We are an Edinburgh based group who enjoy cycling in the countryside


Cycle Rides from 2014

Great cycling tours, routes, cafés and anecdotes

Loch Katrine

Saturday 25th October

Loch KatrineOnly four of us participated in this annual event to mark the passing of summer time for the year. Perhaps the dismal weather forecast for wind and heavy rain was to blame. Regrettably it proved accurate.

Chris, David (new to MV), John and Tiana met at the café in the Scottish Wool Centre in Aberfoyle. John got a surprise when he first caught sight of David because it looked as though he was wearing a lifejacket. Of course it was just the orange panelling of his cycling coat but a lifejacket might have been useful later in the ride, where several swollen burns had taken to the road. The party insisted on two rounds of coffee and cakes before setting off up the road over the Duke's pass.

This proved prescient because the café at the Trossachs pier was full.

Unheard of! A coach party had just arrived and no tables were free. We had to sustain ourselves with snacks, put waterproofs back on and resume our ride into the rain. A compensation for the weather was that the burns were in spate and the waterfalls along the water board road were spectacular.

StronachlachurWe got a nasty surprise when we reached Stronachlachar and saw an alarming number of cars outside the café there. It was busy inside, as feared, but one table was free, thank goodness. They had run out of soup because of the crowd but we were able to get some lunch at last. The final part of the ride is mostly downhill and the sections where the road runs along Loch Ard are particularly scenic. As usual we met a couple of Lochs and Glens coaches, which are hazardous on the single-track road.

We enjoyed the ride but the conditions did nothing to dispel its soggy reputation. Maybe we should check the dates of half-term and try a week earlier next year.

Photos Tiana

Clydesdale and the Lowther Hills

13th - 14th September

At Cora LinnSix of us set off from Wallace tearooms in Lanark after a hearty breakfast. For once nobody was tempted by the award winning cakes. (That usually happens after the ride!)

We started with a swift downhill out of Lanark passing several “yes” and “no” posters. It felt good to be taking a break from the big debate. We turned left at the bridge and through Kirkfieldbank for a few miles before stopping briefly at Corra Linn Falls and ruined Castle, a secluded viewpoint, which was well worth a visit.

Continuing on; we bypassed Sandilands and Douglas Water and headed through beautiful open countryside towards the B7078 or “old road” south. A bit rough on the ascent but thankfully this improved once we got over the first stretch. We headed on and took the B740 for Crawfordjohn where we received a warm welcome and hot soup at the Colebrooke Arms. By chance it happened to be Lanarkshire Open Doors day so some of us had a brief look around the Crawfordjohn Heritage Venture Museum now housed in the old church.

Heading off we again took the B740 and descended 150m to Sanquhar where a village fete appeared to be in full swing. This time we did not stop but carried on taking a slight detour on the south side of the Nith before heading up the B797 and the challenging 300m ascent of the Mennock Pass to Wanlockhead, Scotland’s highest village, – or does that accolade go to Leadhills?. Pleased and relieved that we had all made it to the top, we did not hang about for too long when the Lowther midges descended on us in full force.

Group photo at LeadhillsArriving at around 6pm at the Hopetoun Arms we received a warm welcome. A meal was provided in the hotel after which some of us relaxed in the lounge bar to the accompaniment of Scottish musicians “Dumb and Drummer”.

Sunday morning we left at around 9.30 to head downhill (thankfully) on the B797 before turning off towards Crawfordjohn where we exchanged greetings again with the hotelier at the Colebrooke Arms. From there we headed towards Roberton, a quaint village nestling in a valley off the A73, and over the minor road to the B7055, cycling past the noise and dust of Tinto Moto X, and from there to Sandilands where one of us peeled off to head back to Lanark.

The rest of us headed on to Carmichael village and up a very steep (short) hill towards the visitor centre where we had refreshments and a look round the free waxworks museum. From there we headed to Pettinain and on to a brief refreshment stop in The Last Shift at Braehead.

