“I’m by no means happier than once I’m writing.”
~ Ed Hood, as spoken to Martin Williamson from the passenger seat, using alongside a degree path on the Excursion de France.
Pricey Readers – Our loved colleague and buddy Ed Hood suffered a significant stroke in February. We don’t be expecting Ed will make it again into our bunch, so we’ve began a GoFundMe web page to lend a hand Ed along with his long term. Learn the overall publish right here – and please imagine donating.
** Click on this hyperlink to donate to the GoFundMe web page to lend a hand Ed **
We’ll be posting a collection of Ed’s paintings from the previous 16 years, as a result of nice story-telling by no means will get outdated.
Ed’s Native E-Motorbike Gravel Ramble: As a substitute of taking pictures over the Channel to ‘Race Chase’ the Classics or the Excursion de France, Ed Hood has been getting higher familiar with his native paths, due to his Ribble gravel e Motorbike. This is considered one of his favorite gravel rambles.
Ed’s Ribble e Motorbike – Very a lot at house in Scotland
I’d been that means to get again into semi-serious motorcycle driving for some time however a prognosis of spinal stenosis, which doesn’t impact on a regular basis lifestyles an excessive amount of however which is rattling sore when you’re urgent arduous at the pedals, made it tricky.
Then got here the, ‘Eureka!’ second – an e Motorbike.
I’m fortunate the place I keep; simply yards from the Fife Coastal Trail, so an ‘e Gravel Motorbike’ used to be the selection. I plumped for the Ribble system, in contrast to many e Motorcycles that have lumps, bumps and protuberances the Ribble has the motor within the rear hub and the battery throughout the down tube. To the informal observer, except what may well be an ejector seat button at the most sensible tube, it’s indistinguishable from a regular system. The Coastal Trail is for pedestrians and cyclists best, working proper around the Coast of the peninsula which bureaucracy the Kingdom of Fife, 117 miles from Kincardine at the River Forth to Newburgh at the River Tay. I’m hoping to trip it all over the years, no longer in a single move, I’m too outdated for that, quite a bit at a time. It is sensible to start out in Kirkcaldy, no longer thus far from the place I are living in Dysart.
The place else however at of my favorite bars; ‘The Harbour’ has simply modified possession, the former landlord, Nick died remaining 12 months, unfortunately. The brand new proprietor tells me that he’s going huge on Belgian beers, our first discuss with is scheduled for this night.
First prevent after a brief phase of gravel unmarried observe across the again of Kirkcaldy Harbour is Ravenscraig Citadel, a fort from 1460, on a rock outcrop with a commanding view of the Forth. It used to be one of the vital first fortresses constructed to resist cannon hearth with partitions as much as nearly 4 metres thick. Subsequent up used to be a trudge alongside the seaside, pushing the motorcycle, the sand used to be cushy and one has to surprise how Freddy Maertens used to do his coaching runs within the sand.
I like the Ribble however gentle it isn’t – on the other hand, whilst you push the button as much as max of the 3 spice up ranges on tarmac or gravel the load turns into beside the point.
Again within the day of the fortress there have been no supermarkets so that you needed to make your individual preparations for victuals. Ravenscraig had a ‘beehive doocot’ – that’s ‘dovecote’ in English. Pigeons had been inspired to nest in there and was a supply of eggs and meat for the occupants of the fortress. The horizontal ridges working across the doocot had been to forestall rats working up the partitions and getting into to ravage the doos.
Gravel paths now, the Ribble’s herbal surroundings which it handles with aplomb, the ones giant 47 mm tyres are very grippy however responsive. The trail runs thru Ravenscraig Park, the place the fringe wall follows the coast line, each cove and promontory. There are two tales concerning the wall, one is that it used to be constructed through the Earl of Roslyn to stop miners taking shortcuts thru what again then used to be his personal park. However the different is that he commissioned it to supply paintings for locals in a time of want. Into my house village of Dysart now, when you’re an ‘Outlander’ fan then you definitely’ll recognise the environment, it featured within the sequence as a French sea port.
