Monday, April 30, 2007


Dalquharran house Dailly

Thought about going over to Bute yesterday but was a bit slow in getting out of bed so that was a non starter, instead Graham and I went down to Crosshill to do a loop over the moor to Dailly.
Half way over the moor road, after a 2 mile warm up climbing on the road and a miles rough stuff there's a quarry on the left of the track.
The quarriers dug out the limestone strata at a steep angle so the workings are filled with water but its still a nice feature to visit just a few yards off the track, an excuse for a breather.

On the way down the trail there's a loop off left shortly after the gate, its a push at the start but it leads to a lovely view point and some great singletrack in the woods, definitely worth the detour.
If you go that way and don't do this loop your not a mountain biker.

After the singletrack we made the mistake of following the trail across the main road into the fields by the river, don't' do it its rubbish, just stick to the road into Dailly.
At Tilly's tea room in Dailly we stopped of for coffee and cake, you need to be assertive to get served here, the owner is far too busy gossipping to pay attention to customers so just go up to the counter, get between her and whoever she's talking to and ask politely for what you want, that seems to work OK.

After Tilly's we tackled the climb to Quarrel Hill and Glenshalloch/Craigfin woods.
The first bit is OK but then it just keeps going up, one of these hills that doesn't look much but eventually your in the granny gear, it just keeps going up and up.
Eventually though we got our reward with some lovely track down Craigfin wood, lovely (sometimes muddy) singletrack through a bluebell wood.
We got back to Crosshill after four hours cycling on some great trails, absolutely fabulous stuff, go there and enjoy it!

Route description here

Video of the day here

Some photos from around the area here.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A walk over the moor

Clyde view above Fairlie

After a bit of discussion this morning Anne and I decided to walk across the moor via Bradshaw ruin and enjoy the fabulous view on the way down to Fairlie, we weren't disappointed. It was cool and breezy but the sun shone and we had a lovely stroll with great views.
There were loads of skylarks about I thought we might find a nest with young but no luck even though we did search whenever a bird flew from under our feet.
Its not long since I cycled across the same route, just a few weeks ago when the ground was dry, I think its a better walk than cycle although there's no downhill thrill at the end the views are easier to admire.

Route description here.

Video here.

Some photos here.

A Kaim Hill day

Kaim quarry

After my six hours on the bike Thursday yesterday morning I hadn't much notion for cycling even though it was a lovely day.
Instead I decided to go for a trail maintenance walk up into Kaim quarry.
I layed a few rocks on some soft stuff and bridged a little burn with a slabby boulder but basically just enjoyed the view and the sunny weather.

PM after weeding our little pond enthusiasm for the bike had returned and I decided to go visit the Kaim downhill via scary Glentane, quite a slog.
The trail wasn't too wet and the 1100ft downhill was fabulous as always.
From the top of the hill I could see a tug on the Clyde towing what looked like a huge cup and saucer first in one direction then in the other, a queer site.

On the way up to Crosbie and Glentane I saw some chaps on the 400kv cables three of them on little dangling motorised buggies attached to the overhead lines moving back and forward finshing off the cables. Tough old job being a linesman high up exposed to all sorts of weather.

Just timed it nicely to meet Jim an old cycling chum on the way back through Hunterston for a blether on the way home.

Kaim downhill route description

A Kaim hill video here

Some photos here

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Barcraigs in the sun

Cherry blossom

Starting from Bieth Anne and I had a short cycle over to lovely Barcraigs Reservior. There was only a very light breeze, the reflections off the water were fabulous and the views were great all the way to Ben Lomond and beyond.
We had a snack at Lochwinnoch RSPB in amongst a group of school kids, it seemed they had scared off the birds since there was nothing to see.
Anne stopped off at Beith and I carried on over to Dunlop and Kilwinning then back home, almost 6 (easy) hours on the bike.

Short bit of video of the route here.

Photos here

Route description (similar) here.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Sun after the rain

West Kilbride Main Street

Hooray! a dry day, Anne and I had a nice little stroll around Hunterston peninsula this morning and PM I got out on the mountain bike along the beach, over Goldenberry and back via portencross.
The light was great, catching the waves on the beach and beside Portencross castle. The portencross trail isn't as muddy as I thought it might be so here's hoping a few dry days will sort out the trails again.

Route description here.

Short video of the route here.

