The Capital Trail

Last Friday morning I was out for an early morning ride into the Old Kilpatricks. I'd met a couple of runners and a dog walker but it's unusual to see another bike up there. So I eyed with interest when I noticed a stationary cyclist consulting his map up ahead. He had panniers  on his bike (not bad going for the top of that particular rugged hill) so I decided he probably had an interesting story. It turns out he'd been having his own wee microadventure, sleeping in a hammock in the hills before heading back to Glasgow.

These are the moments I love about cycling - the people you meet and their stories. A leisurely ride back along the canal with him was enough to fire me up for my coming adventure that weekend. Looking back over my blog I realise some of my rides have had fairly miserable times during them. But if there's one reason I'm doing all these reccies it's to remember that after the bad bits there is always the good. And really it's the people that matter.


It was an early morning start to ride to Queen Street for the 6am train to Edinburgh, where I met up with Katie and Lucy. After a bit of faffing (mostly me realising my cleat was loose, which I couldn't fix, and that my bar-bag was a bit bouncy, which was fixed by the combined powers of Lucy and Google) we set off following the Capital trail.  It starts off fairly flat along the coast, country lanes and woodlands, going into some interesting historic places and was (as Katie was then reminded several times later) 'really quite pleasant'.

The forecast had been for showers but, by early afternoon when we were heading into the Lammermuir hills, these turned out to be showers interspersed with torrential downpours. As we sheltered next to a locked bothy, weighing up our options, I think Katie was feeling very glad she hadn't signed up for the HT550. As for me and Lucy, well, I only know what I was thinking...

Lucy shared that she associated me with suffering.
Hmmm... think Neil had a similar feeling til he stopped riding bikes with me.

We rode into Lauder and turned up at the Black Bull inn dripping wet and filthy but hopeful for some soup (and fearful they'd turn us away for being just too wet).
'You'll be needing chips with that?'

Probably the best answer we could have had. And they gave us towels to wrap ourselves in and put our gloves in the tumble dryer. What nice people.

After the rain came almost the sun.

We were sufficiently cheered up by this to continue to Melrose by the Capital Trail, especially as it had stopped raining. But we somehow didn't have the will to head up to the three Brethern and instead took a much easier way along the cycle path to our wee camping pod at Innerleithen. Even without the big climb up the hill it was still a 10hr day and I was really grateful to get a good dinner and sleep, even if it meant we gatecrashed someone's 30th birthday in the Tow Bar, with our dry socks inside dry bags in our shoes. 


The next morning we were still a little bit lacking in psyche. But somehow found it after a couple of hours in the No. 1 Cafe in Innerleithen, drinking great coffee and stocking up on good food for then and for later.

Hipster brekkie at No. 1

We decided that we didn't need another suffery day and this was all going to be sunny and fun. So we cut out the Gypsy Glen bit of the route and the Glentress loop and just headed straight for Peebles and then the Meldon hills, with some lovely tracks taking us through West Linton and then on to the Pentlands. And it was glorious. Exactly what bike packing should be, with a lovely last blast through the sunshine along the Water of Leith and the canal to get back to Haymarket for the train home. 
I might have been wavering a bit but it turns out I like riding bikes again!


Heading off into the Meldons

Posing to wait for the family behind us to catch up and take a photo!

Lazing in the sunny Pentlands.


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