Sunday, April 30, 2006

Dailly and Culzean

Dailly village centre

Graham and I took a spin on the bikes today from Maybole through Culzean, Maidens and Dailly, lots of good tracks linked by minor roads, coffee and cakes in Culzean and Dailly.
Weather was a bit dull and cold but the route was good going for around 5 hours.

Route here but we did it in reverse and added a loop through Ladyland farm toward Girvan.

Pictures from this week and today here.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

A local stroll

Law castle

Anne and I decided to have a local walk today, the weather was just lovely, a bright clear warm spring day.

The route we hadn't done for a couple of years for some reason, I think the right of way was a bit overgrown last time we did it but it was fine today.
It leads down to the main coast road but just crossing the road onto the beach leaves the road noise behind.
It was so nice I just couldn't stop taking photograghs, although by the time I'd weeded out the similar ones there were only about a dozen worth putting into my on line album.

PM got the MTB out for the first time in a week and went over to the full Kaim Downhill 1000ft in 1.5miles in prime condition (almost) so it was great fun, yet again I forgot to time my descent.
Back home in good time for tea but in the end we chose to go up to the Haylie hotel in Largs for dinner, it's got great views over the Clyde.

View pictures here.

View all my walking and cycling routes here.

Spring at Culzean

Culzean Castle

It's been a quiet week since I came back from walking the West highland Way, had a cyle with Tom on wednesday over to Kilmaurs and a couple of short walks, but the highlight of the week was yesterdays visit to Culzean, it was absolutely beautiful, still sunny and warm, a real spring day, so just meandered along enjoying the warmth and taking lots and lots of photographs.

You can see some of the photos here.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Walk and Flop on the WHW

Friday past Anne drove me up to Milngavie to start me off on the West Highland Way.

It was a bit spur of the moment decision, I decided to bivvy out eating at hotels or cafes on route and flopping down when the light gave out around 9pm.

Day one.
Nice start through Mugdock park, a lovely place for a couple of hours stroll.
Nice steak pie in Drymen, and worst part of the day was sudden aching feet after cooling them in Mar Burn (Conic Hill).
Lovely cool beer at Blamaha and Rowardenan plus a few nippy sweeties after 25 miles of walking left me with a bit of a hangover next morning, climbing out of the bivvy bag with a headache wasn't much fun.

Loch Lomond side was very pleasant, Glen Falloch was boring and it rained from Crianlarich to Tyndrum, I took a room to avoid bivvying in the wet.
27miles walked and definitely a low day.

Fabulous day, Tyndrum to Bridge of Orchy a Kingshouse food stop (more beer and steak pie), over The Devils Staircase, then got aching feet after another dip in a burn (I'll need to avoid feet dipping in the future).
It's a long way down to Kilnlochleven and a food stop (beer with chicken pie this time), walked another few miles to clock up 32miles, bivvied in Lairigmor under a beautiful clear sky.

Nice 11 miles walk through mature pines with lots of bird song filling the air, into Fort William, enjoyed a full breakfast and some window shopping at Nevis Sport before catching the midday train home.

Final highlight was the train journey back to Glasgow over Rannoch moor and along beside the lochs, just wonderful!

Best bit of the WHW is from Bridge of Orchy to Fort William making a nice two day hike and scenic return by train, may take Anne there sometime, although it's not an easy two days at 20 and 15 miles.

Photos of the trip here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Craigie and Stair

Stair Inn

Tom and I arranged a road cycle today as it looked nice and settled this morning.

For a little change of scene we took the bikes on the car over to Hays garden centre just south of Kilmarnock and more important just the other side of the dangerously busy A77.

From here the Ayrshire quiet lanes are all open to explore, we went off down by Ladykirk, over the hill with a nice view of Ayr, to Stair for a spot of lunch.
I do like to break up my cycle outings with a little refreshment stop somewhere along the way.

As we cycled toward Mauchline I kept my eyes open for River Ayr Walk signposts but there were none, so how anyone is supposed to find there way along it I have no idea, perhaps they'll appear soon.
We skirted Mauchline and then hit some hills over to Craigie village, great view north over Kilmarnock to Ben Lomond and the highlands.
Then it was a quick downhill run back to the car, a lovely sunny 2.5 hour cycle.

