Thursday: The last stretch to Edinburgh

We have a deliberately leisurely start this morning and Caroline phones the bike shop in Haddington to check he can replace her tyre. The good shower and electric heater in the bathroom are very welcome – we are clean at least when we start today, even if our clothes are not! It takes a while to repack all the damp clothing and mop the floor, which still bears the evidence of our state when we arrived last night, then we lock up the bothy and set off.

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Inside Bell’s Bothy

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Ready to leave

I discover it’s not only Caroline’s bike which needs fixing by the time we get to Haddington. The cable to my rear gears has broken so I only have the choice of the three cogs at the front. Fortunately it isn’t far to Haddington and is mostly down hill. ‘Mike’s bikes’ is easy to find and Mike is very helpful so we leave the bikes there and go off in search of coffee. Amazed to see the sign in the shop window which announces it reopened today after Mike has been on holiday for a week or so – we are being looked after!

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Mike’s Bikes with the giveaway sign

We have a wander round Haddington before heading for coffee and pass the library and John Grace museum, which has an amazing modern glass facade made by Caroline’s old tutor at Sunderland – it’s very effective.

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When we return to collect the bikes, Mike points out the tears in my back tyre, but has no suitable one to replace it. I’m sure they’ve appeared since we’ve been riding as Dave Heron definitely thought there was still life in the tyres when changed the gears recently. I decide to buy a new tube and keep my fingers crossed but the tyre will need replacing as soon as I get home.

It’s midday by the time we are drinking coffee so we have a scone too as a kind of part one lunch and head off to Longniddry. Some very nice bespoke cycle paths link the towns here. We get our first views of Edinburgh in the distance from Port Seton then the cycleway snakes round Musselborough, eventually rejoining Route 1 which we left north of Berwick to take the coastal route.

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The route into Edinburgh is mostly well signposted, though we do take a few unplanned diversions. It comes into town under the foot of Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags and then through the Meadows – beautiful and full of people enjoying the sunshine. We stop at Peter’s yard – an upmarket Scandinavian-style cafe – for good sandwiches and soup, enjoyed sitting outside in the sun. It doesn’t feel very Scottish! Intrigued by the electronic display board which shows how many people have cycled past it today – nearly 1000, more than 50 of whom have passed while we eat lunch.

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By the time we leave here it is after 4pm, so we head more or less straight to Waverley station for our train back to Durham. The 192 miles we covered on bikes seems to pass very quickly on the train though, of course, I still have another four miles or so, uphill, to get home!

Our next cycling adventure may be the northern half of the Coastal Castles route from Edinburgh to Aberdeen….

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