20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 8 July 2023

Staying dry in the Pentlands

Today's ride saw us head out to that old July favourite - Harlaw Reservoir in the Pentland Hills. Looking back at reports from previous years, we have had a variety of weather for this ride. The forecast for today suggested it would be dry and sunny until early afternoon; then thundery showers would arrive. Given the forecast, the fact that light rain began to fall before we had set off did not bode well. As it turned out, we had a warm day with a couple of brief, light showers that petered out within a minute or two. There was no thunder, not even in the far distance. The forecast may have put some off, or perhaps it's because we're into holiday season, but a turnout of 17 was OK rather than good.

Following the customary leader's route and safety briefing, we took the familiar route to Murrayfield via Bruntsfield Links, the Leamington Bridge, Fountain Park, the Telfer subway and Russell Road. On this section, the sky turned dark and a few drops of rain began to fall. The leader stopped and donned waterproofs, as did some of the others. Some chose to take a chance and wait to see if the rain came to anything. It didn't, and we soon stopped again as waterproofs were removed. The group repeated the waterproofs on-off dance a couple more times throughout the day. From Murrayfield, we joined the cycle path and arrived at the South Gyle shopping centre via Carrick Knowe and Broomhouse. Leaving the shopping centre behind, we were soon on the quiet roads of Edinburgh Park. Under the subway, up Gogar Station Road and we were at Heriot Watt University where we had a comfort stop and Iain's homemade cake. We left via the back entrance, making our way to Curriehill. Through the new housing development in Currie, a short stretch on Lanark Road West and we were in Balerno. Our toughest climb of the day took us up Harlaw Road and up to the reservoir. Despite many cars in the car park, we had the picnic area behind the visitor centre to ourselves. The rest of the group opted to picnic on the slope beside the reservoir.

Lunch over, we returned to the road, turned right and headed to Middle Kinleith. At the farm, we took a sharp right leaving the tarmac behind and heading onto a dirt track. A rider said to the writer, it was if we were heading into a different world at that point. They were right. The track got rougher, and ahead was proper open country. We were glad that the forecasted thundery showers did not arrive then. For a while we were on a very rough and stony track which slowed us down, especially those on bikes with skinny road tyres. But the rider on the balloon-tyred bike raced past everyone whilst grinning from ear-to-ear. Fortunately, the track became smoother and the riding became easier. We paused to regroup beside the Clubbiedean Coffee Stop. A horse was being led out of the café by its rider. She stopped and gave it a jam and cream scone. The things you see when out on a cycle ride! We sped down the hill [now on a tarmac road] leaving Clubbiedean and Torduff reservoirs behind. It had been a lovely descent with glorious views. Were we really just beyond Edinburgh's city limits? The backstreets of Bonaly and Colinton confirmed we were back in the city outskirts. From there we returned to the Meadows via Colinton Mains Park, Greenbank Crescent, the quiet backstreets of Morningside and Bruntsfield Links. Leaning up his bike and removing his helmet, the leader declared the ride officially over.

Another successful ride enjoyed by all. At least that has to be the conclusion based on the round of applause the leader received at the end. Thanks to Mike for leading, and Alison for back marking. We were all glad that we didn't have to contend with thundery showers on the homeward stretch.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

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