Friday, June 24, 2005

A desire fulfilled

For a few weeks now I have had a notion to go across to Dunoon and do a part off road loop by Ardentinny and Loch Eck, so today was the day.

The Western Ferries had four boats running so I was straight on both ways, on the ferry took a look at the map,

"Damn brought the wrong bleedin map!".

Thought I'd sneak a look in one of the shops but they didn't have any so it looked as if it would need to be off the cuff,
however just beyond Ardentinny there was a chap walking looking at a local map so got a good look and tried to memorise the route up to Glenbranter.
It was some climb! and some downhill afterwards, dangerously fast with sharp bends.
Great views along Loch Eck justified the hard work, almost.

Pissed about a bit looking for the trail back along west Eck its not very well signposted beside Glenshellish farm
The cycle route signs seemed to direct me into Glenbranter, so I just asked a local.
At the south end of Eck the road goes into Benmore Botanic garden, past the big house before exiting into Glen Massin, bit strange cause you have to pay if you come in the other side.

Back to the ferry after 5 hour in the saddle ready for grub and a little alcohol to relax, not much on the box though.

Click here to view the route description.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Local fun

Didn't exactly feel full of beans this morning but the weather looked ok so Tom and I had a cycle over to Dalgarven and down to Kilwinning back along the sea front.
It threatened to rain but luckily it blew south away from us.

PM went over to the quarry on the MTB, met an old aquaintance in the fishery, he was just going up to fly his paraglider off Kaim hill.
He is very accomplished at moutain biking, paragliding, and telemark skiing and is always just back or just on his way to some adventure or other.

I left him, scooted downhill, slogged over Goldenberry to the beach track, back in time for tea.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Amazing Arran

Anne and I caught 9.45 ferry to Arran with the intention of walking the Nuis Tarsuinn loop and optimistically hoping the cloud would clear PM.

If I had thought for more than 2 seconds in Glen Rossa I could have saved a good 45 minutes of rough walking. I chose to go up the early path up Garbh Alt and couldn't cross the burn at the weir, so ended up climbing the deer fence and walking across the moor with no track.

We had intermittent views to Tarsuinn but the mist didn't really clear until we were coming down Beinn a Chlaibhain but we did see the plane wreck on Nuis and the Tarsuinn witch through the mist.
After 7.5hrs walking the refreshment in Macs bar was most welcome, and Irish stew on the ferry back was a fine finish to a great day.
One other silly thing, we had to phone to ask our son to bring some cash along to get us out of Ardossan ferry car park, bought him a few cans as a reward.

What a nice boy, ...HUMF!

PS Notice while sitting here at the computer, my necks a bit hot and sunburnt, must remember to splash the suncream there next time..

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A slow day

Sort of a slow motion day today, took till past midday to get out and about, if you don't count driving to the dump with some ex-kitchen and garden rubbish, not to mention a spot of the dreaded gardening (my expertise is in drastic weeding, where you use a spade to get the weeds out of the ground).

After lunch however Anne was happy to go out for a walk, there was a nice breeze, my son gave us a lift to Fairlie and we enjoyed a very nice stroll back along the side of the hills to Crosbie, then for a little change over Drummilling hill.
Got back about 4.30 in good time for tea.

Took some cracking photos (of the usual stuff) but can't be ar**d putting them on a web page.

By the way the pic above is from Glentress last year two tired and contented cyclists at the cafe after a good thrashing around in the forest, they were both sound asleep in the sun. That was agreat day out.

Monday, June 20, 2005


Graham phoned early and we decided it was set fair for a bit of local off road, by 9.30 we were on our way.
Graham was hoping for plenty of off road so I was going to give it my best shot.
The first UP was Biglees quarry, its only just cycleable all the way up and gives some great views, but beyond is the moor and a drop into Glenburn falls.
Quote from Graham while struggling across the burn

"this bike makes a great zimmer frame"

The funny bit is he nearly needed it after his ribs tackled the handlebars on the downhill from kaim quarry.
Then it was UP again to the view point above the Fairlie track and a little stop to admire the view (wheeze, wheeze).

Down into Fairlie past the castle and a snack lunch looking across to Arran from the pincnic spot near the pier.