Nobody wants me - a protest about the rubbish dumped in the countrysideLeaving Braehead we headed for West Calder station and fortunately arrived with about 40 minutes to spare before the 19.11 train. This allowed some of us to take advantage of the Chinese restaurant situated on platform 1 - a convenient way to end the day. The train arrived and there was a question mark over whether or not we could all get on with bikes. It was definitely a squeeze but thankfully the guard was kind enough to allow us all on. Phew!

Thanks to the Scottish weather for being on our side and to everyone for coming along and making it another great weekend.

Photos Jenny and Tiana

Lockerbie to Thornhill circuit

16th - 17th August

Elaine, Harry, Paul, Tiana, Sheelagh, Lynn, Richard, and Sue met at Lockerbie this rather gloomy and chilly Saturday in August. First hurdle over – at least we all got there! In true Mellow Velo style we started (and finished) with coffee/tea and scones at the Kings Arms Hotel.

Ae bike shop and cafe The second hurdle was to negotiate a way over the new M74 by-pass which has made a joke of the road designations marked on any oldish OS map. After that we were away across unremarkable but pleasant Borders agricultural landscape crossing the River Annan (Himalayan Balsam and Japanese Knotweed like this area) and navigating a criss-cross route on minor roads to the hills of Ae Forest some 20km away. A lunch stop was made at the agreeable and affordable Ae Bike shop and Café. So far it had remained mostly dry but as height was gained the cloud thickened and by the time we reached the open hillside it was very wet (put politely). Richard had wisely peeled off by now down to the Nith Valley to circle back to Lockerbie and train home. This was pre-planned and not just a cop out! We finally enjoyed a long, speedy descent and undeterred by the weather, three (female) members of the group took in a detour to Morton Castle.

Morton Castle We were well looked after by Mrs Anderson at Kelton B&B in an assortment of single, double, air , floor and camper van beds. As far as I know everyone amazingly seemed to sleep alright. Next morning she also managed to provide seven different permutations of boiled, poached, fried, scrambled soft and hard eggs as well as various combinations of sausage, haggis, bacon, mushrooms and tomatoes – all without a murmur of dissent. This is after a tasty if rather slow meal at the Thornhill Inn the night before.

Kirkpatrick Macmillan Sunday dawned cool, cloudy, breezy but for the most part stayed dry. We followed the River Nith south to Auldgirth stopping tat Keir Mill to look at the burial ground of Kirkpatrick MacMillan, the inventor of the bicycle. 30km on after passing through some pretty countryside and picking not a few blackberries while waiting for one or other of us (usually one …) we returned to the Ae café for lunch, minus Sue who needed to return early. Harry then left us to return to Thornhill to pick up the campervan (this is beginning to sound a logistic nightmare!) and the rest of us returned to Lockerbie having a wander around Applegarth churchyard on the way. Lynn then set off for Glen Midge – I hope the breeze kept blowing.

To summarise – This was a first in Mellowvelo routes. It’s quite pretty countryside. We saw a lot of gravestones. Everyone was very nice. I hope we see red kites and the sun shines next time.

Elaine and Harry

Fintry and the Crow Road

19th July

MellowVelo Crow Road - the 'ride that never was' - or at least might be, eventually.

The ride, with around 9 participants, was called off because of a bad forecast. But being a true Scot, and having bought a ticket to Falkirk, I was reluctant to forego it, and did the ride anyway.

From the most recent forecast, the weather could have 'gone either way'. It did!

It was wet, it was heavy mist, but the trip was a memorable experience.

I didn't even have all the maps. I set off along the canal westwards, light rain already falling, and asked a guy the way to Carron Bridge.

similer weather near DennyRemarkably, he not only knew, but gave excellent directions, via Bonnybridge, the outskirts of Denny, Fankerton (is that where all the fankers live?) and along the B818. This probably wasn't Ross's intended route, but it worked.

My first shelter, when the rain came on heavy, was a motorway bridge.

My second was a coal shed adjacent a farm, near the summit (I was expecting an attack by angry dogs, but nothing happened).

After the Carron Reservoir the weather picked up a bit, and there came a long descent into the Fintry valley, with lovely pastoral views, spoilt only by the road surface, which was bad, even by Edinburgh standards.

