Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Cool clear fun

Largs view

There was a hint of winter today, a cold north wind and lovely clear air, a great day to get out on the bike on sheltered trails.
I chose the route to Fairlie, first time for a while.
The trails were gloriously wet but most of them are firm so progress was fairly easy.
The views were great in the clear air so PM when out for a strole took a few photos.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Racing the rain

Fungus Fairlie wood

We were half expecting some builders today to replace our small porch but no show, Anne was a bit off colour so I left her reading a book and got out on the mountain bike over scary Glentane before the forecast rain set in.
Got back about 12.30 still no builders and still no rain.
After a spot of lunch Anne and I went fungi hunting in some small woodland up Fairlie moor and found the thing pictured above, its only just over an inch in diameter but as you can see its very different from the norm with its filaments and dripping yuck, I was very pleased to find it.
As we returned home the drizzle finally set in so I decided to finish the day with a jog down the Glen and beach before tea, its quite refreshing jogging in drizzle.

Lots more fungi photos.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Windfarm x2

Windfarm on Busbie moor

I was suffering a little this morning from too much wine last night, Anne and I were out enjoying a murder mystery night, a great laugh, and I didn't even manage to guess the murderer.
Graham is still on the mend from a back problem so with both of us under par we didn't go too far just over the windfarm and fairlie moor.
It was a lovely cool still day with a little bit of sunshine just great for cycling, I really enjoyed the day out.
We called in at my place for coffee and cake then headed back to toward Grahams, I decided to go back up the windfarm, down toward West Kilbride and then over Law Hill to finish.
It was only 2.30 when I got home so to use up the last of the day I went down to Portencross for a little walk, all in all a nice day out.

Some photos here.

Route here

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Around East Kilbride

Strathclyde Park

I spent six hours on the bike yesterday navigating around various tracks near East Kilbride starting up Calder Glen, some nice track but lots and lots of stairs then discovered it was all no cycling so felt a bit of an outlaw.
From there went over by Uddingston by the Clyde to Bothwell Castle, the track along the clyde there was lovely and I had it all to myself although its bound to get busier at the WE.
Had a bit of difficulty getting across to Strathclyde park and didn't have time to go through the singletrack, finished off along Chatelherault Country Park but again was in outlaw mode as it is all no cycling although there was plenty of evidence of other cycling outlaws
The track I chose turned out extremely grotty so it wasn't much fun slogging through it.

All said it was a bit of a disappointment overall.

View pictures here

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A surprising day

Yachts off Largs

Graham is back from holiday and from a sore back so was keen to have an easy off road outing today.
We thought along the beach and up through Kelburn would be a good workout without being too extreme.
I was surprised, in a nice way, that going along familiar routes but in a different frame of mind and in a different combination can freshen them up, of course it WAS a fabulous day if a little bit on the muddy side.
Graham has a new camera and I was hoping to do some comparisons with my IXUS55 which I'm not all that happy with, but we discovered after the days photograghing that his FUJI had been left on low resolution so that idea was a non starter.
As a result of the comparison idea I took quite a few pictures, I was pleased with most of them but taking good pictures in nice lighting is easy, its the difficult conditions that test a camera, maybe next week end we'll manage the comparison.

View some of todays pictures here.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fungi Album

Fungus in Fairlie wood

Today Anne and I went up to Muirshiel to do a bit of fungi spotting.
The area is a bit small but the weather forecast wasn't good so we thought we'd make the best of it.
We wondered up toward Windy Hill then had a meander through some of the open trees looking for fungi and found some white and yellow finger fungi (our name).
This evening for the past hour I've pulled the fungi photographs together into an album and put the best on my Yahoo album, they can be viewed here.

Friday, October 20, 2006

The CockOfArran

Laggan Cottage

Anne has recently expressed a desire to walk the Cock of Arran, so today we went off on the ferry to do just that.
An hours crossing then bus to Sannox to begin the walk.
It was very quiet, only the sea lapping on the shore, sometimes a little peep from a robin, the splash of feet in puddles and the occasional sucking of boots in mud.

On the ferry I met an old workmate he and his wife were heading up Goatfell from Corrie. I think we had the better choice of walk, the mist was down on the hilltops all day but we had nice views across to the mainland.
It took almost four hours just to reach Lochranza so we decided that would do for the day, in the end we had to hurry to be sure of catching the bus.

This track is a mountain bike route on my web site, I must check the description, a good (bad) part of it is a push and awkward carry for a bike although I did enjoy the cycle both times I did it.

Todays photos here

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A figure of 1000

Kirkton Hall West Kilbride

I've recently written about figure of eight or nine routes, well today I did a figure of 1000 and also kept a dog walker bemused.
I went down the beach on the MTB along to Portencross and Goldenberry.
I decided to loop up the hill and on the way up met a chap walking his dog, I looped back and came up the same track.
The poor chap was trying to catch his dog which wasn't too keen to give up its new found freedom.
I did another loop and came back up the same track again only to meet him for a third time this time with the dog back in tow.
I think he thought I was a bit strange, maybe he's right.
The figure of 1000 comes because I cycled back along the beach the way I'd come so with three loops on Goldenberry I see that as a 1000 or could it be 10001?
Whatever the number it was a great 2 hours out on the bike.

I've been working away with maps for my web site again and have put together a set showing my recently completed East Ayrshire route so now it can be viewed here.

