Sunday, February 25, 2007

Dean to Lanfine


Fishery Craufordland Estate

I miscalculated today, or perhaps underestimated is a better word, Graham fancied two to three hours out on the MTBs but we managed to notch up 4.5hrs.....oops!
We started at Dean park in Kilmarnock, its not very good for cycling until recently all bikes were prohibited but now there is a cycle route through the park linking to Irvine but the cycle route is rubbish......well not my cup of old railway, I'd rather navigate along the minor roads, stopping off at a cafe somewhere along the way.
Today I'd planned a bit of off road from Dean Park through Craufordland estate, minor roads and some lovely short singletrack toward Loudoun Kirk, Lanfine and down by Cessnock Castle to Galston.
In the end there was more road than off road but Graham and I both enjoyed the new combination of trails and the mild weather.
I shot a bit of video as we cycled along, it can be viewed here.

A photo slide show here.

Similar route description here

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Eglinton Park


Eglinton Pond

Had a stroll today at Eglinton Park just north of Irvine, the north side of the park is away from the main road so doesn't suffer from the traffic noise of the other parts of the park. The birds seem to think its spring, they were singing their little heart out, it was lovely. The pond, which incidentally is the best course fishing in SW Scotland, was a flat calm with beautiful reflections and a couple of swans looking for food. I took some video and combined today's clips with those from a previous visit on the bikes, just a little to give some movement, after all that's what video is all about.

PM took a stroll over Goldenberry, removed a rock (booby trap) from the MTB trail then later had a jog down the beach, unfortunately my legs felt like lead, I found it really hard just to keep up a gentle jog, probably due to cycling and badminton yesterday, however I did manage to do the circuit without a walk, only just.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

RSPB Lochwinnoch


Went out on the road bike today, first time this year, cycled over to the RSPB centre at Lochwinnoch, I like it there, its usually quiet and I can watch the birds while warming up with a cup of coffee and a cake.

I was lucky with the bird video today, got clips of robin, goldfinch, siskin, and bluetit. I filmed them through a set of binoculars for the use of visitors. Its easier to frame the birds with hand held binoculars but hard to keep the picture steady, but I was quite pleased with the result.

On the way back I decided to go over the moor road and just as I was taking some video I was lucky to get a clip of a vintage car going the opposite direction, pure chance but really nice.

I slowed the clip down and thats why the car sounds a bit clattery.

View todays video here.

View the route description here

Some photos here

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A splendid weekend







Law castle

What a great weekend, cool and bright, Saturday morning Anne and I went a walk up to Busbie Muir windfarm. The windfarm is a couple of kilometres south east of our village. Just before the windfarm is a small area of old woodland nice to wander through, its a bit wet underfoot but with the birds singing in the trees it was worth the bog jumping. As we wandered along the windfarm roads we saw two pairs of skylarks on the moor, first this season, I think they're early this year.

PM got out over to Kaim hill on the mountain bike, over the side of Glentane hill on the scarey narrow singletrack, up the tarmac then off road to the cairn at the top of the hill. There were five paragliders up above the quarry getting loads of lift off the moderate breeze, took a bit of video of them before setting off on the 1100ft 2 km downhill all the way from the top to the road, fabulous fun.

Today I picked up Graham, he was desperate for a MTB outing, we took the bikes on the car to Muirshiel country park and cycled over the moor track to Kilmacolm, coffee in the cafe and return the same way. There was plenty of water and ice about to keep us on our toes and the track is very rough, lucky Graham with his full suspension machine, me with a less than adequate suspension seatpost to save my rear end, even so it was great fun.

View the week end video here.

Busbie muir photos here

Route description here

Friday, February 16, 2007

Rediscovering an old trail


Anne and I were up at Largs today, originally I'd intended to climb from the Gogo Burn up to Douglas Park view point then maybe down through Kelburn back along the front to the car but we were enjoying following the track beside the Gogo Burn so much that we just kept going.
Its years since we've been up that way, luckily the trail is passable with a good pair of boots on the feet, the slopes are quite steep above the burn so a good firm step is needed.
There were loads of snowdrops near the start opposite an old weir and lade, the path is rough, muddy and slippy but the burn has loads and loads of lovely little waterfalls and pools. We both enjoyed the walk immensely, coming back down the high track then into Craigmiles cafe for a late lunch.

A few photos from today here

A short video of the walk here

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Just out and about


Wardlaw Cottage in Kelburn

Just been out and about locally the past couple of days. A couple of hours on the bike yesterday. It looks like the chap who blocks one of my MTB trails is resorting to booby traps, blocking the trail with rocks and disguising with them with vegetation. I can't fathom what goes on in some peoples heads, I've been going along that trail for almost 10years no problem, now some prat is trying to cause me damage, I just don't get it.

Yesterday Anne and I took a stroll from Failie to Largs through Kelburn, it was a lovely day, not crystal clear but still cool and sunny. Took a few photos along the way trying to get a little variation on the usual shots I take up there. Lunch at Craigmiles Cafe and return a long the shore front. Very pleasant indeed.