A wet spring day in Fairlie Glen

Bluebells in Fairlie Glen

It feel like the rain is following me, when I went over to Spain two weeks ago the rain was belting down over there and now I'm back the rain is belting down here.
The trails are a mess again and the cloud has barely got off the ground.
Its set to improve but it will take a while before the trails recover to what they were like a week ago.
I did get out for a brolly and wellies walk yesterday with the intention of trying to get some photos and video of the wet.
The rain was intermittient it was mild with almost no wind, quite pleasant really.
I met a couple up Fairlie Glen, they are on holiday from Croydon camping behind Largs they were enjoying the glen walk while trying to get a site of Dippers in the burn.
I shot a bit of video and a few photos which I have strung together and called 'A wet day in April'

Photos here.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

The usual stuff

Largs Bay

Since getting back from my little MTB holiday in Spain I've not been out much on the bike.
Anne and I have had a few local walks, one down around Hunterston Peninsula hoping to see the Peregrine Falcons but no luck and another from Fairlie to Largs on a beautifully clear warm day, it was a real treat and of course we stopped off at Craigmiles cafe for lunch.

Short video of the walk here.

Today didn't look very promising but Graham phoned and we decided to give it a go on the MTBs. Glad we did although the cloud never lifted it stayed dry and we had four great hours on our local trails up to Largs, back along the sea wall, Goldenberry and the beach, stopping of for a coffee and cake break in the Harlequin Cafe in Largs.
I was looking at a web site yesterday that described a long distance walk along the coast of Ayrshire and it got me thinking that my MTB through routes is almost good enough for long distance walks, I'd just need to add a few walk loops to the maps, add to the descriptions a little and it would be ready. Ho hum, looks like I've given myself a little project for next few evenings.

PS It was easier than I thought so view the through routes here.
If you click the maps you get a description of the route.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Joyriders Spain

Cordoba Spain

The weather god conspired on me and the other riders last week at the mountain bike 'Joyriders' centre an hour north of Malaga.
When I arrived the rain was bouncing off the tarmac and as I discovered that day the normal local trails were unridable, this meant the riding area would be a bit further afield above Cordoba away from the local clay.
First day was a sort of assessment day, riding the wooded hills above Cordoba on some nice mainly untechnical single track and with occassional lovely views over the town.
The next day (Wednesday) was the normal rest day and the guide was off to do some trail clearing.
Three of us went along to get out and about and I had a nice day pottering about on trails near the clearing area finishing on a rather enjoyabe downhill and single track back to the bus.
The third day dawned dull and during the climb to the highest point above Cordoba the heavens opened, we abandoned the ride.
The next day looked much the same so the Saturday rest day was brought forward, I did get out for a little cycle though around a very nice little road loop before retreating in the face of threatening rain.

Saturday was more like Spain, the sun was shining and we were taken on a modified local run to keep out of the worst of the clay trails.
What a run! It was absolutely magnificent, through the north west part of the Sierra Subbeticas, starting at the high point Ermita de la Sierra, a short climb followed by a thrilling little zig zag mule path down from the summit, over an open plateau, single track along the hillside and a marvellous descent along another zig zagging mule track to Zuheros village, a long long climb, followed by a fabulous downhill through the Rio Ballon Gorge to a late lunch at Zuheros.

Last day dawned bright again but it was back to the hills of Cordoba to complete the loop we were rain off on Thursday, the last bit of the trail is a roller coaster ride of technical downhill and one of the party had a very nasty fall.
It took us an hour to walk him out to the nearest house and the waiting ambulance.
He sustained a broken shoulder, collar bone and ribs, very very nasty.

The Joyrider centre is run by Garry and Judeth, very nice friendly people, its a bit like a high class hostel, breakfast is a help yourself affair. You get transported to the rides in a mini bus and guided around the trails.
In the evening its down to a local restaurant for meal and drinks then back to the house for TV/ DVD/ games and free drink.

The trails looked great especially the more local area in the Subbeticas Park, but due to the weather and bad luck I didn't get the best of it, however Garry and Jude have made a very kind offer of a free holiday to make up for my bad luck, so it looks like I'll be going back to sample some more of what looks like great trails.
I just hope next time my luck holds up.

Short video of the trails and area here.

Some photos here.

Saturday, April 07, 2007


Seamill shore

Anne and I thought better of going far today for fear of getting snarled up in holliday traffic so we took ourselves from home down the Glen along the beach to Portencross and back over Goldenberry, three and a half hours lovely walking and at the end of the Glen we saw our first group of bluebells.
It was a beautiful clear cool day there was a very low tide today and we managed to get quite close to the seals off shore for a spot of video.
PM Graham called in to say hello so I did a quick change and got out with him for a short spin on the MTB around the peninsula.
Along at portencross we came across a group of twitchers watching the Peregrine Falcons, they were kind enough to let us have a peek through their scope.

