I’ve spent a nice day wandering the streets of the Scottish capital as Wanda has been taking a rest in our hotel room:
We were watching the James Bond film ‘You Only Live Twice’ last night thinking about where we should have cycling; Japan…
Anyway, the weather has been good and, with one or two exceptions, is generally positive for the rest of the week so I am minded to keep cycling rather than jump on one of the trains at Waverley Station.
The first (and last?) part of this cycling journey was mostly planned in advance; all the campsites until Berwick-upon-Tweed had been reserved, then a last-minute booking in Berwick, a night at Suzanne’s house in Dunbar and finally two nights here in Edinburgh in a hotel booked upon arrival in the city. But what next? Good question. Much of what follows is me making notes to myself but feel free to comment on my ideas.
To head to Belfast and then Dublin to ‘bag’ another two capital cities is appealing but by no means certain. The ferries from Cairnryan to Belfast do appear to be taking bicycles (this was reported to be not the case with some cross-channel ferries a couple of weeks ago) and there is space. A journey to Cairnryan (near Stranraer) could involve a direct cycle from Edinburgh to the south-west and take about three days. I am investigating the possibility of a Warmshowers host tomorrow at Biggar, about 45km south-west of Edinburgh. I’m not quite sure how Warmshowers hosts are approaching the Coronavirus issue. As far as I am aware, there are no restrictions on accommodating someone in your house. As a Warmshowers host myself, I wouldn’t currently turn anyone down based upon the virus situation but perhaps others would. There is a campsite in Biggar as a second option but I haven’t contacted them yet.
An alternative route to Cairnryan would be to head west from Edinburgh along the canal to (at least) Falkirk and then a more coastal route passing through Glasgow. People speak highly of this cycle route along the canal but with four panniers and a tent, a canal cycle might not be that comfortable. Again, I contacted a Warmshowers host in Falkirk earlier today but did say that if I heard nothing by 6pm today we would be at war with… sorry, wrong quote; I would assume that hosting would not be possible. I am typing this at 4 minutes to 6pm. And Glasgow? Do I want to cycle through Glasgow if I don’t plan on staying there? The onward journey to Cairnryan would be via Kilmarnock and Ayr.
If I were to go the Biggar route, a continuation of the direct cycle south-westerly would involve a lot of hills. Biggar to Ayr is about 90km and if I did that I would then head south along the coast.
All that said, the national cycle routes don’t coincide with much of what is discussed above:
Obviously I don’t need to be a slave to the cycle network but it is a good indication as to where the best cycling might be.
So what do you think? Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas etc… will certainly be listened to and considered.
On a different topic altogether, I was delighted to find this in the Princes Street branch of Waterstone’s. Would they have called the cops if I had signed it?
When I retire I hope to cycle in the borders area of Scotland, I am a big fan of “tootlepedal” and his daily blog. Enjoying your posts also, and have two of your books. Cheers.
Hi Andrew I think you should go the whole hog and push on. It should be a very interesting trip especially in these uncertain times to see how the other cities are doing. Also it will be a very interesting read after all you haven’t failed us yet. Peter
well we have cycled the canal all the way across with full camping kit and that was pre e-bike days. A lovely route. As for the coastal route there are a few hills but I managed. We just wild camped on the foreshore in Ayr and a retired policeman , who owned a Koga came along. He took us to his parents home not far away to get water and they fed us too. obviously pre-covid days. Have also got the ferry to Belfast. Again it was wild camping as we wanted to be nearby to get the early ferry without having to cycle up the hill again.
We rode the Antrim coast down from Port Rush ( we got a lift from J’s cousin) all the way to Dublin. That last bit was a nightmare as we nearly ended up on a motorway so do be careful if you get down there. Good luck
Thanks Brenda. Very useful comments. Much appreciated. Perhaps the canal is the way to go (unless the Warmshowers contact in Biggar responds positively)
glad to help – makes me realise juts how much we have done over the years