Tuesday, July 02, 2013

York to Edinburgh Cycle

Over the past few months one pub conversation had led to another and somehow three of us had agreed to ride from York to Edinburgh for charity. We'd allowed ourselves a reasonably generous four days to cycle the 400km distance, but, as we had to be in Edinburgh for a reunion on the Saturday, there could be no excuses: we had to ride every day and get there on time. 
Camera: Canon G9
Navigation from York was mainly via two Sustrans cycle routes which are very well signed and relatively traffic free. Day#1 was still a bit of an eye-opener for us all as the gently rolling B roads of Route 65 switched over to steep forest tracks in the North York Moors. The track was okay, it was the gradient and 15kg of luggage on a touring bike that added a bit of a challenge. (On the plus side through, all that weight gives plenty of traction for climbing.) 
Much of Day#2 was uneventful old railway tracks as we picked up Route 1 along the east coast and headed for Whitely Bay. There was only one interestingly steep downhill (see luggage and touring bike above) following a minor wrong turn. More importantly the weather held out, those railway tracks looked like they could be pretty grim in the wet. 
Camera: Canon G9

We knew from the outset that Day#3 was the tough one for distance. especially if the weather didn't play along. Predictably, it didn't. We were dry until lunch at Hogwarts (formally known as Alnwick Castle) but from Alnwick to the border it rained, hard. Despite the conditions we did still manage to stop and take few proper photos as we crossed into Scotland. (I'd carried my remotes and a flash all the way so I was determined to use them, whatever the weather) 
From the border into Kelso it rained more. And harder. It was a soaked through, squelching feet and chilled three riders that made it to The Queens Head in Kelso that night for well earned pint. 
Camera: Nokia Lumia 820, Processing:Scottish Rain & Lomogram
With the forecast for the last day being "the-same-as-yesterday" we spent a little extra time cramming in haggis, black pudding, and tattie-scones before heading out for the final leg on Friday. As usual with Scottish weather though, the forecast was half-right. It rained in the morning, particularly while we dealt with the only mechanical of the trip. But by lunch things had cleared up for the rest of the route and the best road of the trip. The B709 from Innerleithen to the edge of the Moorfoot hills is stunning, and the sun came out, and there's a 60kmph (40mph) downhill towards Edinburgh at the end of it. 
Camera: Canon G9
We covered the 400km (250miles) from York to Edinburgh in four days and in doing so raised almost £1000 for The Mountain Rescue Committee Of Scotland. If you haven't donated and still want to help us break the thousand mark, our JustGiving page will be staying open for another week or so. 
Camera: Nokia Lumia 820, Processing: Lomogram
Finally, a huge thanks everyone who sponsored and suported us on Facebook and, to my travelling companions Ken and Russell for applying rules #5 and #9 when they were needed most.
Where we going next year? ;)
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