Saturday, 18 July 2015
About 18 of us set off from the Craigleith path junction. For the first few miles, the route was so familiar that our bikes could probably have found their way on their own: along NCN 1 to Cramond Brig, then via the Carlowrie Road to the Kirkliston railway path. On leaving Kirkliston, we paused at the leisure centre, which provided a handy comfort stop. Then came a short stretch on the main road, followed by a pleasant mile and a half on the back road to Niddry Castle.
We then joined the canal towpath for about three miles, apparently heading back to town, which seemed counter-intuitive. But this was the part of the canal that makes a big loop around three sides of Broxburn, so in fact we were heading more south than east. After leaving the towpath at Bridge 23 (no other place names shown on the map), we enjoyed a delightful stretch along a country lane which took us through the Strathbock and Kirkhill woods, and so through the north gate of Almondell Country Park.
The country park is an excellent place for a bike ride. It has good paths and traffic-free roads, with dramatic views of the River Almond flowing through a deep wooded gorge. It was also our planned luch stop. But just as we arrived at the picnic tables - can you guess? - the sky darkened and some splodges of rain appeared. About a dozen of us headed for the shelter of the visitor centre. The friendly attendant allowed us to invade the centre's diminutive conservatory, where we somehow managed to squeeze around three tiny tables (with apologies to the family that was trying to enjoy their own quiet lunch there). However, a few moments later the rain stopped and the sky cleared, so some of us decamped to the centre's walled garden.
For the afternoon leg, we picked up NCN 75, which skirts East Calder and heads south east to Kirknewton and Long Dalmahoy. The wind was behind us now, and much of the route was slightly downhill, so we were making very good time. We paused for a few moments at a junction which is known in 20-Milers folklore as Yaz's Corner (after a memorable puncture there a year or so ago; I'll say no more). At the point where NCN 75 turns right for a long climb to Balerno, our leader wisely took us straight ahead on a gentler gradient towards the Curriehill road.
We ended the ride by pedalling through the Riccarton campus, Edinburgh Park, the Gyle and Corstorphine. By the time we reached Roseburn, several riders had peeled off. The rest of us took the Roseburn Path back to our starting point. At 30 miles, it was a very enjoyable ride.
Saturday, 11 July 2015
Thursday, 2 July 2015
Once again we have two rides this month. Please treat this post as your official reminder for both of them.
Normal monthly ride: 11th July
|Photo: Michael Law|
Our route will be just under 20 miles. Most of it will be on well-surfaced paths and quiet roads, although there will be a couple of rough stretches that might be muddy. Be warned that there will be a fair amount of climbing, especially in the morning, with one particularly steep hill just before lunch. But we'll be rewarded with a lot of nice free-wheeling in the afternoon.
There is no café or pub at the reservoir, so you are advised to bring a picnic. There is a mobile snack bar there, but this offers only a limited range of food (and sometimes has a long queue), so it might be sensible not to rely on it.
There is a single toilet at the reservoir. We will have an additional comfort stop about 40 minutes before lunch.
Depending on numbers and progress, we might stop for a coffee near the end of the ride.
Time and place
As usual, we'll leave at 10.30 from our standard meeting place at the top of Middle Meadow Walk.
We'll go ahead with the picnic even if the day is chilly, or if there is a light drizzle or an occasional shower. But if the weather is really bad, we'll do a shorter ride, probably with a café stop at lunch time.
20-Milers Extra: 18th July
Our second ride this month will be on the following Saturday. This will be one of our "Extra" rides. At about 30 miles, it will be somewhat longer and faster than our usual runs - but still at a sociable pace.
For this ride we'll be heading out to West Lothian. The route will be mainly on quiet roads, but with a couple of short stretches on main roads which might be busy with traffic. Thre will also be about three miles on the canal towpath, and this might be a little rough in parts. There will be a few moderate hills, but no killers this time.
For our lunch stop, we'll aim for Almondell Country Park. There are toilets there, and you can buy hot drinks at the visitor centre, but there is no food service, so you should again bring your own food for a picnic. If the weather is particularly bad, we'll divert to a nearby garden centre where there is a café.
Time and place
The ride will start at our alternative meeting point: the three-way path junction at Craigleith. If you are not sure where that is, see this blog post.
Remember, this ride will start half an hour earlier than usual, at 10.00. It will probably finish around 16.00, depending on our progress.
As with all our rides, there is no need to tell us in advance whether or not you are coming. Just turn up on the day.
Friday, 19 June 2015
Our route was an interesting one. We first headed south west through Marchmont, Morningside and Craiglockhart, to reach the canal at Allan Park. On passing Harrison Park, Logan once again kindly tolerated us invading his house for liquid refreshments – very welcome. We then resumed the canal path to Fountainbridge.
The next stage took us through the city centre. We weaved past the EICC and Usher Hall, then down the Grassmarket and Cowgate to Holyrood. We paused at the Burns Monument, and again at the Stones of Scotland, where there is a fine view of Salisbury Crags and Arthur's Seat. Next came the only hard work of the evening: an ascent of Calton Hill. We lingered at the top for a while, enjoying the atmosphere and the panoramic views (see photo).
After freewheeling off the hill, we headed north along Easter Road. At Thorntreeside, we turned onto the Restalrig Path, which took us quickly to Leith Links and the Shore. For the final leg, we followed the Water of Leith path to Goldenacre, where some of the party peeled off. The rest of us continued to Fiveways, Craigleith and Roseburn.
On arriving back at Fountainbridge a little after 10 pm, Jim declared the ride officially finished. It was another excellent run. Those who were still present went off in various directions; some made a desultory search for a pub; and Logan went home to wash up the beer glasses.
Report and photos: Mike
Tuesday, 16 June 2015
A reminder of our evening ride this coming Friday (19th June). It will be about 15 to 20 miles, taken at our usual sociable pace. Friday is very close to the summer solstice, so we should be in daylight most of the way, but we are likely to finish after dark, so be sure to bring lights.
We'll meet at our usual spot at the top of Middle Meadow Walk, ready to set off at 6.30 pm. I'm not sure what time we'll finish. It might be as late as 10.30, although I expect some of us will peel off earlier than that.
We might have a short coffee stop during the evening, but we are not planning to stop for a meal break. You might like to grab a bite to eat before we start, or bring a snack to keep you going along the way.
As always, everyone is welcome. There's no need to book in advance; just turn up on the night.
Our next normal monthly ride will be on Saturday 11th July; I'll post more details of that nearer the time.
Saturday, 13 June 2015
Monday, 8 June 2015
Our lunch stop will be at Port Seton. There is no café there big enough to hold us all, so those who want a hot snack should be prepared to split up among the available eating places. Alternatively, please consider bringing a picnic, as this will help avoid a long wait for your lunch. There are some particularly nice picnic spots overlooking the harbour.
As always, we'll leave from the top of Middle Meadow Walk at 10.30. Remember, all our rides are free, and there is no need to book in advance.