Todays pictures here.

Similar route description here.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Abbey at Kilwinning

Horses and Benslie church

Nice morning, so decided to head inland on the road bike, a choice of three routes dependent on the weather.
Cycling toward Dalry the dark skies north elliminated the RSPB run so I turned south toward the sun and away from the showers.
I was very tempted to stop for tea at Dalgarven mill but went half way up the little steep hill to take a picture and just kept going.
As a little change I went through the grounds of Montgreenan Hotel on the way to Kilwinning, it cuts out a short section of 'A' road although the drive is a bit bumpy, you'd think a 3 star country hotel would sort there drive up a bit to give their customers a better first impression.

Partly to bypass the horrible cycle way in Kilwinning I decided to pay a photo visit to Kilwinning Abbey, and rejoin the route at the nice back road to Stevenston, the Abbey provided some nice photos, it's worth a visit if passing along the cycleway.

Got home about 1.30, had a spot to eat and got on the MTB for a short spin down the beach and onto Goldenberry for another 1.5 hours, making a total of 4.5 hours cycling today, apart from getting caught in the tail end of a shower along the shore cycleway it was all very, very nice indeed.

Todays pictures here.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Gorge walk

We had lots of time today to get on with a good walk so Anne and I went down to the Ayr river gorge near Mauchline.

The river runs through an impressive sandstone strata that millions of years ago were dunes in a dessert, it can be seen in the sweep of the bedding and makes for some wonderfull rock formations.

Near the start of the walk a rock face off to the right about 100m has cup and ring markings, Anne and I wondered if they may not be that ancient but part of the quarriers amusement during their breaks from cutting stone in the quarry just next door.

Along beside Lugar water, 2 miles further, there are some fine rock formations no doubt carved out by the river many thousands of years ago, each of these rock platforms is crowned by mature deciduous trees making a fine sight.

The walk is very pleasant indeed but suffers from the very Scottish failing of random dumping of large quantities of junk and rubbish even in the most beautiful of spots, shame on us!

Todays pictures here (no rubbish to be seen)

Walk description here.

Culzean walk

Anne and I were at a christening in Ayr yesterday so outdoor time was limited, later in the day, from 2pm, we managed a lovely leisurely walk around Culzean.
Being easter Sunday it was busy at the visitor hot spots but knowing Culzean well we wandered along a selection of quiet paths hardly seeing anyone.
There were lots of spring flowers around to add colour, the sun was shining, spring was definately in the air.

Culzean photos here.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

River Ayr Trail

Sluice gears near Stair

Graham and I revisted the River Ayr trail Anne and I walked during the week, although on the bikes we got much further and much muddier.
We started at Auchincruive going pleasantly up river on the rather muddy track to Annbank.
The west side of Annbank has some nice singletrack to descend and climb, nice, if you can ignore the litter!
The next section had even more mud and some push taking us to an old mine with a quarry to play about in.
Along to Stair Inn, but we were too early for lunch opening so we ate a snack at the outside tables before heading for Barskimming's river Ayr gorge, Failford and the new trail along the river from Failford to Stair.
The next time at Stair Inn we ordered some beer and a spot of lunch before retuning to Auchincruive, tired but happy.

View the route description here.

Todays pictures here.

Friday, April 14, 2006

A Largs walk

Anne and I set off about midday today to walk along the side of the moor to Fairlie, we hadn't gone half a mile before the first shower, so the brollies came out for the next 20 minutes, it brightened up as we walked passed Crosbie farm onto the moor.

We stopped on the side of Glentane for a breather and to admire the view across the Clyde, just stunning, clear, sunny, lots of blue sky with fluffy clouds.

On the side of Kaim four chaps were flying model gliders in the strong breeze, getting fantastic lift from the slope, those gliders can't half move, one of the guys was really making his glider do some amazing stunts.

We continued along the ridge then down toward Fairlie, looking down we could see the train was passing which ment we didn't have enough time to get to the station, we decided to walk the rest of the way to Largs and hope the timing would work out better, it didn't, but our son kindly came along and picked us up.

