bike Ride

On a rival line, Rosslynlee Station, which has a decidedly Hansel and Gretel feel to it.

I returned to Rosslyn Castle and continued to Dalkeith. Bonnyrigg Station is a curious survivor amidst the urban sprawl…

Bonnyrigg Station JD Bike Ride

The trail then disappears into suburbia, winding through housing estates and wasteground, with the occasional section on the trackbed.

I passed Eskbank Station on the reopened Waverley line, Musselburgh and Brunstane Stations – where a remaining pier shows where my path would have crossed the Brunstane line JD Bike Ride

Where’s the bridge gone?

Next up was the Innocent Railway, surely the most dramatic way to enter Edinburgh JD Bike Ride

First though was this sign at the start of the path…(picture below) JD Bike Ride

Well, now there’s a challenge. On balance, I decided to push on – after all, I was wearing a cap 😝

The path was full of…people, not rocks JD Bike Ride

View on the Innocent Railway

And then the tunnel JD Bike Ride

The exit from the tunnel is somewhat inauspicious, as it deposits you in a rather dreary complex of flats. But a quick zoom through the streets of Edinburgh- mostly downhill in this direction- brought me to the Royal Crescent and two more tunnels JD Bike Ride

Scotland Street shut JD Bike Ride

Rodney Street open

Edinburgh has a system of paths and cycle trails to die for, a number of which are on old railway lines. JD Bike Ride

Trinity Junction JD Bike Ride

Trinity Station- a highlight of the day despite the fence.

Then it was time to head west, on the old line to Craigleath, where I switched on to the Barnton branch to Cramond Brig.

Lots of overbridges and other railway remains made the day greatly enjoyable despite being another scorcher. The gradients on rail trails are also much more congenial. JD Bike Ride

A rather handsome structure at Barnton

At Dalmeny, I reached the old South Queensferry branch just where it left the open railway over the Forth. It offers a delightful ride, with possibly the best view of the iconic bridge. In fact, the line goes under the stone viaduct which leads to the bridge itself (see below). JD Bike Ride

Forth Railway Bridge, pictured from the South Queensferry branch. JD Bike Ride

The trackbed path ends… JD Bike Ride

Well, you never know what you might find in a Morrison’s car park! JD Bike Ride

Then my last leg for today was on to Linlithgow to start with friends. 46 miles, the shortest so far, and a welcome rest from the roads.

► Click here to see Day 1 and 2 Report and Photographs…