Monday 2ndJune 2008
Dunbar to Edinburgh
After breakfast we made our way to the cycle shop, only to find that the hours of opening did not include Mondays! There was nothing for it but to return to the B&B, load up our bags, and carry on into Edinburgh where we would be sure to find a good bike shop. It was a ‘slight’ concern that the freewheel, which by this time was getting quite noisy, would either lock up in either fixed wheel mode or in completely free mode, neither of which would be good news. We had no choice but to go for it, and so to reduce the risk we decided to keep the pedals turning for the whole of the way. Fortunately the planning of the trip had allowed plenty of time to visit Edinburgh and the B&B was only about 25 miles away. By lunchtime we were in Musselburgh eating our lunch on the banks of the River Esk. A telephone call to the B&B to enquire about whether we could leave our bags there while the bike was fixed, was very helpful. Bill and Betty (who turned out to be 84 and 81 resp) had owned a tandem in their younger days and as a Royal Engineer in the army Bill was into fixing anything and volunteered his services. Failing this there was a good bike shop about a mile away in Portobello. Bill’s hearing was past its best so unfortunately he couldn’t hear the noise when standing on the kerbside – so onto the bike he ‘hopped’ and despite his rheumatism he managed to ride pillion and to hear the noise. He agreed (somewhat to my relief) that this would be a job for the bike shop. The shop turned out to be a Dawes shop (the make of the tandem) and so after giving the mechanic a ride to demonstrate, and scaring him with my road skills in the process, he said he would repair it straight away. We left the bike with him at 2.30 and caught the bus into town to have a look round the central area and to visit St Giles Cathedral on the Royal Mile. St Giles belongs to the Church of Scotland so in theory is not a Cathedral as they do not have Bishops and therefore there is no Cathedra. The original building dates from 1320 and at this time it was part of the diocese of St Andrews – Edinburgh didn’t have a Cathedral. John Knox – who was a powerful preacher and leader of the Reformation in Scotland – was minister at St Giles from 1559 to 1572 and there is a statue of him here. St Giles was only a Cathedral in the formal sense for two short periods in the 1600’s when Episcopalianism (backed by the crown) briefly gained ascendancy. The Thistle Chapel at the north east corner of the church contains intricately carved wood and stone. It is the main chapel of the Knights of the Thistle – 16 Knights personally appointed by the monarch, usually Scots, who have made a significant contribution to national or international affairs. By 4.30 we had a call to say the bike was fixed so we returned on the bus to the shop before closing time.
A Chinese takeaway provided us with a meal of sorts (full of ‘E’ numbers from the look of it) which we ate overlooking the Firth of Forth on the Portobello sea front. We needed a quick meal as we had found that there was a concert at the St Giles Cathedral in the evening. After the meal we took the bike back to Bill and Betty’s and then took the bus again into the centre of the city to hear the Heriot-Watt University Orchestra give a performance of the Schubert Unfinished Symphony (no 8 in B Minor) followed by Beethoven’s 5th Symphony in C Minor – excellent (and only £5 each!).
Mileage 32.5 miles Total 73.1 miles