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A view from the Crag

Binny Craig near Uphall is a geologically important landmark in West Lothian and, although a modest 220 metres (721ft) high, the views from the top are anything but. Binny Craig has two faces, a rock face enjoyed by climbers and a gentler, grassy face appreciated by walkers. It is a great example of a crag-and-tail feature, the legacy of glacier movement during the Ice Age.

Binny Craig
Binny Craig

We started this walk from Uphall Station railway station where we left the car. Coming out of the station, turn right to follow the road downhill to Uphall, before crossing the road near the mini roundabout by the entrance to Houston House and heading up Forkneuk Road. We turn left, follow the road round to the right, go left, then right again through houses and a farm track stretches ahead. Here there’s a signpost for Binny Craig and, right on cue, the crag is dead ahead.

With the traffic noise thankfully behind us, it feels as if we’ve stepped Narnia-like into another world of wide open spaces and rolling, fertile farmland. The route towards the crag is straightforward and well-signposted. We leave the farm track and a path leads to a well-constructed bridge over a stream where a considerately placed bench is situated. Our goal is still in sight as we follow the public footpath bordering a field. Binny Craig’s trig point is visible too.

The ground is rising now as we walk up a grassy track by the side of a building onto a tarmac road, walk uphill for a few paces till another signpost directs us, via a couple of sturdy gates, onto a path between fields, new livestock-proof fencing on either side. A bit of an effort is needed as we climb up rough stone steps (approx. 60) between mixed woodland and a gorse-filled hillside. Then two more sturdy gates to negotiate and a last effort up the grassy slope to the top of Binny Craig.

The panoramic views are wonderful and well worth our exertions. We catch our breath and sit for half an hour enjoying the features in the landscape. The Ochil hills across the River Forth’s floodplain, the magnificent 1.5 mile long Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh and, on a clear day like today, the hazy shapes of Berwick Law and the Bass Rock. Closer to home, the Pentlands frame the Almond Valley spread below. A great place for to see where you live in 3D!

You can return the way you came or if you prefer a longer, circular walk, return by way of Ecclesmachan. Once back on the tarmac road, turn left and follow this road to the village, turn right at the junction which will take you back to Uphall.

Straight there and back: 7km/4.5 miles Circular route: 8.5km/5.3 miles

To make a shorter walk you could park and start in St Andrew's Drive, Uphall and walk along Strathbrock Place to join Forkneuk Road to commence the walk as above.

Published in Konect June 2015

Author: Yvonne MacMillan


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