Today was my first full day in Scotland, after 13 days cycling the length of England my plan today was to head West along the Firth of Forth from Eymouth to Edinburgh. My stay at the Home Arms Guest House was superb and topped off with a full cooked breakfast I headed out on my cycle up and out of Eyemouth.
I was a few miles off my planned route after my poor decision making that lead me to Eyemouth so I knew it would be an uphill slog up from the coast. The route headed uphill from the start passing through the villages of Coldingham, and Hawthorn Dean where I eventually picked up my Garmin route. After 8 miles uphill and almost 1000ft of climbing, I was now back on track and Edinburgh bound.
The start of the day was hard and looking back it did blow the cobwebs away. As I reached the end of my almost 10 mile uphill start I was met with some breath-taking views along the coast. Perched up on top of a hill above Pease Bay I met another fellow long distance cyclist. I noticed a man and a fully laden bike and as always I stopped to speak to him. He was from the Netherlands and had spent the last few weeks touring Scotland. Fully laden with everything he needed he had just climbed the steep hill out of Pease Bay. It was good to meet yet another cyclist and one that was willing to share his story.
After a brief encounter, I carried on down the steep hill towards the coast. I have not travelled the coast in to Edinburgh before and I have to say that it was a good day’s cycling. The relatively flat route followed the coast leaving the Borders, in to East Lothian and on to the town of Dunbar. As NCN Route 1 follows a more inland route from North, Northumberland I was now on NCN Route 76. This route was a world away from the last few miles on NCN 1 I had traveled the day before. My introduction to the Scottish Cycle network was a good one, well maintained paths, good signage and infrastructure that had seen good investment. Cycling
On arrival in Dunbar I got some lunch and sat above the harbour enjoying the view across the sea. The ruins, boats and tourists made it a pleasant lunch stop. I sat on Gordon Bennett’s seat for a while before heading off again.
Cycling NCN Route 76 from Dunbar to Edinburgh
I had enjoyed a tailwind for most of the side so far, the wind had been on my side since leaving Lands End but today was different. A strong wind coming in from the West made progress slow, battling the headwind on relatively flat roads can become frustrating and today was just that. I peddled and peddled as the route headed inland and missing the North Berwick area. I arrived in the village of Haddington and stopped for a while by the river which was perfect setting for a breather.
Carrying on I joined the coast again at Longniddry and from there I cycled up to Musselburgh where I enjoyed a few moments by the harbour. Edinburgh was now firmly in my sites and I was soon to leave the gentle coast routes to navigate the Scottish capital.
Everybody knows that to stay in Edinburgh is expensive, however, today was a surprise, The fallout from rail strikes and my strategy of booking on the day nearly came back to bite me. Hotels costing in excess of £200 per night, Airbnb’s almost sold out and nothing but the bare bones of accommodation were left. After searching on all apps and getting nowhere I came across CoDE Pod, The Court. This was a hostel situated on the Royal Mile and at a cost of only £36.20p for the night it was too good to pass up.
I booked a Pod and headed on my journey into Edinburgh. One concern was that I needed bike parking but the Questions and Answers on Booking.com put my fears at rest. the top question was about bike parking and the hostel had replied with assurances of a safe place and that was good enough for me.
The excellent cycling infrastructure carried on along NCN Route 76 and on to NCN 75 and in to Edinburgh. I was approaching the city at around 5pm and the cycle lanes were busy with oncoming cyclists heading home from a day at work in the city.
Cycling the Innocent Railway Tunnel Edinburgh
I approached the Innocent Railway Tunnel which was a pleasant surprise and an unexpected one. The closed railway tunnel has been turned into a quality cycle path that takes you around the back of Arthurs Seat. I emerged out of the tunnel and in to the Meadows, a city centre park which was very busy. My route then took me into the centre past the university and towards the Royal Mile.
Cycling NCN 75 in to Edinburgh
Edinburgh was by far the busiest place I had visited so far, throngs of tourists walked the streets and I was glad to get to my place to stay. The hostel reception was busy with all kinds of people young and old, and a bustling place. I checked in and to my horror, there was no cycle parking, I quickly pointed out the fact that Booking.com suggested otherwise.
The thought of leaving my bike chained to railings outside was not going to happen. The young lady on reception however went above and beyond and let me place the bike in the left luggage room. This was not ideal as it was cramped and at risk of being damaged however, it was safer than the streets.
From there I headed up to my POD, sorted out my washing (the good side of staying in a hostel), and then headed out into the Scottish capital.
Today had been a good day despite the extreme headwind. I had completed day one of Scotland and had a night in Edinburgh to look forward to.
See my review of my night in Edinburgh and the CoDE Pod – The CoURT.