The day myself and Anne went cycling around the West Lothian uplands we both enjoyed it but it was not that great for photography. The weather was hot, humid and sultry so any distant views tended to be fairly hazy or limited... or washed out grey. Looking at the back archives however I discovered a folder that I'd never been through from 2015 on a solo cycle ride and they really show the true beauty of this wonderful landscape better than the Anne and me day recently. There is much more to West Lothian than the iconic yellow oil-seed fields as this collection now shows.
When I first visited here, in the 1990s, it was with a similar joy of discovery and even 60 and 30 years later, retrospectively I'm still enthralled with both places. And who wouldn't be... given scenery and views like this one.
Looking across at Fife here and the Firth of Forth.
and over to another of the districts small hills- Cockleroy. Going at an easy pace we managed to bag all four summits in one long day consisting of Cockleroy,278 metres, seen here, Cairnpapple hill, 312 metres (1,023 feet) or thereabouts....
seen here,... or on the way, cycling towards it....
Cairnpapple. The highest point for miles around and an ancient burial ground at the summit for the ruling tribes. A special place indeed. " Look at that incline." I enthused. " A Lothian Glastonbury Tor." ( This was our last hill of the day, late on.)
" Jesus save me- let me die. " was Anne's only take on it. (We ended up walking a stretch of it anyway as the cycling legs had gone for uphill endeavour and pushing the bikes by that stage felt much easier.) I know how to show a women a good time. Unforgettable in fact.
Binny Craig, 220 metres, and...
Greendykes Bing. They may be smaller hills but the height and distance cycled and climbed adds up- ---probably around 3000 feet of ascent and descent in total at a guess or maybe more. Felt like it anyway. No wonder we were fooked by the end :o) But a great trip. Took 8 hours but with plenty of stops, long lunches etc. Did it in 4 hours years ago but I was much fitter and younger then and this time was more fun with good company and laughs all the way round. Thank you.
A cyclist on the minor road network looking across at Greendkyes Bing and Arthur's Seat above Edinburgh.
One I took on a clearer cooler day. Edinburgh's suburbs, Airport and Control Tower/lookout.
Evening light from the bing-lands plateau looking across at Broxburn industrial estate, and the Eastern Pentlands, another of my favourite Central Belt, lesser hill ranges.
Cairnpapple Hill. Cattle herd looking northwards.
West Lothian farmland.
Although full of arable crops, livestock, and field systems it also has plenty of little woods, pretty hamlets, farms and some wild upland areas. Not many lay-bys though and only certain right of way paths lead up prominent summits so best reached by bike or in a car to do them rather than walking long distances on foot between them... but even that is ok given such fantastic scenery. No pavements obviously but cars on the quieter road networks are very few and far between.
Lush vegetation and flowers cover waste ground under the bings.
Tropical Scotland in early summer.
The green lagoon. Big bing country.
Cattle on the open range. Riccarton Hills.
West Lothian and the Kingdom of Fife view. My Gallery of Wonders. The Bathgate Alps. An 'off the beaten track' location. Yet any one of these overlooked landscapes could easily grace a Scottish pictorial calendar and not look out of place. The Scottish Highlands may be wild and untamed but I like these areas as well which have a much greater chance of sunshine, shelter, and heat and a larger variety of wildlife, history, distinctly different population groups, and landscape management over centuries- all subjects that fascinate me now so that I keep coming back to learn more.