Todays photos here

Shower dodging

Robert Burns cottage

Managed and hour out on the MTB yesterday between showers.
I waited until a shower had passed over, jumped on the bike just as it cleared hoping to maximise the dry spell, as it turned out it was probably the dryest part of the day.
Since there is quite a bit of mud on the trails decided to go up Biglees quarry, it's a hard packed all weather track, from there I went across the top to Fairlie moor for a bit of downhill then back through Hunterston estate, got home in time for a spot of lunch.

Later PM Anne and I had an appointment in Ayr helping our daughter change her car, before meeting her we went along to Auchincruive for a short walk by the river, one of our favourite walks, to pass some time
Unluckily as we got to the furthers point the heavens opened and of course the wind got up, we were forced to shelter behind a wall for a few minutes till it passed, we just about managed to stay dry and fortunately had enough time to get to the appointment.

Walk description here

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Failford to Stair

Failford in Bluebells

Anne and I went down to one of our favorite walks at Failford, it's in the Ayr river gorge so is nice and sheltered on a breezy day like today.
Usually we do the longer circuit of about 3km but today at the far end we discovered the track has been extended as part of te developing River Ayr walk, we followed it all the way to Stair where we had some light lunch in the very pleasant (now smoke free) Stair Inn before reversing our walk back to failford.

The River Ayr walk is still being developed as far as I am aware, but I'm about to check the net to see if there's any more sections layed down.

Walk description here but this can now be extended to Stair and back giving a nice 3 hour strole with a refreshement stop at Stair Inn

Some Failford pictures here

Monday, April 10, 2006

A visit to Dundonald

Dundonald Castle

Yesterday was spent car shopping with my daughter but managed a 1 1/2 hour walk on Crosbie moor late PM trail hunting, found a couple of quad tracks but nothing great.

Today Tom and I had a cycle outing from Eglinton to Dundonald following some quiet road round by Knockintiber, Crosshouse and Symington.
The castle tea room is open for the summer, we sat out below the castle in lovely sunshine for our lunch stop before heading back to Eglinton park through Dreghorn and Peirston.
The sun was nice but the air temperature didn't rise above 7degc, so it was.. ehrr.. refreshing!

Got back about 2.30, it was still bright so decided to do a MTB loop, usual stuff, Glentane, Kaim downhill, and Goldenberry, got back at 4.45 in good time for tea.
I timed the lower downhill at 10.5 minutes, although it does have a couple of short climbs.
One of these days I'll remember to time the whole thing from the top of Kaim down to the road.

Similar (longer) route here

Saturday, April 08, 2006

A misplaced cyclist

Graham and I had a fabulous 3hours on the MTBs today, it looked a bit showery to start but cleared up beautifully.
We went up over Biglees quarry to Glenburn falls and played about there in the sheltered area doing drops, taking photos and having a bite to eat.
From there we climbed to a mid level trail on the side of Kaim hill with glorious views and some interesting singletrack toward fairlie.
In Fairlie things went a bit awry somehow we lost each other on the Failrie Castle descent, Graham plowed on, but thinking he had taken a tumble I went back up.
We met up again back at my place and had a laugh about it.

While Graham and I we chatting son asked me out to look at his car, he'd gained an ugly bash just in front of the rear wheel arch, that soured the day a bit.

Later PM Anne and I went up to Blair for a strole, it was lovely, the birds were singing the sun was shining, it felt like spring, and it definately improved my state of mind.

Todays photos here.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The weather always wins

Anne and I had a short walk down the beach this morning, it was rather cool, only 4degc with a fresh breeze but it was refreshing.
On the way back we stopped in at the Candy Bar bakery and bought ourselves some lunchtime goodies.

PM the sky looked reasonably bright so I got out on the MTB down the beach track and onto Goldenberry, the sky darkened, the wind got up and the hail started at the top of the hill.
I hid behind the dry stone wall and put on the waterproofs before setting off again down into Hunterston, by the time I was down the hill the hail was off so took off the waterproofs and climbed back to the top only to see the next shower approaching.
Time for home I thought and fairly sprinted back up the road, getting back just as it started raining, the weather always wins in the end.

Some sunny photos around Goldenberry here.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

More wobbles on Glentane

Horse in Kelburn

Anne and I went up to the homes and garden exhibtion in SECC this morning, didn't get much out of the visit though but I did buy a pair of cheap gloves for the winter days on the bike, so not a complete waste of a morning.

