I asked my good friend and fellow blogger last week for some inspiration and ideas for what to put on here, since I don’t like to blow my own “I’ve written a couple of kids books” trumpet all to often. She told me, in what I hope was not an exasperated tone, that perhaps I could share “some of all your Scottishy jaunts that you go on about on Instagram all the time,” and so since I am Scottish, I write about Scotland and I very much enjoy getting out and about in and around my little edge of Scotland, I concurred this was a good idea.
In my spare time, in addition to writing books and writing about writing books (did I mention that I write books?) I am a keen amateur cyclist. I like to joke to my friends that I am something of an oversized child on a bike – the fact that it’s white and pink and that I do occasionally sport pigtails under my helmet and a novelty t-shirt doesn’t help in making this any less of a truth. I am not a road cyclist, nor do I have one of those hyper-slick-skinny-tyred-bendy-handlebarred contraptions. I have a good, old fashioned, chunky wheeled mountain bike, and that’s perfectly suited to the mix of canal towpath, woodland trail and cycle path that I like to frequent of a weekend.
I also spend a great deal of my time outside work walking, not least because I have a very energetic puppy to occupy. My husband and I though have always enjoyed walking, right from when we first met – in our teens, when our friends were nursing a post-club hangover on a Sunday we were more often than not half way up a hill or half way round a loch with a picnic. Now that we have the pup, it only makes more sense to get out and about when we have the time.
And so I’ll start a new thread of blog posts on here about my ventures out on two feet or two wheels. They may or may not be interesting to anyone else, but I hope that at least a few of you might enjoy them. I certainly do enjoy reading about other people’s days out, particularly when thinking about where to go next.
And that brings me to my little edge of Scotland. It’s not really a corner, since I am a central belter, born and raised. Nearer to the east coast than the west, I’m lucky to be within a short drive (or a longer cycle) to any number of great places to walk or ride. I live on the banks of one of Scotland’s fabulous canals which offers miles of gloriously flat pavements to walk or cycle on, and I am on the edge of not one but two protected woodlands. What more could you ask for from one of the central belt’s ‘commuter towns’?
One of my favourite things about Scotland though is that almost irrespective of where you are, there is somewhere green and open to go in just a few short minutes. And of course one of the perks of living in a small country is that in an hour or so you can likely be somewhere completely different yet no less beautiful – whether it’s a rugged coastline, a sandy beach, a hillside, lochside, mountainside, city park, forest park, farmland, woodland, moorland… we really do have the great outdoors on our doorstep.
I’ll post about my most recent trip out across the Firth of Forth later this week – not on the newest of the crossings but over one of the older bridges – when I cycled over to Culross and Preston Island for a day’s ride.
Meantime I hope you all find some time this week to enjoy your own outdoors – just get over the threshold and you’ll be there.