Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Sorn to Ayr and lots more

Today Tom phoned and we arranged to drive up north to Loch Katrine but when we saw the cloud cover to the north we promptly about turned south but without a clear idea of where we were going.
We stopped at Mossblown having decided to head off on the quiet roads of east Ayrshire.
First priority was the cafe stop, fortunately Mauchline had the answer in the little garden centre by the main road at the north edge of town.
The quiet roads heading east eventually brought us to Sorn where we decided south was the only real option eventually finding ourselves in Auchinleck.
To avoid the traffic I lead Tom out the Ochiltree road and down through Dumfries house estate on to the Skares road, it was a bit lumpy for the road bikes but we took it slowly.
The Skares road has large lorries running from the open cast mine so it was a relief to turn away to sinclairston, where it was decision time, right and 50minutes back to the car or straight ahead and 2 hours back, so straight on it was then, to Holybush, Dalrymple and South Ayr by which time were ready for some apple pie and cream at the secret garden tea room at Doonfoot.
What a pain it is cycling along Ayr promenade dodging cycles kids, dogs and deaf people then those traffic bumps along the front enough to shake your brains loose.
along the river is nice but just when we got away from the bizz there's a no cycling path (fat chance).
We finally found our way back to the car after stile jumping, step climbing and a bit more off road.
A thoroughly satisfying days outing

Route map and description click here


Monday, May 30, 2005

Kaim thrills

A lovely clear day at last so Anne and I had a walk up Kaim hill from Fairlie station up the glen crossing the burn at the top of the trees onto the moor.
Half way up we came across a large complete millstone marked by a fire brush.
Almost at the top we turned away down through the millstone quarry then back along the lower track to Fairlie.
A paraglider was taking advantage of the conditions at the north end of Kaim but we didn't see much of him so maybe it wasn't quite right for flying.

Back at 2pm, Anne had in mind to do a spot of gardening so I got out the MTB and went for a jaunt up over Glentane to Kaim hill again to enjoy the downhill run it was great, while there I filled a couple of boggy stretches with rocks from the quarry to stop the track deteriorating.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Biglees quarry

Lovely morning so went for a jaunt on the MTB up Biglees quarry, Fairlie moor, Goldenberry and the beach. The wind has brought down a couple of trees and lots of twigs, so a clearing visit is needed.

My daughter is looking for a car so went off to Glasgow with her to see some, but no luck till we came back nearer home and she saw a nice 206 so that was that another wad of cash spent, fortunately hers.

PM went up the moor and cleared the two fallen trees, a few ferns and lots of twigs from the route.
Later Anne dropped me at Ardneil bay and I had a very nice easy jog along the beach, up past Youth with a Mission building and back home through the glen.

Just had a look at the web weather and Hey! it looks good for the next two days yipee! so its time to get the maps out and do some serious planning.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

More of the wet stuff

Terrible weather again yesterday and blowing a gale in the afternoon.
Anne and I spent the day decorating in the kitchen.
Finished by 4.30 so went for a jog down in Hunterston estate, there's a bit of shelter from the wind in the trees.
The ground is getting waterlogged, if it doesn't stop raining soon the ground will be back to winter soggyness, I could hardly keep my feet when off the main tracks and of course the trainers got very wet again.

Still raining this morning but not so windy so should manage a brolly/welly walk sometime. I have a little place I want to investigate but it may be a bit exposed in places.

5.45pm took a walk with brollies and wellies around Ladymuir 6km south of Kilmacolm on the B786.
It was extremely wet and boggy but the last bit down toward Ladymuir farm was not so bad, there may be a chance of a return route variation on the Kilmacolm MTB route but I will need to investigate the track down to Muirshiel and perhaps more around Kilmacolm.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Kilmarnock circuit

Took a fancy to repeat the Kilmarnock circular run, as I guess that off road will be deep in mud after all the rain.
Started at Dundonald Castle car park and went anticlockwise to Tarbolton area Galston and Fenwick.
Thought I would get lunch at the Fenwick cafe but unfortunately it has closed so I continued on to The Gleg Whittle Cafe in Kilmaurs (excellent spot) before carrying on to Gatehead and back to Dundonald. About 4 hrs cycling in suuny but breezy conditions.

Click here for todays photos of Kilmarnock circuit.

When I got home Anne was starting into the decorating so couldn't really dash out again, just did some sanding prep for painting tomorrow (when its raining).

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Shopping in the rain

Taking full advantage of a p**s day Anne dragged me off to Glasgow for a spot of nest building shopping not to mention sitting in traffic queues.
However I went off down the beach at 4.30pm for a little jog, it was like one of those slow motion dreams where you can't get away from the beast following you, the wind was in my face and the sand was just too soft so could hardly make progress at times.

