|To:||Thistly Cross (NT650774)|
|Distance:||26.2 miles (42.2 km)|
|Meets:||A901, A900, A1140, B6415, A6106, A1, B6415, A6095, A6124, B1348, B6454, A6094, B1361, B6414, B6371, B6363, B6471, A6137, A6093, B1347, B1407, B1377, A198, A1087, B6370|
|Former Number(s):||A1, A6096, B6374|
|Old route now:||B6415|
|Route outline (key)|
For many years, the A199 was a local road in Edinburgh, running between Leith in the north and Joppa on the city's eastern fringe. Improvements to the A1 since the 1980s have seen the A199 extended further east on no less than three occasions as it has taken over the course of most of the old A1. Between 1986 and 1996 it terminated at Macmerry; from 1996 until 2004, it stopped at Haddington; and with the completion of the A1 Expressway in 2004, it was extended again to the Thistly Cross roundabout at Dunbar, which looks likely to be the route's final eastern terminus.
Section 1: Leith – Edinburgh city boundary
The first part, from Leith to Portobello, is still original, and starts at the A901 Great Junction Street/Lindsay Road junction which also has Ocean Drive, the access to Ocean Terminal and the Leith Waterfront development, running off to the north. From this junction, it heads eastwards through Leith and past former bonded warehouses, now converted into flats on the north side, and the site of the former Leith Citadel station and modern housing on the south side. Shortly afterwards, the Water of Leith is crossed, and the oldest part of Leith, the Shore and King's Wark area is reached.
The A199 then continues as Bernard Street, which after a narrow start widens out to meet the A900 Constitution Street at traffic signals (left for the Leith Waterfront, right for Edinburgh city centre). However, we continue straight on. This next bit of the route is perhaps the least scenic, skirting the edge of Leith Docks and then, further on, the Seafield sewage works on the left hand side. This has been the scourge of locals during recent hot summers due to its effluent pong, but despite numerous complaints, little seems to have been done about it.
After the sewage works the road then climbs slightly before swinging left then right across a railway before continuing to Portobello as Seafield Road, affording a fine view down the Forth estuary towards Musselburgh and the East Lothian coast. Seafield Road is host to a good number of car showrooms, giving it the local nickname of the "Motor Mile".
After passing the car showrooms, the Lothian Buses Marine Garage on the left-hand side signals the approach of the Kings Road roundabout. Here, the A1140 (Portobello Road) approaches from the west, while to the east, King's Road leads down to Portobello beach. The original route of the A199, via Portobello to Joppa, is now the B6415 and the current A199 heads off south on Sir Harry Lauder Road, named after the famous Scots comedian who was born nearby and leading to the A1 at Milton Road. This road split the A6106 (Baileyfield Road) into two; the north section, now a cul-de-sac, can be seen to the left, and the south section branches off under a railway bridge and out to Millerhill and Dalkeith.
The A199 then meets the A1 at Milton Road at a set of traffic lights which recently replaced a roundabout. This junction is a cannon: the A199 comes in from the north and heads off to the east, while the A1 comes in from the west and heads south. From here to Dunbar, the route follows the original line of the A1, passing through upmarket suburbia and hotels, before a gentle drop brings you to a signal-controlled junction at Joppa. To the left is the B6415 (the former A199, making this the original eastern end of our road), to the right, the city boundary and Musselburgh, and it is here that we turn right to continue our journey.
Section 2: Edinburgh city boundary – Haddington
Despite the construction of the Musselburgh bypass in the mid-1980s, the town still suffers from traffic congestion, but don't let this put you off visiting it. Our route passes by housing, flats and the nearby Fisherrow Harbour, then at the Brunton Halls also the Hayweights it heads briefly south-east to cross the River Esk, beyond which is a set of traffic lights. We now turn left and strike east through the town centre and through another set of traffic lights to follow the road to Levenhall. Luca's ice-cream shop is just beyond this junction and is renowned far and wide for its ices; well worth breaking a journey for just to sample them.
From here the A199 heads out of Musselburgh and past the town's racecourse before meeting the B1348 and B6454 at Levenhall Roundabout, at one time a terminus for Edinburgh Corporation trams. From here a short climb leads up to Wallyford Toll where we also meet the B1361 (former A198) and A6094. After this, another gentle, gradual climb brings us to Tranent and a left TOTSO with the B6371 in the town centre.
After Tranent the route becomes rural and passes through Macmerry and Gladsmuir, before a Give Way sign on the outskirts of Haddington heralds the end of this stretch and a right turn is needed to continue our journey (left leads directly onto the A1). Immediately afterwards the A199 bears left at a roundabout and forms the first Haddington bypass, running parallel to the replacing A1 to the north at this point, before crossing underneath it on the northern outskirts of Haddington. This has given Haddington the distinction of being bypassed twice, first by the original A1, then by the current one.
Section 3:Haddington – Thistly Cross
The final stretch of the A199 from Haddington to Dunbar dates from 2004, when the A1 Expressway was extended east. We run parallel to the A1 for a stretch, passing the Monksmuir caravan park on the left before climbing up then down the Pencraig Brae, near East Linton. There is a layby with toilets at the summit, popular with truckers and trippers and earning it the moniker of "Piddle Point" locally.
After East Linton (another town bypassed twice), the Phantassie Roundabout is reached. This dates from 2006 and was built to eliminate a notorious accident blackspot on the eastern approach to East Linton. The A199 then runs parallel to the main East coast railway line. In a couple of miles there is a junction on the left with the A198 for North Berwick, then in another couple we meet the A1087 Dunbar road which forks left at the Beltonford Roundabout. The A199 then passes under the railway and meets the A1 Expressway at the Thistly Cross Roundabout, which also carries a realignment of the B6370 (Gifford - West Barns). This also brings us to the end of the A199. The dual-carriageway A1 continues east from here, though not as an Expressway, and bypasses Dunbar before finally becoming a single carriageway near Torness.