Today the plan was for the walking group to go from the little hamlet of Bolton, near Haddington, through the fields and woods, to the village of Gifford. Gifford was on the route for the Tour of Britain cycle race, and we hoped to watch the pack of cyclists whizz by, through the village, and then walk back via a different route, to our cars in Bolton.
It was a fabulous walk, through lovely early autumnal countryside. Along field edges, through woodland and alongside a wide stream of water which comes down off the Lammermuir Hills. As we came close to Gifford, we could hear a bit of razzmatazz coming from the direction of the high street. Our sudden fear that we were going to miss the race was well founded! We had dawdled for about 3 minutes too long. We could just see the helmets of the pack, bobbing about above the hedgerow, as the cyclists made their way out of the village, heading up towards the heather-clad hills I was walking on last weekend.
When we arrived in the village, it was still buzzing from the event. The primary school children were chattering excitedly, and thrilled onlookers were returning to their cars. It reminded me of the day the Tour de France came through the town where we lived in Hampshire. We planned our viewpoint carefully, joining others along the verges outside the town. They had brought picnics, bottles of wine, and were making a day of it. The entourage started to come along the road, French gendarmes on their navy blue motorbikes and Citroen Safari police cars. It's not often you see French police doing their thing on British roads! There was an endless parade of vehicles with spare bicycles lined up on their roof racks, and other police outriders, blue lights flashing. There were media vehicles with cameras, travelling just ahead of the pack. And then the pack. It whizzed by in a flash of lycra and spindly legs, pumping pedals as fast as they could. They had passed us in a matter of four or five seconds. We all looked at each other, in dazed disappointment. With all the hype, it hadn't really occurred to anyone that it would be such a fleeting thing. If we had thought about it a bit more, it was obvious really! Anyway, I knew, today, that we hadn't really missed much, but there was still a tinge of disappointment to our arrival in Gifford! So near, yet so far!
We continued our walk, back again. We walked along wonderful wide grassy paths, with hedges which left me wondering if our anniversary hedge would ever look so good! It was all a real treat!