Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Law hill loop

Decided to do a short loop over Law Hill this morning as the weather people suggested it was to rain, the loop was nice but needed some work to clear one or two little bits and cutting back some whin.
Since it was still nice did a little loop over Tarbert Hill and a rough little downhill to the Glen and beach.
Still nice so went over Goldenberry and back home for lunch.

PM still no rain so walked over Law Hill and cut back the bits of trail until 4.15pm.
It started raining at 4.45pm by which time I was pretty knackered but after a bit of heavy rain had a look in the garage at the leaks, still one to sort but it's much better.

Some local photos here

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Beach and Fairlie Moor

Had a bit of a slow start this morning due to hunting the web for accommodation and flights for a little walking break in Spain.

Noon we went off down the Glen onto the beach which is absolutely covered in seaweed, it's not quite at the smelly stage yet but in a few days it'll pong a bit.

Back about 2pm had a spot to eat then went up the moor on the MTB over scary Glentane, managed the rocky ramp, scooted down the lower downhill, then over Goldenberry to meet Jim coming out from work through Hunterston estate, home 5pm.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Culzean and Fairlie moor

Went down Culzean way yesterday (photos here) and had a very enjoyable jog from the Cat Gates into the estate round the swan pond, the Barwhin and then along to mother in laws place for a visit.

Called in on friends on the way back and ended up at Kirkton Inn Dalrymple for a meal.

Today Graham and I went up the local trails, Biglees, goldenberry and the beach, Graham had an appointment at noon so it needed to be a short blast. Lovely views again and a nice cooling breeze.

PM did some more leak sealing on the garage and shed as my first efforts were a miserable failure.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ride profile

Passed some time this morning looking at yesterdays route and produced the route profile above.
It's got some parts a bit funny because of too few points but it shows the quarry down hill just fine......wheeeeeeee.

PM got out for a spin, Glentane, and lower downhill, but my confidence was down due to the wet so made a bit of an arse of it but at thankfully didn't fall to my death or anything stupid like that.

PPM went to pick some apples for Annes bramble jelly then along to the Taj for a great curry.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Local trails

Picture from the quarry.

Thought I'd stick to local trails today after the weather forecast.
The morning was OK though, went over Busbie muir windfarm, then up to Fairlie moor, carried the bike up into the quarry to get the big downhill, it wasn't too muddy so had a good run down to Goldenberry, the beach and back home, total time about 4 hours.

Later PM went up to clear some ferns on Goldenberry, there beginning to fall over and die off so the track should stay open hopefully. It rained hard and I got pretty well soaked.

Noticed while up Fairlie the contactors are puting in the next set of roads for the windfarm on the moor.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Thorn dodging

Poking my head round the door it looked nice but with a chance of a shower, decided to go for a road cycle inland, all the time watching the sky.
It was sunny to the south and darker to the north, so headed south, down to Dundonald Castle visitor centre snack bar.
Route (similar) map and description here.

On the mountain bike trails the mud is back and on the roads the hawthorne hedge cutting season has started, so it was dodge the thorns a few times, no punctures on route but there may be one lurking.

Got back dry about 2.30 and after a snack went off for a walk on the beach with Anne, now I hear the welcome clink of cutlery.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Formakin walk

Tom and I past Formakin a couple of days ago while cycling and I thought it'd be worth coming back for a walk in the estate sometime, well today was ideal for it, bright, windy and showery, so Anne and I went up there and had a look around.
It took about 40 minutes to meander around the woodland grounds, the highlight is the pond view, picture above, and we saw a couple of deer in the trees.
Some photos here

Lunch at Kilmacolm 'Java Minute' cafe and then a post lunch walk at Parkhill wood at Lochwinnoch.

In the evening I slapped some waterproof sealant onto the shed and garage roofs but the overnight rain shows it was a waste of time and effort, although it's given me some clues what to do next to reduce the flood.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The mud returns

Very wet this morning so spent the morning looking at cycling forums and doing some bike maintenance.

Stopped raining about noon so had a spot of lunch and headed out for a spin on the mountain bike over Biglees quarry, Goldenberry, the beach, and the Glen, then did another loop back along the beach getting back about 4pm a bit mucky, THE MUD HAS RETURNED

Picture above from Blair. and some photos here

Monday, August 22, 2005

Views over the Clyde

After a bit of deliberating and cloud watching this morning phoned Tom to see if he fancied an cycle up Kilmacolm way from Lochwinnoch, he did so we were off in a flash.

