June 9 - 12th: Edinburgh Surroundings

The trip from the US to Scotland encompassed an extended layover in Newark, NJ that wasn't on the original itinerary. It seems not only are the airports and their respective airline staffs shorthanded, thus delays in service, but the maintenance crews are also resulting in slower turn around of planes. The original plane arrived three hours before it was needed to fly on to Scotland, but the crew was not available to service until about 30 minutes before flight time. Passengers were loaded slightly late, but everything seemed to be okay. No one was stressed or sending signals of any sort of major problems ahead. Once boarded announcements started however. First, delay due to baggage loading; then delay due to catering needing more time; then delay due to more baggage; and the final delay due to no trash containers on the plane!!! It is a law that proper trash containers are on the plane, so new ones had to be found!!! Luckily for this flight there was another similar plane sitting nearby that had operating trash containers, so they were extracted and bolted down on the Edinburgh flight!! Not sure what that "lack of trash container" plane was going to do when it needed to depart, but at least this flight was ready --- three hours late!! After that with a strong tail wind the flight was smooth and only one and half hours late arriving in Edinburgh.

Arriving a couple days ahead of the bike tour allows time to "see the city". Edinburgh Castle is the main attraction followed by Old Town and New Town. A convenient "Hop On, Hop Off" bus circles the city proper allowing passengers to get off when they want and jump back on when wanting to go further hearing a commentary from a guide as to what one is seeing as the bus slowly moves down the streets.

Edinburgh Castle sits at the highest point on the city on an extinct volcano top. Castle Rock, as its location is called, is the reason that Edinburgh exists. It was the most easily defended hilltop on the the invasion route between England and central Scotland. While parts of the original castle have been destroyed over time, the most notable exception is St Margaret's ChapelĀ from the early 12th century, which is regarded as the oldest building in Edinburgh. Its beautiful stain glass windows throw colors within as the sun moves across the horizon.

A day of sightseeing comes slowly to an end with the arrival of a heavy, very windy rain storm. Running for a bus or taxi becomes the "new" venture. However, it does not dampen the day! 

June 12: Edinburgh "Meet and Greet"

After days of sightseeing it is time to think biking! Today the group is meeting for the first time to begin a multiple day journey. First thing on the agenda after introductions is to be fitted for the bike. About two thirds of the group are on eBikes, while the rest are either on a standard hybrid or road bike. With three guides ready and able, along with a couple experienced and willing riders, the seat posts are raised or lowered; pedals and/or seats exchanged, if brought from home. THEN it is a short ride around the parking lot to assure all parts of both the bike and body are working in unison before it is off to orientation! The venture begins!!


Edinburgh Castle


Edinburgh Castle

(Shot by Mandy!)


Getting Closer

(Mandy's Work Again)

Entrance to the Castle

Home of the Scottish Jewels and Mary Queen of Scots Chamber

Mandy Enjoying the View of the City in the Wind!

Saint Margaret's Chapel Window

Saint Margaret Chapel

Great Hall

Side Street Alley