Picking up where Megan left off, we had a great train ride up to Edinburgh with the sunshine making the always-impressive views really spectacular. Once we'd arrived and got settled we spent the rest of our first day in Scotland walking the streets and climbing the dizzying Scott monument for views:
We got to spend that night in a lovely hotel courtesy of a surprise wedding gift from Sula and Andrew, two of my old running teammates, but early the next morning we checked out and got a lift to a local highland games tournament where we engaged in traditional Scottish activities like pretending to like the sound of bagpipes, washing down fried food with Ironbru and watching enormous men throw very heavy things:
The focus of our day though was the fell race and at half past two we set off for a mad 8.5km dash up and down the nearest hill. Suffering through the heat of Eygpt turned out to be surprisingly excellent preparation for our first race in months and we acquitted ourselves well although Andy getting stuck in the bathroom queue as the race started flattered us both.
Someone obviously knew I was visiting because we arrived back in town to find the Grassmarket area of town taken over for an evening of bike racing across the cobbles culminating in a pro level criterium won by controversial local hero and sometime Tour de France star David Millar:
For our last two nights north of the border we were lucky enough to be hosted by Sula's father and his wife in their beautiful house in Lasswaith which was a perfect place to relax but inevitably, as always seems to be the case when I'm reunited with members of UBCCC, sunbathing was a distant second priority behind eating, more spectacular running, the occasional swim and lots of real ale appreciation:
When the time finally came to leave sunny Scotland we hitched a lift with Sarah, another good running friend from Bristol, to her new home in Yorkshire stopping off en route to join Sarah's fiance Gareth for what I may have sold to Megan as 'a nice stroll in the Lake District.' 'An arduous 5 hour trek up the second-highest peak in England including a terrifying scramble along the infamous Strider's Edge' may have been a more accurate description but the views from the top were amazing:
From Yorkshire we continued south to my old home town of Loughborough which I had not been back to in 5 years. We stayed with Frankie and Alan, my old next door neighbours in the tiny village of Old Woodhouse and while their legendary hospitality nearly derailed our plans entirely we did manage to walk into town for a nose around my old school and the town market. Very little has changed although the town has sprouted a couple of new housing estates which meant I actually got to say "Ahh, I remember when it was all fields around here."
From Loughborough we took another train (or rather 3 trains and a walk - the joys of National Rail), to nearby Solihull for a quick catch-up with yet another ex-Bristolian Matt and his wife Penny and then the wedding of our very good friends Simon and Amy. I've been looking forward to their big day since meeting them many years ago and even the inevitable end of the heat-wave couldn't spoil a really beautiful day and a fantastic reunion.