Turn right here!At Fintry I was expecting a cafe, from what Ross had said, but having reached the de-restriction sign and found nothing (maybe I hadn't gone far enough), I turned round, went past the church again, and continued onto the Crow Road. And the rain came on heavy again.

The views across the hills could have been superb, except I couldn't see them for the mist.

A long steep descent into Lennoxtown. By this time it was 1pm and I was starving. Like manna from heaven, at he first cross-roads the Village Hall was open, tables laid out, everyone eating and making merry. I snuck in at the back, like a drowned rat, put the bike in a corner, and found a quiet nook to eat my piece. No-one challenged me, and I challenged no-one.

Eventually, as I was about to depart, a woman offered me food (haggis neeps and tatties), which I declined, having already supped. It turned out to be a celebration of the Queen's Baton. Suddenly everyone was very friendly. I said where I was from and they all assumed I'd ridden all the way! They told me of a wonderful old-fashioned bike shop along the road in Clachan o'Campsie; and pointed me in the direction of the cycle path to Kirkintilloch.

What's more, they said, you're following the route of the Baton. So I had high expectations of tea in Twechar, and supper in Bonnybridge!

The path was excellent, along the old railway, to Kirkintilloch, at which point I picked up the towpath of the Forth-Clyde Canal to head back to the Falkirk Wheel.

Alas, it was all downhill from there on (and not literally, of course). The rain set in again; I struggled all the way into a head wind. There was no tea at Twechar nor supper at Bonnybridge (had even the Baton given up, in face of the weather?). Dullatur Bog (Craigmarloch to Wyndford) was an unrelenting 2-mile slog. And the lovely old stone Underwood Lockhouse, formerly a pub and upmarket restaurant, is now a derelict ruin.

What surprised me most was how quiet everywhere was. No traffic on the roads, almost nothing on the rail path; just a few sodden fishermen by the canal.

Was I ever glad to catch the 4.03 from Falkirk High, and crash out!

Thanks Ross for the inspiration; and hope I might do the ride again, in more auspicious conditions! Maybe this is what Jan meant when he wrote of 'the silly season'!

Photos Tiana (from 2013)


12th - 13th July

Leaving home at 8 a.m. in shirtsleeves gave a hint of the weather to come. I met Paul, Jenny and Barbara at Waverley to catch the 08.39 to Drem. We continued via Athelstaneford, Preston Mill, and a ford across the Tyne at Knowes Farm (we used the parallel footbridge) after which we joined the NCN 76, whose signpost said 38 miles to Berwick. Jan took a later train to Dunbar and met us there at Graze Coffee House.

Dunglass GlenFortified by coffee, we set off along a depressing bit of coast on some untarred paths past a cement works and Edinburgh's landfill site, then Torness power station and a path beside the A1. Only after that did we get any real scenery, notably the gorge of the Dunglass Burn with its four bridges. We took a diversion to Cove Harbour, reached by a tunnel through the rock, once a haven for smugglers. Near it was a memorial to the Eyemouth fishing disaster of 1881, which claimed a lot of men from all along the coast, including eleven from Cove.

At Pease Bay we crossed another ford (again by a footbridge, with a lot of steps). Then we climbed 220 metres to Coldingham Moor. The first bit was a single-track road, too steep to cycle up: at one point cars approached us from both directions and there was a lot of manoeuvring to get everyone past each other. The rest of the climb was gentler but still a drag in the heat. We picnicked at the top by a wind farm where there was some breeze. We then left the NCN76 to go by Coldingham and the ruins of its 900-year-old priory, and re-joined the cycle route at Eyemouth, where we sat by the harbour with ice-creams.

Coldingham PrioryAfter Ayton, Route 76 has a 140-metre climb. To avoid too much effort in the hot weather, we took a different route past Foulden, longer but lower. It was probably quicker, too: we left Eyemouth at the same time and speed as two other cyclists going to Berwick along Route 76, who were ahead of us at Ayton but behind us approaching Berwick.

We stayed at Berwick Youth Hostel, recently converted from an old granary. A fire in 1815 left it with a list greater than the Tower of Pisa, but it was shored up with buttresses and repaired, and remained in use, despite the list, for nearly two more centuries. It is now listed Grade 2.