UP again into Kelburn and Graham says "is that the hard bit then" and the next quote a few seconds later is "Jesus!" as we turn off the tarmac UP to the high Kelurn trail.
What goes up must come down and eventually we turned down, bumping our way down past Fairlie castle again eventually returning through Hunterston, Portencross and the Beach.

Excellent half day out, just time for a little walk with Anne up to the windfarm before tea.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Misty day on the coast

The mist was right down today so Anne and I decided to walk low, along the coast to Largs.

On Seamill beach there was some new life, two little fluffy chick plovers behaving just like their parents dashing about on the sand. The adults were quite disturbed so we moved off out of the way.
Further along at Hunterston sands we saw two Eider chicks and six little shell ducklings, cute with their little black striped backs.

The mist was lifting and it was brightening, the sea was calm and the views just got better and better as we walked.
I was looking toward Cumbrae, quite a few of the trees over there are very brown, wonder what caused it?
The windy couple of days a few weeks back maybe, strange the treees in Kelburn are fine.

Largs was busy as usual at this time of year so we didn't hang about, had a coffee and caught the train back, almost five hours walking and it took 10 minutes back on the train.

More abandoned plans

Saturday had originally thought of going across to Dunoon and driving round to Inverchaolain (probably pronounced invercolin) to do a circuit on a little hill Cruach nan Capull. Phoned Western ferries, YIKES! £29 return ferry, forget that plan!.
Thought then about going up to Luss, Doune hill and even got ready, drove over the hill to the comment,

"My god look at the low cloud!"

Decided in the end just to have a local walk on Fairlie moor but even then we didn't go high as the cloud was down on the hilltops.
Managed three hours though, just meadering over quad tracks below Glentane and Kaim, even managed to find a breezy spot to keep the midges away during our lunch stop.

PM the breeze got up enough to cut the hedge, so that's one gardening job won't need done again for a few weeks.

PPM had a very nice short MTB ride down the beach and over Goldenberry.
There were youngsters splashing about in the sea and some other folk making the beach look summery with there beach brollies up, pity there wasn't any sun.

After a shower and change Anne and I went down to the Taj in Prestwick.
There were golfers in the restaurant after some competition or other, making speeches and prize giving but they left us in peace by 7.30, and the meal was excellent as usual.

Friday, June 17, 2005

What? its not raining?

The weather people got it wrong again its a lovely day out there so its time to get the bike out.

By the time the bike was out it was looking dull again but what the heck, just cycle and see what happens. Thought I'd do a 2.5 hour loop just in case it all went wet but at the turning point behind Dalry it was brightening up again so continued up to Howwood past Bargraigs reservior and back along to the RSPB at Lochwinnoch.

The new track from lochwinnoch to the RSPB centre is open and its much more pleasant from the Lochwinnoch side, however the bit up to the station isn't finished so it still has to be done on the busy road. Hope it improves soon.

Took the little lane behind the station (sort of) to Beith, Dalry then half way up Fairlie moor before turning down to the Munnoch and back to WK.

There is an ugly scar on the landscape up where they are constructing a new track to allow the wind farming machinery access to the hills above Dalry. The hedges have been ripped up and the tarmac widened with a rubble road, what a mess! Hope it all gets put right when the're finished.

I am looking forward to getting up there on the mountain bike when its all done.
The Busby windfarm tracks are fun and the one behind Dalry should open up a bit of ground which ain't much use for anything but sheep.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Abandoned cycling day

Had to pick up the car this morning it was getting a new brake servo fitted, OUCH! that hit the bank balance.
Anyone out there like a lovely little Cora 40k miles, L reg good nick yours for only £585 ono.

Tom and I had planned a cycle outing today and set off, bikes on car, but by the time we got to Irvine it was slinging it down so we had a coffee at Dalgarven mill. The rain just kept coming so we abandoned the idea and returned home.

After lunch Anne and I went for a short walk in Hunterston estate with the brollies and wellies.

Later I had a slightly longer than normal run down the beach, the rain had virtually stopped, it was mild with a little SE breeze, very pleasant.
The tide was well out so there was an opertunity to run on all sorts of surfaces, there's a gravel track, which I avoid, the hard lower beech sand, which is great for a fast spurt, then there is soft sand where the tide doesn't normally reach (hard going), and even sea weed or pebbles which can help firm up the softer sand.
I choose the middle ground where the sand has just the right give, sometimes that means weaving a course along the beach, hunting down the patches of sand that are just right.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Kelburn loop

Stopped raining at 11.30 so thought I'd risk a cycle, checked the windmills out the kitchen window and wind was SE so that meant beach first to get wind assist.

