Lin's Mill Loop 

Article in Konect Directory, Calders edition, September 2009

Distance 6km / 3.75 miles (approx. 1.5 - 2 hours)

Start and Finish: Suspension bridge, Almondell & Calderwood Country Park.

This route begins at the suspension bridge, which is just north of the Visitor Centre in the Almondell and Calderwood Country Park.  

Leave the Park by the suspension bridge, and follow the footpath by the canal feeder, across stiles and through kissing gates.  Look out for Illieston Castle on your left. 

Illieston Castle was the ancient hunting seat of the Kings of Scotland, particularly of James II and James IV.  The house was renovated in 1665 by Mr John Ellis. “MIE 1665” can be seen on the pillar of the main gateway.  The house is now in private ownership. 

Climb the steep steps and turn left on to the minor road at the top.  Follow the road straight on to the Union Canal at Lin’s Mill Aqueduct, a good place to stop for a break.  

William Lin, Right Heritor of Lin’s Mill, was the last person to die of the plague in Scotland.  No-one would help his wife to bury him, so she had to put his body in a sack and drag him into the woods for burial. Lin’s Mill is now in private owenership. 

Gravestone inscription -  “Here lys the Dust of William Lin, Right Heritor of Linsmill who died in the year of Our Lord 1645”

(While the plague raged at Uphall, the corpses were disposed of by dumping them in the dungeons of the ruined castle of Strathbrock). 

In 1895 a giant icicle was formed from the aqueduct to the river, 120 feet below.  A photograph can be viewed at the Visitor Centre  

Lin's Mill Aquaduct

Descend the steps at the side of the aqueduct.  Walk under the aqueduct and ascend the steps at the other side.  You should now find yourself on the other side of the Union Canal.

Follow the canal towpath over the aqueduct towards Broxburn.  Leave the towpath at the first exit you come to, a farm road.  Continue on the road in a westerly direction, crossing onto a minor road (watch out for passing traffic). You will pass Muirend Cottage, Lookaboutye Farm and the TA Centre at Drumshoreland. 

Turn left at the crossroads and make your way along the road back to the park.  Look out for the Wallace Stone on the right hand side of the road, a few feet from the roadside. (It is easily seen from the road but is in fact on private land).

Contine down the road to the North Entrance Pillars of the park. Walk beyond the pillars down the drive.  Turn left to return to the suspension bridge or to use the toilets.  Continue on to arrive at the Visitor Centre. 

The canal opened in 1822 after four years of construction and was known as the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal.  The name reflected the role of the canal, linking Edinburgh with the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk and so providing a through route between Scotland’s two major cities.

Hugh Baird was appointed as principal engineer, while following the advice of Thomas Telford.  The building of the canal was carried out by migrant Irish and Highland workers who had come to Central Scotland looking for work.  There were many complaints from the locals about the workers, the most common being for drunken and riotous behaviour! A parish minister complained of the Irish navvies - “They lowered very much the moral tone of the district, from which, he feared, it might never recover.”

The canal runs for 31.5 miles and follows the contours of the land, making locks unnecessary.

Today the canal is looked after by British Waterways and is used for boating, angling and walking. 

The Wallace stone was erected in memory of William Wallace by the 11th Earl of Buchan, David Stewart Erskine, and his wife Margaret Fraser, who owned the estate then.

William Wallace was said to have hunted Drumshoreland Moss when he was looking for King Edward who was encamped at Kirkliston, just before the Battle of Falkirk in 1298.

The stone bears an inscription in Latin dedicating it to Wallace and the date 15th October 1784.  It may be the earliest surviving memorial in Scotland dedicated to Wallace.

The stone is one of a pair; the other stone in the park and is dedicated to Sir Simon Fraser, ancestor of Margaret Fraser, who fought with Robert the Bruce. 

© Lothian Publications Ltd