20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 24 June 2023

In the heat of Midlothian


In all these years, the group has never been to Penicuik. On what must have been one of the warmest days of the year, our second Extra ride of 2023 saw us head to the Midlothian town. The skies were overcast with the occasional spell of bright sunshine, but boy was it warm. There was a noticeable breeze, but even that was warm. We mustered just thirteen riders at the Fisherrow Harbour starting point, which was a little surprising given the weather and the promise of a new destination. The leader had a good idea of how to get from there to the Grove until he spoke to the writer, who told him of a better way to avoid busy roads. As a result, the writer doubled up as temporary leader to guide the group on a twisty route through the quiet backstreets of Musselburgh. Once at the Grove, the reigns were handed back to the leader. At Whitecraig the leader surprised the writer by taking a new route to join the usual cycle path towards Dalkeith. We whizzed through Dalkeith's parks in the opposite direction to usual, over the Maiden Bridge and through the familiar kissing gate. Past the police station and Eskbank station before a comfort stop at Tesco. At this point, Iain kindly went round with homemade cakes. Leaving Tesco behind, we joined the cycle path which took us to Rosewell. There we joined NCN 73 for a delightful ride through the lovely Midlothian countryside to Penicuik, where most of us headed to Montgomery Park for a picnic, whilst a few opted to find somewhere to eat in town.

The group came back together and we left Penicuik on the A701 - the main road to Edinburgh. A combination of inconsiderate and near-psychopathic drivers, heavy traffic, poor road surface and laughable excuses for cycle lanes made that by far the least enjoyable part of the ride. Just before the Gowkley Moss Roundabout, with great relief, we left the road and joined a shared use cycle and foot path to negotiate our way onto the road for Roslin, where we joined the cycle path towards Shawfair. Leaving the path at Lasswade Road, a number of twists and turns on cycle paths and quiet roads took us to a comfort stop at Morrisons on Gilmerton Road. Through the backstreets of Moredun, along Old Dalkeith Road, through Craigmillar Castle Park and Peffermill and we were at the Innocent Railway. The coolness in the Innocent Tunnel was very welcome on the way back to town.

At the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over. Despite the heat and the very unpleasant road out of Penicuik, everyone enjoyed the ride. Thanks to Mike for leading and Alan for backmarker duties. It is very likely that we'll head to Penicuik again for an Extra ride; but we'll need to find a better route out of the town.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

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