The small South Lanarkshire town of Biggar (population 2,300) is less than 30 miles from Edinburgh city centre. That’s just a one-hour bus ride, half of which is spent escaping the city. The full route goes all the way to Dumfries about three times a day, but numerous short workings ensure an hourly frequency between Edinburgh and Biggar. It can seem a little counterintuitive that the road from Edinburgh passes first through Midlothian and then through a chunk of the Scottish Borders council area in order to reach the district of Upper Clydesdale, but that’s probably caused by a tendency to underestimate the extent of South Lanarkshire.
Specific attractions in Biggar include Scotland’s only preserved gasworks and Scotland’s only permanent puppet theatre, but on a sunny autumn morning during the Covid pandemic, I was content simply to wander around town.
As lunchtime beckoned, I boarded a local bus to travel 12 miles northwest to Lanark (population 8,200), on a route that smoothed out the wild meanderings made by the River Clyde on its similar journey. I ate at the Inn on the Loch, then made the customary circuit of Lanark Loch before walking into town for a quick look around. I returned to Edinburgh by train, changing at nearby Carluke.