Sunday, 3 June 2012
20-Milers Extra Ride to East Lothian (2nd June)
We started by heading out on NCN 1 as far as Musselburgh Station, and then turned off towards the harbour and race course - and straight into a cold easterly wind. At Prestonpans, we paused for a "comfort break". (Did you know that the public toilets in Prestonpans have been voted Loo of the Year every year since 2001? They've got certificates on the wall to prove it.)
After passing the site of the Battle of Prestonpans (1745), we took a railway path to the edge of Tranent, then continued east through the town centre and along the main road to Macmerry. Then came a delightful off-road stretch, emerging at the entrance to Winton House (dating back to 1150, and now a wedding and conference venue).
We then headed west along a pleasant lane, which our leader insisted was the quietest road in the Lothians ("If we see a car, I'll eat my helmet"; mind you, by that time, some of us were so hungry we would have joined him).
A mile or so later found us in Ormiston, where we stopped for lunch at the Coalgate Bar (see photo). This is surely one of the most welcoming pubs our group has ever visited. After showing us where we could safely leave our bikes, the friendly staff opened the lounge for us, where platters of complementary sandwiches and biscuits were waiting, along with huge pots of tea and coffee. With the sun almost (but not quite) making an appearance, most of us chose to eat in the sheltered garden.
After lunch, we faced three miles of hilly roads into Cousland. We stopped for a quick look at the 18th Century smiddy (now back in use after extensive restoration; the adjoining cottage has an exhibition, but this is only open a few days a year). Then came the last leg of the ride, via the Carberry Estate, Whitecraig, Newcraighall and the Innocent Railway. At the top of the tunnel, we went our separate ways, after a very enjoyable 32-mile run.
Report by: Mike