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Sunday 16th June

  • From: Innerleithen
  • To: Kinross
  • LEJOG miles cycled: 69.76 (66 planned)
  • Miles cycled: 747.80
  • Map of the Journey 
   

To Edinburgh from Innerleithen
Across the Forth Bridge to Inverkeithen
We ate carrot cake
Looking over the lake  –

This bike trip won’t make Steve and me thin.

An absolutely tremendous 12 mile climb out of Innerleithen this morning starting through the magnificent golf course in the valley bottom either side of the road. We would be on the B709 for a while meaning this lovely road will have been with us since yesterday for nearly 60 miles – what a drive it would make.

The B&B last night was easily the most comfortable so far, the best value for money, immaculately clean and to the standard of the many Hilton nights I have had in the past. I can very much recommend Glede Knowe in Innerleithen to you all. In addition Alison, our hostess, was very sorry she could not give us  free accommodation as she had a lot of sponsored rides stay there, but as we had a good cause she gave us a substantial donation – many, many thanks indeed – once more confirming the generosity of the great British Public.

Having been unable to find my waterproof fluorescent top yesterday I was first in the queue at the Innerleithen bike shop at 9am this morning to find it was my lucky day. They only had one top left but it fitted me and was in the sale which started yesterday hence a vastly reduced price at just over £20. Fantastic and lucky me!

I had previously joked with Robert, having read “A Free Country, a penniless adventure the length of Britain” in which two guys start at Land’s End with nothing but their boxer shorts (including no money) and cycle LEJOG!, that we would start with everything and gradually offload it finishing with nothing but our boxer shorts – not a pretty sight! Well 5 miles out I discovered I did not have my gloves which I had left somewhere at the B&B. Going back would cost distance, effort and time so we pressed on. I later phoned and found they had dropped from my helmet – one in the hall and one in the drive!

Back to the ride….. At the summit of this spectactular 12 mile climb we were rewarded with stunning views over Edinburgh and Dalkeith. We could clearly pick out many landmarks and felt as if Edinburgh was but a few miles away. Unfortunately the sign post said it was 24 miles to go – eh, what! Unbelievable.

Reaching Edinburgh via Dalkeith was uneventful but we were rewarded with a ride through some historic streets including crossing Princess Street near Waverley Station – what a way to ride through a city.  Here we heard out first pipers since entering Scotland. On the way we used the “Innocent” line which culminated in a superb half mile tunnel at the back of Arthur’s Seat.  The Innocent line started with horse drawn carriages as people were wary of steam trains and did not believe they would succeed. We lost signs in George Square and had to use the iphone Google maps to find our way with little loss of time or change in distance. We then got onto the National Cycle Network route 1 again at an old railway track and made our way out of the Edinburgh suburbs via Barnton. Well, Barnton is perhaps the most affluent and grandest suburb I have ever seen and clearly monied. Gated houses and estates everywhere, all of vast proportions. This makes some London and Home Counties suburbs seem impoverished.

Onto the Forth Road Bridge via a diversion through the Crammond Estate and the wonderful looking Dalmeny House. The Bridge was spectacular but the views it afforded of the much older Forth Rail Bridge were first class. The contrast in the bridges, one of which may not last much longer, is stark. The crossing of the Forth was one of the highlights of the ride – although there have been many.

The last 16+ miles to Kinross were tiring and uneventful, the views however were now being transformed from the rolling Border hills into the highlands and were becoming more rugged. The drop down into the huge vale that surrounds Kinross was wonderful and the clarity of the views superb.

Although a similar price, tonight’s B&B was not in the same league as last night and the welcome poor – particularly as there was a dispute about whether we had pre-paid or not (we had and they were in error and said they were not expecting us – very poor). The bath was dirty and had hairs in it from the last user and the rest of the facilities basic. Poor value.

Still we found an excellent hotel serving wonderful Ossian real ale from Perth and outstanding food and this helped us refresh and replenish. I hope we get a good night’s sleep tonight.

By the end of tomorrow at Blair Atholl we will have completed ¾ of the ride – nearly there now – and the weather is holding for at least a few more days. Tomorrow I also need to buy some cheap replacement gloves!

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