Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Christmas shopping

Made best use of a doubtful day and went off to Ayr to do some christmas shopping, not much fun but got most of it done, I'll just get a few more thing on impulse between now and christmas.
Got back at 3.45pm and went off for a jog along the beach in the gloom, felt good, concentrated on regulating my breathing, and managed to get to that place where the body floats along, until I hit a couple of little hills, then the body quickly makes itself felt again.

Picture above is Moniaive during a very nice road cycle from Carphairn, through Moniaive and St Johns Town of Dalry, a route really worth doing.
View the route description here and pictures here.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Snow at Sanquar

I thought that with the hard frost today would be good for a MTB loop down at Sanquar, so toddled off there this morning.
My it was cold, however the first bit was up Euchan Glen so soon warmed up, but as I got further up into the hills there was snow lying and it was quite icy.
Further up again where the forest started the snow got deaper 2 to 3 inches, it got very hard to peddle up hill.
Luckily at the main track a vehicle had been along so it was easier going but in the end I decided that the loop over the hill on the Southern Upland Way would be uncyclable so, at the summit of the path, had a break for grub and turned back.
The views were nice in places but I got painfully cold, to the point where to warm up I applied the brakes and peddled against them downhill.
I was very pleased to get back to the car for a warm up.

View pictures of the day here.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Frosty Frolics

Tom had an appointment at 2pm so we only had time for a short road bike outing today, took the bikes in the car to Dalry, cycled the back roads to the RSPB Lochwinnoch and a well deserved warm up, it was very crisp indeed with a little northerly breeze giving a spot of windchill.
After lunch went out over the usual local trails, it was great they were nice dry and crisp with frost, so decided to go up Kaim for the full downhill, fantastic! and great views, see them here.
Lochwinnoch route description here.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

More Auchincruive singletrack

Today I expected a cold wind and had planned a route to keep sheltered so I was pleasantly surprised that it was quite calm this morning, however Graham and I still headed down to Mossblown to do some sheltered singletrack around Auchuncruive.
By doing some loops we clocked up about 28km and had a warm up stop off at Stair Inn for a spot of lunch before heading over to Sundrum area on the return.
It was all very very nice, you can view the route here and photos of the day here.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Resurrecting the old bike.

Spent today resurrecting the old bike, new back wheel, casette, chain, and small chain ring.
It took a bit longer than it should, a visit to Steven in Ayrshire Cycles can take some time, he likes to chat about all the techy bits on the bikes in the shop.
He really knows his stuff though, and is very helpfull, he warned me about the little item in the Shimano hydraulic brakes that must be kept even though it looks like a sliver of extras.

Also tried to get the new bike gear shifting sorted, but I recon it's the inverted operation and nine speed sensitivity to any little bit of muck, anyway I couldn't fix it.
I'll take it into Walkers soon for its free service and see what they make of it.

Took the old bike for a spin on Goldenberry Hill just before dark, it felt really good except the rear brakes on the cheap black rim, it seems not to work then suddenly locks up, it nearly had me off the bike twice. Think I'll roughen the rims a bit to get a better action.

Put yesterdays efforts onto a route description web page, view it here.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

River Ayr route

To avoid the cold wind today I decided to take the bike in the car to Ayr and cycle up the River from Craigie campus, it worked out well.
Pottered along off road out to Stair, had a spot of lunch in the Inn and from there went along into Barskimming then across to Tarbolton on a nice little track.
At the exit from Barskimming I went down to the river, boy was that a mistake!
Ended up climbing a steep slippy riverback with the bike on my shoulder catching in every branch that came near and threatening to send me tumbling to a soaking or worse, in the river.
I should have known better I've been there before.

On the way back I rediscovered a little stretch of singletrack by Annebank through a little bit of woodland, short but sweet.

The new route description and map can be viewed here.
The original route is here.

Pictures of a similar outing here.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Run around day

Picture is Graham crossing the ford at Eglinton (Sunday), just a bit of fun, there's a bridge 10m downstream.

