|NCN1, NCN76, NCN754, NCN74, NCN756, NCN7, NCN753, NCN78
|Route outline (key)
NCN Route 75 is a cycle route which crosses the Scottish central belt from Edinburgh to the Clyde at Greenock, and then continues via ferries across the Cowal Peninsula to Tarbert on Loch Fyne. Through the early part of the route in Edinburgh, there are a multitude of alternative local cycle routes to the signed one, some of which offer a short cut in places.
Leith - Gourock
The route starts in the historic port of Leith and initially follows the Water of Leith south into the City centre. It then cuts through the New Town, meeting routes NCN1 and NCN76 After multiplexing with both, NCN75 turns west across The Meadows, to multiplex with NCN754 along the Union Canal Towpath, before resuming the Water of Leith walkway at Kingsknowe. After a brief link along the A70 at Balerno, minor roads are used to reach Livingston.
Through Livingston and beyond to Bathgate, the route is mostly off road, and then it follows the railway line across to the edge of Airdrie, with a few detours here and there. After a short roadside section along the A89, the route cuts around the south of the town and Coatbridge, using parts of the old Monklands Canal route. A meandering route through Uddingston and Cambuslang finds the Clyde Walkway, which is followed through Glasgow to the SECC, with a multiplex with NCN756 in the city centre. At the SECC NCN7 is met, and the two multiplex across the bridge and out through Pollok Park and Paisley to Linwood where they split.
NCN75 then crosses the hills through Kilmalcolm on an old railway line to the edge of Port Glasgow, where side roads lead down to Greenock Docks. From here, the route weaves around side roads, running parallel to the A78, before following the Esplanade round to Gourock. At the pier, the route meets NCN753, which continues round the coast to Inverkip, whilst NCN75 takes to the passenger ferry (a vehicle ferry operates from further round the coast).
Cowal and Kintyre
The ferry crosses to Dunoon, from where the cycle route turns north along the A815. From now on, the route is entirely on road, and mostly classified roads, but traffic levels are much lower and there is little risk from cycling in the road. After passing through Sandbank, the cycle route turns west on the B836, with a couple of steep hills either side of Loch Striven. At the far end of the road, the route turns north briefly on the A886, before turning west onto the A8003. This route is also the Cowal Way, but unfortunately the cycle route has to stay on the road when the long distance path turns off. This leaves cyclists with a series of steep climbs to negotiate, but the coastal path is difficult to traverse on foot in places, and impossible to cycle through.
The A8003 ends in Tighnabruaich, where the cycle route follows the B8001 westwards to Millhouse, and then the minor road down to the Portavadie Ferry. This appears to be the official end of the route, but across the ferry it is just a short pedal along the A8015 into Tarbert, and then along the A83 to reach NCN78.