Saturday, 11 June 2016
South Queensferry by a somewhat devious route
For the June 20 Milers ride our destination was South Queensferry. We probably find ourselves there several times a year; whether that is our final destination, or we're simply passing through on our way across the bridge. To keep it interesting, the leader took us there by a decidely less familiar route that took us past the airport. A turnout of 20 riders was slightly disappointing for this time of year. This probably had something to do with the weather. After a glorious week of weather, the return of cool and overcast conditions, with showers forecast probably put a few off. Fortunately, the showers stayed away. But it was hardly a typical June day. We managed to avoid getting in the way of a running race as we left the Meadows and made our way to Bruntsfield Links. Instead of taking the familiar route down to the canal, we headed along Bruntsfield Place before turning right into Merchiston Crescent. From the quiet back roads of Merchiston, we crossed the canal and made our way to Slateford Road. We followed this busy road past the Water of Leith visitor centre and onto Lanark Road, before turning off and picking up the cycle track beside the canal. Leaving the canal behind, quiet roads led us to the busy A8. The cycle path beside the A8 took us past the airport entrance and on towards the footbridge at Ratho Station. Steps on the bridge meant we had to dismount to get across. Once across, we were back on the cycle path and headed towards the Newbridge roundabout. Here we took the lovely cycle path through the trees leaving the busy roads behind. It was on this stretch that one of the group skidded on gravel and fell. Fortunately, the result was no worse than a grazed knee and we were able to continue. Leaving the path, we rode a very short distance on a quiet road before joining another cycle path near the village of Dalmeny. This took us to the Co-op in South Queensferry. From there, a quick whizz down the hill and we were heading into the centre of town for our lunch stop. Most of the group either had or bought sandwiches to eat on the steps overlooking the bridges. The cool wind blowing off the Forth made it less than ideal picnic weather. A canny few rode slightly further and had lunch in the cafe at Port Edgar sailing club, out of the wind.
The less direct outward route meant that the run back would be considerably shorter and quicker. As it was now getting quite cool, no one seemed to mind. We rode through the town, past Hawes Pier and onto the cycle path that took us through the Dalmeny Estate. Often, we'll pause on our way through the estate to enjoy the scenery. The cool wind meant we didn't on this occasion. We left the estate and made our way onto the bridge over the River Almond at Cramond Brig. Being somewhat sheltered, we paused as sweeties were passed round. From there, the familiar run through Barnton and on to the cycle path led us back to Craigleith. Once there, the leader declared the ride officially over. Some riders headed home, whilst others went and enjoyed a post-ride coffee - not surprisingly, inside! Thanks to David for leading us on an interesting and less well-known route to a familiar destination.
Map trace: Jim