Four: And it Was All Yellow: Edinburgh to near Berwick upon Tweed. - Lookin For John Fairweather - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2013

Four: And it Was All Yellow: Edinburgh to near Berwick upon Tweed.

The glorious fine weather continued and I set off from the hostel in the Grassmarket at twenty past eight. On this street which the evening before was alive with people queuing to get into venues, and groups of people out enjoying a Friday evening in town, now was quiet and the pavement rubbish strewn. Only two cars passed and where the street continued as the Cowgate, I turned left and rode up a steep cobble-stone street; when over the crest, the street veered left and swept diagonally down into the deep depression of Waverley Street railway station. Then right pass a side entrance to the station, up a steep lip to the lights with Princes Street, which was clogged with buses. I was headed east and once I got around the buses and could see ahead where Is going, I took the A900 to Leith, then further at a roundabout, turned towards Musselburgh. Pausing to look at my map, I saw a white circle called Transent amongst the tangle of red lines representing busy roads, was where a B road began which, would take me away from the A roads and out into the country, still it being Saturday morning, the roads were fairly empty of cars.

From Transent Is on the B6355 where in a short distance I rode pass the last semi-detached house and was out on a quiet country road between verges of wild flowers, with a long hillside striped deep green and bright yellow, the former wheat and the later oil-seed-rape, which is grown to produce vegetable oil. Like the colour of a hi-vis vest, there were blocks of the yellow stuff everywhere; and together with wheat and barley which is a lighter green, it was all arable with not a field of sheep in sight.

A hybrid crop of, Oil-Seed-Bike.
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It was warming up when I reached the quaint village of Gifford at about half ten. Time for a stop and although I'd had an English breakfast at the hostel, Is feeling hungry again. I leaned the bike against the wall of a Co-Op grocery shop and entered. I was thinking I'll only have a snack now, but in the end bough a triangle of chicken sandwiches, reduced because the sell by date was today, bananas, crisps and other items. In the end I'd enough to make a good lunch, which I sat eating on the bench by the church gate across the road.

Twenty miles east of Edinburgh, Gifford.
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It was a good place to relax. The bench had "In Memory of Malinda, 1960 to 2005". And there was a circle of red and yellow flowers on the green, on the corner of which was an old signpost with, Edinburgh 20 miles. I reckoned it wasn't much to show for the morning, but having eaten lunch early, I'd ride all afternoon with only minimal stops, doing the bulk of the day's mileage.

The B6355 up Lammermuir.
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It had gone half eleven when I set off again. There were lots of cyclists on the road. A whirling of wheels came up behind me and a shout of left, as a group of a dozen training cyclists swished by me. The wheat and oil-seed was diminishing in area, replaced by rough sheep pasture as brown moorland hills reared up ahead. Looking at the map these hills are called Lammermuir and the road Is on was the only road across a large blank patch on the map.

I met cyclists sweeping down and a few passed, riding out of the saddle which was swaying from side to side under the force of hard pedaling, while I sat firmly and pedalled a slow grind. I was glad of the distraction when sufficiently far up to stop and look back at the view and take a photo. There was a rider coming up which I tried getting into the picture, but the camera doesn't have a viewfinder and its difficult to see the screen in bright sunshine.

I focused and pressed the button, click. "Yeah got may in" came an excited female voice. She looked foreign. I asked "where are you from"; she replied "ay'm fra Edinburgh." She had olive mediterranean skin and oval face and golden hair swept up and clamped at the back underneath the cycle-helmet. We exchanged words on the weather; "ay-it's heaven" she said. And when I told her about my tour, she said "ma husbin will be jay-lous when ay tell ham." Pity she's married, I thought."Someday" she went on "when the kids ha grown well ta our bikes and go." She rode ahead of me. There remained half a mile, some of which was seventeen per cent and I'd to drop the chain onto the small inner-ring in order to keep riding. Near the summit I passed her sitting on a tuft of heather at the side grinning at me as I passed.

A little further, the road split, and I followed the B6355 signpost which pointed left. Across to the left the brow of the hill had wind-turbines all along which were standing still today, there being no wind to turn them. The road then swept down and passed a reservoir, then below the dam wall, was a wide grassy area in to the riverbank. The ideal place to lunch. There were half a dozen cars that had driven in and parked; there occupants, families picnicked on the grass and children were playing in the stream. I rode in along the path to a free picnic table. I had taken a lot of photos and wanted to start editing; so, I sat down and pulled my thermal top over my head to block out the sunlight while browsing through the photos on the back of the camera.

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My type of road.
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Old Barn.
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The road continued down through tranquil valley. At a T-junction I turned for Cairside and the road dropped down further. I was back to huge fields, blocks of the yellow stuff striped between deep green, plus ridged brown fields of potatoes, there leaves just emerging from the ground. There was a long way between farms, a mile or more at lease, meaning each farm in this corner of Scotland most cover an area of a few thousand of acres.

Village and more Oil-Seed-Rape.
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I passed by Cairnside and was for riding on to Berwick when I thought it may be difficult to camp in that direction, so doubled back. I'd seen a turning for Coldstream, and thought there'd be more woodland in that direction. It was Five, so there was hours until dark. I cycled up the steep street past the church to the centre of Cairnside where there was a Co-Op. I need only a drink. When I'd made my purchase I turned back down the hill to a lawn-mown green by the church where I picnicked. I'd bough Irn-Bru. I'd drank it before but had forgotten how it tasted. It was preferable to coke cola.

I think this is Norton in Northhumberland.
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Back on the bike Is riding past more big fields of yellow. I crossed over a bridge which was followed by a sign "welcome to England" followed by a sign "Northumberland". A half mile further I paused in a village to take a photo of a signpost, then on the other side saw a public footpath which led along the side of a field of barley. I thought this will take me away from the road to a quiet corner of a field where I can camp.

The public footpath along the Barley field. I continued down and right, following the hedgerow round the right-angle to the corner, where I camped.
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EXPENDITURE: Total: £12.60.

English breakfast with filtered coffee in the hostel: £4.80

Shop in Co-Opertive supermarket in Gifford: £4.73

Refreshments bought at another Co-Op in Cairnside, late in the day: £3.07

Today's ride: 95 km (59 miles)
Total: 383 km (238 miles)

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