SCROPS is at the SECC Glasgow and runs over three days. I decided to take myself through on the Saturday. So kitted out in the Company hoody and with a bag full of contact sheets I headed for Weegieland on the 9:14 from my home town of Kirkcaldy. There is a station right a the SECC which is nice and handy and the journey from my home town takes just over two hours with two changes and a wee walk between Glasgow’s two mainline stations. There were demonstrators outside the venue making a noise about fracking aimed at the SNP conference which was also on at the SECC.
I bought my ticket, £15 and made my way into hall 4 and a hubbub of noise. As well as exhibitors and speakers there were a few activities and that was what was creating the noise. There was an indoor running straight and two bike courses laid out as well as that various exhibitors had races or challenges on involving indoor exercise equipment.
My SBT hoody attracted a few comments and started some conversations which was exactly what I was hoping for. I also distributed sheets with contact details around the hall which hopefully will generate some custom. As normal with these types of exhibitions there were a load of freebies to grab and information leaflets to peruse. I picked up a lot of both and also got a summer timetable for Calmac ferries.
I caught Mark Beaumonts talk and Q&A session which was very interesting.
A very enjoyable day out and if business picks up I would consider going there next year as an exhibitor.
Friday 4th March I loaded my tourer up with some food a flask and extra clothes and headed down to the station to catch the train to Dunbar birthplace of John Muir.
After a stop outside his birthplace I headed out on the JMW. Traditionally cycled West to East to take advantage of the prevailing wind I had decided to begin in the East as that is where John Muirs story began. The JMW is a purpose built C2C route suitable for walkers and cyclists the path occasionally splits and the walkers and cyclists take a different path. Surprisingly the walking and cycling routes are the same distance despite the splits along the way.
It was a grey windy day and the sea was choppy it all added up to an atmospheric ride out of Dunbar. The route makes use of NCN 76 and further on towards Edinburgh NCN 1 it also utilises roads when it needs to. After Dunbar which is left on the A199 Whitekirk is the next village then onto North Berwick. Berwick Law (613ft 187m) dominates the skyline and the route takes you around the bottom of the Law although you can make a slight detour and climb up the hill and examine the stone watchtower at the top of this ancient volcano.
After North Berwick Dirleton with it’s castle and Gullane with it’s golf courses follow in quick succession. Next village is Aberlady and your first glance of the Forth bridges Aberlady bay at 20 miles is a nice place to stop for food and a comfort break.
Although on a busy road now you are following the coast along to Cockenzie and Port Seton you pass in front of the now abandoned Cockenzie powerstation and back onto a cycle path. You are now nearing Edinburgh and Arthurs seat is visible in the distance. Still hugging the coast you carry on through Prestonpans the site of the famous battle and home to a not so famous microbrewery. At the edge of Musselburgh the path leaves the shore and heads up Brunstane Burn and into the first suburb of Scotland’s capital city.
Edinburgh is blessed with miles of cycle paths, mainly old railways, and this path leads you onto the Innocent Railway which was used to transport goods and people between Edinburgh and Dalkeith. The innocent railway via the Innocent tunnel leads you towards Holyrood park and the Scottish Parliament building.
So endeth my ride for the day!
The verdict a great route with views and terrain to keep it interesting and enough cafes, castles and Kirks to satisfy anyone!
I have long wanted to do the JMW not the American one but the C2C route in Scotland. Born in Dunbar John Muir (1838-1914) left Scotland in 1849 for America. If it hadn’t been for an accident which blinded the young Muir we may not have had the JMT or JMW he was so happy to regain his sight that he decided to follow his dreams and the rest as they say is history!
Bikeable in four days (134 miles) with B & B’s and rail stations all along the route it is one of the longer trips I intend offering to clients. I start my recce next Friday and although the traditional direction would be West to East I have decided at least on this occasion to go East to West and will be doing the Dunbar to Edinburgh stretch. Watch this blog for news of how it went.
If you, or anyone you know, are considering touring in Scotland get in touch. Please follow and share this blog for an insight to my tours and to Scotland.
The Edinburgh Festival of Cycling is in Scotland’s capital in June and Scottish Bike Touring will be there!
I will be guiding 2 tours on alternate days the details of which along with video clips can be found at http://www.scottishbiketouring.com Rides cost £20pp are 30 miles long and you should expect to take 5 hours. Please check the SBT FB and website out and share with friends.
A full list of events at EdFoC can be found at http://www.edfoc.org.uk
Friday the 5th February I set off from Kirkcaldy station bound for Edinburgh and a route recce through the city and along both sides of the Forth back to Kirkcaldy.
I had done almost all the route in parts but had never put it together into one ride. Accompanied by another rider we headed off from Waverley down to the Scottish Parliament and onwards to the shore. We followed the shore along to Cramond and then up and back down the River Almond. Coming into South Queensferry the 2 complete bridges and the new crossing were visible and made a great site. Crossing the Road bridge we started along the Fife Coastal Path through Inverkeithing, Dalgety Bay and onwards to the finish at Kirkcaldy. Thirty five miles with 2000 ft of climb.
The website is now online http//scottishbiketouring.com and a montage of video clips of the ride is visible there.
Scottish Bike Touring will be offering two rides at EDFOC a short clip of the other ride is also available on the site.
Scottish Bike Touring shall be offering 2 very different types of tours. On one hand there will be the traditional ride designed by SBT travelled very frequently and at a fixed cost such as: The Kelpies and canal tour in Central Scotland, the Five Ferries ride in W Scotland inc Bute and Arran and the Forth and 3 bridges a point to point ride utilising the great rail links between Fife and Scotland’s capital.
The other type of ride is a tailored ride. This is chosen by you but organised and if required led by SBT. If you want to visit a certain area say to look up your family tree you give us the area, how far you want to cycle, surface, accommodation type and speed and we will do the rest. The cost of a tailored tour is different as there is a lot of variables.
SBT will be open for business in March. Spread the word, better still come along for a ride!!
Normally an easy walk my Waverley to Haymarket journey involved 31 miles with over 1600 ft of climb. I am sure that even those of you not very familiar with the route between Edinburgh’s two rail stations will realise I did not take the direct route!
With a clear but cold day forecast I took myself down to my local station and boarded the train to Edinburgh my mission two fold could I book rail tickets for a journey to France in July and a route recce for Scottish Bike Touring.
Objective No 1 the answer was no, so back to trawling the internet trying to make sense of advance booking dates and timetables here and in France. Objective two? Read on…..
The day was to turn out to be a railway type of day the route I took used a lot of disused railway line and went thru a lot of old railway tunnels. The first rail line is known as the Innocent railway and is picked up near the Commonwealth pool this is the old Edinburgh to Dalkeith line and is a popular route within the city for walkers and cyclists. It is also part of NCR 1 which I would be on for a lot of todays route. It may seem strange then that my vehicle of choice was my 29er. All will be revealed.
My route took me past the Scottish Parliament building and Arthurs seat into the Innoent tunnel part of the old Dalkeith to Edinburgh line. I followed this, which eventually becomes part of NCR 1 to Dalkeith onwards towards the Pentland hills, white with snow, in the distance.
Up and over an icy snow covered track to Currie then plain sailing along the canal to Haymarket and the train home.
A great day and one I look forward to repeating with customers of SBT!