30 August 2014: A 14-mile circuit of north Edinburgh

Dean Village

Dean Village

For our main ride this month, I led a group of about 16 riders on a circuit of the northern reaches of the city – starting and finishing in Stockbridge, and with a lunch break in Leith. It was a wam sunny day, but with an unwelcomed wind from the west.

We set out along the Water of Leith to Dean Village, and then walked through the grounds of the Dean Gallery and the Gallery of Modern Art. At the latter, we paused to admire the striking “landform” structure on the front lawn, along with sculptures by Henry Moore, Rachel Whiteread, Barbara Hepworth and others.

Having had our fill of culture, we headed uphill through Ravelston, with the aforementioned wind very much in our faces. We eventually reached the top of Ravelston Dykes – the highest point on our route – after which we had a nice freeewheel through the grounds of Mary Erskine School and the delightful Ravelston Woods. This was the first time we had visited this part of town on our rides.

Ocean Terminal

Ocean Terminal, with the Royal Yacht in the background

After crossing the busy Queensferry Road at a pedestrian crossing, we weaved round Maidencraig Crescent, and then on to more familiar territory at the Craigleith path junction. For the next few miles, it was an easy ride along the bike paths – with the wind now behind us – as far as Lindsay Road and the Ocean Terminal. For lunch, we dispersed among the various eateries in the shopping centre.

After lunch, we took a tour of the old part of Leith – despite some mutinous murmurings about the supposedly excessive number of cobbles along the route (not my fault; I didn’t build the roads). But the crew settled down again once we reached Leith Links and the Restalrig path. After crossing Easter Road and Leith Walk, we threaded through Pilrig Park and St. Marks Park, and so back to the Water of Leith. We arrived back at Stockbridge at about 2.30, having pedalled just under 14 miles.

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