Thought I'd go get a guide book of cycling in Spain and a new front tyre for the road bike but no luck due to wednesday closing in Largs, bike shop shut in Kilbirnie, eventually got the tyre in Irvine but it was all a bit of a run around.

Pm went out on the MTB over Glentane (photo route here), surprise there were strange MTB tyre prints up there, someone else knows the trail.
After the downhill went along to Fairlie but it was threatening rain so just did the castle singletrack and back to Goldenberry and finally the little new trail and drop off.
Got back about 2.30 then went off for a short spell of trail clearing till dark.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dalgarven Mill and a new trail

Phoned Tom this morning to see if he fancied a short outing on the bikes, so we were off across to Dalgarven Mill stopping off for elevenses in the cafe at Dalgarven before going round toward Eglinton and back along the coast route.
It was still and dull but gradually brightened up nicely toward noon.
Back about 1.30pm had a spot of lunch and set off down the new trail in lovely sunshine, and very nice it is too, it's got a 6ft drop off down a little crag, bit scary first time, and an even scarier drop a bit further along, it'll take a bit of working up to doing it (if ever).
Then over Goldenberry and the lower bit of Fairlie moor, back at 4pm, making five hours on the bike, very nice indeed.
The picture above was taken today after the Fairlie moor downhill just as the sun was going down behind Arran, lovely.

View Fairlie moor routes here.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Shore walk and trail making

Today Anne and I had a strole along the beach and looped back over Goldenberry, about 3.5hours walking, cool, dry and brightened up PM.

Later went out to clear a little local trail, it was easier than expected, so there's now a new varation on one of my regular routes. Shan't be giving more info though as it's a little sensitive, I woudn't like to spoil my fun.

Tomorrow if the weather holds may go a road cycle, just have to watch the weather forecast, if dull it'll be MTB local, bright road bike with cafe stop(s).

Picture above is a walk on Arran view it here.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Easy Week End

Yesterday I decided to have and easy day after my weeks efforts, just walked a couple of trails clearing debris and enjoying being out.

Today Graham and I took the bikes on the car down to Eglinton to do some easy tracks out to Dundonald hill.
Stopped off at the cafe in the industrial estate north of Dundonald for a bit of early lunch before heading over the Dundonald Hill trails.
After one little section Graham complained "Hey! I don't do that sort of thing, just thought I'd be safer finishing it rather than trying to stop half way!"

Later PM went for a strole over a possible trail variation near home, looks OK but will need a bit of clearing, work for a drizzly day perhaps.

View Irvine trails here and Dundonald trails here.

Photos here.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Dalmellington routes combined

Combined a number of routes from Dalmellington today, starting at Loch Doon, to Dalmellington, Patna, Straiton, Loch Bradan and back.
Lovely frosty weather but I was in shorts for a spell in the sun, soon put layers back on in the trees on route to Straiton. In the forest the ground was surprisingly soft, I was plunging through the frosty layer into deep mud, so took the forest road rather than the ride.
Going over from Bradan to Doon the path was jacked up with the frost making some parts hard to cycle, you just can't win sometimes.
Great day out, view pictures here and a route description here.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Frosty on Cairn Table

Went over to Muirkirk today to repeat an old route, sneaking up on Cairn Table from behind.
There's a stretch of track over open moor it's flat but hard going due to moss, grass and mud, still about 85% cyclable but argh! so energy sapping and in the sun I lathered up a bit, eventually dressing down a layer to keep cool.
In the trees it was so cold the layer had to go back on.
When the forest track gives out there's a push/carry for just over a kilometre to the top of Cairn Table, but the first half of the run down from the summit is great, second half gets a bit boggy so don't know if it's quite worth the effort.

View route description here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cold day on Windy hill

Spent today down near Dalmellington.
It was bright and frosty with a light breeze making it was pretty damn chilly on the top of Windy Standard.

