Thursday, August 31, 2006

Fairlie to Largs

Douglas Park

Anne and I chose to have a strole from Fairlie to Largs through Kelburn today, its a regular walk of ours, and today it was great, warm and clear with fabulous views over the Clyde to Arran and north to the highlands.
I've been nursing an insect bite on my elbow for a couple of days, its rather hot and swollen but fortunately not painful, a dirty cleg bite probably.
Down in Largs we had a light lunch in Craigmiles Cafe before walking along the front back to fairlie.

To round off my days exercise I went down to Portencross for a little jog thinking I might extend it a bit but at the end of the outward leg I couldn't face any extra so about faced and just did the normal.
I may have to take a fresh course if I'm to increase the time out as I seem to have settled into the Porencross track.

View todays walk here.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Traipsing through the purple heather

Kirkton Hall in West Kilbride

Started this morning on the web checking for broken links on my site, found a good free tool called Xenu and have now sorted all but one (of 600 links). Then had a go at sorting the bike, a broken spoke and suspension seatpost. As always it wasn't as easy as I thought, had to take off the freewheel, the brake disc and the axle to get the spoke in place so it took a bit longer than I'd anticipated, but by 11.30 I was clear to get out and about.
We decided to have a walk up Caldron hill, its 329m high and only a short walk from the village, exploring for a loop return left us in knee deep purple heather, pretty but not great walking.
There were some very nice views on route and lots of mating Dragonflys, managed a few pictures - including some hard core insect porn!
View them here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Maps and more maps

I've been upgrading some of the maps on my web site, what a tedious business, but thats most of the work done now.
I also extended the site to include West Kilbride walks including a gallery section

Yesterday was fun, went out for a blast on the MTB, there was a strange noise from the rear wheel, a burst spoke, unscrewed it and started off again. Another strange noise and the seat suddenly fell off. A broken clamp bolt, however I managed to fix the seat back on, sort of. The next thing I was opening a metal gate and the closer flew off in my hand, so fixed that too.
In the end, discounting the mishaps, had a nice three hour outing along to Fairlie and Kelburn.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

No pain

Portencross harbour

Quiet couple of days, Anne was making jam this morning with the brambles weve picked over the past couple of days, so I went a little blast on the MTB over local technical stuff finishing with a following wind along the beach, just great, hardly anyone about so blasted along the beach till I ran out of legs, not that long really, eased back but was still skelping along most of the way home.

PM we went up to Castle Semple for a short walk around Parkhill wood, it only takes about an hour, being Saturday there were lots of folk out and about, windsurfers, canoeists, cyclists, dog walkers and us.

By the time we got back my tummy was looking for food, but I wanted to have a little jog which isn't easy on a full stomach so had a very small piece of ginger cake to calm the tummy grumbling and went down to Portencross.
Boy! what a great little run... NO PAIN... just rythmic easy(ish) movement and breathing, no speed though, maybe that will come in time but I was definately running.

Some pictures here (cycle)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Gleniffer views

View over Paisley from Gleniffer Braes

Haven't been out on the bike much since Monday, one little adrenaline outing on local technical stuff for a couple of hours on Tuesday, car shopping Wednesday and a walk at Gleniffer Braes today, it was quite clear so took a few photos, will put them on my albums shortly. Thats them done so view them here.

I've been jogging almost every day around 4pm all this week just before tea, I think I've progressed from a jog to a run/jog, but its still hard going.
Another week then maybe I'll get to a run and be able to do a bit more every other day.
At this rate though I don't think I'll see any fitness improvement on the bike for some time, I'll just have to be patient and keep up the hard work....sigh!

Monday, August 21, 2006

A few days photos

Blair Flower

I noticed a photo backlog today from last week, so stuck them into the computer and spent a while doctoring them up.
Todays lovely walk from Troon to Ayr was in there and two days from last week so have dumped them out and put the best in an album, view them here.

Had a little tummy problem today on the walk to Ayr forunately there was plenty of cover on route when it was needed, got home about 3pm so went for a jog down at Portencross, I've been trying to get back into a jogging routine over the past week but todays effort was troubled by dangerous wind which detracted from my full enjoyment.