On Sunday morning there was heavy rain. Jan headed for the station and took a train home, but the rest of us stuck to the original plan. We took off our waterproofs before Paxton, and not long afterwards the sun was out and it stayed out for the rest of the day.

After passing another ford, using a footbridge with even more steps, we had coffee at the local shop in Chirnside, and then ventured into the Lammermuirs, a 20-mile stretch without shops, pubs or cafes. We took picnic lunches. There was a good picnic site at Ellemford Bridge, but the group had spread out, so instead of enjoying the view there, we had lunch a couple of miles further on.

LammermuirsAfter Cranshaws we passed Whiteadder Reservoir. You would expect a road beside a lake to be flat, but this one was like a concertina with very steep ups (walk) and downs (careful). Then a less severe switchback took us through bleaker country to the 345-metre summit near White Castle, an Iron Age fort, and then a precipitous descent on a gravel-strewn road to Garvald. Here we had a large pot of tea at the Garvald Inn, the first watering hole since Chirnside four hours earlier.

Finally, an easy run to Haddington and the railway path to Longniddry Station where we arrived in time for the 17.33, and we all managed to get our bikes on it.

45 miles each day. Most of the route was by wonderful and varied scenery and quiet roads. The hot weather made it tiring, but we all enjoyed it.

Photos Barbara, Jan (and Tiana from 2011)

Mellow Velo go to Bute

7th - 8th June

St Blane's ChurchKnowing there was a forecast of heavy, heavy rain all weekend, (The rain arrived at 12.30) six of us met at Rothesay and, leaving baggage at Bute Backpackers hostel, set off for Mount Stuart, the home of the Stuart family since 1720. The first Mount Stuart burnt down 150 years later, but the imaginative/eccentric 3rd Marquess of Bute soon commissioned a replacement – with marble chapel, beautiful stained glass, a heated swimming pool, a telephone system, a passenger lift and central heating. Our tour was very interesting though we were only shown about 15 of the 127 rooms.

Mid-afternoon, some of our group ventured south-west in order to get really wet. Others enjoyed the gardens. We met up later at the hostel, putting our clothes to dry and planning our dinner.

Group at stone seat outside RothesaySunday dawned fair and we were soon heading for Kilchattan Bay, for coffee, and then to St. Blane’s Monastery/Church.

With glorious views in all directions, and now cycling in short sleeves and applying the sun-tan lotion, we had a late lunch at Ettrick Bay and returned to Rothesay (where we admired the Victorian tiled toilets) for the ferry home. (35 miles)

Photos: Barbara and Tiana

Cairngorm and Speyside

23rd - 25th May

A small group of 5 finally made it to Cairngorm this year, Jude, Paul, Oisin, Cathie and myself. Four of us on Mountain Bikes and Paul on a Dawes Galaxy with hybrid tyres, it can be done!


Osprey and chicks at Loch Garten A warm day of light cloud and some sunny intervals – ideal cycling really, so we set off on the standard route down the improved Old Logging Trail to Rothiemurchus, some of the tighter gravel strewn corners seem to have been reworked, owing to recent rain we avoided An-Sluggan out of deference to Paul’s Galaxy and did the road bit round to Milton of Kincardine. Over this section the relative ease of tarmac pedalling on the Galaxy even with hybrid tyres was apparent as Paul was soon setting a cracking pace with Cathie and me working fairly hard to keep up, but note, this was to change after lunch. We then followed the forest path to Loch Garten osprey centre in a mixture of cloud and warming hazy sun. Here we spent a while looking at live camera footage of the chicks which were between 3 and 7 days old, amazing how the female doesn’t trample them given the size of her feet and the tiny lumps of fluff they seem to be. I reckon there must be something strange in the water up there as Odin, the male, had that morning brought in a rainbow trout measuring 18 inches in length? That is salmon size!

