After a hearty lunch of soggy sandwiches, we make our way down the road to Black Sands where less than fifeen minutes out in the weather lets us experience most of what the area has to offer.
And the area has a lot of variety in a very short period of time available, because from the introductory frame to this one is all within the same minute.
The clock finally ticks over to minute two for this frame…
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Never intended for today’s weights and speeds, it has suffered somewhat and is strapped up to support the big arches; an impressive sight. The control sluice, in the middle of the south side of the aqueduct, tends to dribble water, and in severe winters this overflow has been known to freeze solid, creating a remarkable pillar of ice, as in a two-month spell in 1895, recorded in the photograph. At the west end of the aqueduct there is a milestone marked 10 (to Edinburgh) and 21 (to Falkirk). About 100m further on an overflow channel, lined with granite setts, crosses the towpath. Bridge 19 (Broomflats Bridge) is just for a farm track, but the minor road bridge, 20, starts a more interesting stretch, with a railway bridge ahead. There’s a signpost with distances to everywhere. Probably most satisfying is Edinburgh 12. The railway is the Edinburgh -Uphall-Bathgate-Coatbridge-Glasgow line, which breaks off from the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line north-west of Ratho (Newbridge Junction), and was originally built in 1849 to Bathgate, being extended to Airdrie and Glasgow in 1879. It served the coal, iron and shale oil industries, and the last passenger train was in 1956. The creation of Livingston New Town failed to provide new passengers, and the line west to Airdrie was lifted in 1982.
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