On arrival home from work my son decided to do a little MTB circuit... surprise surprise, he's not usually very enthusiastic about exercise.. he went off to have a go on the technical trail I showed him a few days back when we went for our first ever jog together, I doubt it will last.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Abandoned plans and a forgotten bag

Sluice near Stair

Graham had given me an invitation to MTB down in the lake district, he works down there during the week and I had intended to join him if the weather forecast looked OK, it didn't so I phoned Thursday to call off.
Today (Sunday) started dull and a little wet but we set off for a River Ayr MTB outing hoping to check out if more of the river Ayr Way had been layed down between Stair and Ayr.
Starting at Auchincruive we cycled up the riverside to Stair, through the Mauchline gorge to Auchinleck house and back to Stair Inn for a spot of lunch.
After leaving Stair along the River Walk we'd gone 20minutes when I realised I'd left my bag with the car keys at Stair Inn, curses!... more curses!.... back to Stair we went, the bag was where I'd left it but the end result was a change of route so we didn't get to see if the River Way to Wallaces Seat had been layed down, an excuse for going back some other day!

Some photos here.

Similar route description here (shorter)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wayfairing Maps

I've been 'playing' with maps on the Wayfairing site and the map above is a route I put together going through east Ayrshire mainly off road. Its just over 170 miles long but there are two short sections I haven't actually checked out yet, I may just chance it when I come to giving it a go. It will take at least 2 days probably 3, most of it is on firm tracks so the ground being wet shouldn't be too much of a problem.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A passing visit to Titanic

Titanic Maybole

Tom warned me as we started off today that his car hadn't been starting very well recently as if telling me would give good luck or something, I think I'd rather not have known.
No worries with the weather though, it was sunny but not too warm.
Today's loop started at Mossblown in south Ayrshire, lunch in Jock restaurant Kikmichael consisted of tea and apple crumble with cream.
Then through Maybole, where we passed the new housing the locals have nick named 'Titanic' you can see why from the picture above.
From Maybole we slogged over the Carrick hills on the cycleway and into Ayr for a spot of pedestrian dodging along the prominade, it was chock a block around the Pavilion area, being at the sunny seaside I just had to have an ice cream....mmmmm lovely, shame about all the biz and noisy kids demanding sweets drinks and ices, but that's the seaside for you!

View todays photos here

Route description here

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Remote Bradshaw

Failie Glen Downhill

The weather people got it wrong today, in a good sense though, they prdicted rain but its been dry all day.
Since the ground is so dry at the moment I though I'd go over the rough side of Fairlie moor past Bradshaw ruin.
The route follows a quad track but if its wet it becomes very hard going but in the dry its 95% rideable.
The route on my web site isn't the best choice so I went over Scary Glentane to the moor road, over to Bradshaw and beyond has some nice bits especially at the gorge waterfall but the highlight is the descent down Fairlie Glen off the moor, 1km and 230m descent on singletrack, fabulous, although there are I'm sure many MTB'rs who'd think the crossing of the moor just too much effort for such a small return, not me though I just love remote places and with a great downhill at the end its always worth it (when its dry or frozen).

Return over Goldenberry of course, Portencross and the beach.
Bumped into some old friends on the way back so stopped for a chat before making my way home to a cool beer or two (after a spot of food shopping).

As I like to say when the weather people get it wrong... 'No bad fur a wet day'

View the route description here

View some pictures

Monday, August 14, 2006

The thorn dodging begins

Kilwinning clock tower

Anne is off across the other side of the country to help with the new baby for a few days.
The sun was shining the wind was low, I said goodbye and jumped on the road bike for bit of fresh air and exercise.
The route I chose today was to Stewarton and Dunlop stopping off for a spot of lunch at the Coffee Pot in Stewarton.
Up beyond Stewarton the hedges had been cut so it was a case of thorn dodging, more of the same in the near future I'm sure.
I was out for about 5 hours, had a few beers when I got back, put the photos into the computer, then the boy came in asking if I fancied a little jog up Goldenberry.... no rest for the weary, but off we went and it was a very nice little jog indeed, even if my legs felt a bit heavy.

