Monday, 2 October 2017

The 3 Bridges - Queensferry (31 Dec 2014)

The last day of 2014 and a bit of holiday relief and its dry. Set off from Davidson's Mains, taking the cycle path through the golf courses to Cramond Brig. Heading into Dalmeny Estate and it's clouding over and cool, pushing on past Dalmeny House following the coastal path to Houndpoint, there's a ship berthed and three tugs on standby. Take a seat, it's always worth stopping here, there's usually something happening on the river and the view of the bridges is magnificent.

The towers of the Forth Crossing, the new and third bridge to cross the Forth here at Queensferry are well out of the water now, tower cranes pushing skyward, it's going to sit very well with the existing world class bridges.

The rain starts so I do too, destination the centre point of the road bridge and return. On the bridge it is cool and wet a short stop then back, thoughts of an alternative route home parked for today, I decide to return by the outward route.

Distance  - 25 Km, allow at least a couple of hours on a good day

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Lockerbie, Moffat and The Devil's Beef Tub

Saturday 2 September  2017

Caught the 8:15  from Waverley no bikes on board but mine though the booking line had no spaces, how does this happen?

It's a beautiful morning clear and sunny climbing west and south through the hills. Occasional misty drifts fall down and across the slopes from the high tops shrouding the cattle across the lower green pastures. Down shortly by the infant Clyde then by the M74 past Moffat and timber mill to Lockerbie.

Its dull and cool leaving the train. Check the map, heading north route 74. Big wide quiet road past the truck stop on for Moffat. Taking it easy, warming to it, enjoying the steady slight uphill no wind and great scenery. After 7 miles the sun burns off the cloud and its pleasantly warm, marvellous.

A roar from behind announces the arrival of 3 TVRs, then 4, another 3 then more must be a club outing probably 20 passed in all.

Choose not to take the separate cycle way on the left as start looked a bit iffy, overgrown and untidy for the road bike. Felt a bit off about this as glimpses of the track further on showed it looking OK.

Joined the Dumfries Road, negotiated 2 motorway access roundabouts and into Moffat. 1hr, feeling good time for roll and coffee. Award winning baker on the left just into the main street next to the Bank, cashline here, if you see a ram monument on your right you've gone too far.

North still from Moffat, slight and short downhill then the up starts. It's a long pull up a reasonable gradient to top out at The Devil's Beef Tub 30mins and quite pleased with myself. The racing snakes probably take 1/2 the time or less. Bet they're not mid 50s and mid teens weight wise though ? A small layby on the opposite side of the road has an info board and overlooks the Devil's Beef Tub with great views of the surrounding hills and away down the valley towards Moffat,

give yourself a pat on the back for a climb well done and chapeau to the road builders for the consistent gradient of the road.

I pull on my jersey, 1 km to the top then miles of descent past the source of the River Tweed and Tweedsmuir almost to Broughton before the hint of an uphill, fantastic road no steep sections and sinuous curves all the way with good visibility to let the bike run.

Approaching Broughton the road surface changes from smooth to rough surfaced asphalt, it might be good grip for motorised vehicles but it's hellish sore on the hands. You'll be glad of a rest and Broughton has a shop and  quality cafe doing good food and drinks.

The miles to Leadburn are scenically good with ever improving views to the Pentland Hills off to the left, unfortunately the road surface sticks doggedly to the aforementioned rough surfaces.

It's a left at Leadburn for an easy swoosh into Penicuik, follow the road through the town centre and Milton Bridge, turn left at the roundabout and in 1kM turn right passing The Forestry Commission offices on the right then Edinburgh University Vet School. At the mini roundabout take the cycle path on the left, following it downhill to a T-junction. Turn left heading for Edinburgh, take care at the next junction turning right again for Edinburgh as cars approach quickly round a blind corner from the left. The Ski Centre is passed on the left then cross the City Bypass to enter Edinburgh. for the City Centre continue on this road all the way to Princes Street.


Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Davidson's Mains Park to Dalmeny House

Family friendly cycle route from Davidson's Mains Park to Dalmeny House

There is plenty of free parking available at Davidson's Mains Park as well as a good selection of coffee shops and a Tesco in Davidson's Mains should you need to top up or get some last minute goodies before you start.

Head west uphill on the footpath within the park taking the right hand turn just before the top to join the quiet residential road. Follow this road passing the Royal High School on the left just before reaching a T-junction. Go straight on following the road round to the left and downhill. Careful as the road narrows down to a cycle path passing between the Royal Burgess and Bruntsfield Golf Courses. Follow this path until it emerges onto another quiet residential road serving some of Edinburgh's most sought after properties.

At the end of the road a shared cycle and pedestrian crossing leads almost straight over onto a very shaded and quite steeply downhill section of road leading to the old Cramond Brig, this road though narrow can be busy and care should be taken especially towards the bottom of the hill where the road is narrowest and most shaded where pedestrians can be walking in the road. Look out for a road on the left which gives access to a small playpark, and ponies can often be seen in the adjacent field.

Follow the road round to the left ignoring the road off to the right and emerge onto the original Cramond Brig with the pub/restaurant beyond. Take a minute to enjoy the view from the bridge of the River almond below.

Cross the bridge, negotiated the traffic barriers and climb the steep but short hill, be mindful of Inn customers as you pass the car park on your left. At the top of the hill on the left bend go straight over entering Dalmeny Estate.

Follow the estate road for about 1 mile taking the left turn at a large storage silo on the left, road surface deteriorates for a while after this point, beware of loose surface as you first go downhill then up, turning right at the top of the short rise. Follow this road round to the left and downhill through the trees before joining a surfaced estate road, go left and slightly uphill again, continue along until you meet a larger road at a bridge, follow this road to the right and up a short hill. cresting the hill you will see the private Dalmeny Estate golf course on your right, very select membership I believe limited to Estate workers, residents or employees of the Earl of Roseberry's Companies. In the distance you will see the east elevation of Dalmeny House, follow the road along to pass the house on the sea side cutting through the golf course, watch out for errant golf balls as a number of the holes are very close to the road and 2 actually cross this road in this area - golfers have priority so take care.

There is a pleasantly sheltered seat at the edge of the beach just before the plantation to the west a good place to stop and take in the views of Cramond and the other Forth islands as well as the main fa├žade of Dalmeny house.


If you have the time it's a pleasant cycle to South Queensferry, just continue along the road westwards, the track is surfaced for the first section to just past Barnbougle Castle (about 1/2 kM), then a good gravel track meanders through the mixed established woodland passing Houndpoint before joining the public road below the Rail Bridge at Queensferry. Queensferry has a good selection of pubs, restaurants and an ice cream shop at the Lifeboat House.

Monday, 27 March 2017

Commute on 7th March 2017

A bit repetitive but this morning was so nice though a tad chilly I had to stop and take a couple of photos
The familiar view across Davidson's Mains Park with the sunrise beyond the trees, followed by this shot of the rising sun clawing its way up the beautiful east facade of the Donaldson's School Building below

Friday, 17 February 2017

Sunrise through the trees of Davidson's Mains Park

Great to be back on the bike this week after such a long lay off, longest in 8 years! Touch of frost at sunrise, fantastic clear morning glad to be out early even if it is only the commute into town.