We have been that way before about two years ago, this time I thought it we'd go along the B789 and Findlaystone minor road to get the great view over the Clyde to Dumbarton.

On the way back we stopped at Formakin to investigate the walking possibilities, turns out the place is open to the public Tuesday-Saturday 10am to 6pm in summer, how that stacks up with the new access rights I don't know, but why abuse the estate request.
Anne and I will be taking a strole around the place very soon now that I know the score.

Pictures here route description here

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Bradan loop

The forecast was a bit iffy for today but Graham and I decided to get on with it and hope for the best.

Took the bikes in the car to Stinchar bridge beyond Straiton and cycled over from Loch Bradan to Loch Doon on the new(ish) trail, fortunately the weather looked OK.

We stopped for a little bit of site seeing at Doon Castle and from the castle walls it looked like the little cafe was open... great; tea and cake when you least expect it and most in need of it, absolutely delicious strawberry cream cake...yummy yummy!

It's the first time I've seen it open, guess it's the time of year.

The way back is tame but with a nice outlook south until the Cornish Loch trail, a roller coaster track with stiff climbs, marvellous open views and a blast back to Stinchar Bridge car park.

Last stop on the way home was at the Buck Cafe in Straiton at about 3.15pm half an hour before it started raining.....ah joy!

See photos here and route description here

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Sunny but Duff

Above is the view I would have loved to have seen today but instead it was my mother in laws garden weeds, just not the same at all!

Fortunately managed to scrape a little jaunt over Goldenberry in beautiful sun, not too warm, and great views, enough to drive home what a great day I'd missed.....such is life.

My wife dragged me along to the WK flower show late PM, she'd entered some home made wine, a lovely sweet red bramble, a sweet (Maidens) grape, and a dry white.
She got a first, a second and a third.
The sweet bramble is now gone, we drank it after tea, the others are nice but not to be taken in one go, they will wait for other (several) evenings.

Friday, August 19, 2005

A new route through St Quivox

Nice bright warm day today so Anne and I had a cycle from Fularton wood (Troon) along one of our walking routes to Ayr out the River Ayr to Auchincruive back to Prestwick via St Quivox and return to Fularton.

There was plenty of easy off road, a picnic in warm sun by the river in Craigie park, an ice cream stop at Prestwick cross and lots of pictures taken on route.

On the cycle way near Prestwick airport we were passed by some very stylish white cars, back at Fularton park the cars were there and the bride and groom were having their pictures taken, so I took the one above.

You can view the new route here and todays pictures here.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Route loss

Wet this morning so spent time route hunting from maps of the near area, came up with four, three are rehash of existing routes but one, over by Douglas, is new.
Just need the opportunity to give them a go.

After a spot of lunch took the bike down to Carrick Forest to explore any new tracks, didn't find any though, confirmed the Skares road is still blocked and then headed over toward Benbeoch.
The road was closed for forest operations and further on there is open cast mining going on, it looks like one of my routes is gone.
I'll need to alter or delete it to show its demise.

Forest tracks are rubbish, you can never be sure when they are open, I hate them!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

DD and weather watching

Yesterday got on with some DD (dreaded domestics) painting the lounge but that's finished so it's back to planning and weather watching.

Today the weather people said rain PM so had an early cycle down the beach, Goldenberry, and up into the quarry on Kaim for the glorious downhill.
I was anticipating a great run down as I've recently spent some time clearing the way.
At the top of the quarry stopped for a breather and watched a kestral hovering and swooping hunting for lunch, then spotted a few blaeberry plants in among the stones so had a little light snack of fresh berries before the 1000ft and 1.5 mile downhill.

What a blast that route is! and description here.

Still dry after lunch so Anne and I went for an hours pleasant gentle strole through Blair estate up near Dalry. The photo above was taken there today and you can view a description of the walk here
Still dry late afternoon so went for a jog up Goldenberry past the piglets, who scampered off maybe startled by the bright shorts and vest.
Finished the run with a little loop in Hunterston Estate, still no rain though.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Working in warm drizzle

Woke up to drizzle this morning so went off to B&Q for some pebbles to complete an area behind the little pond (puddle) at the top of the garden.
Worked on that most of the day in the light drizzle.
Then went off to an old dry stone dyke to gather some stones with character to finish it off, bit of an effort humfing the things in and out of the car then up the length of the garden.