It was bright after we got home so I jumped on the MTB for a spin.
I'd enjoyed the MTB ride on Glentane so much yesterday that I decided to repeat the muddy rutted downhill on it's north side, on the way up there I noticed a neighbours car parked at Crosbie reserviour, discovered later he and another friend from the village were up there looking for water routes for a mini hydro scheme they are planning.

After Glentane I thought it'd be nice to go up Kaim hill after doing Caldron hill testerday , so set off that way but couldn't quite bring myself to endure the cold wind right to the top, only went far enough to get the best of the downhill from just above the quarry.
It was really clear again but I didn't linger just shot off onto the thrills of the downhill, then back through Hunterston for tea.
A great couple of hours MTBing.

Some pictures here.

Windy wobbles

View from Caldron

Anne and I took a strole in Kelburn yesterday morning but were unlucky enough to be caught in a shower at the furthest point, fortunately it didn't last long so we didn't get drookit.
I needed to do a spot of shoppping in Largs (Anne's birthday) so we had lunch at Craigmiles before I did the necessary.
PM the sky was looking reasonably bright so I got out on the MTB and took a fancy to go over Caldron hill (1200ft) it's a bit of a carry but the views are lovely and the short ridge on the top is great fun.
On the way out over Glentane it was a bit windy for comfort on the narrow trail, causing all sorts of wobbley scares on the steep slope, but managed to stay upright thankfully.
On the return loop from Caldron I went over Glentane summit for a change and tackled the rutted and muddy downhill to Glen burn, unusually there were too other MTBers on the route behind me, I stopped to watch before zipping down the lower downhill and meeting Jim coming out from work.
A very satisfying afternoons outing.
View the route here.

PS have now generated a web page for our visit to Spain, view it through this link.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Stewarton and Dunlop

Dunlop church

Tom and I arranged a short road cycle outing today starting at Dalry, to Dunlop via Stewarton giving the opertunity for coffee and cake at the Coffee Pot cafe in Stewarton.
The cafe stop was a nice break from the cold wind, but the time came to get on our way up to Dunlop where finally we turned away from the breeze, past Dunlop Church pictured above, and south along one of the loveliest lanes in Ayrshire looking out over the Garnock Valley, north to Ben Lomond, even further to Ben More and south to Ailsa Craig.
It felt a good cycling with the breeze behind us and with some good downhills on the way back to Dalry, a very nice few hours out on the bikes.

Route here.

Some pictures of the area here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Stroll and MTB

Anne and I were a bit slow off the mark this morning, eventually we got moving down to Goldenberry for a sheltered walk in the trees out of the cool breeze.
It was bright but shortly after leaving the car we were caught in a hailstone shower, in a few minutes it passed over so we continued over the trails for an hour or so.
Spring lambs were gamboling about the fields, the daffoldils in flower, if it would just warm up a bit it would be more like spring.
Afterwards we went up to Craigmiles for some lunch and later I got out on the MTB up Biglees quarry, Goldenberry again, the beach and the Glen, cold but very nice anyway.

Photos here.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Walking in the Costa Blanca

Anne and I have had a lovely time in Spain this past week, walking in the Jalon valley area of the Costa Blanca in glorious sunshine.
We stayed in a lovely B&B run by Alan and Martin two Englishmen who have made a break and set their business up in the pretty Alcalali village in the Jalon valley.
Last October we stayed in the Quadalest valley and had decided to move further north for a different walking area.
In walking terms we enjoyed Quadalest more but the friendly B&B and the great food in the Alcalali restuarants made all the difference.
Thanks to Alan and Martin for recommending Casa Canto restuarant in Benissa, stunning outlook and great food and also for their marvellous hospitality.
Casa Almar web site, go there it's lovely.

View pictures of the week here. and web page here

Today it looked nice so I was keen to get out on the bike, went over Glentane up to the top of Kaim quarry, it was just lovely up there, cool and clear, sat for a while admiring the view before tackling the technical downhill, didn't go all the way down but turned along to Fairlie and the Kelburn downhill, finally onto Goldenberry to round off 3.5hours of great mountain biking.
It's nice to be home!
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