Linlithgow Loch is a jewel hidden away near the M9 between Edinburgh and Falkirk. I would say that, as I live not far away, but what for townsfolk is a regular stroll is well worth a day out for others, especially when coupled with a visit to Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots.
More history is taken in as you leave the wildfowl haven of water behind and walk around Airngath Hill. A track leads up to the impressive Grange, an Edwardian mansion built in 1909 for Henry Moubray Cadell, a geologist and mine owner. Nearby is the Hope Monument, built in the 19th century in memory of Brigadier Adrian Hope, killed in the Indian Mutiny.
This is a great stroll for all the family – take a picnic to enjoy by the loch.
Distance 5½ miles.
Height climbed 430ft.
Time 2½ to 3 hours.
Map OS Landranger 65.
Park There is a car park behind and to the left of The Cross in the centre of Linlithgow (marked by a large fountain on the side of the High Street).
In summary Walk up the cobbles of Kirkgate in the centre of Linlithgow and turn left after passing through the entrance arch in front of the town’s palace. Drop down to a junction of paths and go left again to drop to a gate in a wall.
Follow the loch side to reach a playground. Beyond this carry on round to a small footbridge which you cross and then bear right. The obvious path leads to the far end of the loch and a minor road. Go left, along the road, and walk over the M9.
Just after the motorway go left on to a drive with a sign saying “Grange Private Road” – walkers are welcome. The drive becomes more of a track as it bends right, goes uphill and then bends left.
Just before the big house go left, almost doubling back on to a drive. This leads up to a minor road, where you go right. The road leads up to and past the West Lothian Golf Club before dropping down. As the road bends left look for a wooden signpost for a path to Linlithgow, pointing right.
Go to the left of the sign and follow a path to the left of a hedge, alongside a field. This drops down, back towards Linlithgow, to a minor road, where you go right. The road leads you back over the M9 to the point where you left the path round Linlithgow Loch.
Go through a wooden gate and follow a path across a field which bears left, away from the loch. After passing through a gate at the far end of the field, go right to follow a pavement by a main road. At the top of a short hill go right, down a path which runs by the side of a church. This leads to another gate and then the loch again. Make your way back to the palace and retrace your steps down to the start.
Refresh There is a wide range of choices in Linlithgow – try the Four Marys pub at The Cross which does food and real ale.
While you are in the area Linlithgow Palace (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk) is well worth having a look around.