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Friday, 20 June 2014

An evening ride for the summer solstice

We had a special evening ride tonight to mark the (almost) longest day. And what a lovely evening it was: clear, dry, and warm (21 degrees at 8 p.m). About 20 of us, led by Jim, set out from the Meadows just after 6.30 pm.

Our route was an eclectic one. We started by heading south through the Grange, then on through Morningside and Craiglockhart to join the canal at Allan Park. At Harrison Park, Logan decided he would risk letting us invade his front room for a refreshment stop, which we duly did. We then rejoined the canal for a quick run into Fountainbridge, where the bunting had already been put in place for Saturday's Canal Festival.

Our route then took us past the Conference Centre, and down into the Grassmarket (see photo). We continued down the Cowgate to Holyrood, then along Abbeyhill to Regent Road, where we paused to look at the Stones of Scotland Monument. This circle of stones, one from each of Scotland's 32 local authority areas, was created in 2002 to mark the rebirth of the Scottish parliament.

Next came the highlight of the ride: the ascent of Calton Hill. We lingered at the summit for a while, gazing at the excellent view of the Firth of Forth and the Lomond Hills. But by now it was nearly 9.30 pm; the light was just beginning to fade, and a cooling breeze had sprung up. So we switched on our lights and donned our yellow jackets for the next leg of the ride.

This took us down Easter Road, where two impatient motorists did their best to spoil the pleasant ambience, but failed. At Thorntreeside, we took the Restalrig railway path through Seafield and on to Leith Links. The final leg was along Water of Leith, Goldenacre and Telford paths to the Craigleith path junction. Many of the group had peeled off by this point, and so, at 10.20 pm and after 18 miles, we declared the ride officially over. It was a very successful run -  and an excellent way of spending a summer's evening.

Leader: Jim
Report, photos and map: Mike

View 20-Milers Summer Solstice Ride in a larger map

Monday, 16 June 2014

Evening ride this coming Friday

A reminder of our evening ride this coming Friday (20th June). It will be about 15 miles, give or take a bit, and will last about three hours. Friday is very close to the summer solstice, so we should be in daylight the whole way, but I suggest you bring lights in case we get delayed.

We'll meet at our usual spot at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, ready to set off at 18.30. As with all our rides, this one is free, with no need to book in advance.

Note that we are not planning to stop for a meal during the ride. You might like to grab a bite to eat before we start, or bring a snack to keep you going until we finish. No doubt some of us will adjourn to a pub after the event.

Our next normal monthly ride will be on Saturday 12th July; I'll post more details of that nearer the time.

Sunday, 15 June 2014

20-Milers on the Lepra ride

About a dozen of our members decided to forsake yesterday's 20-Milers ride, and instead to devote our energies to the Lepra run: an annual 68-mile charity ride to St. Andrews via the Fife hills.

Although we all met up at the start point in Inverleith Park (along with several hundred other cyclists), we didn't try to ride together as a group. This was sensible. On a long ride like this, it's better to cycle at your own pace, rather than feeling pressured to keep up.

The route took us out of Edinburgh via Dalmeny and the Forth Road Bridge, and then to the west and north of Dunfermline. The scenery for these first 20-odd miles was not the most beautiful, but it improved noticeably after we turned off a main road and into the Cleish woods. After traversing the summit of Cleish Hill, we had a fast 3-mile downhill run to the lunch stop at Kinross. In the afternoon, we skirted Loch Leven and the Lomond Hills, and then into the delightful wooded Cults Hill. There was inevitably a lot of climbing, but once past the Chance Inn, we had a long gentle descent all the way to St. Andrews.

The weather was reasonably good to us, apart from a heavy burst of rain in the middle of the afternoon - nothing like as bad as the last time I did the ride, in 2012, when we endured solid rain and high winds the whole day. This time, it was mostly dry and warm, with some nice sunshine at the end.

As always, the catering arrangements were first class. The burghers of Kinross had laid on their usual extensive lunch for us (and I must say how nice it was to be personally welcomed and directed by marshals stationed along the road near the lunch point). And the much-appreciated tea stop at Freuchie was as superb as ever - see photo, right.

I finally arrived at St. Andrews at about half past four - earlier than my usual time. By this time I was a long way behind the faster members of our group, but ahead of several others. And, unusually for me, I wasn't totally exhausted. Those training runs over the last few weeks had clearly paid off.

Report and photos:  Mike

June ride to Dundas and Queensferry

A dozen or so of our regular riders were on the Lepra ride yesterday, but we still had fifteen - including some new faces - for Ken's run out to South Queensferry.

Starting as usual at 10.30 at Middle Meadow Walk, we headed across the Meadows and round the back of Tollcross to join the canal at the Leamington Lift Bridge. We were very careful on the short canal section (one of our more senior members having had an unexpected swim while out this way recently) and then under the Western Approach Road at Fountainbridge, through the wee park at the back of Dalry, a left and a right, and then onto the cycle path at Russell Road.

Unhurried, and now mindful that it was really quite warm, we took the NCN 1 path down to the junction at Craigleith and bore left out towards Davidsons Mains, Barnton, and our usual stop for sweeties (the ride leader having brought some excellent toffees) on Cramond Brig.
We then climbed the little hill up to the flyover over the main road, but we couldn’t continue along the cycle path as this is in the process of being upgraded (and, while it will take some time to do that, it looks like a good job is being done). So we took the Kirkliston Road past the Craigie Farm road end, and then joined the old railway path at Carlowrie. 

Rather than heading straight into South Queensferry at this point, we went a mile or so down to Kirkliston, then headed north for a short distance, and into the entrance to Dundas Castle. This often-overlooked estate (see photo) is really lovely, especially the pond and boathouse, and gives an interesting loop south and west of South Queensferry.  

After that, it was a very quick run into the town, with a lunch stop on the steps overlooking the shore. Some of  the group headed for the Picnic Café, which served us well - as usual. It was mild enough to sit outside, even though there was a touch of haar.  

After being fed, we took a steep - but very short - climb up The Loan to the Ferryglen path to Dalmeny village. Rather than retracing our outward route on the Kirkliston Road, we cut through the Dalmeny Estate to re-join NCN1 at Cramond Brig.  For the final leg, we headed back the way we’d come, for a coffee stop at the Meadows - a fitting end to our 25 or so  mainly sunny miles.

Map to follow

Leader: Ken
Report: Alan (Stalker)
Photo: Michael (Law)