PM went up Fairlie moor to remove a couple of obstacles from the downhill route, it was still wet and warm so bashed back some ferns as well, I think their growth may be slowing, I certainly hope so.
I've spent about 10 times as much time clearing the trail as riding it this summer, it's still worth it though.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Sunny day on Misty Law

Graham and I had a pretty hard but satisfying day out on the mountain bikes today up Misty Law above Lochwinnoch.

The climb starts at 36m and just goes on and on to Misty Law at 510m, what a view from the top!, you could see the whole world from up there.

After a spot of lunch while admiring the view we took our reward for all that effort a rough, rocky, tricky, wet and sometimes muddy down hill run to Ladyland and Kilbirnie.

To extend the run we returned through Bieth and did a couple of off road bits including Parkhill near Lochwinnoch then wound down along the cycle track back to the lochside.

Fabulous fun!

I'll be adding a little to my web page regarding the part off road return.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Dreaded Domestics

Wet this morning so got on with puting up curtain rails, that's one small job out the way, but it'll be painting as soon as the curtains are ready.

Thought about going out on the MTB after lunch but it was quite breezy and showery looking so did some extreme gardening, trouble is I've just got myself an aching back for my efforts, oh how I hate gardening.

Tomorrow is to be nice (I think) so am hoping to get out and about on the bike.

Picture above is from our Corsica holiday July this year you can view my web page here, much better than gardening.

Friday, August 12, 2005

A walk to Largs

Had a bit of a slow start this morning but eventually got wound up for a strole from Fairlie to Largs.
It's a regular with Anne and I but can be interrupted during the shooting season which started today.

We met an old walking chum in Douglas Gardens and had a little chat about families and old times, usual stuff, then headed off into Largs Glenmiles Cafe for a spot of coffee and cake before returning along the front to Fairlie.

Took some nice photos (well I think they'r nice) and you can view them here.

You can check out the route desciption here.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

A visit to the Dean

Anne and I had a lunch appointment with some work friends so only had time this morning for a quick spin on the road bike over Fairlie moor, got a bit of a fright from a land rover screaming up the hill as I was screaming down, no harm done though, just an extra adrenalin rush.

After a tasty lunch at the Cochrane Inn Gatehead, we visited Dean Castle and had a free guided tour of the keep and palace, had the opportunity to wear some chainmail, armoured helmet, a targe and sword. All good fun and worth a visit although the free entry ends soon.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The search for trails, Kilmacolm

This morning was misty and drizzly so got a B&Q trip out of the way.

Sky cleared about 1pm so took the bike in the car up to Kilmacolm to check out some trails near the town, unfortunately they didn't really hang together, I'd hoped for a circuit round Glen Moss maybe linking across to Knapps Loch but it didn't happen, ended up heading to Langbank on a footpath in fields.
The view was nice (picture above) but the cycling was dull.
I may have a look at Knapps Loch next time I'm over there I was told there is a path round the hill or Loch.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Exploring Whitelees forest tracks

The weather forecasters said it would be showery PM so decided to go over to Whitelees forest again to investigate the west of the forest.
Managed to confirm the track right through from west to east.
The through track is the one north of Whiteleehill farm and goes right through to Ardochrig.
It opens up some possibilities for routes that I'll need to think about.

The guy at Craigend farm has a couple of silly discouraging signs the fist being
"Scottish Executive isolation area for brought in cattle absolutely no horses or dogs"
I guess this may be a hangover from foot and mouth days.
The other is at the farm gate "Access to Whitelees forest only by way of Ardochrig"
which is about a 45 minute drive away......what rubbish, it's a forest track leading to Ardochrig!

On the way back to the car a couple of local horsey people said "Watch out that nasty little man doesn't shoot you"...... gulp!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Greenock cut and Biglees

What a cracker of a day bright, clear and just a tiny breeze.

Anne and I went up to Cornalees to walk the Greenock cut but decided to do it clockwise for a change, this means that the best views are always over your left shoulder so it isn't the best choice of direction, the views were fantasic, you can share them here.

They have been clearing the early part of the cut of vegetation using a digger and have managed, somehow, to keep the path undamaged, couldn't figure out how they'd managed it but they did good!

