Colin Shearer Dream Ride
Had a great ride with Colin Shearer, the 45 yr old Edinburgh native I met through our Scots-obsessed friend Ken Eichstaedt. A moonter since the eighties, Colin has visited us with his girlfriend Anna Derricourt in years past, took care of my trip to the Single Speed World Championship in Aviemore last Sept, and most recently FOUND ME A JOB here in Scotland (working with MB7, a performing bike troupe).
Today’s gift from Colin was time. Lots of it.
It was to be a 4 hour Sunday tour of the Pentlands, the Mt. Tam of Edinburgh in that it is immediately accessible (sans auto), open to all, and entirely protected from development.
The day began overcast and dry, we skimmed along a bike path along a canal that connects Edinburgh to Glasgow…a 75 mile long thing with an adustment somewhere along it, called the FALKIRK WHEEL (GOOGLE IT) that makes up the fifty ft. difference that somehow occured as the canal was dug across the country (possibly from opposite ends without the use of telephone , fax, or transit and plumb bob?)
We did about 3 miles of it, passing many women..some wearing shirts that had a pink brassiere screened on the front… they are practicing for the upcoming breast cancer charity MOONWALK, a 26 mile nighttime walk. Imagine several thousand non-athletic ladies practicing longer and longer walks, and you get the picture…they are raising awareness, developing their own strength, and lowering their own susceptibility! (I took a picture of a trio of them and warmly thanked them as a BC survivor). A couple more single tracks along the Water of Leith which is LOWER than the canal by many feet…and we were at the outskirts of town.
A steep track led to a gate that put us into the wide-open hills.
Sound track: gunfire. There were shooting ranges within these Pentlands…distinctly non-Californian. Other things on the sound track…birds birds birds. Beautiful deep tremolos of er, I have no clue, as well as very melodic songbird action. And the steady stammer of the lambs, sheeps and even a bell. The belwether?
After much climbing to get to the very top of a set of hills, we zoomed down dreamtrack with perfect dry surface (only two or three months of the year, apparently)past SMILING hikers, and at bottom even saw a placid pair of highland cows (pronounced HEELAN KOO) and their little koo-lets! The three foot long horns look imposing, and they were just lying there middle of the trail like a pair of hairy volkswagen buses. I bravely patted the red one. Need to touch animals when ever possible (touch starvation in full roar).
The rain came down just as we crossed over the gorse-mottled Braids (low hills that flank the west side of Edinburgh) and again more single track that only a local could find.
Lunch at a mosque, deserves its own blog….