EDINBURGH 20-MILERS

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Monday 3 June 2019

Full Steam Ahead to Bo'ness


Seventeen riders turned up at Craigleith for our first Extra of the summer. These Extra rides are aimed at the somewhat more active members of our group. We go a little faster and a little further than on our standard runs, and aim to visit places that would otherwise be beyond our range. Today's ride was no exception: a 38-mile round-trip to Bo'ness in West Lothian.

The first leg of the route was a familiar one: NCN1 to Cramond Brig, the underpass and the new cycle track to the Carlowrie Road, and the railway path to Kirkliston. We stopped for a comfort break at the Kirkliston Leisure Centre, then continued west on the quiet back road past Niddry Castle. After four miles on the canal towpath, we reached Philpstoun, where we took another break (with some delicious home-made chocolate brownies on offer).

The next stage of the ride involved a notorious killer hill – one that we have often struggled up on our rides to Blackness Castle. This time, we had the pleasure of going down, which was most exhilarating. In no time at all, we were in Blackness village, from where we set off on the last leg of the morning. This took us on a new stretch of path along the shore of the Forth. This path replaces a rough footpath which was always difficult for cyclists. Now, apart from one unpaved section, it is a well-surfaced track offering delightful views across the firth. The path led us into Bo'ness, where we made our way to the terminus of the preserved Bo'ness and Kinneil railway.

The railway turned out to be an ideal lunch stop: lots of picnic tables, a spacious café, and plenty of interesting things to see. About half-way through the break, the whistle of an approaching train could be heard. Several members of the group rushed to the platform, where they caught a glimpse of a steam–hauled train arriving in the station. Most of us, it must be said, preferred to stay put and catch a glimpse of our lunch.

For the return to Edinburgh, we retraced the outward route along the coast to Blackness. Staying near the coast, we then followed the path through pleasant woodland towards Abercorn, and then into the Hopetoun House deer park and on to South Queensferry. After a short pause outside the Co-op, we continued to Dalmeny, where we re-joined NCN1 for the final stretch back to Craigleith, arriving there a little after 4 pm.

The day had stayed dry and reasonably warm, and there were no problems of any kind. Nobody had any difficulty in keeping up, and the ride was free of punctures and other mechanical difficulties. In short, a good start to the Extra season.

Leader, report and photos: Mike
Sorry, no map this time.

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