The roofless construction at the proper used to be meant as a whale oil processing facility to make the most of neighbouring Kirkcaldy’s burgeoning whaling trade however the Earl of Roslyn vetoed that at the grounds that he didn’t need the scent of boiling blubber wafting as much as his house at Dysart Space.
A bit tactics previous the harbour lies the Pan Ha’ – a row of restored sixteenth to 18th century properties, as soon as fishermen’s houses however now extremely wanted. Saint Serf’s tower at the back of the homes used to be a part of the now long past church however used to be additionally a lookout tower to provide caution of marauders bobbing up the Forth. The Identify Pan Ha’ stems from the times when there have been salt pans right here, giant steel, sea water stuffed pans under which coal fires burned to evaporate off the water and depart the valuable salt which used to be exported out of the harbour to England and the Low International locations. The structure betrays Dysart’s hyperlinks with The Netherlands and Belgium with ‘crow step’ gables and crimson pantiles contributing to Dysart’s outdated nickname of, ‘Little Holland.’
The Girl Blanche pit stood simply alongside from the Pan Ha’ and a tunnel lead direct from the pit all the way down to the harbour the place it used to be loaded directly to the ships for export to the Low International locations and Baltic. The 2 flights of tough steps which take the Trail up from sea stage to raised flooring aren’t a a laugh push – however I inform myself, ‘it’s all a part of my figure out.’
At the jap fringe of the village is any other of the only a few reminders of Fife’s as soon as huge coal trade, the preserved winding tower of the Frances Colliery. The Frances workings had been connected under the Forth to the Seafield Colliery which stood on the western finish of Kirkcaldy. Not anything stays of Seafield, a housing scheme now sprawls over the website online. The fallout from the miners’ strike within the 80’s put an finish to each pits on the other hand – Kirkcaldy and Dysart have by no means truly recovered from the blow. ‘The pits’ of their heyday introduced prosperity to The Kingdom however at a worth; no longer simply with regards to a number of stunning seashores spoiled through 1000’s of lots of pit waste but in addition in human lives misplaced.
Some of the particular issues for me concerning the Coastal Trail is the rock outcrops drawing near the village of West Wemyss the place, when the tide is out the seals lay and solar themselves; lately the brand new doggies have began appearing – a deal with for the senses as they wiggle within the daylight and sing their songs.
Michael Colliery crisis
Coming near the village of East Wemyss is a flat space the place stood the Michael Colliery. A brief distance in land from the Trail, up in East Wemyss there’s a memorial to the 9 males who misplaced their lives within the Michael Colliery crisis of 1967 when hearth ravaged the seams.
Backtrack at the Trail some sections have succumbed to the drive of the North Sea, erosion now a significant issue for coastal spaces however fortunately, Donald Trump has advised us that we’re imagining world warming.
The Jimmy Shand memorial
East Wemyss used to be the birthplace of accordion taking part in legend, Jimmy Shand – the village’s most famed son has his personal memorial, simply off the Trail.
A bit additional east are the Wemyss caves, a few of that have Pictish artwork on their partitions and one used to be a doocot cave for within reach McDuff Citadel. It’s unhappy that so little has been accomplished to keep those ancient gem stones.
The steps to MacDuff’s Citadel
There are extra stairs to complete this a part of the Trail as much as MacDuff Citadel; ‘again within the day’ there have been no steps right here, only a steep gravel trail which used to be too steep for a large outdated boy like me to trip – taking place used to be beautiful wild even though.
MacDuff’s Citadel is in a sorry state now however used to be as soon as house to probably the most robust circle of relatives in Fife within the center ages, even if not anything survives from this era. The existing ruins are the stays of the house of the Wemyss circle of relatives, who lived right here from the 14th century, and their successors within the sixteenth century.
*With Secteur Some of the trail within the bag, it’s time to move again house alongside the coast highway and residential – Secteur Two to practice.*
# You’ll be able to examine Ed’s adventure from time trial motorcycle to Ribble e Motorbike HERE. #