Saturday, December 30, 2006

Baidland and a sunset

Portencross sunset

Graham and I met up this morning for a bit of off roading on the mountain bikes, up Baidland (Wardlaw) windfarm, oh my! what a long climb, and when we got there it blew and it rained so we didn't hang about, shot off down towards Fairlie, it got nice and sunny as we went along the Fairlie track then down to the shore front for a snack in the sun.
Back home for a coffee just after 2pm and a look at the photos.

Last gasp of the day Anne and I went down to Portencross, in the expectation of a nice sunset, we weren't disappointed, but we did get out boots rather muddy as we walked the shore front footpath, but hey, thats what boots are for!

Some summer photos here.

Short video of today here.

Friday, December 29, 2006

The family thing

Descent from Knockewart hill

Boxing day was planned as a family day, however that was the afternoon so got away out of Anne's way, on the bikes with Graham over Busbie Muir Windfarm and Knockewart hill back down to West Kilbride on the Kings way, gloriously wet and muddy but great fun.
Took a little video, some pictures here.
It was grey but dry, the two hours on the bike set me up nicely for boxing day lunch, the last of the present opening and a silly afternoon of games and booze finally settling down to watch the christmas DVDs.
Next two days Anne and I were over at my sisters place on the East Coast for more of the same, food, drink and a nice walk.
Just Hogmanay to go before we get back into the usual swing, so far no hangovers, hope I can keep it that way.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

A lie in, a short walk, some presents opening, a spot of lunch and a few mountain biking thrills to round off the day.....great!
Same again tomorrow?.....yes please!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Saltcoats to Largs

Grey Squirrel

Despite a very cool grey day Graham and I set off for a MTB outing Saltcoats to Largs, half on road half off.
We met on the high road and then over Fairlie Moor to the rough track along the hillside to Fairlie.
There was a rather flighty horse at Dykehead farm, it got all worked up as we passed.
I think it may be a new aquisition of the farm owner but I wouldn't like to get on its back, it looked as if it would gallop off into the distance a the slightest excuse, give me the mountain bike any day.
I've ridden in the past but only riding school horses which can be hard just to get moving.

Graham had a little misshap in Fairlie wood, he slipped off a root into a dip and sort of went over the bars, fotunately no harm done.
We stopped of at the Harlequin cafe for some soup, coffee, and cake before heading back along the coast to Portencross and the beach.
A wonderful 5 (easy) hours on the MTB.

Took some video along the way also some photos from a recent Largs walk.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

The run (cycle) up to Christmas

A little walk along the beach this morning, very nice though not as nice as a couple of days ago.
PM got out for a spin on the MTB up Biglees Quarry onto the edge of the moor then some fun on some lovely, almost dry, singletrack back down over Goldenberry, just wonderful as always.
Got a nice squirrel video clip down the glen and some trail video so combined them with some old singletrack stuff to produce another short video.

Some spring photos here.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Shore Birds and Burn Splodging

Fairlie Waterfalls

Went off for a spot of bird video and a walk on Hunterston Penisula as Anne was off shopping.
During the walk as it was a bit grey I was watching out for macro photo shots, so found myself concentrating on all sorts of strange things such as lichen, tree roots, broken branches, ferns, moss on walls, it got very quiet and grey until all I could hear was my own footsteps and breathing and my thinking went the same way, just contemplating my surroundings.
I felt really really relaxed pottering about taking photos until serious drizzle set in but by then it was lunch time.

PM was drizzly so went for a bit of burn splodge up Fairlie burn took some video to combine with the morning birds on the shore, view it here, some photos here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lochwinnoch birds

Grey Heron

Nice morning, Anne and I went up to Lochwinnoch, I hoped to get a bit of bird video and have a little walk around Parkhill wood, one of our regular short walks.
There wasn't much bird action at the RSPB but got three short videos before going off for the walk.
Castle semple loch was quite good for birds, the usual Swans and Mallard but also some tufted, goldeneye and goosander.
Unfortunately the goldeneye and goosander seem to synchronise their dives with my attempts at video so didn't get one second of either but in Parkhill Wood there was a flock of long tailed tits flitting about and got a few seconds of that, though they were against the sky so not great.

View the video here and some my bird album here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

MTB River Ayr and christmas shopping

Ayr Town

Did my christmas shopping down in Ayr today but took my bike along to have an outing PM.
I had originaly thought about going down to Culzean but decided to stay close to Ayr to save time.
I went along to Auchincruive to cycle along the River Ayr out toward Tarbolton on a sausage shaped figure of eight, similar route description here
Created a short video of me, the tracks and some photos.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A day of scenery and birdlife

Seamill shore

Today was a day to admire the scenery, magnificently clear and still, just fabulous.
Anne and I went a walk through West Kilbride Glen to Seamill shore, in seconds we had seen seals watching us watching them, a fabulous view of Arran draped in cloud and seabirds a plenty, Razorbill, Shag, Grey Heron, Merganser, Grey Wagtail but strangely no waders, scared off by the pedestrians I expect.
PM went out on the mountain bike and again it was spot the birdie, lots of buzzards, fieldfare, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker up near Knockendon.
It was so nice I couldn't resist going up Kaim Hill for the downhill run even though I knew I'd get totally mud splatted, but it was worth it.
Finished over Goldenberry and back along the beach with a lovely sunset, it's great just to get out there and see it all.

