Monday, 5 January 2009

A Haven in Innerleithen

As I previously posted, we went for a week's holiday to Innerleithen. Andy and I met up with Calum (my Edinburgh ex-roomy) and his pal Stephen for a week of outdoorsy activity and much eating and drinking. In particular I really wanted to try mountain biking and see whether I could manage it up a brae or two.

Luckily for us, we had ordered one of Aneela's most excellent breakfast baskets so we were well fuelled for our first challenge to cycle to Glentress and do the blue/green run. I have to say the cycle out was a good warm up but I did doubt my ability to make it through the run in the first uphill part at Glentress. My gentle hybrid cycling does not leave one prepared for mountain biking! But, being the stubborn and determined creature I am, I kept at it, even though I wished I was as good as the boys, and made it up to the Buzzards Nest. The skills run came next which was really good for a newbie like me and then came the fun of the downhill! Although I wasn't quite as gung-ho as the boys I did love the speed and zipping over the trail and I think I may have squealed a few times too.

Me zipping down the hill!

On New Year's Day, Calum and Stephen went cycling but Andy and I opted for a climb up one of the hills behind the house which was stunning in the clear icy air and winter sun.

Here is Andy sorting out a cuppa at the top of the hill!

The following day Andy, Calum and Stephen went cycling but due to me having taken a tumble my shoulder was a bit sore so I decided to do a walk on my own. I did the red squirrel walk at Glentress and it was really lovely.

I didn't see any red squirrels but I did meet some very friendly robins who sat at my picnic table with me and also claimed Andy's handlebars when the boys met up with me.

Of course, one of the best things about holidays is the time to cook and the excuse to eat indulgently. For New Year's Day dinner we had an excellent steak pie from Keddie's the butcher. I went for a 2 and a half lb pie - it may usually feed six but I figured with three hungry blokes and appetites sharpened by all the excercise, it was wise to go for a wee bit extra. In the event, I was lucky and got a 3lb pie due to the generous nature of the butcher, complete with proper porcelain blackbird which I promised, and did, return. What a great thing, to arrive in a place you have never visited and the butcher trusts you with returning the blackbird! I served the pie with roasties, broccoli and carrots and we were all very happy with it. The pie was stuffed with really tender and melt-in-your-mouth beef with a good thick gravy. Our stomachs were very satisfied indeed.

On our last night Aneela and Andy came down and we had some drinks and a good laugh. Aneela entertained us with the footage from her bike camera - it films what she is up to on a ride and the trail we saw looked very impressive! We also got lots of tips and hints on mountain biking too and heard about their trip to Ullapool. It was a great way to end the holiday

One final word has to go to the tablet produced by Adam's the bakers - there is nothing better for nibbling in the cold to keep your energy, and sweet tooth, requirements going. The tablet was solid and took a good bite - I hate soft tablet - and was lovely and creamy and sugary without being too grainy. Bloody first class in my opinion!

So, a great weeks holiday and a New Year to remember - and whether it is more a threat than a promise we will definitely be back!

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