Today's video here.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Fairlie moor crossing

Arran from the moor

If anybody wants an easy crossing of Fairlie moor there's a single track road suitable for the car or the roadie but for the mountain bike there is a remote semi cyclable track out past the ruins of an old farm called Bradshaw. If its dry or frozen it becomes a bit less of a push and, since the ground is pretty dry at the moment I decided to go that way yesterday.
It starts over the side of Glentane hill a very narrow difficult (for my limited ability) singletrack. Yesterday it was a bit breezy and I ended up tumbling down the hillside not for the first time, but no harm done to me or the bike, except perhaps to my confidence.
The climb onto the high moor is a slog and got me wondering why I bother with this MTB run at all, at Bradshaw I rediscovered the answer, its remote, its quiet, the view is fabulous and the anticipation of the fabulous descent off the hill down to Fairlie makes the pushing and hard work all worthwhile.
Thats it out of my system for now but who knows when the call of Bradshaw will draw me out that way again.

Some video of the outing here.

Route description here.

Some photos here.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Lunch at Stair

Failford Primroses

As Anne and I were discussing where we might have an bit of outdoors today Stair Inn popped into my head, its been a while since we were there and looking at the clock suggested walking from Failford to Stair we'd time it nicely for lunch.
We often reserve the Failford to Stair walk for a less than perfect day, it offers a bit of shelter along the river(Ayr)side so its good for a brolly walk out of the breeze. Today though was a beautiful spring day, sunshine and a cool light breeze ideal walking weather.
The Failford walk was just lovely, lots of primroses blooming by the path and birds singing their hearts out. We think this walk is the nicest walk in Ayrshire, its lunch at Stair Inn that swings it for us.
On route I captured a pair of goosander on video by shooting through the binoculars they are quite shy birds so we were lucky to get close enough to film them.

Today's video here

Part route description here but continue beyond the route west along the river 2 miles to Stair

Some Failford pictures here.

Irvine and Dundonald

Irvine Harbourside

Now that its Easter holidays Dundonald Castle visitor centre is open, its a nice spot to stop for coffee and cake during a cycle. If its nice they put tables outside in sun sheltered by the building with a view up to the castle its a very pleasant spot. Tom and I went off on a 30mile road loop from Eglinton to Dundonald but for a change we cut over the new Dundonald paths toward Loans and came back along the Sustrans Trail through picturesque Irvine Harbourside.
Near Kilwinning we got talking to a bird watching chap who told up the Peregrine Falcons are back again at Portencross so PM I took a wander down there and after an hour of hunting I found them and also a pair of ravens. I'll be keeping a watch on them over the next few weeks hopefully I'll get some video for my efforts.

Irvine video here.

Some photos here

Monday, April 02, 2007

Mugdock Park

North of Mugdock

I don't seem to have a web page describing the walk at Mugdock Park where Anne and I went today, just north of Mingavie, maybe I'll get round to it. Its a lovely walk from the centre around the park loch to Mugdock castle, down to the West Highland Way, out of the park around Craigallian Loch and back. A lovely couple of hours.
At the centre there's coffee and lunch available start and finish we took ours at the garden centre restaurant for a change.
We got there about 10am before the centre got busy, had a coffee and set off, by the time we got back about 1.30 it was like a different place there were so many people at the centre, but we managed to get some lunch before setting off for home.

After a spot of camera downloading I got out for a jog down at Portencross.
My it was a struggle! Maybe the walk had sapped my energy, or maybe yesterdays bike run, or maybe both, cause it wasn't easy at all, couldn't run up the steeper hill section to the top of Goldenberry hill, come to think of it I don't think I even looked at the view, what a waste!
Near the end of the hour I did get that nice floating feeling coming over me as I sort of settled into a rhythm even though I was barely managing to keep the pain at bay.

MTB route description here

Video of Mugdock here

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Stinchar Bridge to Loch Doon Loop

Loch Doon Dam

Since it was a magnificent day I thought I'd get a bit further afield and have a matching magnificent mountain bike outing. I don't think there's anywhere better than the Stincher to Loch Doon loop, within a sensible drive that is.
It takes me almost an hour to get there by car but it is definitely worth the effort.
The trail was made by the forestry commission but it isn't a super smooth fast track with berms and jumps etc it's extremely rough and it takes a lot of concentration to keep the snake bite punctures at bay. There are some lovely rough downhill sections and the return is along a smooth forest road with fabulous views down into the remote Galloway hills.
Being a holiday week and a Sunday it was relatively busy on the trails, I saw about a dozen walkers but only one mountain biker on the rough stuff between Bradan and Doon and a few others near Loch Doon Castle.
It proved to be a fabulous day on the bike, a great trail with great views and possibly the remotest play area in Scotland just by the north side of the lovely Loch Riecawr, I couldn't resist a bit of a play.
On the way back home in the car I stopped off at the Buck in Straiton for coffee and some lovely carrot cake before wending my way home.

Route description here

Some photos here.

Today's video here.
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