Keith's cyclists report
Digby & Margaret's reports

Circumnavigation of Edinburgh
Sat 10th March 2012


Andy's report
For this year I thought that an anti-clockwise run would be best as it saves the fun part back in the hills until the end and gives you something to look forward to on the long sections along by the shore. The weather was pretty much perfect for running, cloudy skies but a good temperature and the wind behaved itself pretty much for the whole day, best thing being no rain at all!
And we're off...     Sarah takes a tumble
We had a good numbers at the start, in all around 14 runners and three cyclists for our departure which was pretty much on time. The first couple of miles are usually fairly uneventful events though this year Sarah, who was out for her first social run with the club, decided to test out the robustness of the knees of her leggings. The results were as follows: Skins leggings are pretty rubbish at stopping stones and all sorts of unpleasantness shredding your knees. Fortunately we had expert medical help available from Victoria, with supplies from Gio’s first aid kit as the organisers single elastoplast was deemed insufficient. Once she was patched up me and Jim kept Sarah company up the road until her transport arrived – I don’t know which she found worse: damaging her knees or having to listen to me and Jim for a prolonged time. Whichever, we hope she recovers soon.
  Substation at Burdiehouse    

After this little detour Jim and I ran on to catch up with the rest of the group who were being led by Richard, one of the original architects of the route. By the time we caught them at Monktonhall it sounds like they had had a few more adventures than us, managing to find a broken sewage pipe that wasn’t on the route I’d chosen, but all was good.

Start of railway walkway at Straiton...   The first of much rubbish, and the pipe... Drum Estate - follow signs to Danderhall
Drum estate exit Exit link   Site of ex Monktonhall Colliery link
Towards Millerhill marshalling yards Borders railway will pass through here link  

It’s a bit more of a mess even than normal at the old colliery, though we passed the most bizarre mound of car bumpers – must remember that if I ever need a new one. We then ran through the Newhailes estate (very nice) down towards Portobello with a few taking in some sand on the way to a bacon roll stop. With great timing the cyclists met us as we were on our way along the promenade.

    Newhailes House (NTS) link Shell house link
      Knees go funny colour
Nick (puncture) Keith & Jonathan (broken seat post) The hardier runners returning from the sand Bacon rolls
The next stretch isn’t my favourite, I have to admit, as the ten miles or so along to Cramond are mostly tarmac and into the wind. This wasn’t helped by part of the off road route I’d reccied a couple of weeks ago now being shut as they were working on the bridges, but that’s life. A few of the runners peeled off along this stretch, including Richard who decided that public transport to the Steading was a fine choice and I can’t blame him. It was also along this stretch we picked up Matt who was actually early. Yes really. Like he was actually waiting for us. How wierd.

I kept Rod company on the way along the shore and the cyclists passed us about a mile and a half before the Cramond Inn. By the time we got to the pub, about twenty miles into the run, everyone was settled in and we stopped for a pint or more and crisps. A pint and a packet of crisps for £2.15. Marvellous. Well I say everyone was settled in but that’s not entirely true. I though Victoria had already gone but she’d actually run the extra mile and a half or so to the Cramond Brig and then back again before heading off! I also got a call from Joel not long after we set off from the pub saying that he too had had a nice pint...at the Cramond Brig...so we picked him up on the way!
Prom behind the bus depot on Seafield Rd Past the sewage works Closed off walkway Leith

We ran up from Cramond along the edge of the river up through the Cammo estate past the now closed recycling centre up to the RBS headquarters. On the tarmac dogleg that we need to take thanks to the tram works (though those pesky cyclists cheated and went through the depot!) Digby decided that his legs didn’t work anymore and called it a day.
We regrouped at RBS and then headed up to Woodhall Road where we joined up with Margaret F who supplied us with some fabulous tablet. I’m not sure what was in it but everyone was able to blast up the hill to the reservoir in record time... We caught the Four Cyclists of the Apocalypse (tm) on White Hill and overtook on the climb but they caught up again when everyone stopped and Jim said, “Hey, why don’t we go up Caerketton, it’s just up there” . Most of the runners go yep, good idea and off we go up the track Jim was pointing to. Keith had the better and more measured answer of “No” and headed along the original route to the pub. Now if you don’t know this part of the Pentlands too well, as proven in this instance, there’s quite a bit more to these parts of the hills than you might think. Jim was about a hill or two short of where he thought we were so there were quite a few tussock strewn and heathery steep climbs before we made it finally up to the top. It was, however, worthwhile as we got to sit at the eastern cairn and look back over Edinburgh and got a chance to see the route we had just run. Oz summed it up well – “It’s a bloody long way”. No argument there. The other good thing about coming down from Caerketton is that you can see the pub on the way down; it’s always a great sight! Even with knee shredding and extra hill climbs we finished in daylight a little ahead of schedule thanks to the boundless energy and pace from all involved with Graham and Hilary H leading the way in that respect.
All the finishers plus a few we’d lost along the way ended up in the Steading for a well deserved beer or two and some good pub grub. I’m going to use Jim's description of the run – it’s a very long pub crawl but with a lack of pubs. Much sympathy to Willie G who turned up at the pub to join us for a pint just as everyone was leaving! Thanks as always to everyone who came along for great company and chat to make this a great way to spend a Saturday and well done especially to the record eight runners and four cyclists who managed the whole route. Many thanks also to Keith for organising the cycling as always.