For a reminder of what nice weather cycling can be like click here.

Nice aint it!
Maybe I'll will see it again sometime.... if I am really good and get on with decorating the kitchen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Ben Lomond and Dumbarton Rock

Just back from a road cycle from Castle Semple Loch to Kilmacolm and Kilbarchan, but should have done it anticlockwise as I had to Strain my neck round to see the great views over the Clyde to Dumbarton rock and Ben Lomond. Click here for a route
Just having a coffee the off up Glentane and Kaim on the MTB.

Got back at 5.15. Glentane is a bit muddy and that makes it a bit harder (even scarier), walked up into the Kaim quarry carrying the bike at the steep bits.
The view a the top was great again.
Sat for five minutes getting my breath back then shot off on the downhill track...great fun. Over Goldenberry but looped back into the estate and back up to W.K. for tea, tired but content.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Showers and bike maintenance

Fairly bright not much wind so took the road bike out for a short spin round by Busbie Muir then over Fairlie moor and down to the coast road. It's a dangerous descent very steep with blind bends so you have to be careful.
Got slightly wet on the last mile through Hunterston estate and up to WK.

Set about fixing the back wheel rim on the mountain bike, first taped the new rim onto the old, transferred all spokes over and left them with one thread showing.
Gradually took the tension up, then put it on the frame with a couple of zip ties as guides for roundness and trueness.
Last thing was setting the dishing for the frame.
Took about an hour and a half to finish the job.

Changed two broken spokes on the road bike, I think the new spokes I fitted on the the wheel are brittle as they keep breaking at the hub.
Final job was a front changer cable on my other MTB.

Still raining so decided not to go out on the MTB but went down the beach for a jog instead, felt good for a change, don't know why, hope it lasts whatever it is.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Pigs and Bust Wheel

Surprise another bright, clear, cool day Anne and I went off down the beach.
It was marvellous, there were ringed plovers, dunlin, wagtails, shell duck, terns, fulmers nesting at Portencross cliffs and gannets diving off shore.
Behind Goldenberry we were lucky enough to see the free range piglets before returning over Goldenberry, back home for 3.15pm, after 4 hours lovely walking.

It was still very nice so I got my boy to run me and the MTB up the moor road.
I set off over Kaim (fabulous view) down into the quarry hoping for the usual great downhill run but just after the quarry, disaster, my rear wheel caved in due to excess wear.
I've never had one as bad as this, usually I notice the wear before I get caught out but not this time!!
Fortunately I had my mobile with me and so I avoided the 3 mile walk back home.
next major bike job is fit a new rim.
I'll do it tomorrow when it rains (PM according to the weather forecast)

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Sunny Largs

Was out late, so got up late, but it was a lovely sunny day after yesterdays downpouring so Anne and I took a very nice 4 hour walk over the side of the hills to Largs. It was beautiful, clear and cool, we sat above Fairlie admiring the view while having a lunch snack.
In Largs we visited Craigmiles cafe and caught the bus back at 4.30pm.

After a little break we did a spot of gardening (ARGGH!). Anne had bought a few plants a couple of days back and was keen to get them in the ground.

Haven't seen the forecast for tomorrow yet so no plans at the moment except an early bed.

Friday, May 20, 2005

Three time up the Golden hill

Showery so went for a strole up Goldenberry in light showers and whacked back some ferns on the walk, in July it gets really choked so maybe a whack in time saves 9.

PM Anne and I went up Fairlie glen toward Kaim but it started raining seriously so we didn't leave the trees at the top of the track, a mountain biker passed us going down the glen, he was in for a good soaking.

PPM went for a little jog over Goldenberry hill a couple of times in the rain, second time up Arran was clear, Goat Fell was out of cloud and looked quite bright, which is more than could be said about Goldenberry.
I've now go a pair of very soggy trainers to dry out.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Stopped raining at last

Finally stopped raining at 11.30 so headed off down through the Glen and onto the beach track, it was bright(ish) and warm so just pottered along, unfortunately it's impossible to just potter up Goldenberry it's too steep ditto Fairlie moor road and the carry up to Kaim quarry ain't easy. The view above isn't quite the one from Kaim quarry but its close (not like that today though).

Took a short break at the top of the quarry and then blasted down the track all the way down to the shore road, there's plenty of mud about now after 24hrs of rain so it was a bit trickier than a couple of days ago (more it's usual state really).

Just had a beer sitting in front of the computer and am now off for a shower.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Dundonald Revisited

My wife and I payed a visit to Dundonald hill early today and managed a pleasant walk before the rain started.
There is a loop out to Auchans and then a loop out over the south hill with a muddy finish where the path disappears.
I may add a web page short walk as there is a nice visitors centre (cafe).
Tickets are available for the castle from Easter to November.

