Wednesday, May 31, 2006

South of Ayr


At last a day dawns sunny with light winds, hooray!
Tom came down and we went off with the bike on the back of the car to do a loop round the quiet roads south of Ayr, Dalrymple, Kirkmichael, Straiton, Maybole and back to Ayr.
The Buck in Straiton was the lunch stop, it was busy, seven Dutch motor cyclist followed us in, fortunately we got our order in before the place was overrun.
Originally I'd thought we'd go over Carrick hills but lunch was still heavy in my tummy so we opted for the flatter B road route Maybole to Ayr.

Nice day out view the route here (similar).

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Local Walking

Hunterston Castle
The past couple of days Anne and I have been walking localy along the beach, Goldenberry, and onto Fairlie Moor in very pleasant sun and cool air.
I got out on the MTB yesterday over Biglees and into the quarry on Kaim, on the way down got a punture and then the disc pad on the rear fell apart so that was the end of that run, limped home without using the back brake must remember to carry a spare set on future runs.

Pictures here.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Irvine Valley trails

View from Lanfine

Graham phoned Saturday and we arranged to meet for a MTB cycle Sunday.
It was a bit breezy so we decided to stay low, near Darvel on the Irvine valley trail starting from Loudoun Old Kirk and making our way up to the wood above Lanfine estate, boy is that a climb.
My navigation went slightly astray and we ended up axle deep in slurry at a field exit, not nice at all, especially when it started flying off the tyres as we sped along the road.
Just afterwards we met a couple of MTB,ers on clean, shiny, expensive, full suspension bikes how embarrassing to be smelling like a farmyard.
We climbed up to the covenanters memorial on the hilltop, great view down the valley across to Arran, then it was a greatlong downhill and some nice singletrack by the river back to the car.

View a similar route here.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Secret trails and tussocks

Fairlie Glen View

Spent yesterday morning out on the MTB along secret technical trails near home, I keep them secret as they couldn't stand up to much use without damage.
After a couple of hours of thrills headed home for lunch.

PM went for a walk up into Kelburn eventually up through the tussocks and bog onto Blaeloch hill summit and along the ridge to the WW2 plane crash site just below the west cairn.
The highlight of this walk is the descent through Failie Glen, the view over the Cumbraes to Arran makes the tussock trudge worthwhile.

View pictures of the day here.

Route description here but yesterday I did it clockwise and cut it short down Failie Glen missing Kaim hill altogether.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

A lovely woodland walk

Dundonald Hill Bluebells

Anne was keen to have a woodland walk today so remembering yesterdays MTB outing to Dundonald thats where we headed.
The walk is a figure of eight around Dundonald hill starting and finishing at the little visitor centre and cafe.
After sampling the delights of Dundonald hill's bluebell wood and discovering some new paths being put down we had a sit in the sun at the cafe sipping coffee looking up at the castle.
If they make a decent job of the paths the hill and castle will be a nice attraction for the village.

Todays pictures here.
Route description here, there's a new path linking to the muddy quarry track making it possible to extend the walk around the reservior with a nice view over Troon toward Carrick hills and Ailsa Craig.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Extreme pottering

The Linn Dalry

Fist day out on the bike for a week, I,ve been laying slabs out front so was quite keen when Graham phoned to arrange an outing, only trouble was I'm aching all over with the weeks efforts.
Graham seemed to think the weather was to be really good, but disappointingly it wasn't to be, so we decided to have an off road loop from Eglinton round to Dundonald and back I'd grade the route extreme pottering.
It's about 50% off road 25% tarmac tracks and 25% proper rough stuff, we spent a little time at the old working in Eglinton playing on the steep slopes, although neither of us do jumps, only whimpy tyres stuck firmly to the ground stuff.
On Dundonald hill there were several groups of Army Cadets map reading, walking, and cycling, it was all go on the hill.
After the thrills of Dundonald we stopped off at the cafe in the Industrial estate to avoid the coming rain as much as a refreshment.
We had the cake and coffee but emerged into the rain, on went the waterproofs and heads down back to Eglinton.
Not bad.. over three hours on the bike.... oh my bum hurts!

View a similar route here

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Anniversary in Rome

St Peters Rome

Anne and I celebrated our anniversary with a couple of days in Rome, cheap flights from Ryanair, hotels aren't that cheap though luckily we got a reasonably
priced one just by the Termini.

First day Sunday, so the streets were quite quiet early, we walked to the Colosseum then made the mistake of taking a tour, ducking out half way with information overload.
Through the Forum, impressive place, then followed the AA guide book walk to the tourist sites, Piazza Novona, Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish steps finishing at the Pincio Gardens, it was all go in the gardens, a rock band playing, fitness demonstrations, break dancing.....

Second day, the Vatican, we were a bit late getting there (8.45) so had to queue for 1.5 hours to get in, nearly didn't make it but Anne insisted, so had to go into blank mind mode to get me through the pain of queuing.
What a place! miles of corridor and galleries stuffed full of art, and one long slow moving mass of people, all heading to the Sistine Chapel.
After the Vatican it was along the road to St Peters, enormous, impressive, breathtaking.....but way way over the top.
After St Peters, time for a quiet meander through little lanes, following the AA guide book again, to the Getto over the island.
Only had time left for a spot to eat before jumping on the bus back to the airport.

Well what can I say...immense about sums it up.

Rome photos here

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Over the moor to Lendalfoot

Limestone quarry near Dailly

The little lanes from Dailly over to the coast at Lendalfoot were where Tom and I set our cycling sights on today.
A 50minute car trip to Dailly, tea and cake in Tillies tea room and we off to Old Dailly and over the hill to Pinmore, Lendalfoot on the coast then back inland to Barr for a late lunch.
Barr is three quarters of the way round the loop but it's the only suitable feeding spot so we just had to make do.
The last six miles climbs 400ft then a superb freewheel down toward Dailly.

