Two Parks – Figgate and Lochend

Two Parks – Figgate and Lochend. 19 miles miles including an extra bit.

We had five riders, among them a very welcome new recruit.  A tribute to the courage and persistence of the EasyCyclists, because let’s face it, we had a lousy weather forecast for this Sunday – strong 40 mph winds, rain, cold.

It appeared at first that we had got away with it, because we had bright sunshine as we set off down Queens Drive (closed to cars) and beside Duddingston Golf course. A brief wiggle through a residential area to avoid the A1, took us to the first park, Figgate Park. A ride along the river and then around the pond, saw us exit to Mountastle Crescent. The sky had clouded over by then.

Restalrig Avenue and Marionville avenue took us to Lochend, the second park. We rode round the very atmospheric pond (due to fallen trees)  then out to the Restalrig paths, riding to Leith.

We got to the pub for lunch – Teuchters Landing – before any real rain started, and we all refreshed ourselves. This pub has a great view of the water and serves quick, cheap food in mugs.

Restored, we set off on the  NCN75 path to Chancelot and the Red Bridge. But by then it  was well and truly wet. In fact I think the rain had been worse while we were in the pub, judging by what was  cascading off the windows.  We said goodbye to one chap at Craigleith quarry, and then sped off exit at Russell Rd after 5 miles of continuous car-free paths. Great!

The ride was theoretically 16 miles, but we took a bit of extra time to get everyone back to near their homes. Finally, the drookit survivors had a grateful warming cup in Victor Hugo.
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Trace

Lead:Jim Trace:Jim    Photos:Graham   Text:Jim


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29-January-2017 Galloping Gyles

A ride through parks to the Gyle Centre. 20.1 miles including a facultative extension.

A bright, cold sunny day greeted nine of Easycycle’s most intrepid riders. The constant rain of the Saturday before had vanished, giving way to sunshine (sometimes hazy) and a little ice.

We took ourselves down to the Canal and then along to Harrison Park,  riding down to Russel Road and along the diversion of long standing at Goldenacre Path, and crossed the Balgreen Rd near Jenners repository. A brief ride along the Pinkhill Railway, then out to Dovecot Road. After which, the lead consulted the riders and asked who would want to make the ride a little longer and harder. It transpired that everyone did; the option of a separate group sticking to the original plan, was available but it seemed everyone wanted to go further and faster today.

So, instead of going straight to lunch,  the group veered off to South Gyle Park, and crossed the Glasgow Road (safely, at the lights near the Jaguar dealer). Cutting through N Gyle Terrace took us out to the path alongside the A8 by the new rail station. At this point, the fancy new underpass could have taken us straight to the Gyle. But we had opted for extra miles, so we sped South and climbed the iconic footbridge to RBS Gogarburn.

The Gogar Station Road took us to a sneaky river tunnel under the bypass, just North of the Calder junction,  and then  into Edinburgh Park, taking the pedestrian paths to Gyle shopping center for lunch.

The upper floor of the Gyle has a range of eateries, including a Chinese, a burger bar, O’briens and a Pizza. there is also an infinite number of ice creams for 99p. (but the machine failed at the second ice cream so it was distinctly finite that day).

Refreshed, we used to long bike path on Bankhouse drive and Stenhouse drive back to Jenners repository, then via Roseburn and the well trodden (if that’s the word) Russel Rd and the bumpy steps to the canal, then Gilmour St to the Meadows. Most of the riders peeled off on the return leg.

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:Michael Trace:Jim    Photos:Michael   Text:Jim


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25-December-2016 Xmas eXcursion

Fourteen for Christmas (plus Conor).

Fourteen of us gathered for our Christmas morning ride this year – including 2 that were new to Easycycle, and our resident Santa Claus (see photo), who attracted delighted cheers and waves from the tourists we passed along the route – not to mention a couple of requests for selfies. A less welcome visitor was Storm Conor, bringing 50 mph winds to an otherwise serene morning.

Under Jim’s leadership, we set off from the Meadows, heading first for the Lochrin Basin and Fountainbridge. We weaved though Conference Square, crossed the footbridge over the West Approach Road, then into Rutland Square and Shandwick Place. We paused in Coates Crescent to admire the Gladstone Monument (unveiled in 1917, in honour of William Ewart Gladstone, MP for Midlothian 1880–1895).

Next, Jim took us on a circuit of the West End crescents. One of his reasons for this was to show us the experimental on-street bike lockers which the council have installed in Douglas Crescent. These are part of a city-wide trial to find ways of providing secure bike parking for flats and tenements. The two lockers that we saw certainly looked up to the job, but I suspect you would need an awful lot of them to meet the demand.

The next part of the ride took us back to Shandwick Place, then along the entire length of Princes Street, west to east. Thankfully, there was very little traffic– just a few buses and taxis, no trams. We stopped at the foot of the Mound in the expectation of a comfort stop, but inconveniently the toilets there were closed. Instead, we found we were able to use the facilities in one of the nearby hotels, which was a relief.


Next came the hard work of the day (well, not all that hard): the ascent of Calton Hill. The morning was still bright and sunny, so we lingered on the summit to take in the excellent views of Arthur’s Seat and the Firth of Forth. Santa Claus, true to form, produced a flask of mulled wine to share; various items of confectionary were also in evidence.

Our leader eventually got us moving again. The original plan had involved heading to Lochend Park at this point, but the morning was rapidly wearing on and we had promised that the ride would end by 1 pm. So we finished up by taking a quick look at the Stones of Scotland, then headed back towards the Meadows.

