North Queensferry To Townhill (Section 1)



The Kingdom Cycle Route (KCR) forms part of the National Cycle (NCN) Route 1 and is an integral part of the North Sea Cycle route. The North Sea Cycle route connects mainland Scotland, to Orkney, Shetland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands and England. In all 5,700 km or 3,500 miles of quiet roads and cycle tracks. The 168 km or 105 miles KCR is a circular route linking the Forth to Tay Bridges, running from North Queensferry to Tayport and back by way of Glenrothes and Kirkcaldy.

This section covers the 12 km or 8 miles from the Forth Road Bridge to Townhill.


The Kingdom Cycle Route, (KCR), has made attempts to segregate, cyclists from other road users though in the vast majority of cases this has not been possible, leading to some interesting diversions to avoid traffic. For example, the first section outlined below, the seasoned cyclist going north, would think nothing of cycling to Kinross by way of Inverkeithing, Crossgates, Cowdenbeath and Kelty while the KCR takes a longer more hillier route with much less traffic. The KCR tends to cater for the inexperienced rather than the experienced cyclist and always sides with caution. Sometimes the KCR makes no sense at all: so it is best to make up your own mind either stick to the way-marked route or make some deviations to suit conditions. The National Cycle Network (NCN) Route 1 uses the eastern bridge service road so the first section runs “against” the flow of traffic on the bridge. The KCR begins off the south bound cycle path of the Forth Road Bridge and runs to the former mining village of Townhill. (My personal choice would be to use the western service road; at the Bridge Control Centre a road runs down and under the bridge leading up to the north bound carriageway.) A Tourist Information office can be found in the Queensferry Lodge Hotel, just off the western bridge service road (north bound) footpath of the Forth Road Bridge. Inside is an interactive, computer display detailing the route and places of interest along the way. If following the NCN 1 the rider must double back along the B980 North Queensferry road.

1 - Continue along the shared use footpath, through the lay by and down to the double roundabout, after the second roundabout, cross the road and use the cycle lane as it goes under the railway viaduct. If using the westernmost bridge service road: Continue to the lay by and turn left and go down the footpath to the road, cross over, turn right and continue to the roundabout on the footpath. Alternatively continue on the pavement off the Bridge, cross the lay by (watch out for fast traffic behind) and then exit off the slip road to the roundabout. The designated crossing point has restricted visibility, continue under the A90. Inverkeithing – where a cycle lane begins, continue up the hill into town. Sandy Wallace’s Cycle shop, one of two cycle shops directly on the route, is on the left near the top of the hill.

2 - Exercise caution crossing – fast traffic on the double roundabout. Turn right then left onto the B981 – the roadside cycle lane continues to the bottom of the hill, then crosses the road onto a shared used footpath." (This is an example of the routes short comings.)

3 - Steep hill. The route utilises a road which is busy, narrow and not pleasant for cycling. At one point near the top of the hill, the road narrows between two houses forming a hazardous “choke point." This part of the route deserves caution.

4 - Shared footpath – the path surface is uneven and does not make for pleasurable cycling especially on narrow tyres, smother riding can be had on the road.

5 - The route crosses the road and passes down a narrow lane with the ubiquitous “Cyclists Dismount” sign (very useful on a cycle route). The lane emerges at a turning circle, cross over and continue through to the lane then turn right. The route then crosses the A907 using the Pelican crossings. Alternatively rejoin the road and cross with the traffic in the usual manner. The KCR continues on the far side, underneath a railway bridge before rejoining the footpath as it continues uphill (11% gradient), past the hospital – easier climbing on the road (less stop / starts).

6 - Turn left onto a disused railway, passing the Townhill Loch and the small power station, following the path towards the right and down to the road.

7 - Turn left and join the road towards Kinross.

All Material Copyright Of Wallace Shackleton [2001]