5th March 2022
Stroll along the length of the hills from Bathgate to Linlithgow for a surprisingly rich mix of geology: lava flows, a geological wall, limestone packed with fossils, a touch of archaeology and a hint of silver!
THE ROCKS: Volcanoes were here! The Bathgate Hills are formed from layers of lava, erupted during the Carboniferous period. The main interest, however, is in the rocks that are preserved between the lava flows, sedimentary rocks laid down in quiet periods between eruptions. The layers of limestone and other rocks formed in shallow warm seas teaming with life, and occasionally more exotic environments created unusual rocks.
THE WALK: This is a fairly gentle but long walk, on paths, across fields and along quiet roads. We climb gradually from the outskirts of Bathgate to the viewpoint at the Knock, then past Cairnpapple and another viewpoint at Witchcraig before descending into Beecraigs Park and on to Linlithgow. I have classified this as a moderate walk: not always on paths, may be rough or slippery underfoot at times. It may be wet, windy or cold. Come equipped with strong footwear and waterproof clothing, and bring lunch and a drink. Distance 12km, duration 5 hours.
MEETING POINT & ROUTE: Outside Bathgate Train station. Grid reference: NS978683 | Nearest Postcode: EH48 1DZ | What3Words: unique.sharpens.heartache | Route Map. From Edinburgh, it is easiest to travel by train to Bathgate and return from Linlithgow station. There is a train from Edinburgh Waverley to Bathgate at 09:12. Alternatively, if you want to park at Bathgate and return from Linlithgow to Bathgate after the walk, there is an approximately hourly bus service.