Bothy weekend planned for Borders and city cyclists

Cycling, a pastime growing in popularity: Neil Dalgleish from the Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Group and cyclist Alison Caw launching the new Borderloop 4 in 2012.
Cycling, a pastime growing in popularity: Neil Dalgleish from the Scottish Borders Recreational Cycling Group and cyclist Alison Caw launching the new Borderloop 4 in 2012.

The annual Borders Bothies cycling meet this weekend will see local pedallers join city enthusiasts at a special bothy in Peeblesshire.

Borders Brakeaway (BB) members are joining Cyclists’ Touring Club (CTC ) Edinburgh cyclists to bike to the Tweedsmuir hut built by cyclists in memory of fellow biking enthusiast Albert Watson.

BB’s Fiona Hunt said the meeting will be “a good opportunity to join with CTC Edinburgh and visit this facility, learn about its history and how you might make use of it in the future”.

The Borders Bothy Association maintains the 12-bed hut with sitting room, gas cooking facilities and scullery.

It was built in 1947 by the then CTC Lothians District Association which leased the ground from Edinburgh Corporation before buying it from the later Lothian Regional Council in 1985 for £10.

The hut is in memory of the CTC Edinburgh member Mr Watson, who was well known among Scottish cyclists as a record-breaking tricycle and tandem tricycle rider and contributor to the cycling press.

He volunteered for the RAF when the Second World War broke out, but died in Canada in March 1943 while training as a pilot.

Enthusiast George Di Ponio, who has researched the history of the small building, said the memorial fund gained such wide support, members decided to hold off to the end of the war before reviving a project Albert supported: providing a CTC club hut in the Borders.

After hostilities, members searched the upper Tweed Valley for a site and found a concrete base of what had been a workshop or hut next to disused track on the Talla railway. Edinburgh Corporation gave the club rent-free use of the site and CTC cyclists prepared, built and equipped the hut.

Saturday’s 52-mile ride will see cyclists leave Peebles Kingsmeadows car park and pedal to Cademuir, Stobo and Dawyck, before stopping at the CTC Hut Polmood for lunch and a tour of the hut.

Riders will return via Talla, St Mary’s Loch, Gordon Arms and Traquair to Peebles.