Monday 12 November 2012
November ride to Mortonhall (10th November)
For our November ride, Chris Pearson led a group of 20 riders on a fascinating route through the east and south of the city.
In bright sunshine, we left the Meadows via George Square and the Pleasance, then headed through Holyrood Park to Duddingston Village. We then proceeded along Cavalry Park Drive to Duddingston House (built in the 1760s for the Earl of Abercorn, and now housing offices and a conference centre). We continued through the quiet streets of Bingham (passing St Mary Magdalene, which Chris describes as "possibly the ugliest church in Britain"), and then along a short stretch of the Innocent Path.
Just before Asda, we took a new section of path that goes to Fort Kinnaird, and then on to Whitehill Road. We continued through Shawfair, Hilltown, Millerhill Road and Danderhall. At the padlocked gate leading into the Drum Estate, Chris surprised us by apparently using his key to enter the grounds (it was actually a bit of sleight of hand involving what looks like the door to a private house but which actually leads to a public path).
After passing Drum House (a Palladian mansion built by William Adam around 1730), we continued through Gilmerton and along Lasswade Road to the entrance to Burdiehouse Valley Park, and then across Captain's Road and into Gracemount. After crossing Howden Hall Road, we reached Mortonhall.
For lunch, we divided ourselves between the Mortonhall Stable Bar and the café in the nearby garden centre. In the bar, the server asked (politely) for payment in advance, hinting at previous difficulties with cyclists leaving without paying - no further details forthcoming.
After lunch, we took a muddy but picturesque woodland path towards Braid Road, struggling a bit up a section with loose gravel. We crossed Comiston Road into Pentland View, and then on to Braidburn Valley Park.
At this point, the first drops of rain were falling, so we hastily continued on the final section of the route, via Canaan Lane, the Astley Ainslie grounds and Whitehouse Loan, with people peeling off at various points along the way. It was another excellent ride - and, as a bonus, was completely puncture-free.