Distance: 39,5 km (24,5 mi) for a total of 1576,8 km (979,7 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 405 m (1330 ft)
Weather: Rain in the morning, dying out later, much sun with a fresh wind till the early afternoon, then more showers
I had promised to be away very early and so I was. The good thing about this: I had packed and just set off when the rain started. As the forecast had already talked of rain I had decided on an alternative route to Broxburn which would use roads until the towpath of the Union Canal would take over.
To be honest: my mood when plodding along the road in the rain wasn’t the best. Not so much because of the rain but seeing planes from Edinburgh Airport all the time brought up a nagging feeling that it would be easy to just switch my direction to the east towards Edinburgh and look for a flight back home. But fortunately this was short-lived, the improving weather certainly helped.
Shortly before reaching the Union Canal I made a decision which on the one hand was bad, on the other good when I ignored a small footpath leading to the river Almond and assuming that a car park for the canal bears this name for some reason. It does so indeed, but on the “wrong” side, the towpath ran on the other. But being there I walked at least over the aqueduct to see if perhaps there was a path. But I only found a tent and a guy who gave me the most startling greeting: “Morning! You’re walking end-to-end.” I confirmed obviously surprised but the next sentence shed light on this: “You know Mina.” I’ve bumped into Chris, a friend of Mina and James from Denmark, just flown in the evening before to accompany the two for some days.
Then I made my way to the towpath side of the Union Canal. The most interesting detail was offered on information panels at said aqueduct. Its overflow lets water fall down 23 m into the river Almond. 1895 it froze to an icicle for the full height which took two months to melt! It was a visitor attraction, of course.
The rest of the day was uneventful. I made a detour into Broxburn for elevenses and then followed the towpath to Linlithgow. Although not what you would call a large city, but I think I saw the first traffic lights for weeks, since Lichfield. All the people and cars and usual city elements came as sort of a culture shock.
From Linlithgow I headed south to the Beecraig Country Park, where I could have had a place to pitch my tent, but I treated myself to the smallest lodge available as this made it easier to empty the backpack, make use of the laundry and repack everything.