edinburgh To Glasgow By Linlithgow And Stirling

Source South West

Route length: 67 miles

A church or sacred site

Destination hub

St Flannan's Catholic Church, Kirkintilloch

Close to the Antonine Wall, St Flannan's was designed by William Gilmour and opened in 1970. The form of the building represents praying hands.


This site is featured in Scotland’s Churches Trust guide book Glasgow & Clyde Valley, reference number 72.

You can see more details on the SCT website.

St Mary's Parish Church, Kirkintilloch

St David's Memorial Park Church, Kirkintilloch

St Patrick's Catholic Church, Kilsyth

Burns & Old Parish Church, Kilsyth

St Mary's Church, Stirling

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, Stirling

Chapel Royal, Stirling Castle

Church of the Holy Rude, Stirling

St Peter's Episcopal Church, Linlithgow

St Michael's Parish Church, Linlithgow

The High Kirk of Glasgow (St Mungo’s Cathedral)

High Kirk of St Giles

By Road

Leave Edinburgh on Calder Road, and then join the M8 and then M9 as far as junction 3 for Linlithgow. After visiting the Palace and St Michael's, rejoin the M9 at junction 4. Leave the M9 at junction 10 to enter Stirling.

Leave Stirling on the A9. Immediately after the roundabout junction with the A872 turn right into St Ninians. After leaving St Ninians, join the A872 for 300 yards before turning right and left to cross over the motorway and follow the minor road to Carron Bridge. Carry on over the cross roads and proceed to Kilsyth.

In Kilsyth turn right on to the A803. Follow this right in to Glasgow. After crossing the M8, Glasgow Cathedral is on your left.

By Cycle

Leave Edinburgh by way of The Meadows and the Union Canal. Follow the canal towpath to Ratho, here turning right towards Ratho Station. (Alternately, you can continue on the canal towpath, adding 2 miles to your journey). Cross under the motorway. The route takes you through an industrial estate to the A89. Follow this for just under a mile before turning right towards Winchburgh. After passing the lane to Niddry castle, and crossing over the railway bridge, you can cross the grass verge to rejoin the canal towpath.

Continue to Linlithgow.

On leaving Linlithgow, continue westwards on the Union canal towpath as far as Polmont.

Join the B810. Go north until meeting the A905. Turn left on to the cycle path. (NCN 76). Follow NCN 76 as far as Drum of Kinnaird. At this point either follow the NCN 76 signs, or turn right and then take the first left to rejoin NCN 76. Follow NCN 76 to the outskirts of Stirling, and then follow map directions to reach Stirling castle.

Leave Stirling on the B8051, turning left for 100 yards on the A 9 before entering St Ninians with its parish church.

Leaving St Ninians join the A872 for 300 yards before turning right and left to cross over the motorway and follow the minor road to Carron Bridge. Carry on over the cross roads and proceed to Kilsyth. Carry on through Kilsyth to the Forth & Clyde canal. Turn right on to the towpath.

Follow the canal right in to Glasgow. Immediately before crossing over the River Kelvin, turn left to drop into Kelvingrove. Follow all the way down. St Mary's Episcopal cathedral is 1/4 mile along the Great Western Road. To reach it you must go under the bridge carrying the road and then turn left.

By Foot

The Union canal towpath goes by way of Linlithgow to Falkirk.

By Public Transport

There are railway stations in Edinburgh,  Linlithgow, Stirling and Glasgow as well as at intermediate stations. This part of the route is well served by buses also.

Public transport information can be found on the Traveline website.

Follow the pride and glory of the Stewart Kings from their capital city of Edinburgh with its Palace, Abbey and Royal Castle, to the great chateau at Linlithgow by the lake. Here also is the medieval Church of St Michael towering above the burgh town. Continuing to Stirling you encounter another Royal Castle and Palace with its attendant Kirk of the Holy Rude and ancient burgh. The worldly power and devoted piety of the Kings and Queens of Scots appear as two sides of the same coin, till all was submerged in bloody civil war and religious conflict between Protestant and Catholic, leading first to Union with the English crown and subsequently the Westminster Parliament. But the wars of Church and State continued into modern times with Covemanters, Royalists and Parliamentarians struggling to assert the relative authorities of crown, kirk and parliament, in Scotland, England and Ireland.

Leaving Stirling you reconnect with the missionary saints. At St Ninians the historic church is probably a foundation of Ninian himself. Note the freestanding traditional tower, probably replacing a Celtic round tower. From here the followers of Ninian moved north into Pictish territory, carrying the Christian message into the Grampians. Our route though heads west by the Carron Valley, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch. It was also travelled by the early Celtic missionaries with the line of the hills on the north hand and the Antonine Wall on the other. Approaching from the north side you realise why Glasgow was known as ‘a dear green place’ sloping to the River Clyde, with its back to the sheltering hills.

St Mungo came by the Antonine Wall route, and founded his settlement on the site of what is now Glasgow’s medieval Cathedral. It breathes a truly spiritual glory, expressed in superb medieval architecture and modern stained glass. The tomb of Mungo can still be visited in its crypt beneath the original high altar.

‘May Glasgow flourish by the preaching of His word and the praising of His name’ is the city’s motto and few places can claim so many fine churches, including the recently restored St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cathedral by the river, St Mary’s Episcopal cathedral and St Luke’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral in the West End. Downriver at Govan the ‘People’s Cathedral’- Govan Old- still sits within a Celtic monastic enclosure rich in early carved stones.

Living stones of faith,
We are your heirs
Tower, choir, spire and vault
Tell their story
Sing their praise.
But we are creatures
Of our age and time.
We bring new hopes and fears.
We add our mark
Speak our quiet word
Of question, expectation,
Continuing the music
In our own key.

We would love to hear about your experiences on this route - please post your comments below