20th Anniversary Year

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Saturday 13 July 2024

Summer ride in the Pentlands

Those present on today's ride will recognise the irony of the blog post title. Drizzle, light rain, dry but damp and misty - we had the lot on our ride to Harelaw Reservoir. Everything except warmth or sunshine. Early in the ride, one rider said, "if it gets no worse than this, I can put up with it". Granted, it could have been a lot worse, but it is July. Given the weather, it was a pleasant surprise to see 21 riders gather at the start, including several new faces.

It was cool and drizzly as we left the Meadows and made our way to Roseburn Park. A sign at the top of Leamington Terrace told us the road was closed, but threading our way past the sign, we found it wasn't. What we did find was that the road surface was as shockingly bad as ever. We can only hope they are going to resurface it. By the time we reached Roseburn Park, we had encountered no less than three sets of temporary traffic lights. Delays were minimal, and the whole group managed to get through each set. Through the back streets of Balgreen, through Carrick Knowe and Broomhouse and we were negotiating our way through the Gyle centre car park. Via Edinburgh Park, the subway and Gogar Station Road we arrived at Heriot Watt University where we had a comfort stop. Ian passed round delicious homemade cake which would sustain us on the climbs that lie ahead. We left Heriot Watt by the back entrance, through Curriehill and the quiet back streets of Currie to cross Lanark Road West and join the Water of Leith path. In Balerno, we took a slightly different route from our usual one. This one involved the same overall ascent but was spread over a somewhat longer distance, so we  avoided the worst of the gradients. From the number 44 bus terminus, we took a quiet cut through to re-join our usual route at Malleny Mills, and onwards to Harelaw Reservoir. Thanks to the unseasonal weather, the verges on the road to the car park were devoid of cars, and the car park itself was far from full.

Although it was cool and the hills were shrouded in mist, we managed to eat our picnic lunches in the dry. But no sooner had we set off on the homeward leg, the heavy drizzle returned and it turned cooler still. The rough path down towards Clubbiedean was treacherous in places. In the interests of self-preservation, we walked a few short sections. There followed some most welcome surfaced tracks, then more rough stretches. At the bottom of one steep descent was a wooden bridge. It was soaking wet and riding on it was akin to soap on marble. Fortunately, everyone got safely across, but the writer did have a wee heart-in-the-mouth moment. Back on smooth tarmac, all was going well until we met a large SUV heading up towards us. As it took up most of the width of the road, one-by-one we had to squeeze past on the grass verge. All the times we've been down that track over the years, yet no one ever recalled having met a vehicle coming up. The remainder of the descent into Bonaly passed without incident. As did our ride back via Redford, Greenbank and Morningside. At the Meadows, the leader declared the ride officially over.

Thanks to Mike for leading and Alan for back marking. The trip to Harelaw is always enjoyable, but the weather didn't help today. Let's hope for some proper summer weather by the time of our next ride.

Leader: Mike

Report: Glenn

Photos: Glenn

Monday 8 July 2024

July ride this coming Saturday


This is a reminder of our next ride, which will take place this coming Saturday. We'll be heading out to a familiar destination: the Harlaw Reservoir at the edge of the Pentlands. I can promise you a particularly scenic route with pleasant countryside and nice views.

The total distance will be about 24 miles. Inevitably, there will be a fair amount of climbing, especially in the morning (not for nothing are they called the Pentland Hills). However, we will be taking a slightly different route from the usual one. This will involve the same overall ascent but it will be spread over a somewhat longer distance, so we will be avoiding the worst of the gradients.

And we'll be rewarded with some nice downhills in the afternoon. But the afternoon will also see a couple of very rough paths. On previous visits some of us have had to dismount and push on these rough bits; fortunately, they are fairly short.

Lunch arrangements

There are no shops, cafés or other catering outlets anywhere near the reservoir, so it is essential for everyone to bring food and drink for their lunch. Happily the reservoir provides several nice spots for picnics.

Since more than half our mileage will be in the morning, lunch will be a little on the late side. You may wish to bring an extra snack to ward of the hunger pangs on the outward leg.

There are portable (chemical) toilets at the reservoir. We will also stop for a toilet break about half way through the morning.

Time and place

This is the same as always. We'll set out at 10:30 from the north end of Middle Meadow Walk. As you know, there is no advance booking for our rides, so just turn up if you decide to join us.

Please be sure to bring a picnic even if the weather is bad, as we have an alternative spot in mind where we can eat our lunch under cover if necessary.

Looking ahead

Our next Extra ride has been fixed for 27 July. I'll post the usual details here nearer the time. In the meantime, happy pedalling.