Today’s ride coincided with the start of British Summer Time. Right on cue, the weather turned dry and sunny with only a moderate breeze. But the ride was also one that was tinged with a sad memory. It was on this same ride exactly one year ago that we heard the news of the death of Logan Strang, a stalwart of the local cycling scene. Before setting off today, Glenn Brearley paid tribute to Logan, who was the driving force behind the setting up of EasyCycle. Glenn spoke of Logan’s good humour and constant cheerfulness. If there was any consolation, he said, it was that Logan had passed away while doing what he loved best: cycling with good friends in beautiful countryside on a lovely day.
For today’s outing, about 20 riders turned out, including several first-timers. Our route took us through Holyrood Park (happily closed to cars on Sundays), then across London Road and along Marionville Road into the delightful Lochend Park. We paused to examine the ancient doocot, which was home to pigeons in the 16th century (a good source of protein) and was also used as a kiln for burning the clothing of victims of the 1645 plague (one hopes that the victims weren’t wearing the clothes at the time).
We then joined the Restalrig Path for a smooth run into Leith Links. Negotiating the cobbles in the old part of Leith, we stopped for another dose of history: the 17th century Lamb’s House in Tolbooth Wynd (Mary Queen of Scots is said to have dined at an earlier house on this site after landing in Scotland on her return from France). The present building, restored in 2010, doubles as an architectural practice and the Icelandic consulate.
Our route continued alongside the Water of Leith as far as Warriston, then back along the Goldenacre Path to Five Ways. Unfortunately, we found the Hawthornvale Path unexpectedly closed for resurfacing work. With no advanced warning and no indication of a diversionary route, we nevertheless managed to find a way through side streets to Lindsay Road. We then zoomed down the ramp into Ocean Drive, and so to our lunch stop at the Ocean Terminal. Half the group headed for the picnic tables overlooking the harbour, while the rest sampled the various eateries in the building.
For the afternoon leg, we retraced our steps to Goldenacre, leaving the bike path at Warriston Gardens. After heading west on Inverleith Place and through Inverleith Park, we continued up Carrington Road and Craigleith Hill Avenue – one of the few hills of the day. From the Craigleith path junction, we took the Roseburn Path to Russel Road, where several of the party went their own ways.
For the last stretch, we followed the familiar route through the Telfer Subway (aka “the bumps”), onto the canal by the new Boroughmuir school and across the Leamington lift bridge. We had one more short climb up Leamington Terrace, and were then on Bruntsfield Links, arriving back at Middle Meadow Walk at 2.30. It had been a pleasant ride, in fine weather and at a relaxed pace – one that Logan would surely have approved of.