The Ken wrote:
Velo, "passes Bonaly reservoir and starts to skirt Capelaw hill." half of this is the hike part we did last week, reverse direction but boggy none the less and misses most of that great first down hill.
Hmmm, I didn't realise we'd miss that when I first read Velo's route, but you are right. I don't think we want to miss any of the downhill between Harbour and Bell's Hill - for me that's the highlight - it has a little bit of everything thrown in, rutted track at the top, then a run down what is almost a burn, some narrow ledge with a wee drop at the end (if you choose), more ruts... then the trail opens up a bit, becomes faster, with loose stone underneath. You've also got several stone lined run-offs that break the track every so often that you need to keep an eye out for, some fast sweepers and tight corners, then onto a short bit of hardpack with a dip that can get interesting if taken too fast and/or if it's been raining, then a final fast run down to the rocky bit at the bottom (brakes, brakes!).
So I'm thinking we could actually stay with Velo's route with my suggestion in bold below - To be honest, it'd be good to miss the section that me and The Ken did after leaving Velo, since there's some crappy steep pushes and also stairs, plus some lovely jaggies when you do finally get on the bike - only the wee bit at the end as you approach the burn and dodgy bridge are worth doing IMO.... Soooo, here's what i think:
Turn right and follow boundary on single track which eventually passes Bonaly reservoir and starts to skirt Capelaw hill. Follow the trail until you reach a crossroads (if you look at the sat map on bikehike zoomed in, you can see there is a crossroads on the trail between Harbour and Capelaw hills). Turn right and follow the track upwards cresting Harbour Hill and back down to the top of the first downhill section. Follow down trail...
I've been up to the top of Harbour Hill, and there is a decent track there. It's pretty steep, so there'll definitely be some walking involved but I don't think we want to miss out that first downhill. Plus you get two bonuses - a great view from the top of Harbour Hill, and an extra wee bit of downhill as you come down the other side, not particulary technical, but it's fast and there is a tricky wee dip near the bottom to catch out the unwary.
Kaiser - if you're worried that it's a long way to come for not a lot of riding, then we could always do another lap, but this time doing a westward loop and take in some more of Edinburgh's finest.
Also we really should try and stop at Flotterstone Inn for drinksies - it'd break up the run quite nice.