I wasn’t very sure if we could cycle between Peebles and Perth in a day. It looked like an awful long way on the map and we had to get round Edinburgh toon in the process, and get over the Forth Road bridge.
After a good night in the Lindores Guest House in Peebles (highly recommended by the way) we hightailed it to the Edinburgh road and battled with the Monday morning commuters. It felt like one long grind uphill, then a long swift descent and we were in Penicuik, only a stone’s throw from Fairmilehead in Edinburgh where we would begin working our way round the western fringes of the capital.
We had no real difficulties, stopped for coffee and a scone with the douce ladies of Cramond and then headed for the bridge. We thought the route was pretty well signposted for cyclists and in no time at all we were through Dalmeny, South Queensferry and onto the bridge itself. We left sunny Edinburgh behind and Fife greeted us a with a hail shower, probably in revenge for all the things I’ve written about Fife in the past (pit bings, men with flat caps and greyhound dugs, the perceived frugality of the local populace, etc.). The Kingdom certainly got its own back today. Shower after shower hit us until we passed the sign for Perth and Kinross. Then the sun came out, would you believe it?
Since we were passing the end of their road we thought it would be nice to pop in and say hello to Ramblers Scotland in Milnathort. I am a vice president after all. Karen Robertson very kindly made us a pot of coffee and we ate all their biscuits before heading for Glenfarg, home of the world famous Glenfarg Folk Club, Bridge of Earn, and finally the Fair City of Perth itself. Needless to say the Travel Lodge where we had booked in for the night was at the top of a hill, the highest point in Perth I think.
We were just in time to watch the news and weather but wished we hadn’t. Snow forecast, more northerly winds and maybe, just maybe, a few hints of sunshine between the snow, hail and rain showers. It looked bad but it looked even worse in the south of England. Glad we’re where we are and not starting out from Land’s End. Don’t you just love springtime in the UK?
Just one more word before I finish for the night. And it’s for Scotland’s councils. Please do something about the shocking pot-holed state of our roads. There is a marked difference between the quality of the road surfaces in England and Scotland and Hamish and I have the bruised and battered arses to prove it. We finished tonight feeling as though we had been operating a pneumatic drill all day and our bikes have developed rattles in places that never existed before. Worst of all were the roads in Edinburgh. Forget bloody civic pride tram cars and fix your road infrastructure! Someone is going to get seriously hurt trying to avoid the pot holes. One was so big I said to Hamish, “Look at the size of the pot hole, look at the size of that pot hole.” He said, “Why did you say that twice?” “I didn’t,” I replied, “that was the echo.” ( with due acknowledgement to the late and great Chic Murray). Good night…