Monday, July 31, 2006

MTB, gardening and trail grooming

Portencross castle

The weather folk said it would rain today, but it was quite bright this morning so decided to go for a short MTB outing before lunch.
Down the beach over Goldenberry and then a couple of little technical bits for an adrenalin fix before returning home.

Still dry so decide to zoom round the grass with the mower before lunch.
Post lunch still dry so went off trail clearing to a little trail I've neglected for a few weeks, boy did it show, the ferns were completely blocking the route so spent the next 3hours whacking them back, of course it finally rained and I got very soggy indeed, hopefully though the trail will stay clear for the rest of the summer, fingers crossed!

Portencross routes can be viewed here.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Scarecrow galore

This week is scarecrow week in West Kilbride, it started yesterday.
I took a few photos yesterday but it was a bit busy due to an Orange order walk so I decided to wait till today, silly me the best of the show has been vandalised overnight, only the scarecrows set out the way have survived intact.
I wonder if the scarecrow police will be on guard tonight.
There were still plenty of happy straw faces about today and you can
view them here

After a photo tour of the village this morning I got out on the road bike for a few hours over to Dalgarven for a spot of apple tart and cream for lunch then a climb over Fairlie moor road.
After a beer Anne transported me up the moor again for a bit of a thrill on the downhill, so not a bad day at all!

MTB epic at Aberfoyle

A few weeks back while I was still cut off from the wwnet graham invited me up to his time share at Aberfoyle for a couple of days mountain biking.
We decided on a route from Mugdock on the way up to make the best of the day, its one I've cycled a couple of times and has some nice singletrack and views over Glasgow, you can view the route here.

The following day we started from Aberfoyle car park where there was a display of birds of prey next to the wool centre.
This route was a bit of an epic, it was the combination of two routes, the first being the lovely open single track below the Menteith hills to Brig O Turk on Loch Venachar, and then the mountain loop up Glen Finglas, return through Achray forest drive.

We had some great fun on the dry Menteith trail, stopping off at the Green Hut cafe in Brig O Trurk for light lunch, in my case that was beer and ice cream, then it was off on part 2, the mountain track up Glen Finglas.
What a monster of a track, we did it anticlockwise to get the steep downhill, but the uphill was only just cycleable.
The downhill from 600m back to the lochside is absolutey mad, I just wondered how my disc breaks held out.

We took a break at the pub in Brig O Turk, a nice bit of rhubarb tart and fresh cream, then part 3 of the route, the long slog back through the forest, but with a final thrilling downhill back to Aberfoyle, EPIC!

View the - Menteith route here, Finglas is a case of following the obvious track north from Brig O Turk.

View photos here

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Highlight of July MTBing

Because of the warm weather I've spent a lot of time on the road bike on local circuits, but last week end the forcast was cloud so Graham and I went across the water to Dunoon to tackle the Loch Eck circuit.
Last time there I'd noticed a track up into the forest from the Botanic garden area so we went that way in the hope that things would work out.
At the garden the cafe was open so tea and cakes were called for before searching out the next part of the route, luckily it all went as we'd hoped.
A steep climb off the main road at the south end of the loch took us up onto the forest tracks, from there it was just a case of cycling anticlockwise, climbing a few hills, and admiring the view.
The descent at the north end is huge, steep and with very dangerous corners, we made it down in one piece and enjoyed the gentle return along the west side of the Loch down to the garden cafe for more tea and cake before cycling back to the ferry.

Great day out, photos here

View route description here

July Highlights

Today is the start of West Kilbrides scarecrow festival, but at the moment its slinging it down, I think I'll leave the rest of the picture taking until tomorrow.

I suppose the highlight of my month was the River Ayr walk from Glen Buck to Ayr, 42miles in all.
Having managed 32miles on a single day on the West Highland Way a few weeks back I decided to try to walk the River Ayr way in a single 24hour period, so on the 10th of July Anne dropped me off at glen Buck at midnight and off I went.
The first half hour or so was a bit spooky until I got used to walking in the dark, occasionally using my torch to check the path, owls were hooting, bats flying and birds fluttering away as I startled them from their roosts.
It was lovely walking as the sun rose red into the morning sky, a family of herons was startled off their roost tree and a pale owl flew silently on front of me.
By 8am I'd reached Catrine and had a short snooze beside the mill pond.
I got talking to an ex farmer from Zimbabwe, he'd been given a week to leave the country and ended up here through the kindness of some friends from the village.
After the short snooze I wandered into catrine and had an unexpected piece of luck finding Gracy's Kitchen open for breakfast.

Three mile downriver from Catrine is the gorge at Mauchline its a real gem, but beyond this the walk hasn't been sorted through Barskimming estate and they aren't too welcoming so I've been told, luckily I didn't have any upsetting encounters, so it was plain sailing to Failford and lunch at Stair Inn, a lovely steak pie and a well deserved pint of cool beer.

The next section of the walk hasn't been sorted either but the south side of the river is easy walking along to Annebank and Auchincruive where I picked up the official way again after texting Anne an update.
By this time I'd developed a small blister on my left heel so slapped on a Compeed anti blister pad, its great stuff, really does the job but takes ages before it can be removed.
The last few miles into Ayr aren't very exciting but I ended the walk down by the harbour at 5pm, a total time of 17 hours on the trail.
It was nice that the paddle steamer Waverley was berthed in the harbour, took some time for a couple of pictures and a coffee before Anne drove me back up the road very happy with my outing, however it did take me two days to catch up on my missed nights sleep!

Photos of the walk here

Friday, July 28, 2006

Back on line at last

I've been off line for a while due to a misunderstanding with, now no longer my ISP! here's hoping all will be well with my new ISP.
Tomorrow afternoon when its raining I'll spend some time posting a few 'highlights' from the past few weeks.
Gosh its nice to be back, fingers crossed the service will be better than that Tesco rubbish.
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