Some great views across to the Merrick, Loch Doon and the heavy frost on the top of Cairnsmore of Carsphairn stuck there all day.
Some of the lower tracks were churned up by forest operations but the mud in the shade was at least solid the muck in the sun was just awful.

I was back at the car a bit early so went off to investigate a possible link across to the Dalmellington forest at the source of the Nith, ended up doing a bit more than I expected along a push in a ride for about half a kilometre.
I was a little worried I might be lost in the forest in darkness so was working quite hard, turned out OK though, got back to the car at 4.40pm just as the light was going.
May add an option to the web page.

See a full description and map of the route here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dalry lanes in November sunshine

Tom and I had a very pleasant cycle today from Eglinton over to the Gleg Whittle for elevenses, up past Stewarton and along some Dalry lanes before heading back.
We were discussing a cycling trip in early spring across to Spain.
We thought our wives could join us for the second week for a bit of sight seeing and walking, sounds like a good plan and Anne agrees.
Time to get the maps out again and perhaps purchase a cycle guide this time to make the best of our time out there.

See some Spain details here and some pictures here.

Monday, November 14, 2005

DIY and a spot of jogging

While watching the weather this morning got on with a little bit of DIY on the back door, there's a bit of wet rot on one door post and facing so stripped it off and replaced it.
By the time I'd finished it had finally decided to rain so eventually went out for a jog when it eased a little, down the Glen, along the beach, across the golf course and back up.
It's only 30minutes but it's better than nothing.

See a Shore walk here.

Tomorrow looks good so maybe a road bike day, I'll see what the morning brings.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

First frost of the year.

Woke up this morning to the first frost of the year so got dressed up warm for a road cycle outing with Graham.
Took the bikes on the car down to Eglinton and cycled the lovely back roads to Barmill, Barcraigs reservior and on to the RSPB at Lochwinnoch.

It was an absolute cracker of a day, we saw three groups of cyclist out and about, had hot chocolate and a bun at the RSPB, watched the birds for a bit, photograghed the Morris above in the car park, then went over the hillside road to Kilbirnie taking the cycle route back to Eglinton.
Great views, great weather, great day.

View a similar route here and view some pictures through this web page.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Wobbles in the wind

Got out early today to try and beat the rain, but I ended up being blown about in the wind especially at the top of Golderberry.
From the hill after my second loop I could see the rain approach over Wee Cumbrae so headed home and got just a little wet.
It brightened up PM so decided to dig out the back of the garage to clear the soil from the seal and hopefully reduce the amout of water still flooding in along the floor.
Of course it wasn't just a little dig, I had to dig up a tree root, that was hard work!
Picture above is Banyoles lake in Spain on a little tour Tom and I had last year, more details here and pictures here.

A picture from summer

Looking for a picture to head this blog page I came across this one of the Great Willowherb and though it was a nice reminder of summer.

Yesterday Walkers in Kilmaurs kindly exchanged the tyres on my new bike for something a little lighter and since there was a hint of blue in the sky I went over to do the Dundonald Symington loop as per my web page.
The area of Dundonald hill has great potential but as it stands its a bit disappointing, did the hill loop and crossed some fields to the Symington road, it's definitely better doing this bit by road and including the Fularton wood loop.
The way into Dankieth is still nice but that's where the rain really set in, so it was full waterproofs back to Dundonald.
It stopped raining just before I got to the car so threw the waterproofs into the car and did another short loop round to Auchans ruin and the hill.
The rocks and roots were slithery and hidden by leaves so it was a bit dicey but this time I didn't fall off the bike.
I was rather wet but a quick change and a snack in Dundonald and I was right as rain.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Irvine Valley and a new bike

Yesterday took the new bike over some local trails to check its set up.
There was a chain link problem and the crud guard fell off, oh yes the disc brakes squawk when wet so, as the mechanic said in the shop,... keep them hot.
Got the problems fixed at the shop this morning and headed down to Galston for a loop round the Irvine Valley Trails.
The mud made for some heavy going but it was bright, cool and breezy so in the end had a good outing following the web page route
Looped back before Loudoun hill but just couldn't bring myself to do the add on climb of 250m over the hill to the downhill single track into Galston (not part of the web route) just stayed flat along the river singletrack back to the car.

