What an exciting day... It felt like I was heading home, not that I have lived in Edinburgh but I do love it; the castle, the sea, the mountains, the festival... Why wouldn’t you want to live there? Oh yes, the winter!!! In theory though, it’s now the Scottish summer. Last year it apparently lasted a whole Tuesday but this year we’ve pretty lucky and we hoped the weather could do us proud again.
We packed up and set-off for the station, where we found 6 people waiting for us… To think that yesterday we’d struggled with only 4 of us for most of the way, and we now had 10 cyclists for the day and another 4 joining us at various points further down the road, was something special. With us from the station were husband and wife Mark and Fiona, brothers-in-law Jeff and Stewart, Tay FM DJ Alison and Mercedes from Peru.
Derek guided us expertly across the Tay Bridge, where they closed the barriers to let us get ahead of the traffic and then kept the left hand lane closed as they escorted Miss Cobi and the support vehicle across. The team then made good progress to Balmullo, where the Baldwins had very kindly laid on bacon and sausage butties. After getting an ample helping of pork inside us, purchasing a copy of the Daily Record to check out our picture and taking a couple of spins around the car park we set off again with Simon and John on board the bike and three younger members of the CoBi team, Martha, Fiona and Sorrel, in the van. While their parents pedalled away Jack pulled out every trick in the book to keep the kids entertained as the minibus trundled slowly along. Full scripts, lyrics, instruction manuals and rules are available on request for: Francois the French Fish Sock Puppet, The Wheels on the Bus VII, The Pretend to Eat Something Game, Build a Zoo and Banana. This kept everyone on the bus happy until we reached Muddy Boots Farm, where the first thing to be done was to run out, climb the fence and jump on the giant inflatable trampoline. This was what I did anyway; the kids were slightly more restrained. Muddy Boots is a play farm with plenty to do as well as jump on the inflatable trampolines but for a while all the attention was on Miss CoBi. Then it was time to be on our way once more. The farm very kindly donated a toilet brush holder, a money box and some salt and pepper pots all in the shape of, you guessed it, wellington boots.
We kept a good aim for the Forth Bridge, and could see Arthur’s Seat glistening once the sun came out (Our seats were glistening too, after we stopped off at Leslie’s Cycles and they very kindly donated, among other things, two big tubs of chamois cream). We popped into Gordon and Sarah’s for a cup of tea where the sad news came over the radio – Mumbo and Daddo had missed their flight from Norway and wouldn’t be able to meet us in Edinburgh – Ed’s lip quivered but he put on a brave face and carried us forward with real gusto. But just as we got onto the Forth Bridge, who do you think we saw waiting for us? I’m not going to patronise you, I’m sure you’ve guessed... Ed broke down in hysterics (don’t worry I have it all caught on camera).
Going across the Forth Bridge, was, is and will always be a highlight, not just of the ride but I think of our life, and it meant we were only 10 miles from Edinburgh. We popped down into the very posh and very beautiful Qeensferry to make some honest hard cash before the final push into the city. We picked up 4 girls going for a night out, which meant we had 11 on the bike!!!
Much to our amazement we weren’t allowed to camp in Princess Street gardens, but we found a glorious and secluded spot just by a monument to Robert Burns. In the morning we found that this seclusion had not been lost on a number of other people who had made full use of the nearby shrubs.