August 31, 2011, by Andrew Burden
The VC’s blog: JoGLE Day 5: Dunfermline to Berwick-on-Tweed
David Ross and his partner Emma Pilkington flew in from London to join us for this and tomorrow’s leg. David is a distinguished alumnus from our School of Law, who has just joined the University Council and will Co-Chair (with Jeff Randall) the Strategy Board for our upcoming Development Campaign.
The first part of today’s leg took us over the Forth Road Bridge and on through Edinburgh. Crossing the bridge had a special resonance for me. My Dad was a steel erector and worked on its construction in the early 1960s. I have a wonderful black and white photo of him at the top of the north tower when it had just been topped out (and being the early 1960s, there were no hard hats, no high vis garments, nothing remotely signalling ‘health and safety’).
We started out as a long string of 13 riders. Inevitably that did not last much beyond the bridge, partly because we were in an urban environment, partly because of confusing cycle track signs, partly because SatNav directions often conflicted with road signs.
I was in a group of three with Nick and Karen. At Water of Leith we decided to abandon SatNav and default to road directions. But before doing that, we came across the Water of Leith Café-Bistro and enjoyed the tastiest full Scottish breakfast roll and a very genial host. If you are in Leith, it is worth a visit.
We then headed for Dunbar, but not far out of Mussleborough Nick had a double puncture. (At six, that puts him way clear of anyone else). He ended up on my back-up bike, which does have puncture resistant tyres.
Whilst our excellent support team were doing running repairs we learned that one of our cyclists had received a police caution in Edinburgh for ignoring a red light. I should not identify him to avoid embarrassment, but he caused even more suspicion when he gave the Police Officer ‘Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’ as his home address.
Cycling conditions were absolutely ideal. We got to Dunbar pretty quickly and met up again with David R, Emma, David W, Andy, Chris J, Kate and Steve. They had all had a good lunch and pressed on whilst we grabbed something to eat. Andy stayed to ride to Berwick with us.
The stretch from Dunbar to Berwick was glorious. At the high points we could see all the way to the Fife coast in the north and to Lindisfarne and Bamburgh Castle in the south.
We were under some pressure of time because the Mayor of Berwick had asked us to go to his Chambers for welcome drinks at six-thirty. Not a problem for Chris R and Alan, who did not stop and were there three hours ahead of anyone else. Most of us made it however and we received the warmest of welcomes as well as a cheque from the Berwick Probus Club and generous personal sponsorship from the Mayor himself.
Today’s leg was special for all kinds of reasons and it puts another 85 miles on the clock, making 376 miles in total.
Covering that distance has been pretty demanding for most of us, but also truly memorable. The timeless beauty and variety of Scottish landscapes, which are all the more apparent on a bike, have been genuinely breathtaking.
So, we are now back in England again and with a good forecast for working our way through Northumbria tomorrow.
David Greenaway, August 30th 2011