I had a relaxed start to the day. After breakfast with Ruth and Alex, I took the time to try and make sure my belongings were sensibly stowed in my pannier bags before setting out to explore.
I felt so joyful as I cycled along the cycle paths we had covered the day before, through Costorphine and past Murrayfield. I’ve been dreaming of cycle touring since BEFORE buying my first road bike in 2012 and so it was like a dream come true to be riding along with everything I could possibly need on my bike, following signs to ad lib a route to the coast. I felt such a sense of freedom, adventure and self reliance!
Of course I did have to take a few U-turns and Granton wasn’t the prettiest but I got my first real glimpse of the sea at a little harbour. Soon I was on to Portabello Beach where I took a few photos of my loaded bike before setting off further along the coastline to meet Jessie. On through Musselburgh and onto Prestonpans where my bike and I did a loop round Lidl to find a picnic lunch. Missing the turning to the beach I ended up eating my lunch looking out at the sea / Firth of Forth over Cockenzie Harbour.
When Jessie appeared we started heading back along the coast, our navigation aided by me having practiced that part of the route! Sadly though as we progressed along the coast towards Leith, the traffic built up which wasn’t much fun!
Eventually we escaped the city and were on a lovely wide (and well signposted) bike path by the coast! A few navigational difficulties saw us heading up the delightfully named River Almond to Fair-a-far hill, which was as the heart of Cramond’s industrial revolution in the late 18th C. In the 21st C the track to the mill leads to sets of stairs impassable on heavily loaded bikes and was the site of Jessie’s first clipped in fall of the trip!
As we continued along the coast the heavens opened and we sheltered under a bridge to put on our raincoats and have a snack. To give an idea of the downpour, by the time we reached Queensferry all the forth bridges were just grey ghostly outlines! We carried on through woodland paths and round a grand estate following the very reliable cycle path signs (thank you Sustrans!).
Luck was on our side as by the time we reached Blackness the skies had brightened allowing us to explore the castle and set up camp for the night in the dry! We wild camped in a field with a nice view over the forth to the well lit bridges and warmed up by eating our dinner in the tent! A great first day on the road!