It was another great day for photos so took lots, you can view some here.

Route description from Eglinton here.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Top of the world

The awful hand

The weather was set fair for today so Graham and I arranged a real mountain outing on the bikes.
We planned to cycle up the highest hill in southern Scotland The Merrick, just short of the magic 3000ft mark but cycleable most of the way up and all the way down.

I was surprised the little cafe at Stone Bridge was open at 10am, but we were straight off up the hill, forest tracks all the way up Bennan then a part push up Benyellay where the Merrick came into view.
Great run down Neive of the Spit then the last slog to the trig point.
13deg centigrade and a 14ft/sec breeze made it feel a bit cool, we did a cycle loop at the top, had a bite to eat then shot off down the hill.
The Merrick summit is smooth and fast, short climb up the Spit then rough stuff to Bennan.
The forest track from Bennan is steep and fast in places but with some really rough bits ready to deliver a snake bite puncture, but we made it down without mishap, 2.5hours up and 1hour back down.

Final stop the cafe for a tea and cake before the return car trip.

Route description here.

Today pictures here

Saturday, August 12, 2006

A perfect summer day

Arran from the ascent of Law Hill

Anne and I went up over law hill this morning with the intention of circumnavigating Blackshaw hill and returning via Kings road.
From the picture above you can see it was a beautiful clear day thanks to the cool north wind pulling in low humidity air, it made walking in shirt sleeves a pleasure, of course I took loads of pictures.
I've got so many albums there is probably one with much the same photos on it I'll check shortly.......Thought so, here it is

PM went out for a short MTB outing just taking it easy until I reached the beach, with a following wind I couldn't resist sprinting along the singletrack, speed play, its fun!

Photo route here.

Friday, August 11, 2006

A Wedding at Dundonald

The bridal party at Dundonald

Tom's bike was in for repair of a very worn bottom bracket bearing but fortunately the work has been done and he was happy to go for a cycle outing today.
I figured with the wind supposedly reducing in the afternoon a clockwise Kilmarnock circuit would be good.
We took the bikes on the car down to Dundonald Castle car park, the route goes Kilmaurs, Galston, Tarbolton (nearly), Dundonald and is about 60km, so a good run on quiet lanes.
We stopped off at Galston Co-op for lunch, post lunch the wind hadn't dropped so it was fresh on the way back to Dundonald.
We arrived back just as a wedding party was arriving so sat down in the cafe for a snack and to watch things develop, the bride arrived and I managed a couple of photos of the bridal party, nice end to a pleasant day on the bikes.

Photos here.

Route description here (Galston start)

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Clear and cool

WK golf course

A lovely cool clear day this morning, Anne was preparing some fruit for wine so I went off for a local MTB outing before lunch, unfortunately I chose a variation on a route I'd kept clear but forgot about the bracken I'd left, so ended up in shoulder high vegitation, by the time I got through it and started off again I couldn't work out what was wrong until I realised the handlebars were pointing off the wrong way, a most peculiar sensation.

I circulated over Goldenberry and back along the beach taking pictures getting home about 12.30 in time for a bite to eat.
Later Anne and I went up the side of Law hill and down onto the beach.
The wind had got up, sand was blowing and it was really quite hard going so we cut across the short route back.

View some pictures here

Happy Families

My sister has just given birth to a lovely baby boy so today we went across the other side of the country to pay them a visit, nearly gave up half way, there was a tail back in Glasgow, fortunately Anne said not to be so silly and just have some patience, glad she did it wasn't very long till we were back up to speed.
We drove along the scenic A7 to Galashiels in wonderful sunshine, had a pub lunch then went for a visit, what a wee smasher, it won't be long till he's getting up to all sorts of mischief.
After a couple of hours it was past rush hour so we headed home, perhaps tomorrow I'll get back to a spot of the usual outdoors stuff, although I do have a few aches from trail clearing yesterday but nothing a good dose of hard MTBing won't sort.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The twa cuts

Moor cottage on route to the greenock cut

Beautiful day for the MTB, 20degc and a nice cooling breeze so couldn't resist going up to Skelmorlie "tae dae the twa cuts".
Starting straight on to singletrack behind Skelmorlie where some kids were swinging across the path, they were having fun so I just kept to the left so they would miss me as I passed.
Did a bit of scouting for trails at Kelly reservior but no luck then headed along the cut to Cornalees centre and cafe for coffee and cake as usual.
The cornalees end of the Kelly cut is improved, but the Kelly end is still rather rough and grotty.
After the loop round the Greenock cut I descided to come back over knockencorsan hill, I remembered a good track along the moor to Plann farm but it's a kilometre of soggy stuff before the track improves so will have to think about whether its a new trail or not, enjoyed the change of scene though.

