king of the mountains?


I had an afternoon off and I had some stuff to pick up in Edinburgh so, between rain showers (well, when I say SHOWERS…), I jumped on the old bike to do a training run for the Pedal For Scotland ride that’s now only 8 weeks away. You can register here… http://ow.ly/c1Ssg

So, I cycled into Edinburgh (11 miles ) and then did two circuits of Arthur’s Seat (my second volcanic circumnavigation in a week given that I’d done Vesuvius last week).

The trip round Arthur’s Seat is 3.3 miles and I clocked 14 minutes or so both times.  My memories of the ascent (just under a mile) to Dunsapie Loch were far more onerous than the reality.

After that a cycle back to South Queensferry and all 32 miles done and dusted in about 2hrs 15 minutes.

Cream crackered now like.

Glasgow to Edinburgh by bicycle


So, as I may have mentioned already I’ve been asked to blog on behalf of http://ow.ly/c1Ssg the Pedal For Scotland bike ride which runs from Edinburgh to Glasgow on the morning of September 9th.

To be honest six months ago the very thought of it would have filled me with dread but being four and a bit stone lighter, partly thanks to my beautiful bike I am actually relishing the challenge.  Nevertheless, I need to build the mileage up and get the “miles in my legs” if I’m going to make a decent fist of it.

It’s 47 miles which should be achievable in just over three hours at my rate of riding (I average 16 miles an hour typically).

So, yesterday amidst the rain and before the Andy Murray defeat I got on my bike and thrashed out 17 miles in about an hour.  For a change I wore my heart rate monitor to see how I coped.  From a start where my heart rate was about 60 I quickly settled into a rate in the mid 130’s (good solid exercise) but at the end I had to tackle the dreaded Hawes Brae in South Queensferry.  A real beast of a hill about half a mile long and really steep.  It climbed and climbed as I forced my way to the top, peaking at 168.  For those of you who know for a 50 year old that ‘s 220 – 50 (170)  only 2bpm short of it.

My objective is to get 100 miles a week into my legs but that’s  a big ask.  Also I’ve got two holidays planned so that isn’t going to help either plus FCT has a show on in the Festival called Once on This Island which will also preoccupy me for the best part of a fortnight.

But anyway.  Here goes.

At last, the Grand Dame is about to reveal her true beauty.


I’ve been photographing this wonder of the world since I moved to South Queensferry nearly 12 years ago.

The trouble is that she has been shrouded in white plastic scaffold covers throughout that period and, frankly, getting a decent picture is severely compromised.

However, from Christmas and for the next 30 years the new new epoxy coating they are currently putting the finishing touches to will make her look greater than ever before.  If you’ve crossed her on a train of late you’ll have seen for yourself the exquisite finish. Deep, rich and with a beautiful soft sheen.

I am truly excited about this, I have to say, as is every amateur photographer in the vicinity.

The Briggers


I went along to the book launch of this, this morning at the Hawes Inn.  It’s written by Elspeth Wills, founder of Scotinform and my old boss.

It looks like a very interesting read and sheds a whole new light on the building of the bridge.

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Note.  Whilst this is an excellently written post, Jeana (who wrote it) seems to forget that “I’ means Mark Gorman, not ‘she’ as in Jeana Gorman.  It’s a borderline case of unacceptable blog hijacking but you would think that ‘she’ would want her own blog (which she has, as it happens.  Here in fact.)

Anyway, good luck to Elspeth (a good pal of mine) on her latest book.