View of CairngormsThen it was on to the Nethybridge Hotel for soup and sandwich lunch – which was well up to the usual standard before heading off for the long gentle climb through the forest to Forest Lodge. On this section when you stop there really is nothing to hear apart from birdsong and a small stream – it is so inordinately quiet and tranquil out there. It was here that fitness and or youth came to the fore – I would like to know the secret of Jude and Oisin managing to constantly easily out pace Cathie and me and keep a conversation going all the while – must be youth!

Then on over the level open section of the col with good views into the hills beyond. The descent after Ryvoan bothy is the only section on this outing where MTBs really pay off and so it proved with Paul walking one or two short sections although the path did seem smoother than in the past– I think maintenance is being done. We all pulled up at Lochan Uaine for a photo and check for the presence of leeches, none spotted but no paddling either. Then onward and downward for a rapid return to the hostel and welcome showers and dinner orders.

By Lochan UaineLast ditch attempts to find Jude a space in the hostel were fruitless so she set off to find a campsite, eventually settling on Dalraddy near Kincraig and then returned to join us for dinner. This was hostel prepared and jolly good it was with a good choice of mains and sweets – two courses for about £10 and generous portions – calls into doubt the value of cooking our own. This year we even had our own entertainment laid on by the hostel chickens housed in a run just along from the conservatory and who vociferously and viciously repelled attempts by a duck to join them.


On SMC BridgeWell it wouldn’t be Cairngorm without rain, and so it was, light and persistent but with breaks in the cloud. We set off round the back of Loch Morlich then down the relatively smooth and mostly gently graded trails of Rothiemurchus Forest though there are one or two short sweeping downhill sections prior to Piccadilly and then alongside the River Druie to the first stop, for photos, at the SMC bridge. By now the rain had gone leaving cloudy skies but a still noticeably cooler day than yesterday. This section of track is almost flat but with three shallow fords just to add some excitement and keep us alert, but all with bypass bridges for when in spate or those on non MTBs.

Loch an Eilein Then it is past a couple of isolated cottages and the approach to Loch an Eilein and its craft shop and visitor centre for a quick look at wood carvings and paintings before detouring part way round the loch for close up photos of the castle but unfortunately with no time to do the circuit. From here it is onto tarmac and the narrow undulating road to Inshriach nursery for a much needed cake and tea or coffee, this year either the drivers are on good behaviour or the pressures of holiday need to press on aren’t here yet as the behaviour was the most courteous I have ever seen on this road. It was here that I noticed the lack of bike lock keys – so after cake, coffee and a good look at the antics of the birds and red squirrels on the feeders it was time to retrace our steps to Loch an Eilein, a look for the missing keys down opposite the castle then return to Inverdruie via the estate road and Blackpark, this only left the long haul up the Old Logging Trail to the hostel, loading of bikes on and into cars then a short move across the road to Glenmore café for a toastie and coffee before departing for home.

All went well except for hearing after we got home that Paul’s bike rack had parted company from the car – thankfully at very low speed on Belford Road in Edinburgh and with no damage to car or bikes. I hear it is in danger of being traded in for a towbar mounted one. He assures me he will do this again but next time on the MTB – it does make sense. See you next year.

Saturday Garmin link
Sunday Garmin link

Photos: Neil and Oisin

Glen Lyon

10th - 11th May

KiltyrieThis weekend seemed slightly “doomed” (to quote Corporal Fraser from “Dad’s Army!), due to lack of transport to our start/finish point at Grandtully!

However, “all’s well that ends well”, and “it all came together” (enough clichés!), in time for another “Magnificent 7” to ride West , and enjoy a lovely (if trifle damp!) weekend round Loch Tay and Glen Lyon.

So, true to tradition!, we met at “Legends” Coffee Shop on Saturday at 10am, for pre-cycle refreshments. Then set off across the wee Grandtully Bridge, and through leafy Strathtay, then Weem, and past Dull (appropriately twinned with Boring, USA!!!), and a left turn across the river and on to Kenmore.

Lazy DogWe partook of soup and sandwiches at the Kenmore Hotel, and then cycled on along the south Loch Tay road. I stopped briefly to check out the now upmarket Bistro next to the Crannog. – used to be the Croft na Caber café – now the smart Taymouth Marina Restaurant. May well be worth a try for lunch next time.