PS This new blogger is a bit strange, I seem to have to put hidden characters in to get the layout I want and the linking to my photos is a bit of a pain, but maybe its just I haven't found the easy way of doing it yet. Another demonstration that change isn't always for the better!

Monday, February 12, 2007

Beach and Busbie Muir

Seamill Shore

On the way to the beach with Anne this morning I spotted a dipper in the Glen Burn and took some video through my binoculars, surprisingly one turned out quite reasonable. Down on the beach there were four seals out of the water resting on the rocks offshore so I had another go at videoing through the binoculars but the seals are only just visible on the clip.
It was a nice day for photos, Arran was clear with a dusting of snow, there lots of birds about as well, plovers, oystercatchers, grey wagtails, mergansers and of course lots of the usual gulls.
After a light lunch I got out on the bike over Busbie Muir windfarm, I didn't fancy getting too muddy and the windfarm has firm tracks out to each of the windturbines.
Met a runner up there I thought he must be training for an event but no, he just likes running about in the rough stuff, I understand, I used to do the same when I was keeping fit for orienteering.
The idea of keeping out of mud didn't quite work out I forgot about 'Kings Road' on the way back, it can be pretty muddy and today the cows had been along churning it up into a real grotty lumpy mess.The bike was in extreme need of a good hose down when I got back home, even so it was a nice couple of hours on the bike.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mauchline Gorge


Fungi in Mauchline Gorge

Didn't manage out on the bike today it was cold, wet and windy, instead after a spot of shopping Anne and I went along to Mauchline Gorge for a gentle wander along the new path.
The nice thing about the new bit is it gives a circuit rather than out and back, a sort of figure of eight if you go left to the gorge instead of following the new track immediately.
I'm always impressed with the gorge all that ancient sandstone worn away by the river, the great viaduct span, the cup and ring markings, the mill lade and of course the riverside path.
For a walk thats only a mile or so its just stuffed full of history and interest.
Took a bit of video along the way and I'd like to think it gives a nice impession of the gorge, but its still worth investigating in the raw.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Ski week

Been at Meribel in France all week with some past workmates skiing.
Great company, great food, some good and not so good skiing, some good and not so good weather but altogether a fabulous week.
Loads of runs at The Three Valleys Resort, we were out all day and didn't cover any run twice, we did that all week.
Day1 was spent finding the ski legs, taking it easy with Stuart, Marianne, and Eddy in the Meribel valley.
Day2 we toured the slopes over to the east of Coursevel to a long easy run called Grand Bosses, then some runs below Bell Air restaurant and had an expensive but delicious lunch at the restaurant.
Day3 Eddy and I went over to Val Thorens, but it was a bit of a ski lift tour with little in the way of good skiing. The way back was nice though and we finished the day on some nice slopes.
Day4 The clouds were down so we skied low across to Coursevel and down toward La Tania, the snow was getting a bit thin and icy down that way so we only went half way to the town. We discovered a lovely run down Loze to Coursevel, no sign of any ice at all, beautiful.
Day5 Was grey with low cloud and snow, Hugh, Ian and I managed to have a great day pottering about on the lower runs, taking a tour around Meribel valley.
Day 6 Absolutely fabulous, 5 inches of new snow and a lovely sunny day, Eddy and I went a tour up to Mount Vallon but we managed to loose each other, Eddy down one hill me down another, I spent the rest of the day touring the intermediate runs on the west of the valley, plus a little diversion down to Les Menures, a lot of miles but it was the last day so I wanted to get in as much as I could safely manage.
It was a great little holiday, all the same its nice to be back, I've missed getting out on the bike so I'll be back out pedaling very soon...tomorrow PM most likely.

Ski pictures here.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Fairlie walk and Portencross

Fairlie View

Walked with Anne along to Fairlie this morning, lovely and cool but just a little hazy.
We were perfectly timed for the train at Fairlie, the trip back to West Kilbride takes about 4minutes, after 2 hours of walking.
The conductor didn't appear to issue tickets so we had a free ride home in time for lunch, a nice plate of home made soup.
Took quite a lot of photos and put them in an album.

PM couldn't resist another stroll this time above Portencross, I cleared a little section of track to make the descent off the cliff a little easier, its still a bit boggy though so I may have a go at some simple drainage....(a ditch).

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Knockendon and Portencross

Glentane hillside

Very mild and still today I could easily have worm my shorts, for some of the route at least.
Went over a very narrow tricky track on the side of Glentane hill, I've come a cropper there several times, rolling down the hill tangled up in the bike, its a bit scarey, today was OK though, the trail wasn't too wet and there was no wind to cause extra wobbles.
Climbed over the moor road and into Knockendon Dam from there it's a bit of a push to a good track leading to the windfarm.
The mist came down as I climbed up to the top wind turbine so had a quick bite to eat and set off downhill back home.

After a spot of lunch I took a very nice stroll along the top of the cliffs above Portencross admiring the view and enjoying the mild weather.

Shot a bit of video along the way, view it here.
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