24 Sep 2017 – A Musselburgh Meander

A Musselburgh Meander

We’ve been enjoying a bit of an Indian summer this month, with some warm sunny afternoons and temperatures often reaching the mid-teens. That might be the reason for today’s good turnout: 18 cyclists joined our ride, including several newcomers – all very welcome.

With Glenn in the leader’s seat, we headed eastward from the Meadows. Eschewing the usual route through the Innocent tunnel, we turned up St. Leonard’s Lane, and then along the delightful but little-used St. Leonard’s Bank, giving fine views over Holyrood Park. From the main entrance to the park, we zoomed down the road to Duddingston Village, then headed through Cavalry Park, past Duddingston House, and through the imposing gates in Milton Road West. A short stretch on the Innocent path took us to Brunstane Station where we picked up the narrow track alongside the Brunstane Burn.

After a short pause to regroup, we took the final leg into Musselburgh, which was our planned lunch stop. But such was our progress that it was only 11.30 am when we reached the Honest Toun. So after a toilet break at Fisherrow Harbour, we set out on a circuit of the paths to the north of the racecourse.

An interesting feature on these paths is the huge concrete arrow embedded in the ground near the mouth of Esk, pointing out to the Firth of Forth. As our leader explained, this was used during World War II to direct bombers to training targets moored in the firth. Dozens of similar structures were built around the country, but the one in Musselburgh is one of the few that is still visible, thanks mainly to the restoration work done on it by cadets of the nearby 297 Squadron.

And so to lunch. Back in the town centre, we spread ourselves among the three cafes in the High Street. Unfortunately, our visit coincided with the finish of the Scottish Half Marathon, which meant that the eateries were much busier than usual. Some of our group had to wait over 40 minutes to be served with a hot drink and a sandwich, which was annoying. But at least it gave us a chance for a good blether.

Back on the road, we took a pleasant route through Inveresk Village and on to the River Esk Walkway. From there, we followed the familiar NCN 1 route via Musselburgh Station, Queen Margaret University, Newcraighall, and back to the Innocent path. With a few riders peeling off at the foot of the tunnel, the remnants of the group made their way back to the Meadows, reaching there at around 3 pm: another very successful outing for EasyCycle.

Leader and photos: Glenn

Backmarker: Hilary

Report: Mike

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