Sunday, July 31, 2005

Great fun on local trails

Graham and I had 6 hours around our local Clyde coast trails today, the sun was splitting the skies, it was crystal clear and the trails were bone dry, what a treat.
We visited the windfarm on Busbie, used the new rough track on Fairlie and carried up Caldron hill, what a view!!.
Back to WK for a bacon roll and coffee, then up over Goldenberry and round Portencross.

There were a couple of quad bikers at Hunterston, having lots of fun dashing up, down and out the beach. I'd like a go sometime but wouldn't buy one, just too much hassle getting to places off road, give me the mountain bike any day.

A small group of birders were watching the cliffs at the 3 sisters, turned out to be a peregrine male, I met them last year at the same point watching the same bird, the crossing of ways is strange indeed.

What a cracking day out!! here.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Dog agility and scarecrows

I was happy to have an easy day today so Anne took me down to Irvine to shop for some curtain material, she likes to have me there so that it's not just her choice and there's no come back later.

We had lunch down at Irvine harbour and then went out to Eglinton park for a strole,
Being a summer Saturday there was an event happening, this time a dog agility competition, the field was chock a block with doggy people.
We watched a bit, went for a walk round the big pond, then watched some more.
Quite amusing watching the handlers and dogs making a mess of things, it made those that got clears all the more impressive.

WK is puting on a scarecrow festival so the photo above is our contribution, next year I may make it a bit more sophisticated.
We will take a walk around the village soon to see the other daft scarecrows on show, it's a good laugh and some of them are works of art.

Devils Staircase

Having watched the weather forecast and thinking the ground will never be drier this year again, yesterday I decided to have a go at the Devils Staircase in Glencoe.
I also fancied the Rannoch Moor track, so it looked like another epic day.

What a boneshaker that rannoch Moor track is, but the track from Kingshouse to the Staircase is a treat.
The Staircase is pretty well a walk, but the descent down to Kinlochleven is absolutely fabulous except the path preservers have put damn ditches across the path every so often, even so there's plenty of uninterrupted technical stuff further down.
The lower forest track is loose and dangerous but still great fun.

Got a pinch on this bit due to the extra speed.
Had a coffee and sandwich at Kinlochleven and watched some folk rafting in the rapids.

I had timed it so that it was after 5pm while going up Glencoe to avoid the worst of the traffic and I used the off road bits as well, lovely climbing track in Glencoe to sit back in the saddle and watch the scenery change. Then it was back to Kingshouse and over the boneshaking Rannoch Moor to the car at Forest Lodge.

Absolutely marvelous day, next time though I'll do it from Kingshouse and skip the boneshaker.

View some pictures here

The drop to Kinlochleven must be one of the best descents in the country if not the best pity the path people have degraded it a little.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Digging and slab laying

It was windy and cool this morning so layed some slabs for the new shed.
Anne couldn't quite fathom why I dug a hole then promptly filled it in again to lay the slabs.
"It's all about being able to work the soil", I told her, but she just shook her head.

Thats the shed ordered but it will be 22nd of September before it arrives, free delivery and free assembly. If their order books are as full as that you'd think they'd put in a bit of overtime to get the volume up and the waiting time down, but what do I know.

Put some photos of last years cycle on Mull in the album view them here.

The picture above is Lago di Lecco northern Italy (Ryan air cheap flight to Bergamo last year)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Epic off road South Ayrshire

Had a bit of an epic ride today around south Ayrshire linking lots of off road bits using quiet roads.
The loop went from Tam O'Shanter visitor centre to, Dalrymple,Patna (almost),Crosshill,Kirkoswald,Culzean, and Carrick hills.
It took me from 10am to 6pm to complete, I knew it would take a while so ensured I kept drinking and eating but still managed to get a bit dehydated over Carrick hills.

On the way through Culzean I stopped at the centre for a coffee, cake and a bit of a rest and bumped into an old cycling pal from work. He is having a caravan holiday at Maidens just along the coast.
He has the road bike with him so I suggested he rides over to The Buck at Straiton, he seemed to quite fancy it.

I took a few pictures from the route view them here.
It took so much effort today the route just has to go into a web page

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bashing an old shed

Our very old garden shed is past its best so today I took it to bits, however its life has not ended, it is now acting as a rain barrier at the back of the bike shed and makes a great den for five year olds, pity there's none about... well maybe not such a pity.

The bike shed has only single block and gets very wet after spells of rain, so the old shed walls should hold back most of it, also I don't have to get rid of all the bits, its all out of sight at the back of the shed...great...

Not sure if we'll get a new one, we may just make room in the bike shed for all the stuff Anne uses to keep the garden in shape.

Took a jog down the beach just before tea to keep the fitness level up, Oh yes also spent a couple of hours this morning clearing a little bit of trail up the moor, it was getting a bit brambley and overgrown with bog reeds.

Looks like the weather is to be good for the next few days so its time to make a few plans.

Monday, July 25, 2005

North Ayrshire Loop

Today Tom and I did a loop from Gleniffer Braes above Paisley down the west side of the Barrhead road to Stewarton and over the moors on the east side back to Gleniffer.