Its nice to be out again

Clyde view above Fairlie

After our few days travelling to Venice it was great to get on the mountain bike again.
Saturday the sun was shining it was cool with an esterly breeze, so started off down the beach to get the following wind, over Goldenberry looping back along the main road up Biglees quarry's lovely rough hard surfaced road with its marvelous view.
After our few days of rest I was feeling good so decided to climb all the way up Kaim Hill to get the full twenty minutes downhill run from the top, 330m and 1.5km all the way to the main road.
I keep thinking on the way down that I should mark the turn off near the top, it would be so easy for any other MTB'r following my route description to miss the turn and end up in the middle of nowhere wondering what was going on.
As I bumped down into the old millstone quarry a chap was lunching, sunning himself while admiring the view, he'd been up walking over Caldron and Kaim.
After a short chat I was off down the quarry track, there are one or two muddy places getting cut up, I may go up and put down some rocks to stop it deteriorating, also someone has put in a couple of little wooden bridges over ditches which helps but I prefer more natural looking route improvements using rocks and turf.
The run down was a thill as always just a couple of other spots that could do with a bit of clearing and filling, work for a nice winter day.

A few pictures here.

Saturday, October 14, 2006


Canal San Marco

Anne and I were off to Venice for the first time for a couple of days of sight seeing and the weather was kind.

Many of the recommended places to see in Venice turned out to be churches, but churches with huge interiors stuffed full of art which also meant there were plenty of seats available anytime our feet started to complain.
Away from the churches coffee and wine stops in the cafes gave us a chance to get the shoes off and the feets rested when sight seeing got on top of us, not a cheap rest though.

The view from the Campanile in San Mark's square was fabulous as was the trip down the Grand Canal early in the morning before the full tourist rush.
We dashed to the front of the boat to get a great 180 degree view sailing down the canal.
We skipped the Gondala thing, we'd heard they were super expensive.
Palazzo Ducale off Saint Marks square was amazing the worlds largest oil painting 'Paradiso' in a room the size of a football field, how the ceiling stays up I have no idea, room after room massively decorated walls and ceilings, then across the bridge of Sighs to the prison, quite a contrast.

A nice couple of days took loads of picture of course view a very few here.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Grand Finale

Blue tit at RSPB Lochwinnoch

Decided after consulting with the immediate weather forcast (look out the window) to have a go at the last leg of my East Ayrshire route.
As Anne was off to see her mother the pick up option was out so I planned a loop from Cornalees down to Lochwinnoch and return over the moor track, a sort of figure of eight.
The ground was gloriously wet, water running down all the tracks but it wasn't raining and it wasn't cold, in other words it was a grand day and a grand outing.
Stopped off at the Muirshiel centre above Lochwinnoch and got the low down on the Hen Harrier nesting... unfortunately not good the fox got the lot.
So thats East Ayrshire route done, time to get the maps out again for more of the same.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Almost there

Chaffinch at RSPB Lochwinnoch

Continuing the theme of East Ayrshire today I went with MTB on the car to Neilston to follow my East Ayrshire route across to Lochwinnoch, my it was hard work.
I made the mistake of going up Killoch Glen, I should have remembered how rubbish it is, stile after stile unridable stairs and equally unrideable climbs, all to avoid 1.5km of tarmac road.
The view from Brownside hill was absolutely wonderful all the way across to the Campsie fells.
The highlight of the day was the marvellous Brandy Burn Way down to Johnstone, twisty fast singletrack, but then there was the road slog back, however I stopped off at the RSPB Lochwinnoch and got a couple of nice pictures of birds and a couple of cup of coffee to keep me going.

Pictures here

More East Ayrshire

On the MTB today from Galston to Eaglesham, part 4 of my East Ayrshire route.
This section is quite short, I decided to do a loop back round Whitelee forest doing a figure of nine rather than have Anne do a car shuffle.
Highlights of the day were the out and back singltrack from Galston along the river Irvine to Newmilns and a great fast rough descent out of Whitelee down to Carrot with a great view over Glasgow to the Campsies and Ben Lomond, low point was the slog up a wet ditch at Overmuir Farm fortunately it was short and easier (downhill) on the way back.
I met a walker and got chatting, he was curious about the track out to Fenwick and I got some useful information about Uddingston and Calder Glen tracks for the future round Glasgow MTB trail I've been thinking about.
All together a very nice four and a half hours of cycling although there was at least as much road as off road.

Todays photos here

Sunday, October 01, 2006

East Ayrshire Part 3

Cumnock Church

Yesterday was looking good for a day on the MTB down by New Cumnock on part three of my East Ayrshire route.
This section goes across some remote tracks first in forest then across a moor.
When I got to the start at Corsencon Hill above New Cumnock I discovered the dreaded Scottish Coal are in the process of opening up an open cast mine, the road up the hill was closed (I went up anyway) and a belt conveyor was being built, so it doesn't look to good for the MTB trails over Corsencon Hill.
I'll need to investigate further in a month or so when they've finished the work.
The tracks were in better condition this time there was no forest work going on but the path through the trees onto the moor was awfully muddy and overhung with wet tree branches, I was glad to be waring gortex boots to keep out the yuck, not very pleasant at all.
The highlight of the outing was the lovely rough descent to Muirkirk, I was given some envious looks (I think) by some youngsters slogging uphill with packs as a zoomed past downhill.
I had arranged with Anne for a pick up at Sorn but I was ahead of schedule so I phoned to say it wasn't needed I'd just complete a loop down through Cumnock, ended up over 50km and 5 hours on the bike.
Got back home a 5.30 had a shower and an hours snooze before going out to a supper dance at a the golf club till midnight, thats what I call a full day and explains why I'm sitting in front of a computer at 1.30 in the afternoon with the sun shinning outdoors. The hangover has just about worn off so its to get off my rear end and get out there.
I think I'll go fungi photo hunting below Hawking Criag down by portencross.

Yesterdays photos here
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