Got back about 2.30 after 3 hours walking and jumped on the MTB for a little spin up Biglees and Goldenberry hills thinking I might catch Jim (cycling chum from work) on his way home, but had a puncture so just missed him, some other time perhaps.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Irvine Valley Trails

Graham and I had a great cycle outing today from Galston along the Irvine valley to Darvel through the plantation to Drumclog, Loudoun hill, old railway to Darvel and some fast singletrack (yes Ayrshire does has some if you know where to look) back to Galston.

The gates of Lanfine estate were locked which is most unusual, a chap at the gatehouse told us the owners had come up north and were in the house for a holiday.
We got in another gate anyway so it was no problem.

There were a few motorcyclists out on the motocross tracks near the assylum seekers compound of Dungavel, they don't half rip up the ground, the trail was about five feet below the normal field surface in places.
There was also a mini course at Priestland using part of the Irvine valley trails walking route, goodness knows how that's been permitted, glad to say there were only a couple of quad bikers on the lower part so didn't bother us at all.

View the route here and view photos here

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Bright and breezy

Anne was feeling a bit delicate this morning so we had a slow start, after lunch we had a leisurely outing in Hunterston, viewed the piglets and meadered up Goldenberry.
It was beautifully clear so the views were great.

Later on the MTB went up Biglees quarry, Goldenberry, and the beach, see photos here

Friday, August 05, 2005

New Route in Whitelee forest

Looking out the window this morning it looked breezy and showery so decided to go to a Whitelees forest north of Darvel to check out the tracks not shown on the map.

I'm not a great fan of forest trails, cycling through ranks of trees on easy tracks is a bit dull, however I enjoyed myself even though it kept showering, the waterproof jacket was out and in like a jack in the box.

I was surprised how much activity there was, met three sets of dog walkers, got chased once, and the last dog fancied a bit of me, thankfully the guy kept it under control, nasty looking bit of work.
Also saw a group of five horse riders, one runner, and two young cyclists who didn't even acknowledge my hello....ah youth!

View the route here.

The picture above is Strathaven coffe house not far from the start of the route.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A mixed day

Bit wet this morning so did a spot of web surfing and then dreaded shopping.

By noon it had at least stopped raining so set off around some local trails, ended up going through Kelburn and down Fairlie glen.
The glen is choked with brambles, nettles and braken.
It's a popular footpath so you'd think someone from Fairlie would shake up the local council.

Returned over Goldenberry and saw some cute little piglets, there were five folk on Goldenberry, very unusual to see anyone up there at any time.

Wind assist along the beach was great back home by 3.45, its still dry out there if it stays that way I may have to cut a hedge.

Picture above is Glentane hillside from my web site photo trail.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Trail bashing between showers

Just did a couple of hours trail bashing this morning while Anne was busy making up curtains for the living room, she wants to brighten the place up a bit.
After a light lunch we went for a short walk round Blair Estate outside Dalry.
It's a nice walk in this type of weather, it's got some shelter from the wind and rain if needed.
We sometimes go along to Dalgarven mill afterwards for a coffee but today we didn't bother.

Went up the moor for an hour meandering about one of the downhill MTB sections doing minor clearing before tea.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

RSPB and RIP scarecrow

Nice and bright this morning so Tom and I had a short road bike outing to RSPB visitor centre Lochwinnoch before the forecasted PM rain, it's a nice stop for coffee usually quiet and has telescopes to watch the birds on the loch, not many about today though.

Cycling back to the car at Dalgarven we met my son heading to work, he'd slept in and said it's better to have a half day as turn in late.....hmmm.

On return home Anne informed me that the shadowy low life scarecrow predators had got to ours, there it was lying at the top of our banking, reduced to mere bits by sad near human creatures who prey on harmless scarecrows in the dead of night,...
beware all scarecrows you may be next!!

Of course they may be protecting the planet being overrun by stuffed shirts, wait a minute.... has anyone detected straw protruding around Tony Blairs wrists or neck?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Dalry trail revisited

Thought I'd revisit some trails north of Dalry today, one of them crosses the new track for the windfarm being built on East Blaeloch hill.

While up that way discovered that the track from Baidlandhill to Plann is much improved and with the new windfarm track there may be a good off road run up there soon.
As it was the run I did was a bit scrappy so I'll leave it to "mature" with the windfarm.

Seemed like the bike was off colour today, I was putting lots of effort but the bike just didn't want to go unless pointing downhill.

On the way home passed "Toxic Man" pictured above.
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