Sunday, 12 July 2015

Back Roads to Dundee

After the fun of my trip to Berwick upon Tweed I decided to go for another back roads ride on my CBF250. This time I chose Dundee, a city 70 miles (as the crow flies) to the north east of Glasgow. Finding back roads route was tricky. The trip was through the heavily populated central belt of Scotland where there are many town and main roads.

In Coatbridge there is a section of the Monklands Canal. This was built in the late 18th century to transport coal from there to Glasgow. Much of the canal is gone, the M8 motorway in the east of the city was built over it.

At the entrance to a park in Coatbridge is a steel arch by sculptor Andy Scott. It depicts industry & nature on either side and, eh, superheroes in the middle.

In the town there are sculptures depicting the trades in the heavy industries that dominated this area in the past.

 The "Orange Walk" - not a welcome sight in a predominately Catholic town.

 Another junction another lack of signs. Oh well, eeny meeny… 

 Lost in North Lanarkshire.

South of Falkirk is the village of California. It is unusual in Britain, or Europe for that matter, to find a place named after another place. The origins of the name are uncertain but this was a coal mining area that was developed in the mid 1800s at the time of the California gold rush and it is thought that the town saw a connection to the "black gold" mined here. There is now no sign of this past. Its name is, in truth, the only interesting thing about the place.

 The Forth Rail Bridge with a cruise ship behind.

 Falkland in Fife

A statue of the guy that paid for the church in Falkland. Included here because his name was Oneisiphorus Tyndall Bruce

 The River Tay at Newburgh

 Balinbreich Castle
 The CBF and a field of oilseed rape

Ornate Victorian drinking foundain at Newport-on-Tay. Inscribed "The Gift of Mrs Blyth Martin, 1882". Nice to see someone has given it a fresh coat of paint.

The Tay Bridge in Dundee. The 3.5 km long railway bridge was opened in 1878 but a section collapsed during a storm the following year killing 75 on a train. The event was commemorated in a poem. Unfortunately it was by William Topaz McGonagall, the world's worst poet. It starts…

Beautiful railway bridge of the silv'ry Tay

Alas! I am very sorry to say

That ninety lives have been taken away

On the last sabbath day of 1879

Which will be remember'd for a very long time.

The bridge collapsed because the piers were inadequate to withstand wind loading, which was poorly understood at the time. The deck was re-erected on stronger supports. The old foundations can be seen to the right in the picture above.


  1. Looks like a great day of wandering. There seems to be an abundance of cool looking bridges over there.

  2. I have to study the map for these trips to try to find roads I've never ridden before. Not easy after 40 years on the road, but possible.

    I made a living for many years as a Civil Engineer specialising in bridges, so I've got an interest in them.