View Irvine Valley trail photos here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Dundonald singletrack

Yesterday I deciced to go along to Dundonald to have another attempt at linking up the single track into a sensible route, partly to keep out of the stiff breeze and partly for a change of scene.
Had a good time, the only drawback was the mud and fallen leaves, they combined to clog up everything that turned. Every now and again I had to get off the bike, run it backward, then use a stick to unclog the Vbrakes.

In the end I managed to link some trails together into a 7.5km trail. Have altered my web page to show the new route, its a bit faint on the ground in places, has some very nice singletrack especially on the south section, unfortunately this bit also has the worst of the mud. Still worth it though.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

A bit of everything

Looking south the sky was quite clear so decided to let the wind blow me over to Lochwinnoch and Anne would pick me up, but half way to Dalry I changed my mind as that way looked very dull, just did a loop back home and jumped on the MTB for a beach / moor cycle. The waves were rolling in again as I headed toward Goldenberry along the beach.
Up the moor on the dreaded road climb followed by a bit of well deserved excitement on the downhill, back home over Goldenberry and along the beach.
The waves were breaking over the beach track the tide was so high, but timed it nicely and didn't get a soaking.
After a shower and a bite to eat Anne and I went down for a strole over the trails on Goldenberry again, getting back about 4.30pm.
All things considered it was a good days activities.

Have completed a web page for the road cycle around Dalry with Dalgarven Mill as the cafe stop, view it here and some picture of Dalry's Blair Estate here.

Friday, November 04, 2005

New bike ordered

Picture above is Gerona a year ago, Tom and I went over there for a short tour courtesy Ryan Air cheap flights.

Yesterday was a washout for cycling but went over to walkers cycles and ordered a Claud Butler 'Olympus' hard tail, should have it sometime next week.
The question is will I take it out in all this mud....too right I will, what are MTB for if not to get out there.

Today was quite nice apart from a stiffish breeze so got out on the road bike for a three hours or so ride across to Dalgarven, Dalry lanes and return by the moor road. Thorougly enjoyed it, and even had some time for a bit more leak sealing on the garage.
The route isn't on my web site so may add it shortly.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Wet but fun

Down the beach this morning there were loads of birds about, wigeon, wagtail, oyster catcher, shell duck, shags and a kestral at the side of the golf course, further along at Ardneil there were greenfinch and goldfinch.
Cycled up Goldenberry for a couple of loops second one it started flinging it down, luckily it was only 20minutes before I could get the waterproofs back off.
Went up the moor, saw a buzzard, did a couple of loops on the moor and downhill, back home for 2pm in great need of lunch.
Also saw another MTbiker but didn't get close enough for a chat he was going down the field to Biglees as I was climbing up the road.
Noticed while washing the bike that the back rim is worn out again, doesn't seem that long since I replaced it.
View off road routes here.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

A day of three parts

Picture above was taken on the Dailly road from Maybole see a route here.

Decided this morning to stay local, it was cloudy and breezy, so went round to the windfarm on Busby Moor, two turbines were under maintenance, seems they are not as reliable as might by hoped it's a common thing to see them stopped with a van parked at their base.
Continued along to Knockewart and up Fairlie moor, turned off at the summit just by the cattle grid, pushed, carried and cycled up to the top of Caldron hill to get the nice descent to Crosbie, the view was fabulous, looking across Goldenberry to the Cumbries, Arran and Bute, continued past Crosbie back home for lunch.

Did some more leak sealing on the garage after lunch, hopefully the last bit of work needed.
About 2pm it was much brighter and the wind had dropped so jumped on the bike again, over Glentane onto the moor, met an old aquaintence up flying his glider, and we agreed to get together soon for a cycle outing.
Zoomed the downhill and took a loop up Goldenberry before meeting Jim on his way home from work.
Great day again!!
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