The views were great from the Greenock cut today you can view todays pictures here.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A quiet week end

Blue Tit

Saturday started a bit dull and misty, when it cleared a bit Anne and I had a gentle cycle round the peninsula carrying a flask and some sandwiches for a picnic at Portencross castle.
The sun even came out for a few minutes as we sat admiring the view of showers over Arran.
PM got out for a little blast on the MTB over some nice little secret singletrack.

Today was a slow start due to drizzle, but it brightened up at midday.
Graham came over and we went over lower Glentaneand along to Fairlie, first time for a while.
There has been a bit of work done on the track so it may be a bit less muddy in the winter.

View the route here.

Some photos here.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Grey Day

Goldenberry hill view

Anne was off to Ayr this morning and I'd thought I might venture out on the MTB for a bit of trail finding, it wasn't to be, the clouds came down and it started to drizzle so I just mouldered in front of the computer for a while.
Tried the Wayfaring site and am quite impressed, put in a couple of maps of routes just to see how they looked

River Ayr route

River Doon route

By 2pm the rain was off so got out on the MTB over Biglees, Goldenbery, through the bits I've cleared recently and then the beach, got back at 4.30pm ready for a coffee.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Lochwinnoch to Kilwinning


Anne and I had a short loop on the bikes from Beith to Howwood then to the RSPB on Castle Semple, not much bird action to be seen, a couple of blue tits on the feeders and three shags on the loch.
We had a coffee and cake while watching a video of Hen Harriers before heading back to Beith, I left Anne to go back in the car and headed off toward Kilwinning for a final loop, it was very nice on the way to the Abbey at Kilwinning but the wind had got up from the north west so it was a bit harder on the last eight miles or so back home, however the sun was shining and it was pleasantly warm so it was just a matter of changing down a couple of gears and plodding on.
Lovely day out!

Todays photos here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Easy loop to lunch

Common toadflax

Even though it was pleasantly bright this morning with Anne having an injury we didn't venture far, a little 10mile loop from Eglinton Park to Dalgarven mill where we had a spot of lunch before cycling back down the little lanes on the east side of Kilwinning back to the car.

It was dulling down by the time we got home so I cut the hedge while waiting to see what the weather was up to.
There was some light rain but I decided to get out the MTB anyway and have a little adrenalin fix over some local (secret) technical trails, I've cleared them over the past few days so there in prime condition, and it was great fun.

Some pictures here.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The peninsula circuit

Anne suffered a pulled calf muscle playing tennis last week and hasn't been able to do much since then, this morning however we did a gentle cycle around the Hunterston peninsula and she seemed to manage OK.
We were kucky enough to see the Peregrine Falcons again.
A few weeks back the young had just fledged and I managed to get a couple of reasonable pictures at the time when they were a bit hesitant to fly off.
Then a few days later we saw the parent passing prey during flight, part of the youngsters training, since then we havent seen them until today.
They were making a bit of a racket as three of them flew along the cliff, I think one of them had a kill which may explain the calling, others were swooping along the cliff but were a little far away to see if they were chasing anything.

PM was a little wet so went a walk into Kelburn to check out a trail and do a little clearing, it wasn't too choked but still spent more than 2 hours whacking away till tea time.
With all the good weather over the last 6 weeks I havn't been over the trails much so I've got a bit of clearing to catch up on, hopefully the fern growth is over and they will stay clear when done.

Portencross trails here. today we linked through Hunterston estate and back to Portencross through Thirdpart small holdings then along the beach and Glen back home.
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