We enjoyed the scenic undulating road along the loch, and arrived at the Falls of Dochart in Killin, and a refreshment stop at the pub.

Then on through Killin, and the slow 4mls uphill to our favourite B&B at Kiltyrie Farmhouse. Once again we were welcomed by Jane with tea/coffee, and an array of homebaking to gladden any hungry cyclist’s heart!

Brown sheepIn the evening a tasty meal , with dog “Blue” relaxing on his couch! and the operatic free range hens (their names!) and other birds in the garden.

After a great breakfast on Sunday, we scooted back down the hill, and up pretty Glen Lochay, stopping to view some cute brown sheep!

Then we tackled that hill with hairpin bends (and gates!), for 1 mile (I walked as usual!) We re-grouped at the top, and started our carefree descent, when the heavens opened and a torrent of rain and wind challenged the moment!

Sheltering under the information board at the bottom, we set off again, still with rain, but spurred on by the thought of warmth and sustenance at the Glen Lyon Tearoom at Bridge of Balgie!

Glen LyonSun and showers alternated, and we sat outside under cover, to enjoy delicious soup, sandwiches and cake. Then on down Glen Lyon to Fortingall, a brief stop at the famous Yew, and another quick cuppa at The House of Menzies. Back through Strathtay, and across the river to our transport.

John accomplished all this on his folding bike, and looking “dapper” in plus fours and tweed cap!! – the epitome of the Country Gent out on his bicycle!

Thanks to “The Magnificent 7”- John, Jude, Jenny, Barbara, Alec, Tiana and me! who made it such a good weekend.

Photos Tiana

Kelpies and Helix Park

Saturday 17th May

Fountains at Helix ParkHow much can you see in a 34 mile cycle ride?

1. Two canals, Union and Forth and Clyde. Scottish Canals

2. A steam train. Bo'ness & Kinneil Railway

3. Scotlands oldest purpose built cinema Bo'ness Hippodrome

4. A raised beach

mini kelpie5. NCN 76, and part of the new part of John Muir Way.

6. A Roman fortlet on the Antonine Wall. Kinneil House

7.The Kelpies at the new entrance to the Forth and Clyde.

8. Helix Park with its Great Lawn, loch, beach and fountains coming out the ground.

9. Falkirk Wheel

10. A part excavated canal lock on the original flight between both mentioned canals. Lock dig

Remains of the original canal11. Two canal tunnels, Antonine and Hall Glen.

12. Largest canal aqueduct in Scotland. Avon Aqueduct

13. Sun and a bit of very wet rain.

Photos Tiana


The Eden Valley, Cumbria

12th - 13th April

St Mary's Church WreayAlec, Eibhlin, Grace, John, Jude and Tiana met at the cafe (where else?) in Carlisle station for the first weekend ride of the season. We set off on NCN7 along the River Caldew, which was a pleasant route out of the city. The first stop of the day was at Wreay (pronounced ‘rear’), where we admired St Mary’s Church.
It was designed by Sara Losh in 1842 with remarkable decorations that looked forward to the Arts and Crafts Movement, ranging from pinecones on the pews to a gargoyle like a turtle.

We turned eastward with the wind behind us. Route-finding was made easier by the traditional signposts, which showed the location as well as the usual directions.

A train hauled by a steam locomotive crossed a bridge over the road in Southwaite but most of us were under the bridge at the time and caught only the steam and smell. We stopped in Armathwaite for lunch. It had two pubs and we made the wrong choice because the soup was clearly intended only for a starter, not for the main meal.

River Eden south of ArmathwaiteThe main part of the route followed the River Eden and the Settle to Carlisle railway line, based on a couple of rides from Nick Cotton’s guidebook to the area. The hill out of Armathwaite was the steepest of the day but the views of the river in its narrow wooded valley were worth the climb. This is sheep country and in one field we saw an ewe vigorously licking her new-dropped twin lambs. The terrain remained ‘sharply undulating’ until Melmerby, where we were lucky to find an excellent cafe in the Village Bakery. It is on the Pennine Cycleway (NCN68) and had a flock of bicycle stands in front. Definitely one for the web site.