PM walked out in the rain to a MTB route to get the trail round a fallen tree and clear some undergrowth.
I don't do obvious things like jumps and berms I just keep any natural route free where I can.

PS have produced a walk web page for Dundonald hill click here
PPS I have altered my description of the off road Dundonald route to include details of the trails around the hill and mentioned those in Fullarton wood. Click here to view

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Lochwinnoch RSPB and Kaim Hill

Heather the weather said morning would be the best part of the day so Tom and I started a road outing from Dalgarven mill round to Beith and along to the RSPB visitors centre for a coffee and bird spotting, then along the cycle way back to Dalgarven.

The weather was still pleasant when I got back home so had a light lunch and got the MTB out over to the summit of Kaim hill (image above is todays panorama).
From the top of Kaim hill it's 1100ft and 1mile all downhill, absolutely fantastic, and not a drop of mud to be seen!! it just can't last.

Returned home over Goldenberry and along the beach track with a following wind.


Monday, May 16, 2005

Seaching for Irvine trails

Took the MTB in the car to Eglinton to try and get a trail out to Dundonald as much as possible off road.
Out of Eglinton along the side of the dual carriageway down to Stanecastle was ok, then followed little tarmac cycleways to Dreghorn and south to the River at Beachams factory then through a lane (puncture country, so walked and still got one!) to Milton Viaduct, through Newfields to the Dundonald Castle Cafe for a lunch break.
Dundonald hill has some nice single track along the east and south sides but it doesn't link up very well and the trails need a bit of clearing out so ultimately its a bit of a disappointment. Someone has built a couple of high wooden platforms on the south hill, but they were too technical for me, so I just scooted about sussing out the trails. There is also a nice bit of trail high in the woods on the south end above the reservior
Returned around Shewlton moss behind the paper mill. It has a track right around its edge, but not exactly exciting.
Back to the harbour at Irvine, was going to have a coffee in the maritime museum but only has £1.50 left so had to skip that in favour of a chocy bar.
Pleasant enough but no new trail, although if I skip punture lane there is maybe a short route-I'll give it some thought.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Caldron climb

Anne and I wanted a bit of climb today so we chose to go up Caldron hill from the main coast road giving about 1200ft of climb and 6 miles of walk. The top was very blowy and pretty cold (not as cold as the picture though), met another chap at the cairn and chatted about his walks in the area.
Just having a cup of coffe then I'm away out for a spin on the MTB for an hour or so over good old Goldenberry and along the beach with hopefully a following breeze.

5:05PM just back from MTB run, the beach track was busy and there were loads of people out, two dogs were after a bit of my leg. There was a great following wind along the beach track just as I hoped.

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Beautiful views and Blaeloch hill

My wife and I took a strole up Fairlie Glen onto Blaeloch Hill, the view was absolutely stunning all the way to the Paps of Jura. We passed the south cairn and the airplane wreck on the way to the top, then walked down to the north east edge of Kelburn and back down Fairlie Glen, about 3.5 hours walk.
PM went down to my mother in laws to do some gardening then to the Taj in Prestwick for dinner to round off a pretty full day.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Dailly exercise

The promise of a nice sunny day had me at the maps planning, phoned Tom to arrange a road outing to Dailly south of Ayr.
Took the car to Old Brig O'Doon and went out to Dalrymple, Kirkmichael, Crosshill and Dailly. The breeze was behind us so going out was a piece of cake, except for the long climb from Dalrymple to Kirkmichael.
Took a break at Dailly in Tillys tea room then visited old Dalquarran castle over the new footbridge and Dalquarran Mansion before setting off into the breeze back toward Maybole and Ayr by the B7024.
I have added the route to my site as it differs enough from the routes already in that area, is very scenic and has a nice tea room half way, hey what more could anyone want!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Pisa Florence and Kaim hill

For our wedding anniversary my wife and I went off to Pisa and Florence for two nights, giving us a chance to view the leaning tower on the first day and a full day in Florence the next. It was a little grey in Pisa but soon brightened up and Florence is certainly a beautiful city, took lots of pictures and will probably post some on my web site soon.
Got back today at 2pm and the sun was splitting the skies so jumped on the MTB and took a ride up Glentain, Kaim quarry Goldenberry and the beach. At the top of Kaim quarry I stopped to admire the view over Arran, the Cumbreas and Largs and thought to myself that on this warm sunny afternoon this spot is every bit as nice as Florence but perhaps not quite so romantic.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Pedal, Push and Carry