I recorded a short video and took a few photos as usual.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Two loops from Cornalees

The Greenock Cut

What a great day, dry, cool and clear, Graham and I went up to Cornalees above Gourock to do a figure of eight route around the cut, Loch Thom and Gryffe reservior.
There was loads of mud and water about but it was firm on the cut, most of it has been surfaced with gravel so its easy going.
Great views, we went round anticlockwise which gives the best outlook, a spot of coffee and cake at the centre cafe and then we were off again for the second loop around Loch Thom, a bit wetter and muddier but great fun.

Took some video and a few pictures can be viewed here.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Glentane in the sun

Arran from Seamill shore

Glentane in the sun.... great fun, although not easy in the mud, plenty of water and slippy too. I was watching the sky and skipped home before a big shower.
PM Anne and I had a short walk but about turned at the beach when a shower came our way, but I managed a nice jog down the beach again later.

Todays photos here and short video here.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Whoopee!!......a dry day.


At last we could get out for a decent walk, it wasn't bright but it was dry, Fairlie to Largs via Kelburn returning along along the sea wall.
The road in Upper Kelburn has been erroded quite a lot by the excessive rainfall 180% of the December norm and we're only half through the month.
Shot a few movie clips and a couple of photos, I've combined them with some summer shots to give a short video, some Largs walk photos here.

In the last bit of daylight I went off for a jog along the beach and part of the golf course, it was very pleasant and I was really enjoying myself until on the way back to the car I got CAUGHT IN THE RAIN...ARGH!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wet upon wet

Grey Heron

Anne was off shopping this morning so took a strole over Goldenberry.
It rained quite a bit but there wasn't much wind so the wellies and brolly worked fine.
One of the tracks I walk regularly has been chewed to mud by machinery pulling out timber, I recon it will be a year to recovers, shame, its a nice walk.

PM I went up to Fairlie glen and although I hadn't planned it, I ended up doing a walk up the burn getting as close to all the waterfalls as I could.
I called it burn splodging when doing it with the kids years ago.
It was a bit iffy at times scrambling beside the gorge on slippy slopes in wellies, not something I recommend to anyone, but it was great fun, I got very very wet.
The waterfalls were nice and I've put them together with some summer pictures in video.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wandering in the wet

Santa and friends at Kilmarnock

Yesterday morning Anne and I took a strole around Blair beside Dalry with wellies and brollies PM got out on the mountain bike for an hour and almost escaped getting wet, just a few splatts from the edge of a shower cloud.
I was rather windy so skipped Goldenberry and the beach, just as well it started raining shortly after I got home.

Today was dreadfull again so went over to Kilmarnock for some christmas shopping and maybe a walk in Dean Park, neither went very well, but we did manage a short strole and some pictures in Dean Park before being blown back to the car.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Dundonald Walk

Dundonald Castle

Tried this morning to get a little ride on the MTB but a verrrry heavy shower approaching chased me back home after only 15minutes.
It looked like the showers were piling in behind, so instead of attempting the MTB again Anne and I went down to Irvine harbour for some lunch and then a walk around Dundonald Hill behind the castle where I thought it might be a little sheltered if it shower again.
Turned out quite nice, there is some work going on with new paths so things may improve a little for the MTB, LESS MUD!!
Got home the back of three and went for a little jog through the Glen and onto the beach, very refreshing.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

An unexpected walk

Kaim downhill today

Yesterday Anne and I had a marvellous walk over Law and Blackshaw Hill the air was clear and cool and we took lots of photos and a short video.

Thought I'd go up to Knockendon windfarm today on the MTB but after last nights dance and booze I wasn't on top form so asked Anne to run me up in the car to save the climb.
It was rather cold up there in the cool NW wind, ended up puting on the wateproofs to keep warm on the way downhill.
After Knockendon I decided to climb Kaim hill to the quarry to enjoy the downhill, it was great as always, if just a bit wet.
On the way back I'd intended to go over Goldenberry but while avoiding a car I hit a pothole and got a pinch punture, no problem until the spare tube valve fell apart.
The pinch was un repairable just went down instantly, I thought about stuffing the tyre with grass, I've done it before and it works after a fashion, but it takes some time so in the end just decided to walk the two miles home.

Took a little video on route view it here some photos here.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Shore to moor walk

Mull view

The picture above was taken during a couple of wonderfull September days days on Mull in 2004 view the web page description here..
I'm missing those sunny summer days.

