I found a map of climbs in West Lothian and headed out to try a few. I headed south from Linlithgow on Preston Road which rises up in a straight line as it leaves town, leading into a few turns before you reach the top – good warmup material. The road rolled up and down for a while until I peeled off to climb a nice steep looking hill called Cairnapple. It was ‘proper steep’ – lowest gear, standing on pedals as the tarmac surged upwards like a wall. Around the back side of the hill was a valley – steep down, then another similarly steep up. I carried on towards civilisation, ending up in Boghall. Turning round to retrace my steps meant climbing “Puir Wife’s Brae” – a severe uphill slog, part of which is at 14%.
All in all, a pretty good day of climbing and lots more hills to explore in the future. The day came to an unfortunate end when I came across a crashed cyclist on the way down towards Linlithgow – conscious but clearly suffered a high-speed fall. An ambulance and paramedics came, gave him oxygen and morphine and I could see he’d broken his clavicle (my area of expertise) and possibly ribs too. So, a sobering end to an otherwise fun day.