There is a little hill south of Loudoun hill and Darvel called Wedder Hill (434m), I decided to visit it over King Moss and Laird Knowe.I have been that way before but not all the way to the hill, now I am reminded why, it was 50% push, a 1km carry, and soggy. On route I came across an old plane wreck below the hill, there wasn't much left of it an engine and some framework.
The view from Wedder hill was great, Heads of Ayr, Arran, Galloway hills, Cairn Table, Tinto, Ben Lomond and the highlands. If you chose to go make sure its been dry for at least a week and it's a clear day.
Came down over Hart Hill along the edge of the trees and caught the forest track on Anderside hill out to Burnhead and back to the car at Loudoun Hill.
Then went and visited the Walace sculpture near the car park.
I enjoyed the outing but it's no new route.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Meander through Blair

Out late last night so was in no great state today, got up late, watched a DVD, and then went for a little meander round Blair estate near Dalry for a bit of fresh air and there was plenty of that blowing about.
Noticed yesterday after Straiton that the front rim of the MTB is worn out so spent a while in the shed puting on a new front wheel and fixing the revealed punture, udjusting brakes, trueing the back wheel.... how is it one job turns into a host of essential must do's.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Around Straiton

I expected less showers today and had planned to go to Straiton, got there just in time for a shower so went into The Buck cafe for some yummy chocolate cake and coffee.
Started up the Patna hill track then down to Altizourie and along the R Girvan, up to Spalandar loch and back to Straiton, downhill on the rough Patna hill track then up Bennan Hill, it's a cycle carry up but fun down.
I couldn't recommend this as a route, I had to fight through the trees from Spalander loch to the track, which was pretty rubbish, had fun exploring though and the view from Bennan hill is worth the walk up but hardly worth carrying the bike unless you're a bit of a masochist.
Back to The Buck for tea and scone around 2.30

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Beware the weather forecaster

Kept expecting the PM sunshine like the weather lady Heather promised but the forecasters idea of PM is nearer 4pm than 1pm, I've noticed this before.
All was not lost though, did my annual shopping for a jacket, shirt, socks etc, in Ayr so that's out the way for another year or two.
By the time I got home the sun was out so couldn't resist going for a jog through Hunterston estate and over Goldenberry hill a couple of times, guess that will have to do for today.

Have added a new off road page for Bute click here to view

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Bute-ful day

Weather is good wind is low I'm off to Bute for the day on the road bike.
Phoned Tom and we caught the 9.30 calmac ferry Wemyss Bay to Rothsay.
We decided it might be interesting to visit some places off the beaten track so we headed up to Kilmichael on the far northwest of the island. The track only goes as far as the farm but gives a great view across to Tighnabruach, from there we retraced our route to Ettrick bay cafe for some early lunch.
Next stop was St Ninians point where we walked the last kilometre out to the old chapel, there was a huge amout of shells at the high water mark and the point is very nearly an island as both rocky beaches overlap.
At Scalpie Bay we spotted a few seals out on the rocks but I don't recommend going down to the beach on the footpath below Tarmore hill, its unridable, and the bike keeps wanting to dash off down the slippy slope.
We stopped again at Kingarth Pub for a refreshment before cycling through Mount Stewart estate back to Rothsay and the 4pm boat.
View pictures here

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Dodging showers

Dull and drizzly so I was given a reprieve from visiting mother in law for hedge trimming, and went out whacking back some ferns on a route to extend its use into the summer hopefully.
After lunch it was bright so dashed out on the road bike toward castle semple but near Beith the sky was very dark so turned back to Dalgarven mill just in time to miss the worst of a passing shower. After tea and cake I scampered back home into a freshening breeze but got home dry after 3 hour on the bike so quite happy with that.
The weather forecast is reasonable for tomorrow so I'm away to get the maps out to decide whats worth doing.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Panic in Kelburn

Dull and misty this morning but no wind, no point going high into the cloud so Anne and I took a walk from Fairlie Stn into Kelburn toward Largs.
As we walked up the road in Kelburn two horse riders trotted past and a little time later a young girl came cantering past obviously out of control and a little panic stricken the two riders ahead blocked the way and the horse stopped much to the relief of the rider, she got a lecture about sitting in the saddle from her friends.
Down in largs we stopped for coffee then walked along the front back to Fairlie, 4 hrs out and about.
Since it was still nice I went for a little jaunt on the MTB over scary Glentane onto Fairlie moor and back through Hunterston.
A very satisfying days activities.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Greenan and Belleisle

Chucking it down this morning.
Anne wore her boots about the house but wasn't happy with them, took them to Tiso in Ayr but it was shut so, since the rain was off, went for a walk around Rozelle, coffee in Tam O Shanter and walked out past Greenan castle (forgot how muddy the track is after the tunnel) then back through Belleisle.
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