An early morning phone call advised me it would be best to arrive at my final destination at 5pm, Edinburgh time. This made the final leg from Galashiels a breeze, and I took the opportunity to take the long, beautiful route: 8 miles west to Innerleithen, snack, and then straight over the top on the B road into the city.
Innerleithen is a magical place for countryside: mountains to the front of you, mountains to the back of you, mountains to the sides of you. The valley of, not death, but the river Tweed. Quite a magical river at this point, narrow enough to easily throw a stone over, but solid and sure in its purpose. On a previous visit, I once stood on the bank, looked down and saw a big fat salmon, gliding but stationary right by the edge looking up at me, checking I was not a bear. The traditional skill was to kneel down, tickle its belly, hoick it out and poach it. This crime was probably enough to have you deported to somewhere warm, sunny with better employment prospects for your children, but if you tried it today the destination would be worse: cold and wet.
I’ve cycled this route the other way and it was a tough 22 mile climb. Today, my direction was a blast: enough climb to keep you interested and warm, but overall a beautiful, gentle free fall into the arms of the city you admire, if not love. At last, it felt like payback time for the 20 mile climb from Hexham to Otterburn, that did for me two days ago.
I took a few photos on my way and pondered on the meaning of this journey and my quest to find the country’s wind turbines. Surprisingly, just before my very final 15 mile whizz down the slopes into the Capital I saw dozens on the horizon out to the East and did my best to photograph them.
Its nice to be warm, dry and in the company of a relative. Things have stopped moving, stopped cycling, stopped being wet and windy and my head can stop planning the next turn, the next unclassified road. Electricity, internet and good tea are now in strong supply: appreciate them if you have them.
The train is booked for tomorrow to take me deeper into the heart of civilisation, and away from the wild romance of the great outdoors, the great journey. On that quicker, simpler trip, I intend to ponder what the road taught me this time.
Goodnight old man.
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Categories: Cycling around renewables