Kirk ruin retains ‘aura’

Man on a Bike - Auldcathie Kirk and Craigton Quarry
Man on a Bike - Auldcathie Kirk and Craigton Quarry

The mediaeval Auldcathie Kirk and Craigton Quarry are near the Union Canal.

Going east from Linlithgow the towpath has a firm surface and bright open aspect.

Beyond Philipstoun, however, it is in a very muddy wooded cutting but Scottish Canals is looking into the possibility of resurfacing it.

Floating weed drifting through reflections of bare trees, drystane seats and old milestones make for suitable photography subjects.

Numbered keystones on the bridges help keep track of your location. For they appear on the Spokes cycling maps, handy waypoints for a route card. Number 34 is the one for Auldcathie Kirk.

The Kirk is surrounded by fields full of winter cereals and, within living memory, cottages surrounded it.

This year. tractor tyre tram lines run east-west; walking in them minimises crop damage.

As I passed, around 200 pink-footed geese had other ideas, eating the fresh green leaves as quickly as they could but the crop will recover.

Auldcathie Kirk, thought to be 11th century, is a roofless ruin but still retains an aura of nine centuries of Christianity.

Craigton Quarry and stud farm are north of bridge 35 with several beautiful horses in the paddocks.

The quarry track is churned up by quad bikes making a summer visit more pleasant. The workings have been disused since the 1950s, the crater now a reed-covered wildlife haven.

Heading home, I was ready for the excellent coffee and lemon sponge at the Park Bistro – a new but welcome addition to an old landscape!