11km Tranquil Duddingston, Fisherrow Sands Edinburgh Cycle
This route is mostly traffic-free where possible and follows National Cycle Route 1. Start at the popular Duddingston Loch then ride along well-paved pathways through to Newcraighall then Fisherrow Sands. You can extend this route by riding back or riding through the area around Duddingston Loch and Holyrood Park.
Our route starts at Duddingston Loch.
Duddingston Loch is one of the last two remaining natural lochs in the city. At the bottom of the loch, artefacts such as swords and spears remained from the Bronze Ages and were dug up in 1778. If you’d like to see these artefacts, they are held in the Early People Gallery at the National Museum of Scotland. The Skating Minister painting by Henry Raeburn is set on Duddingston Loch, you can see this painting in the National Gallery of Scotland: National.
Find your way onto Duddingston Low Road which becomes Old Church Lane then Duddingston Road West.
Continue down this road crossing over a small bridge. At the traffic lights, turn left following the sign for National Cycle Route 1 and Musselburgh. Follow the path closest to the railway track then along the stream (Niddrie Burn) onto and over the main road back onto the cycle path. It will be slightly to your left. Follow the path straight under the bridge/short tunnel turning right through the car park.
Walk up the shallow-rise stairs over the bridge to turn left onto Gilberstoun then right onto Brunstage Road South. Follow this road and its curve to the right then turn left onto the unpaved trail. Turn right onto Bauld Drive which will take you onto Newcraighall Road.
Follow this road and its curve to the right then turn left onto the unpaved trail. Turn right onto Bauld Drive which will take you onto Newcraighall Road.
Newcraighall was once a coal mining area until 1968. Several people were important during this period and were therefore commemorated with monuments spread throughout the area. The main monument is known as the “Spirit of Community”. On this stone column, you can see symbols such as a ladder, a dog, and a chainsaw, all of which point towards the mining profession. Not too far from here is a disused fountain (on the corner of Klondyke Street) in honour of Dr Andrew Balfour who was a community-focused philanthropist. The childhood home of Bill Douglas, most known for his film trilogy titled “My Childhood”, is also nearby. You can see the plaque erected in his honour on house number 28.
After looking at the various monuments, find your way to Newcraighall Drive towards the park.
Make your way around the park and follow the unpaved path onto the paved path and left onto Queen Margaret Drive towards Queen Margaret University.
Queen Margaret University provided a place for higher education to working-class women at a time when this wasn’t always possible in the late 1800s. As the university was originally established as the Edinburgh School of Cookery, the second goal of the institution was to improve the diets of working-class families. This university played a crucial role during both World Wars by providing catering at the camps, advising on rationing allowances, and guiding households on how to stretch these scarce food supplies as much as they could.
Exit the University turning left onto Queen Margaret Drive from the car park.
Turn left onto Whitehill Farm Road taking the second exit at the roundabout to stay on Whitehill Farm Road. Turn left onto Whitehill Avenue and follow the curve to turn left onto Stoneybank Gardens.
Turn right onto Stoneyhill Avenue which becomes Stoneyhill Farm Road after a couple of curves in the road. After crossing the short bridge, turn sharp right into Campie Road. Follow the curve at the end of the road to the right onto Eskside West which runs along the River Esk.
At the wider, second bridge, turn right then immediately left at the end of the bridge. Follow this path (Eskside East) along the river.
Turn left onto and over the bridge onto North High Street. Turn right onto Links Street then at the end of the road, just before the park, turn left on New Street then right on Links View which will take you to Fisherrow Sands.
Fisherrow Sands is one of the less busy beaches away from tourists and with an occasional food and snack truck. Feel free to take a break here and dip your feet into the water after a good cycle before you ride back or go home.
If you enjoyed this route, see our 17.5km Historic Castles Cycle.