Adventure

Cycling Day 10: Dunbar To Edinburgh

The cycling world is full of genuine, nice people. I know that you are already aware of this as you are probably one of those genuine, nice people. But it is worth pointing out from time to time. Any scroll through social media will reveal the darker side of society. Most encounters with cyclists almost always reveal the lighter side of society. I say this as, once again, I have been on the receiving end of the kindness of people who are (almost) strangers.

I had met Suzanne Forup at the Cycle Touring Festival a couple of years ago so she wasn’t quite a stranger, but near enough. When she saw that I was passing by Dunbar, she invited me to stay at her house and I was delighted to accept the offer. Yesterday evening I was welcomed into her home by Suzanne herself, her husband Michael and son Sebastian and had a thoroughly relaxing evening in their company. I was plied (in the nicest sense) with gin, wine, calvados and chocolate and we put the world to rights. Cycling? Sorted. Brexit? Sorted. Scottish Independence? Sorted. If only we were in charge…

This morning, Suzanne offered to escort me on the first part of the ride to Edinburgh so off we set in the direction of North Berwick. It became obvious within just a few minutes of leaving Dunbar that the greatest challenge of the day was going to be the wind. The journey from Dunbar to Edinburgh is east to west. Alas the wind today had decided to blow from west to east. Bugger…

At least on other levels, the weather gods were on my side; no rain and increasing amounts of sunshine. It could, on reflection, have been a lot worse.

After recording a piece for episode 024 of The Cycling Europe Podcast (which will be all about cycling in Scotland), Suzanne turned to return home and I continued on my way to Edinburgh but not before I had spent an hour or so pondering my options whilst overlooking the beach at North Berwick…

…the result of which was, probably, to stay at the campsite near the centre of the capital.

There are lots of golf courses in this part of the world but I managed to arrive without being hit by a ball. My map suggests that I cycled past or through at least 8. Yes, eight. That’s a lot of stray balls. The links courses vied for my attention against the more natural views across the Firth of Forth and towards Edinburgh, rapidly approaching on the horizon:

Inevitably, the suburbs of Edinburgh weren’t quite as picturesque as the golf clubs and the firth but with my destination in sight, my battle against the wind became personal. I would not be beaten and by 5pm I had arrived. I took a valedictory photo:

In the end I found a cheap hotel option online. Two nights for £80 in a city centre budget establishment. A minor issue with the room not having been cleaned but that was soon sorted and it will be my home for the next two nights. As for Monday…

Well, I have been reminded of the following image by Alan Hardy on Twitter:

It was a suggested itinerary that I mentioned earlier in the year for a cycle tour that, inspired by the 1908/09 adventure of Maximilian J. St. George, would take in all the capital cities of Europe. I’ve now managed to tick off the first. The second would be Belfast. It’s very tempting…

Watch this space.

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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