Meet Me Halfway: Pedal Power to Portobello
Meet Me Halfway aims to encourage people across Edinburgh to choose more active and greener travel options this summer. Laura and Tom, the couple behind TravelTwo, took up the challenge by biking to Portobello – via a cheeky ice cream pit stop in Leith
Laura and Tom are the couple behind TravelTwo, and they share a love of photography and a dislike for sitting still. They have been living in Edinburgh for around three years now, having moved to Scotland from London. As well as photography, they love to hike and just generally be active, and they document their adventures around Scotland on the TravelTwo Instagram (@traveltwo_) and blog (www.traveltwo.co.uk). Their motto is “if there’s a photo that’s worth sharing, chances are there’s also a story behind it that’s worth telling”, and they hope their photographs and stories of travelling around Scotland will help inspire people to get out there and explore this beautiful country too.
As part of the City of Edinburgh Council's Meet Me Halfway campaign, Laura and Tom decided to cycle from their home in the New Town to meet friends halfway on the promenade at Portobello beach. We had a chat to them about their journey.
The Skinny: Where did you set off from?
Laura and Tom: So we began in St Andrew Square and cycled to meet some friends on the beach.
We just love it there and try to get down at least once a week – whether it's for a swim, a run or just to meet up with friends. This time we were desperate to try out the new Civerinos restaurant that's opened on the beachfront. And with the sun out, it just felt like the perfect excuse to go and enjoy a slice with some friends.
How did you plan your route?
We always try to plan routes that avoid too many main roads, but also take in some of our favourite spots. For that reason, the Water of Leith is just an amazing way to get down to the water from the city centre without needing to cross a single road. It's so green and scenic that you completely forget you are in a city at all. A pit-stop at Leith is always nice too, before we headed across Leith Links and then along the shorefront until Portobello.
When you travel by bike or on foot, do you see the city differently?
When we moved to Edinburgh, it definitely surprised us how many quiet spots you can find in the city by actively travelling around. Despite thousands more people here for the Fringe, there's always spots you can find to yourself – sometimes a whole stretch of beach too!
There's always something different to see every time we get around Edinburgh – the seasons make such a huge difference, but there's also just so many new places opening up. This time though as we were capturing our journey on camera – we forgot how incredible the view is back to the city from the shore and it gave us a fresh perspective of Calton Hill that we'd not seen before.
What did you get up to during your stop in Leith?
We stopped for ice cream at Crolla's (a regular occurrence). There are so many flavours to choose from and enjoying an ice cream by the harbour is a must. We also brought a bottle of wine with us on the trip and so enjoyed that with our friends on the beach with the most amazing pizza from Civerinos.
How long was the journey?
It only takes about 20 minutes to cycle down to Leith from the city centre and then less than that to go from Leith to Portobello. However, it's definitely more fun to break it up and so it took us about an hour and a half including our ice cream pit stop.
What were the highlights of the journey?
There were so many! Seeing Leith harbour with all the boats provides endless photo opportunities. Portobello beach also takes some beating. It's such a long stretch of sand (around two miles) that you genuinely could have a whole stretch to yourself. We love meeting all the dogs that are out for walks too – running in the water and just genuinely having the time of their lives!
What, for you, were the main benefits of meeting halfway?
With our friends living a bit outside of Edinburgh, meeting them halfway, especially during the week, meant we could still plan a fun evening without worrying about being too far from home. Most importantly, though, after sitting staring at screens for a day, sometimes the best thing is just to build in some screen-free exercise by way of walking or cycling. It definitely makes you feel like you've earned the pizza at the end!
So sounds like you’ll be meeting halfway quite often?
We will definitely be suggesting more things like this, using it as an excuse to try new places and see different parts of the city.
Follow TravelTwo's journey at @traveltwo_
To find out more about the health and environmental benefits of City of Edinburgh Council's Meet Me Halfway campaign, as well as ideas for your own journey, head to edinburgh.gov.uk/meetmehalfway