Down the beach with a following wind, it was devoid of the usual walkers and dogs, up Goldenberry where my fern bashing seems to be keeping the trail open.
Cycled along and into Kelburn up the tarmac then down to Fairlie glen behind the castle.
The trail is muddy again after the days rain.
On the way back it was still bright so went up the moor road and part into the quarry to get a good downhill run.
Back home at 2.45, the bike was in bad need of a good clean so hosed it down and left it out to dry.
The headset sounds a bit rough also I need to sort the chain suck on the small ring which just started today, and the brakes need new pads, and the rear wheel spokes a bit of tensioning. I think that's all but can't tell till I get to it, I'll have another cup of tea and maybe do some of it. Then again maybe I'll leave it till tomorrow, better check the forecast.

PS managed to do the brakes and the chain suck before tea, weather looks OK for tomorrow, well not raining, think I'll have a look at a road route somewhere closeby.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Downhilling before the rain

Yesterday Fairlie glen looked in great nick, the weather man said its to be wet most of the week so I decided that this morning I would go for the downhills before they got mashed again.

Over Glentane and carried up into the quarry on Kaim, hardly any wind.
The clouds were down on Arran but to the north looked OK.
Stood on the rock piles at the top of the quarry keeping the midges away in the slight breeze while admiring the view.
Flew down from the quarry, all 1000ft down to the road. There were a few spots of rain by this time but just pretended they wern't there.
Headed north, behind Fairlie station, up Fairlie glen.
The climb on the middle glen was easier than normal, the rocks were dry and friction was good.
Carried the bike up the top glen to the fence at the top, didn't wait around for the midges to find me, just jumped on the bike and enjoyed the run down.
Its only half the length of Kaim downhill and doesn't have the wide open feel but it's still a good little rough run.
It started raining at the bottom, half an hour home in gentle rain wasn't too bad, back at 11.40.

Spent the last hour finally finishing the shed door locking bar.

Monday, June 13, 2005

The quiet life

Had a couple of celebrations over the WE so was feeling a bit delicate Sunday/Monday
however did get a walk in Culzean on Sunday after the midges chased us out of my mother in laws garden, good intentions foiled by the blood sucking bugs.

This morning had a fern bashing session while the weather decided what it was doing and PM had a walk up Fairlie Glen onto the side of Blaeloch hill.
There seamed to be a small cruise ship in at Fairlie dock, very strange, and the downhill in Fairlie Glen is in great nick at the moment, unfortunately I was walking but I may have to pay it a visit very soon before the rain knackers it.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The ups and downs of summer

I have an extra way of telling summer has arrived, every time I go out I get a collection of insect bites which come up in itchy ugly lumps. I always dread a puncture at this time as it means the blighters will have a good feed and I will be trying not to scratch for hours afterwards.

This morning Anne and I went along the beach and over Goldenberry (whacked back a few more ferns on route) about 3.5 hrs walking.

PM went down Hunterston on the MTB over Goldenberry again then up onto the moor. There were three paragliders up there hanging on the thermals, they must get some view, but probably too busy searching the updraft to see it.
I carried the bike up into the quarry and watched them circling for a few minutes, then blasted down hill to the main road. Its lovely and dry up there at the moment only a couple of boggy bits by the burns.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Misty Law

Just back from a MTB outing from Lochwinnoch up Misty Law, its a great trail when dry even so there were a number of deep puddles to cool the feet. The trail goes virtually to the top just a short carry to the small cairn. I didn't hang about up there as the midges were out in force. Great rough run down from the top.

Unfortunately while putting the bike on the back of the car I left the car keys in the boot and locked myself out. My son brought up the spare set of keys, but he wasn't to happy, he was just going out for a game of golf......oah shame!

Still lovely out there so may go out for a short walk before tea.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Mauchline meadering

The weather was dull but the weather people said it would brighten up later, phoned Tom and took the bikes to Dundonald, still dull.
Set off over to Symington then down the path by the A77 and into Ladykirk, and toward Tarbolton, still dull.

