Sunday 25 March 2018 – A sunny Sunday in the parks – and a sad anniversary

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.

Leader: Mike; Text: Mike; Photos: Glenn
 
   
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25-February-2018 Parkey Pilrig Park

A visit to two parks with lochs (OK, large ponds)

Finally some nice weather! Cold, but some dazzling sunshine, no rain, and a slight Easterly wind (which nevertheless felt Baltic at 4 Deg C).

Eleven riders greeted the sun soaked terrace of what was once Peter’s Yard, but is now Söderberg.  There were no 100% first timers, but three returnees who have joined in recent months.

We set off down Duddingston Low Rd, enjoying the ban on cars on a Sunday, and a quick left at the Sheep Heid took us to a left turn on the Duddingston Road, where the entrance to Pilrig Park lay to our left.

Pilrig is a tadpole shaped park, with a large pond at its head, hard to see on the map but very pleasant to ride around in. Named after the river Pilrig (aka Bonaly burn or Braid Burn) We circumbikulated the pond and took our exit at the playpark to Mountcastle crescent, exiting near the railway yards to Craigentinny.

The Craigentinny Marbes are something of an Easycycle fixture these days. In the middle of the Craigentinny bungalow suburb, in the last place on Earth you’d expect a giant mausoleum, sits a giant mausoleum. You can read about it here: https://www.scotsman.com/lifestyle/craigentinny-s-peculiar-roman-tomb-1-4277295

Marionville Rd then led us to Lochend Park, an eerie place with a large loch in its center – Loched Loch – and the atmosphere is due in part to the fallen and uprooted trees that live in the Loch.   The loch had overflown its banks and was covered in ice, and there were some intriguing fixtures dotted around the loch – including a dovecot and a pumping house, which once abstracted water to supply Leith.   More here.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lochend_Park

From Lochend, we followed the path to Bonnington, past St Mark’s park, then joining the long system of linked bike paths in North Edinburgh, at the Ferry Road path. This was the run home. 5 quick traffic free miles took us to exit the paths at the Russel Rd zigzags, then Gorgie Rd and Fountain bridge, canal,  King’s theatre and Meadows. We closed the ride and sat down for lunch at the Doctors.

No-one opted for extra cycling, the 14.5 morning miles being judged to be sufficient.

See you all in March!

 

 

 

Lead:Jim  Trace:Jim  Photos:Jim  Text:Jim
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27-January-2018 Craigmillar Calm

A refuge in Wind and Rain – Portobello and Craigmillar castle park.

Four faces turned up at Peter’s Yard. All experienced hands – no new joiners. That’s hardly surprising – The day before had seen horrendous gales with cyclists blown sideways & knocked off bikes. Today’s forecast had been for more of the same but with lots of rain too!

The actual weather wasn’t that bad (but who’s to know that beforehand.) a bit of wind started up, and the air felt wet but didn’t actually rain much.  Actually we’d better stop calling it Peter’s Yard, it’s Söderberg the Meadows now, like it or lump it.

Anyway we set off down the Innocent and across the Jewel, plunging into the nicely tarmacced Bruntstane Burn path, pursuing the gentle climb and exiting at Joppa.  Gentle when riding Eastwards that is.

Turning Westwards on exit, we ran to the prom, then noticed the wind for the first time that day. We pushed upwind to the Baths then turned Left to exit the wind. Ha Ha no chance!  the wind followed us round the corner. There being no escape, we shared our sweeties  in a draughty Bellfield St, wondering if it was actually less windy on the prom.

Up over the long footbridge and onto the new path that reaches to Duddingston Crescent. We should’ve turned onto the A6106, but we got lured off course at Bailie Place by a promising looking blue bike path sign. But it soon fizzled out into unsigned side streets and so we wiggled across to the A6106 where we should’ve gone in the first place.

Back Westwards on the Innocent path at Forkenford, then Peffermill road and into Craigmillar Park, and sight of the Castle. It was too wet to ride the grass again, so we followed tarmac into inch park. Emerging, we decided against the planned visit to Hermitage of Braid (to avoid a probable mudbath) and rode Mayfield Rd back into Town. Lunch was at Summerhall.

No-one wanted to take up the option of a further post lunch ride. It just wasn’t the weather for it. So, a good ride, and proof that it’s possible to defy the elements and have a good time!

See y’all and let’s hope we have better weather in February.

Jim

Click here for map

Lead:Jim Trace:Jim    Photos:none  Text:Jim
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31-December-2017 Hogmanay Hurricane

The Easycycle that never was

There were 30mph average winds, with blasts up to 50mph. So it’s not surprising no-one turned up for the December ride.

Lead: none  Trace:  none  Photos: none   Text: Jim
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26-November-2017 Craigiefarm Comfort

A visit to an old favourite – the Craigie Farm farm shop and cafe

Alan (Orr) took this ride, and advised of 4 new faces and a good time had by all. Craigie is one of our nicer lunch stops, although it takes a wee bit of leg power to get to it.

Lead:Alan Trace:None    Photos:none  Text:Jim
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29-October-2017 Perishing Portobello

A ride to Portobello, visiting some old favourites. 20.1 miles including a facultative extension.

A bright, cold sunny day greeted eight of Easycycle’s most intrepid riders. In fact it was suddenly very cold, and a few said it felt like snow.   There were no absolute new faces among the eight, although three had started Easycycling the month before.

We took advantage of the Sunday road closure, to ride down Queen’s Drive to Duddingston village. Passing the Sheep Heid, we turned into Cavalry park Road for a trip near the Golf course, emerging at Milton Rd West. Using the residential streets to avoid heavy traffic,  we came out at Duddingston Rd and too a spin around the lovely Figgate park.

Impossible to resist circling the pond, so we did, and rode out to our first curiosity – the Craigentinny marbles – a giant mausoleum, unexpectedly nestled in an estate of 1930s bungalows.

Regaining the Fishwives Causeway, we rode straight into Portobello, to admire the last two bottle kilns in Scotland. There’s a lot of information here about them: http://gaukartifact.com/2013/03/04/history-of-the-bottle-kiln/

The old monochrome photo here shows a few, not just the two we saw on the ride. You can see more of them by clicking on the photo and zooming in: https://www.capitalcollections.org.uk/index.php?a=ZoomItem&key=QnsiTiI6MSwiUCI6eyJpdGVtX2lkIjpbIjEwNjI4Il19fQ==&pg=1&WINID=1509562455272#1V482pya3f0AAAFfeO8Qyg/10628

We had the coice of a quick way back, along the Innocent, but chose instead to take the Restalraig path to Leith Links, then the long nothern path system back to the russel Rd zigsags. AN excellent way of climbing back into edinburgh from seal level withiout meeting any steep gradients.

From the zigsags we rode to Gorie Rd, then the bumpy steps to Fountainbride and the Canal, then the Meadows.

The ride being closed, the remainder enjoyed a coffee in the Victor Hugo lounge, looking back on a cheery ride in fortunate sunshine.

Trace

Lead:Jim Trace:Jim Photos:none Text:Jim
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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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