Saturday, 5 October 2013
20-Milers Extra to Linlithgow
We started from Craigleith, following the familiar route to Cramond Brig, and then on to the Carlowrie Road and the railway path into Kirkliston. Continuing westward, the B9080 was busy with traffic, but we only had to put up with it for a mile or so. After branching off onto the lane towards Niddrie Castle, we stayed on quiet roads for the rest of the morning.
This was a delightful stretch of route: a little hilly, it's true, but with excellent views towards the Firth of Forth and beyond. At Wester Ochiltree, we turned north, and enjoyed a fast freewheel down to the main road at Champfleurie (see photo).
Linlithgow turned out to be an ideal lunch destination. Half a dozen of us commandeered a picnic table outside the palace, enjoying a superb view over the loch. The rest of the group headed for various cafés nearby.
For the return leg, we headed up to the canal basin, then took the towpath for a while, returning to the road at the Park Bistro. By now, the sun had come out. In fact, it was a surprisingly warm afternoon: 17C at one point - not bad for October.
At Philpstoun, most of the group turned north east, taking a scenic loop through the Hopetoun Estate and South Queensferry. But a few of us decided we wanted a quicker route home, so I led a break-away contingent at a fast-ish pace, making a bee-line towards Edinburgh via Winchburgh and Kirkliston.
In theory, my group should have got home quite a bit earlier than the main party. I don't know what went wrong. Either we weren't pedalling as fast as I thought, or the "slow" party was in fact moving at a very fast clip. But, to my embarrassment, the two groups converged just north of Cramond Brig. Ah, well ...
Apart from a puncture just before the end of the ride (the second one of the day), the rest of the run was uneventful. We got back to town at by about 4.30 pm, after cycling 35 miles or so on a very pleasant day. All in all, it was another successful outing.
Report and photo: Mike