When I told my wife Tom and I were cycling from Gleniffer Braes to Stewarton she didn't understand why Stewarton.
I explained if we did it from Stewarton to Gleniffer we would have a great view but no cafe stop, doing it the other way we'd cover all the same ground, get the view twice and a cafe stop, it makes sense to me at least.
She understands food stops so agreed with the reasoning if not the idea of Stewarton as a destination.

On route we passed the model aeroplane flying area at Hartfield Moss and got chatting to an old guy (83years) who had been flying his glider before we arrived, seems there is regular WE meets up there for chat, flying and of course tea in the little hut.
View our route here, except we did it anticlockwise from Gleniffer.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Sunny Sunday

Anne and I had a little cycle around Crosshill, Straiton and close to Kirmichael.
It was gloriously sunny and the air was cool so cycling was very pleasant indeed.
The views were great and you can view the best of them here.

We stopped at the Buck Cafe in Straiton, it has great snacks and is very friendly.

I dropped Anne off at Crosshill and she went across to her see her mother, I followed over the hills to Maidens, on route there seemed to be some kind of Porche club outing, I passed six of them meadering quietly along the country lanes.
I also noticed the first of 56 wind turbines up on Hadyard hill above Dailly, that will be another MTB trip in six months or so when its all completed.

Muirshiel to Wemyss Bay

Great day out on the bike yesterday, Graham fancied a bit of off road and looking at the map I realised that a linear route from Muirshiel to Wemyss Bay would give us a long off road route that wasn't too technical, all I had to do was persuade Anne to drop us off and pick us up.

We got dropped off half way up to the park giving a beautiful 2mile climb up the little tarmac access road, took a few minutes in the visitors centre viewing the Hen Harriers, there's only one chick left due to a fox killing the others, then it was off over the moor.

There's are a couple of fords and fast descents on the moor that had our adrenalin going and a herd of highland cows blocking the way at one point, they're big softies really but I wouldn't like to tangle with one of those massive horns.

Originally I had intended to go round Greenock cut as well as Kelly cut but turned out we didn't have the time if we were to meet Anne at three.
Even in this dry spell there was some mud on the south end of Kelly cut.

Finished on schedule for pick up in Wemyss bay with just enough time for a well deserved snack in the Seaview cafe.

You can view the route here on my web site

Two days ago I lost a bandana while on the Fairlie moor downhill so in the evening Anne ran me up the Fairlie moor, I carried the bike up into the quarry.
It was a magnificent evening although the view was a bit limited by haze.
From the quarry I scooted down the route picked up the bandana just where I thought it was and cycled back through Hunterston.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Sunny bike day

I has been a lovely warm sunny day but had a slow start going through cycling blog sites before Anne and I took the bikes down to Eglinton and cycled the lovely quiet roads across to the Gleg Whittle in Kilmaurs for a light lunch.
While in the cafe I noticed a little framed article and medals refering to Hector Crichton a submarine telegraph operator, turned out he is the grandfather of the owner of the cafe and spent time both in the Atlantic and Pacific in WW2.
He now lives in New Zealand but is presently visiting back in Scotland.

PM went out on the MTB over to Kaim quarry, the ground is lovely and dry, so carried the bike up into the quarry for the view and the downhill, somewhere on route I lost my bandana, I remember brushing a low branch so I think I know exaclty where it is.
May take a little walk up there later to recover it.

The weather is to be good over the WE so must make some plans...where's that map...

Thursday, July 21, 2005

No more Corsa

Sold the Corsa this morning to a chap from Cumnock, he seemed quite happy with the deal and so was I.
Unfortunately a chap had arranged to come at 5pm and I didn't have his number to put him off so he was a bit digruntled when he turned up for nothing....oh well what can you do.

Only had time this morning for a quick blast over the usual little scary route on Glentane, Fairlie downhill and Hunterston Estate.
The weather looks fine for tomorrow, haven't made any plans yet though.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Indstrial archaeology and moorland

I thought it might be an interesting walk from Muirshiel out to the old shooting railway on the moor, there's a good track toward Kilmacolm I've cycled a few times and generated a web page for the route here.
The last time I was there it looked as if it might be easy walking....wrong again...
Anne and I followed it round then cut across the moor to the old mine below Hill of Stake and back along the easy track to Muirshiel.

If anyone thinks they may go that way take my advice - don't! or just go out and back along the track toward Kilmacolm, be warned though it is a bit dull (better by far on the MTB).

In a perverse sort of way I enjoyed the walk, but as Anne tells me I'm just a bit strange, she may be right.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Photos and Car

Spent the morning puting photos into a Yahoo photo album and also discovered yahoo briefcase where I can store more images (free of course) in an effort to stretch my free web site resources.

You can view my albums here if you fancy .... or not if you don't.

Between showers this afternoon polished and cleaned the little Corsa ready for selling, must say it's looking really smart, a bargain at £585.

Doesn't look like I'll manage an outing today Anne has just phoned and asked me to food shop, so must be on my way before the big boy comes in asking as always "whats for tea".