Andy Millard

Cramond   Cammo house link Margaret takes over photographing...

Digby & Margaret's reports
You always wonder how many will turn up for an occasion like this, but there were a good number up for the annual exploration of the edges of Edinburgh, which vary from the hills of the Pentlands to hills of rubbish in Millerhill. It was a rather grey as we set off but very soon we had to stop. Someone was down - Sarah - and it was almost unbelievable how much damage the stony path did to her knees. Fortunately Gio had a good first aid kit but she decided to bail, and was escorted to the nearby garden centre cafe to be rescued by her dad.
The rest of us carried on to Straiton joining the old railway track as far as the Drum Estate to be greeted on climbing out of the cutting by a spouting sewage pipe.
Welcome to East Edinburgh!
The badlands of Millerhill are a disgrace replete with fly tipping and every sort of domestic rubbish. Maybe the arrival there of the resurrected Borders Railway will result in a cleanup? (but I doubt it). Andy and JimBob arrived back at the group after their 1st aid mission and we headed to the much nicer environs of Newhailes, then along to Portobello, meeting up with the cyclists (who'd apparently been riding self destructing machines) and a mass dive in to cafés for bacon rolls, and a mini diveout of runners.
The next section was a little featureless, slogging along into the headwind trying to keep up with the speedy leaders. We were denied the variety of the railway walkway by fencing & some sort of works so carried on along the road to the Scottish Government at Victoria Quay, (formerly the Scottish Executive which has re-branded itself!) where we picked up Matt. Then more slog along to Cramond Inn and the joy of beer.
A few more left at the pub and the refreshed peloton continued along the River
Cramond through to Cammo, exiting by the ex recycling centre near the airport, then up the road to Gogar where my legs absolutely refused to go any further. A pity with the best of the route still to come.


I joined the run just after Digby retired and (judging from his report) I think I was on the most scenic part of the route (but then it depends on what you call "scenic"!).
I ran from home to Blinkbonny Road and met the runners at the top of the hill where we turned off for the woods and the path up to Tiphereth and Colinton Community Compost.
Although these guys had been running for miles and miles, I was *still* slower than them (I'd been thinking I might be able to keep up this year, but no). I was very interested in the next part of the route which joined Torphin to Torduff. This is near my regular stamping ground, but I wasn't sure how to get over the shoulder of the hill without going through the private golf course. The answer is - you go through the golf course, out of sight of the club house ;o).
We then made our way over to Bonaly Park and up to the top of White Hill. This I was prepared for, but not the next stage - to the top of Caerketton! Apparently, 30+ miles is no barrier to a jaunt up this hill. It was great to whizz down to the Steading for a drink afterwards, before I continued my run home via Swanston. Great run and thanks to Andy for organising this!

Margaret Forrest

Industrial Cycles around Edinburgh

The advantage of a bike for this outing is that there’s a fair proportion of tarmac that can get a bit tedious at running pace.  On foot you only have three gears: run, jog and walk.  With the marvels of Shimano, Campag, SRAM or even Sturmey Archer you have the wherewithal to fast-forward the dreary sections and enjoy the rough stuff.  It’s all about impedance matching.  That’s the theory anyway; add on the practical stuff of equipment breakdown, man-made barriers to progress (railway track blockages, sleepers, hedges, barbed wire and tram depots) and the relative merits of foot vs. wheel begin to even up.  Without apportioning ownership between the four of us, we suffered saddle clamp fracture, puncture, toe-clip self-disassembly, multiple chain throws and a spectacular slide on White Hill.  Along with some more relaxed stops for bacon rolls and tea, all these factors helped to more-or-less synchronise our finish with the runners (who surely can’t match the varied entertainment value of the bike).  
Our route had minor (usually lengthier) detours off the Lathian purist parliamentary boundary route to take in both disused, working and embryonic (Borders Railway) sections of the railway network, Edinburgh sewage treatment works, some challenging field margins and the Clockwork Orange country around Millerhill with its National Car Fender Archive and Fly-Tipping Training Centre.  These are our local examples of industrial renewal following the not-too olden days (1960s) of Monktonhall Colliery and the Millerhill hump marshalling yard.  The middle game along the shore was routine with some useful drafting into the strong headwind.  After lunch at Cramond we made an interesting detour around the western margins of the Cammo Estate and through the tram depot.  At the canal I gave a solitary wave to the memory of John Scott Russell as we crossed his memorial bridge, musing on the assistance of one of his own for the climb to Currie.  The dramatic contrast of White Hill at dusk was a fitting finale to a day that shows there are indeed cheaper alternatives to joining a golf club, despite what the magazine In my dentists told me last week.  The exercise was almost as entertaining as the scenery.  

Keith Burns

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