Down the shore yesterday there was a flock of curlew in the field as they flew over I noticed some lapwig amongst them, I thought they'd all be away to warmer places but it seems some are overwintering here no doubt due to mild winters.

PM it brightened up nicely so I decided to take a strole up Fairlie Glen onto the moor, was considering going up onto Blaeloch hill to the plane wreckage but there was some cloud lingering so just admired the view and took a wander back down through Kelburn.
In Kelburn I came across the skull of a pheasant that I think a fox had killed so took a clip to include in a short video I'd taken along the way.
A very nice afternoons strole.

I'll link to the video shortly, some Kelburn summer photos here.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Easy MTBing in Eglinton

Cycling in Eglinton Park Irvine

Lovely day today, Anne and I intended to go to Cornalees by Greenock to cycle the easy cut but as we started out the sky north looked very black so a quick change of plan and we were off to Eglinton Park just north of Irvine.
Its one of my favourite road cycle start points but today we just wanted a bit of easy off road.
On our travels around Eglinton we met a photographer chap at the standing stones and did a few active poses for him, between my video takes and his photos we were there some time longer than expected.
As we left a runner was on the way up to the stones, a wonder if she got the same treatment.
After our hour in the park it was still nice back beside the car so I decided to cycle home along the quiet roads east of Kilwinning, past Dalgarven Mill and over the watershed to West Kilbride.
It was a good decision the weather held and overall I had a very nice day out and about.

Took some video and view some Eglinton photos here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

A change in the weather

Arran from Bradshaw Ruin on Fairlie Moor

What a nice day! It was calm clear and dry, Anne and I took a morning strole over Goldenberry going through the rough wood on the north side then climbing up onto the west side of the hill to admire the view of Cumbrae and Arran.
It was a little cool at the top so we only lingered long enough for a couple of photos before getting back down to the cover of the trees.
There is some tree cutting going on in the estate, hope they don't damage any nice areas, that would be a shame.

PM got out on the MTB for a spin, there was a funny noise from the front brake, disc pads are worn down to the metal, very careless of me not to notice earlier.
Went over Glentane hill and along to Fairlie on the nice rough track and woody singletrack but had to take it easy and try to use the back brake only, bit awkward.
Got back at 3pm ready for a coffee warm up, hasn't worked though still feeling a bit cool, I think I'll need to go and hug a radiator.

Todays photos here, a previous walk short video here.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Birds and Biglees

Black Headed Gull

Since the weather was showery this morning I went down Hunterston for some bird photos, nice clip of a curlew and a distant eider.
PM Anne and I went up Biglees on Fairlie moor for a little walk, it was still showery but with some tree cover it was pleasant.
It was looking dry though dull at the end of the walk, Anne suggested I walk home, so thats what I did, and very nice it was too.
On the way back took a bit of video to add to the bird clips and went into Caldron wood in the hope of seeing a stinkhorn fungus (image X in album) but they were all gone, guess December is too late for them.
On Drummilling hill I disturbed a couple of deer but was too slow to get a video.
Got home 3pm feeling quite pleased with my day.

Todays photos here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

A wild day

Waves at Portencross

Its hardly stopped blowing since the middle of November and the month has been the wettest since records began.
Today was worse than most, attempted a short MTB outing before the rain this morning and was soaked by the waves spraying over the beach trail before getting soaked by the rain on the way home after cutting the run short, only managed about 35minutes.
The rain eased a little so went down Hunterston in the car to take some bird video.
I was really lucky, got a merganser, a flock of turnstones, sandpiper, plover and greenfinch as well as a few of the usual.
I think I'll extract some stills and put them in my bird album.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Portencross MTB

Graham and I stole a short spell out of an iffy day to have a little MTB ride around Portencross, it was mild and windy from the south so we had some wind assistance down by the shore trail then a little loop on Goldenberry with some great views and fun trails.
View some photos and a short video.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Lochwinnoch by road

It looked quite nice out the window this morning so listened in to the weather forecast it seemed OK so gave giving Tom a phone.
He was just thinking of getting out and about and was quite happy to have a cycle.
We went across to Dalry in the car to save the out and back hour of cycling and cycled over to Lochwinnoch on the little back roads.
On the way I decided to go down a route I normally avoid due to dog chasing, but I wondered if things might have changed.
The dog was still there but is past the chasing thing, still had a good bark at Toms feet, luckily not bothering with me.
We stopped off at the RSPB for a hot chocolate and warm up, total of three hour on the road bike was a nice change.
Got back at 2pm in time for a short walk with Anne, but I felt a bit chilled from the cycle so didn't go far, then decided to have a little jog down at Portencross, it was quite nice although wet and muddy underfoot.
The extra effort of jogging kept me warm along the shore front into the breeze, a nice full day.

Some Lochwinnoch photos here.
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