20th Anniversary Year

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Tuesday 25 December 2012

Half-day Christmas ride

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For the second year running, we had a short ride this year on Christmas morning. Last time, I thought we did well with a turnout of seven. Today, we tripled that number, to 21. And the weather was kind: a completely dry day after nearly a week of dreary rain.

Our route took us down the Mound and along Princes Street, which was delightfully free of traffic. Then came some hard work: an ascent of Calton Hill. We lingered by the City Observatory for ten minutes, taking in the splendid view over the Forth to the Fife Hills. Descending the hill was more difficult than going up, with most of us choosing to push our bikes down the rough, stepped path to Greenside Church rather than trying to pedal down.

From London Road, we headed north through empty streets to St. Marks Park, across the Water of Leith, and on to the Warriston Path. The paths here were busy with dog-walkers and joggers. We paused in Victoria Park for a refreshment break, where we feasted on a cornucopia of home-made mince pies, stollen, shortbread, brownies, and other treats - all unexpectedly and generously provided by members of the group (I can see this becoming an annual tradition).

Our route then took us to Fiveways, Goldenacre, Warriston Gardens, Inverleith Place and Inverleith Park. From Fettes Avenue, we climbed up to Craigleath, where we joined the Roseburn Path. The southern end of this path has now re-opened after a long closure for tram works, so we were able to cut through to Haymarket Yards and out to Haymarket Terrace.

By this time, most of the group had peeled away at various points. The remaining half dozen or so continued past St. Mary's Cathedral to Queensferry Street, where, at 12.30 and after 10 miles, we went our separate ways.

Leader: Mike
Report: Mike
Photos: Livia

Sunday 9 December 2012

December's ride to Dalkeith Country Park

Dalkeith Country Park is generally closed in the winter, meaning that our rides in the past have been at warmer times of year. This month however the regular ride date (2nd Saturday of the month) co-incided with a Christmas Market being held in the Stables area, so Ken, our leader for the day, took the opportunity for a straightforward (using well known paths) route out with a very similar route back, to get back home before lighting up time (about 3.30pm at this time of year!)

We went out to Musselburgh along the Innocent Railway and then followed Route 1 out to Whitecraig, where we turned right at the roundabout and after a shortish section of road, turned into the Dalkeith Estate - finding that a new gate has been built across the access path. If it had been locked, we would have to had found an alternative route, but luckily a driver was exiting the park at the time we were arriving, and let us through.

The Stables bar kindly opened up their bistro area so that we could all get seated for lunch - mostly hot rolls or soup - I had some mulled wine too which was very warming and welcome. The Christmas market appeared to be a merry-go-round for children, a hook-a-bag stall, "Santa's Grotto" and some stalls in the far corner which I didn't investigate.

We left the estate by a slightly different (and much muddier!) route, coming onto the Old Craighall Road into Musselburgh (where there is a cyclable path on the busy section), and then back pretty much the way we had come, before the last few standing ended up at Peter's Yard for a coffee and cake.

Next ride - Christmas Morning (short route, finished by 1pm)

View 20Milers Dec12 to Dalkeith in a larger map