This ride links the Solway Firth to the Firth of Forth by way of three river valleys, the Annan, the Tweed, and the Esk, and the Southern Upland and Moorfoot Hills in between. This route has come about as a consequence of the initiative by the Upper Tweed Railway Path Group to negotiate to open up an extensive length of former railway west of Peebles, combined with the Scottish Borders Council opening the 11km Railway Greenway route from Peebles to Innerleithen in 2013, and Edinburgh City Council's resolve to open up a continuous coastal promenade route from Joppa to Granton. Whilst these works will take a number of years to complete, sufficient is in place to make this wonderful ride possible in 2014.
The ride is only signed South to North at present because from the Devil's Beef Tub to Lyne the current route must follow the main road down the Tweed valley. Eventually we hope that the proposed routes shown on this map will be opened to bypass all this main road, but at this early stage we are still in negotiation with a number of landowners so please do not try to follow them.
The ride starts on the Solway coast either from the site of the now demolished viaduct from Bowness - at 5,807 feet long not quite the equal of the Forth Bridge, or from the mouth of the River Annan, or from Powfoot at the point due South of the Forth Bridge! The main route then follows the gentle green terrain of the Annan valley to Moffat all the way on very quiet roads. (A tougher option via Dumfries and the Forest of Ae is shown on the map). Just beyond Moffat we walk up the steep side of the valley on a stone farm track to join the main road near its summit. Depending on the time of day this road is only lightly trafficked and you will soon have a fast and glorious ride all the way to Lyne.
From here we have the permission of the Wemyss and March Estate to create a good railway path to Peebles and we hope that this work can start before long. But in the meantime the surface is firm and suitable even for touring bikes to take advantage of the Neidpath Viaduct and its adjacent 500m long tunnel. An alternative route is marked on the map.
From Peebles the new railway greenway sweeps you effortlessly through to Innerleithen, before the long gradual climb through the Moorfoot Hills to the summit at 400m. From here you see the whole of Edinburgh and the Forth spread out below in a far flung vista.
You meet the sea at Musselburgh, 104 miles from the Solway at Annan. From here much of the route to the Forth Bridge is traffic free along the Portobello Promenades, the Leith Railway Paths, the Granton Esplanades and the Estate roads past Dalmeny House to arrive along the coast under the piers of the Forth Bridge – 122 miles from the start.