A magnificent days cycling on very quiet roads and in glorious sunshine, just the job.

Route description here.

Photos here

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

The first bite of summer

Beith Cross

Tom had other plans today so thought I'd take advantage of the sunny day with a road cycle over the Dalry Beith lanes to the RSPB at Lochwinnoch.
It was actually a bit breezy heading inland, cut the corner over to Dalgarven, they seem to be rerouting the Saltcoats Dalry road so it's closed to traffic but I sneaked past OK.
The road at Greenacres curling rink was also closed but I sneaked past that as well.
Down at the RSPB there was a kids school trip but fortunately the were picnicing outdoors so the place was quiet inside, so were the birds, all I saw through the spotting scopes was a single Crested Grebe, nothing else.
Had coffee and cake and headed back to Beith, that's where the first bug bite of summer was delivered to my knee by a passing insect, lots more of that to look forward to as the days warm up.
The cross in Beith was renovated last year and is looking really nice in its spring blossom (picture above).
Final leg of my return was over Fairlie moor, a stiff climb to 850ft but with nice views and a rather dangerous descent to the main road.
Great days cycling.

Todays pictures here

Route description here (shorter)

Walking by the river


Anne and I passed time yesterday walking along the River Ayr, originally I'd thought about Going from Loudoun Hill to Kilmarnock but the bus service doesn't go beyond Darvel so we'll leave it for another time.

We parked in Failford and headed along the riverside wild life reserve toward Stair on the new trail.
It was pleasantly warm wandering along through bluebell covered woodland, lot of spring flowers and tree blossom about, it wasn't long before I was down to shorts in an attempt to keep cool.

At Stair Inn we had a light lunch and decided to continue toward Annbank, Auchincruive, and Ayr returning by bus.
Along the river we saw and heard lots of birdlife including six herons, four goosanders and a colony of sand martins.

We were just arriving in Ayr, passing Ayr college, when a thundercloud passed over forcing us to shelter under the road bridge from the rain and hail for almost fifteen minutes till it was done.
There was nothing else to be done neither of us had any waterproofs and a few seconds in that downpour would have soaked us to the skin.
It was lucky for us we had good shelter.
Afterwards we walked smartly into Ayr, just in case there was a repeat performance, for a beer and the bus after 5 hours of very nice walking.

View pictures here.

Similar walk description here.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Good timing

Anne and I went off to the factory shop in Dalry yesterday morning, I like a bargain and was looking for some cheap shoes, sure enough I got my bargain but Anne didn't so she decided to go of to Ayr leaving me to get on with a bit of MTBing.
I decide to go up to the windfarm then to loop back over Knockewart hill to the ancient Kings way, the old road dead kings were brought from Kilwinning abbey to Portencross to depart for Iona and burial.
I hoped by that time the whin dust for some slabs would be delivered and I would get on with laying it.

Outwards on the bike was a bit tough into the stiff breeze all the way to the top of Busbie muir, but aided the climb to Knockewart and kept me nice and cool.
It was bright but hazy, not the best for photos but I took a few on route.
As I got back home the lorry with the delivery was just arriving so I pointed to where I needed the dust and the driver, a rather well shaped lady, dropped it off.
I spent the rest of the afternoon spreading it about.

Yesterday was also my sons 21st birthday so in the evening all the family went out for a nice meal at the Laureston in Ardrossan to celebrate.

Pictures here

The route is the same as the walking route, view it here.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Eighteen point five minutes

West Kilbride

Pleasant morning but the weather people promised showers so decided not to go too far from home, up to the summit of Kaim to time the downhill from the summit to the road.
From summit to quarry was 6 minutes, stopped for a bit of a snack and to admire the view before setting off on the next section.
Quarry to Glenburn falls 6.5 minutes with a nice final thrill down to the burnside before the short push to the gate and the next section.
Gate to the road surprise surprise another 6 minutes, so that's a grand total of 18.5 minutes of great downhill.

View route here

Pictures here

Through the woods

Wood Sorrel

With the prospect of rain tomorrow and showers PM Graham and I decided to make the best of the morning by getting out for a shortish local mountain bike ride.
It looked great down through the Glen, sun shining through the new leaves on the trees although there was a bit of mud about from the thunderstorm two days ago.
Arran was clear so took a few photos along the way to Portencross and Goldenberry then headed out to the hole in the ground which gives nice views over the water to Hunterston and Cumbrae, then it as back home for lunch.
Since it was still quite nice Anne and I went off down the beach again for a short walk but the threat of a shower made us cut it short.
Finished the day with a spot of garden clearing, lifes not all fun and games after all.

Todays photos here.

Portencross route description here

Monday, May 01, 2006

Climbing, climbing, climbing

Largs Bay

After 5 hours on the MTB yesterday I found myself a bit tired today, but the weather was cold and cloudy so decided to go up to Kelburn for a little change of scene but staying near home.
Out and about the air was crystal clear, the views were only limited by the cloud and some distant showers so took quite a few photos.
A long climb through Kelburn and across the main road took me to the view point above Largs, for a go at the Douglas park downhill then another long long climb back to upper Kelburn, the reward being the downhill through to Fairlie Glen.
On the way back for some reason that escapes me I decided to go up to the Kaim downhill, now that is a long long climb.
I started the Kaim downhill just beyond the gate this time I set the stop watch on the way down to North Kilruskin, nearly came a cropper at the puddle in the quarry, stopped for a picture, the run took 20minutes.

Todays photos here
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