At the Unthank SignpostThe rest of the ride seemed easier with cakes inside us and we reached the youth hostel at Dufton a little after 1800 and about 41 miles. It is in a lovely stone building on the attractive village green. The YH did a good meal with wine and beer, not like the old days! Some of us tested the YH breakfast next morning as well, which was also good.

The wind had freshened overnight and we started into a headwind as we we returned toward the River Eden. A coffee stop had been planned at a National Trust garden, Acorn Bank, but it was not yet open. We had to carry on and were lucky again: we found Mrs Miller’s excellent cafe by the level crossing in Culgaith. The meringues looked irresistible but we were still full of breakfast and had to restrain ourselves. Another cafe for the web site.

Dufton Village The landscape seemed more gently undulating on the west bank and the wind was no longer in our faces as we rode northward through Langwathby and Lazonby back to Armathwaite (all good Norse names). This time we chose the Fox and Pheasant pub, which served a much better lunch. A few more miles brought us to Wetheral, a well-to-do village built around a green, like so many in this area. We needed to cross the river, which entailed going over the railway on an elegant iron bridge and taking a footbridge attached to the side of the railway bridge. It was a long way down! In a couple more miles we reached the Hadrian's Cycleway (NCN72), which proved to be a much less attractive way in to Carlisle than the route that we followed yesterday. It began to rain as we reached the station so we were lucky again. (The cafes were shut but you can’t have
everything.) About 43 miles.

crossing Corby Rail Bridge The Eden Valley, which most of us had not visited before, is a fine area for cycling. It has plenty of lanes and is hilly enough to be interesting without being too tiring, with views of the Pennines to the east and the Lakeland Fells to the west. Daffodils were flowering along many of the roads and the trees were coming into leaf so this may be the best time of year. We were fortunate with cafes and the weather too. A good start to the weekend rides for 2014!

Photos John and Jude

Tour of Midlothian

Sunday 30th March

At the start On a grey grey day of chilly breeze and mist 11 of us met at Usher Hall for this year's inaugural ride. Welcome to four new comers Jude, Jan, Mauro and Osion who all assure me they did enjoy the run despite the hills and dreich weather. I decided before the outset to avoid the worst of the low cloud and mist by shortening the route slightly and not climbing to Gladhouse. In hindsight Tiana’s suggestion it was slightly faster than usual may be justified with a recorded maximum on my GPS of 94.7mph.

We started with a slow and steady climb through Bruntsfield and Morningside to cross the Braids then the Burdiehouse dual carriageway to Loanhead, From there we followed the old railway path to Roslin and hence to Penicuik. It was on this section that the independent (rebellious) spirit of the group surfaced. Having got
separated by traffic lights and buses five of us arrived to Lidl to await the others, a phone call told they had tried to turn left near Tesco, possibly lured by the signs for the bike path, told to carry straight on I eventually found them thinking about following the Carlisle sign past the High School. Regrouping at Lidl we set of for
Leadburn with me bringing up the rear, despite the instructions to go straight on up the hill – I passed the entire group debating whether to turn left for Pomathorn and a bike route sign. Maybe they wanted a faster and flatter way to the Dalkeith path and lunch – I don't know.

After Lunch A long climb to Leadburn, led to a long descent to Auchendinny where we left traffic and potential diversions behind to follow the path all the way to Bonnyrigg then a lunch of excellent soup and cake at Mayshade Garden Centre. Distance at this time was 27 miles in just under 3 hours from Usher Hall at a moving average of 10.6 mph, fairly fast for MV I am assured, but useful for keeping warm. After lunch it was down to Eskbank having stopped to view the progress on the Waverley Railway line, from here to the roundabout at Dobbies then the shared use path to Gilmerton and hence to town and or home. The unrelenting feature of the day was the mist and subsequent lack of views and sunshine !!

The circuit was 36 miles in total at a moving average of 10.5mph in 3 hours 30 minutes and nearly 1800 feet of climbing (Route details from Garmin). I do intend to get to Gladhouse and may post an ad hoc day ride later in the season – keep your eyes peeled on Yahoo.

Neil Robertson
Photos Neil and Tiana

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