This year’s wee run around Edinburgh featured 14 runners and 11 bikers. Some (stal)warts of the Circo, some newbys or guests pleased to be released from parent duties for a few hours came along. Starting at 0833 we got great running conditions with crystal clear air which made up for the sometimes depressing junk that people enjoy fly-tipping. The first stop at the Espy worked well for pre-booking and the chance for bikers and runners to catch up together after 2hrs running. The tide was in so a nice beach run was avoided due to the soft sand but replaced with horrible tarmac. Who would be a road runner? Some folk joined us along the way and some dropped out to due to old injuries. The open fire in the Cramond Inn was also avoided being far too warm to risk getting cosy in front of and end up staying the afternoon. The soup was fine and the Mild beer went down well.
The final leg back to the Steading is the nicest really in case I didn’t mention it: the snowdrops in the Cammo Estate were stunning. The runners reduced to 9 after Juniper Green to save legs and a bit of time and this year we didn’t quite catch the bikers who were high tailing it to beers and food at the Steading. Willie Gibson called to say he and Helen Wise were on Allermuir. I tried to convince him to run down towards Bonaly to feed us whisky only to find he had been doing the Pentland Skyline and had no whisky. Splitters. The final descent to the start was taken carefully on weary legs to ensure no records were broken on the Caerketton Downhill route. By 1645 beers were in hand and everyone accounted for.
The bikers reports…
Perfect weather, great company and then we were welcomed back at The Steading by Willie and Helen. Thank you to all who organised and well done to all who went the full distance, whether on two wheels or two feet.
Eight bikers started and we collected one more at Drum, failing to find another two on the way due to problems of mechanical fitness for, or human absence of, purpose. International colour was provided by German recruits Manuel and Marcus keen to try this unique introduction to the Edinburgh unseen by tourists and unrecognised by visitscotland.com. A cold but sunny start saw us across the Broomhouse farmlands and along the Burdiehouse Burn to Gilmerton and the Drum estate.
The new Shawfair railway station and housing developments were a boring and bland replacement to the historic Monktonhall coal bings, railway sidings, national fender museum and slurry ponds of the old tumbleweed badlands. The Newhailes House gardens led us to sunny Portobello prom, busy with spring promenaders including a remarkably cheerful dog with rear wheels replacing its missing hind legs – straight out of a 1950s Luis Bunuel film. We were well into our bacon rolls at The Porty breakfast stop when the runners arrived.
At the Seafield sewage works we passed what seemed like a small refugee camp on the beach. On through the new Leith harbour developments and along the breezy Granton prom to the Cramond lunch stop. Here again, we managed to synchronise our approaching departure with the arrival of the runners, never far behind; but now we had to start building up the lead we needed before hitting the Pentland climbs.
The Almond riverside steps were congested with walkers and dog leads. So it was good to break out into the peaceful Cammo estate, emerging at the Turnhouse recycling dump where there was lots of interesting scrap that’s worth a re-visit. The tram depot fence and CCTV vigilance at the short cut tram tunnel forced us west and off-track to the Fred Goodwin memorial landscape of Ceausescu brutalist architecture at the RBS heritage headquarters. Here we had a navigational dispute between the aesthetes and the distance-minimalists over whether we should go for the Gyle centre water features or the shorter Heriot-Watt ivory towers route. The latter won on a vote, leaving the Navigator grumpy all the way to Balerno.
With the prospect of daunting climbs to come, we were suddenly down to five survivors for the end game. After a minor moral fibre crisis at the top of the Rosebank climb we turned east with growing confidence that we could beat the runners to the top of White Hill. Pretty Clubbiedean and Torduff reservoirs lifted us for the approaching struggle up White Hill, where Manuel delivered a frenzied fit of strength staying on the bike for about half the ascent, a feat never before witnessed on this annual outing. When the rest of us caught up with him he had been waiting at the top long enough for mild hypothermia to set in; so we made him lift all the bikes over the stile to rewarm him. It only remained to stay upright through the Dreghorn swamps to lead us back to the warmth of the Steading for food and drink. Kathy was so chuffed with the day out that she rushed home to wash and dress for dinner before joining her otherwise very sweaty companions. Despite the record turnout there were no breakdowns, crashes, fall-offs or mislaid members. We lingered to debate the relative merits of running or biking these unloved Edinburgh boundarylands.
Photo – death of Monktonhall colliery 1997. Acknowledgements Campbell Drysdale