Monday, July 18, 2005

Friends on Arran

Some friends invited us across to Arran for the day while they were on holiday, the weather was looking a bit doubtful on the way to the ferry but Arran was clear so thing looked set fine.

Had a bit of a heavy lunch but still managed a short cycle up to Loch Garbad and down to Eas Mor unfortunately we were caught in a heavy shower so got a bit wet and muddy.

We rounded off the day with dinner at the Bistro in Brodick before heading home on the 7.20pm ferry after a very pleasant day out.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Side Saddle in Eglinton

I took Anne for a rare cycle today from Eglinton Park round to Dalgarven Mill for a spot of light lunch, delicious rubarb tart and cream.... yummy.
When we got back to Eglinton there were a group of horse riders in fancy dress, some sort of side saddle club, it made for pleasant spectating.
I took a few pictures and you can view them here.

Later for an adrenalin fix I went out on the MTB over the usual scary bits of what I call "my back yard" on the hills of Fairlie moor, even managed the rocky ramp.
I hate to think what would happen if I fell off there; I wouldn't stop rolling till I hit the bottom of Glentane hill.....shudder!

Went to the TAJ for tea - great food - the service was a bit slow cause they weren't busy and the waiters were standing about chatting, but it was still fine really.

Saturday, July 16, 2005


After yesterdays escapade of bike carrying and big climbs I was quite happy to just potter about today.
Late morning Anne dragged me away from the computer, up the side of Law hill, over Tarbert hill and down onto the beach.
Tarbet hilltop is really worth a visit, it's got great views over West Kilbride, the beach to Portencross and out to Arran.
It was a little hazy today so Arran was only a faint outline in the distance but the tide was out showing the wide sandy beach sweeping along to Portencross and Fort hill.

Later had a little jog in the Glen and onto the beach, but it was hard work, guess I'll need to do it more often if it's to get any easier, seems you only get out what you put in in the fitness business and it's all damn hard work.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Cowel revisited yet again.

Went across to the Cowel peninsular today to check out some extra forest trails, turned out pretty good, well great actually, but thats only because I enjoy a bit of pushing and carrying to make a route.
The weather was just nice, cool and cloudy but after my Corsica experience I had taken loads of water with me just in case it warmed up.
The views are spectacular in many places but today it was a little hazy, it would be great on a frosty winter day with clear skies......dream time...

Visit the updated route desciption here

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Cut and Kaim

Went up to Cornalees with Anne and walked the small reserviors above Overton cut with great views over Greenock and the clyde, the walk is the early part of route 2 shown here but we did it anticlockwise.
After the walk we had a coffee and cake in the cafe in the visitors centre, a nice place for the kids.

PM went a MTB outing over Glentane, Kaim, the quarry downhill, Goldenberry, (I wonder how many times I've been up there now) and the beach.

I fancy a trip across to Dunoon again soon to revisit a MTB rote around the Cowel peninsular, need to watch the weather forecast.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sun and sea breezes

Spent some time this morning finishing the web page for Eaglesham the maps take a bit of time to complete.

Then took out the front opening window to fix its hinge.
The hinge screws had rusted away and it was in danger of falling out when opened. It only took an hour or so.
After lunch Anne and I went down to Portencross for a walk below the three sisters (crags) and over Goldenberry.

The paths were a bit overgrown again so did a bit of path bashing on route, great day for the view and pleasantly cool with a sea breeze.

At about 3.30 I got out on the MTB for a couple of hours just over Biglees, Goldenberry and the beach, only trouble now is nettle rash and bug bites, summer don't you just love it!

Monday, July 11, 2005

Eaglesham and the disappeared traffic

While driving home from our Corsican adventure we came down via East Kilbride and it occurred to me that the new M77 would leave the old A77 very quiet and open up a cycling route to Eaglesham so today I gave it a go.
It turned out to be about 80km from home but it was a grand cycle.

I had a few stops on route as it was quite warm and I didn't want to dehydrate so the Stewarton and Eaglesham cafe stops were more or less essential.

There were some great views up north to Ben Lomond and west to Arran, there were still a few road works on the old A77 so it would have been better to go to Waterside and then Fenwick.

I have added the route to my web pages - click here to view.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Walking in Corsica

Anne and I have been walking on Corsica for the past two weeks.
God was it hot, I've never walked in such heat before, some days it was 34degC, we both drank at least 2 litres of water while out, then beer when we got back and still didn't pee for hours afterward.
Unfortunately the heat was a bit limiting so we didn't do quite as strenuous walks as we had anticipated but it was still a great experience.

Post walks it was great to dip into the sea or a few times into a mountain stream.

There is a great route on Corsica the GR20, it looks realy tough, especially in the heat we were experiencing and carrying all your needs as well, too much like hard work for me.

I'll post a web page shortly describing the trip in a bit more detail, but first I have to edit my 120 pictures and select the best of the bunch for the final folder and printing.

It's good to be back and can't wait to get out on the bike tomorrow if its dry that is!

Corsica photos here.
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