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Saturday 12 July 2014

July ride to the Harlaw Reservoir

After several hot and sunny days, this morning was cooler and more overcast - but still good weather for cycling. Around 30 of us turned up for a ride to the edge of the Pentland Hills. I led the first group, with Ken in charge of the second.

Our route took  us over Bruntsfield Links, and then to Whitehouse Loan, Hermitage Drive, Braidburn Valley Park, the Braid Burn path, and Redford Road. At Colinton, we had a brief comfort stop before continuing along Woodhall Road. This part of town has a distinctly suburban feel to it, but once we passed the City Bypass, we were in open countryside, with fields on both sides of the road, and good views all round.

Inevitably, given that we were heading for the Pentland Hills, we had some climbing to do. Most of this was concentrated on the Curry Kirkgate, a grindingly steep half mile of ascent that climbs from Blinkbonny to Harlaw Road. We all made it to the top without mishap - albeit with various degrees of exhaustion.

A mile or so later, we arrived at our planned lunch stop: the picnic tables by the Harlaw Reservoir. Here, there was a moment of slight embarrassment for yours truly. I had assiduously warned the group that there would be no café or pub anywhere near the reservoir, and that they must bring their own food or face starvation. What I didn't know was that some enterprising person recently set up a caravan, right outside the ranger station, from which they were serving hot drinks, sandwiches, soup, cakes and a tempting selection of crêpes: in short, everything you need for a decent lunch. I'm sorry I didn't know about this earlier - although several of our party were quite happy to buy a meal from the caravan and eat the sandwiches they had brought with them.

After lunch, we did a circuit of the Harlaw and Threipmure Reservoirs. And then it was downhill almost all the way home. We had an exhilarating freewheel down to Balerno, followed by a fairly fast run on the Water of Leith path to the point where it crosses the canal.

At this point, the two groups were re-united. Some riders then chose to continue along the Water of Leith to Roseburn. Others made a bee-line back to town along the towpath. For most of us, the timing was impeccable: we got home shortly before the arrival of a heavy burst of rain which lasted well into the evening.

Leaders: Mike and Ken, with Jim and Logan as backmarkers.
Report: Mike
Photo: Alison

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