From Tarbolton went acroos to Mauchline and the cafe stop for a spot of lunch,
now raining.

Headed over to Craigie village, it stopped raining but still dull.
Back over the A77 to Dundonald and the car, sun came out just as the bikes were put
on the car.

Not such good timing, however it was still pleasant and covered some nice country roads.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The bogs of Ladymuir

Was very tempted this morning to cross the Clyde to Dunoon into the forest but in the end decided to go to Muirsheil above Lochwinnoch and see if the ladymuir plantation would link back.

The Muirshiel track is great, I tried the west offshoot again but it still only goes out for a couple of kilometres.
I came along to Ladymuir farm and tried the path across to Muirsheil but it was rubbish, although I did cycle most of the way in bottom gear through bog, just as well it was relatively short.

Had an ice cream at the visitors centre while watching last years highlights of the Hen Harrier nesting.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Kaim, Caldron and Glentane

Had originally planned to go down to the Galloway hills today but just didn't fancy the drive, so Anne and I walked from the main Largs road up Kaim quarry, across to Caldron hill and back over Glentane.
It was a little hazy so the views wern't as good as recently.
The clear views come with the cold air masses not the warm air of today.
It was still very nice though.
Went to the bike shop for a new chain and freewheel for the road bike, it's knackered and broke on me last week.
When I got back I couldn't resist a little jog down the beach, it was ideal conditions with a slight southerly breeze, bright but not sunny, shorts and tee shirt weather.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Moniaive and St Johns Dalry

I set off this morning in the car but at the first crossroads I got a real shock, the car brakes were knackered!
Fortunately I was not going fast and no harm done but promptly about turned round to borrowed my wifes car.
Only a little delayed Graham and I took the bikes in the car down to Carspairn, unpacked and headed off for Moniaive on the B729, by a fortunate navigation error (neglecting the map) after the pub stop in Moniaive we headed down the A702 to St Johns Town of Dalry, what a fabulous road, extremely quiet, and hugely scenic. There's another pub in Dalry but we opted for an ice cream while sitting on a wall in the warm sun, before heading back to Carsphairn on the minor road past Kendoon hostel.

What a fabulous route and day out, it will definately find its way into my web site.

View pictures of todays route here

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Guitars, Glazing and Gastles

Saturday had to visit mother in law to change a tap washer and sit in on double glazing salesman chat.
Afterwards went for a walk in Culzean for a spot of lunch and visted some friends at Minishant where we had a little off road cycle on the (very) old Ayr road, but I doubt if it would fit into any routes, I'll have a look at the maps though.
We then went along to Kirkmichael to sample the atmosphere (that means booze) at the guitar festival and ended up at a barbeque at Kirkmichael house. Strange sort of day really.

Today had a walk from Greenan castle (after delaying waiting for dry weather and having lunch) up past Burton farm onto the east side of Carrick hills, down to Newark, Old Brig o'Doon and back along the Doon. Very pleasant so may add it to my web site.

The weather forcast looks good for the next couple of days so I'm switching to planning mode as of now!

Friday, June 03, 2005

The Gleg Whittle cafe

Yesterday was expecting rain but by 10am it was drying so I spent the day converting my cheap and faulty up and over garage (bike shed)door, cut it in two and hinged the smaller half door, it took 10hrs of work, then, as if that wasn't enough, spent the night having nightmares about garage doors.

Today I met up with a couple of cycling buddies Keith and Graham and we took a shortish road cycle through the little lanes north of Irvine to Kilmaurs where we stopped off at the Gleg Whittle cafe for a snack (early lunch), returned in similar manner but a little north.

We left Keith at Kilwinning and Graham and I went via Dalgarven mill but my chain snapped just as we were leaving the mill, Graham had an appointment at 2pm so I was left to sort the chain and head back to WK. Got home about 3pm, nice little easy outing.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Just stay indoors

What a change, slinging it down out there.
Anne and I did a bit to the kitchen and I put yesterdays route on my web site, click here to view.

There is a problem with my garage (bike shed) door so I have decided to convert it from up and over to half opening, cause I'm a cheepskate, so went off and bought a few bits at B&Q. Just need a half decent day at it and a bit of help from my boy.

Friday looks as if it may be good for an outing, we shall see, but it'll be road bike cause the hills will be sh**ty.
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