Several of the group had peeled off by now, but unfortunately not the afore-mentioned Conor, who gave us more than a little trouble as we pedalled down Regent Road and Waterloo Place. The remnants of the group eventually made it back to Middle Meadow Walk. At just over seven miles, it was definitely one of our shorter rides, but also one of the more interesting.

Trace

Lead:Jim  Trace: Jim    Photos:Michael   Text: Mike
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18-December-2016 Wintry Wave Watching

A Winter Solstice ride along the North coast of Edinburgh.

A Winter Solstice is a great chance to prove that we can rise to a challenge and enjoy a ride on the shortest day.  And so it was that nine of Edinburgh’s bravest, including two who were new to Easycycle, set off along to Leamington and Canal to Harrison Park, then Russel Road and up the well-known zigzags to Roseburn Path, the start of the impressive path system of North Edinburgh.

Whizzing along the the Red Bridge, and down toward the Waterfront, we emerged at Granton and rode along the coast to the Seaward side of the Western Harbour. There, one of our regulars prepared a nice lunch of home made soup and cheese and biscuits. Wonderful it was too. We had no need of the pub stop that had been arranged previously.

Return was via the Shore entrance to the paths. We rode along the Water of Leith Walkway path to the Fiveway junction, and then to the Ferry Road and Goldenacre paths back to the Russell Road zigzags.

From, there, we climbed the well worn trail up to the Canal, King’s Theatre and Meadows, where the ride ended.  Thanks to Michael, who stood in to lead the ride at short notice, and to all who took on a leaden sky, light rain and cold wind to enjoy another Winter Solstice ride.

Trace

Lead:Michael   Trace: Jim    Photos:Michael   Text: Jim
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25-November-2016 Autumn at Agassiz Rock

A winter ride through some parks in South Edinburgh.

In sunshine with frost gone, a small speedy group of 5, set off along the Innocent Railway Path and King’s Haugh briefly stopping to admire the impressive Peffermill House.  We crossed over to Craigmillar Castle Park and were soon enjoying the views to the north.   In Inch Park we took a look at Inch House – still under scaffolding.  Spinning through the Hermitage of Braid with the trees still in colour, we stopped at Agassiz Rock: a world-famous location in the understanding of glaciers.

We resisted the new cafe and entered Braidburn Valley Park continuing off-road to Colinton Primary School and Tesco.  We were soon on Colinton Road and accessed the Canal for lunch at Akva at the Canal Basin.  (We extended the ride to the Grassmarket to look the neglected site which is the subject of a contentious proposal for yet another hotel.)

Trace

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


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30-October-2016 Plenty to Peruse in Portobello

Twelve Easycylers today, including a fabulous four new members, set off on a nice mild day with filtered sunshine (the Easycycle Weather booking seems to be holding up).

The curiosities around Portobello are a regular Easycycle favourite, and worth revisiting now and again for those who haven’t seen them before.

Taking advantage of the ban on cars on a Sunday, we cycled Eastwards down the Queen’s Drive to the Sheep Heid, then on to Cavalry Park Drive and the public part of the Duddingston Golf Course. Filtering through the Duddingston suburbs to avoid the Milton Rd, we soon arrived at Figgate park. Circling round the pond at its North, we then branched off to see the Craigentinny Marbles, a fabulous mausoleum in Craigentinny Avenue. We had a chat about them on the ride, and there is plenty of information here.

Returning to our route, we found the pleasant Fishwives’ Causeway and wound our way to Portobello High St., passed Harry Lauder’s Cottage, paused to admire the egress of the Figgate into the sea, and ten turned our attention to the nearby Bottle Kilns. These admirable structures are the last two bottle kilns left 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 at the end of this page shows nine such kilns. Source: http://citycyclingedinburgh.info/bbpress/topic.php?id=5470

A quick keek at the three pillars and then into the Dalriada for lunch. Mike left us then,and we were joined by Ken.

The way back was simple: across the long footbridge to Portobello Golf Course, then Westwards along paths including the Innocent, and finally back to the Meadows. There we said our goodbyes, apart from three who quaffed a coffee in Vigtor Hugo’s.

Lead:Jim   Trace: Jim    Photos:Jim & Web   Text: Jim

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25-09-2016 Delightful Davidsons Mains

A sunny day today, much nicer than forecast, and 14 riders with one new member.

We climbed Westwards out of the Meadows and down Leamington Terrace onto the Canal, where we crossed the bridge just before it elevated.  Then via Harrisson Park to Russel Road, navigated the diversions at Roseburn Park and onto the Pinkhill railway path. Emerging at Dovecot Rd for a brief pause to admire the Dovecot.

Through Gyle Park and emerging at the Jaguar dealer to cross the Glasgow Rd, through Craigmount and into the many paths of the Bughtlin estate. Emerging at Barntongate Avenue, we crossed the Queensferry Road and soon entered the strip of woodland that runs parallel to it, through the nicely restored Barton Park Crescent entrance.  A pleasant but rustic ride through the strip of trees brought us out to Davidsons Mains Park, then to Ye Olde Inn, our lunch spot.

We lunched in the conservatory admiring the sunshine trough the windows, then back out to hit the road.

Return was very straightforward, since our pub’s back door leads to the Blackhall Path,  and a few made it to the post-ride coffee at Victor Hugo.

 

Lead:Jim    Trace: Jim    Photos:Glenn & Jim   Text: Jim

 

 

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