Saturday, June 30, 2007

Ample mud

Aberfoyle view

Had an invite from Graham to his place up at Aberfoyle for a few days hoping we'd get a bit of mountain biking.
It didn't quite go as planned though but Graham and I did manage a very nice loop along Glen Ample and Loch Luibnaig.
There was lots of mud about breaking up the single track flow, if some local enthusiast took some time to throw down a few rocks in the mud it could be a fabulous trail, as it is the good stretches are great but its best feature is the scenery and the feeling of remoteness.
We stopped off at Rob Roy McGregors grave at Balquidder before heading back round the easy home stretch down the Loch.
The Library tea room at Balquidder was shut, not sure if that was a Wednesday thing or something more permanent, still a great day out though even with all the mud and no cafe stop.

Some pictures here.

Video here.

View the route description here.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Greenock Cut

The Greenock Cut

We took a walk around the Greenock cut today the cool air gave us clear views across the Clyde up to the Arrochar Alps and the fresh breeze kept us nice and cool.
It turned out to be a bit of a wildlife outing, tadpoles, newts, rabbit kittens, ducklings, and got a few nice photos of a butterfly just before it was capable of flight, lucky me as soon as they can fly they never sit still long enough to get photographed, unless your willing to crawl about for an hour or so its a waste of time.
The walk takes about 2.5 hours unless like me you stop every 10 minutes to take photos and video.

View today's video here

Route description here.

Photos here.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Troon to Ayr

Ayr auld kirk

Anne suggested a walk from Troon to Ayr yesterday.
We started doing this walk during foot and mouth access restrictions a few years back and have been doing it regularly ever since.
It needs a nice still day as its along the coast and is exposed all that the weather throws at you.

Part way is a little wasteland area which is full of meadow flowers, yesterday we saw hares foot clover, broad leaved pea, and a new one on me lesser meadow rue, plus lots more.

On route as usual I took some video and stills, the result can be viewed here, its not exactly exciting stuff but it was a nice walk.

The description of the route can be viewed here.

Today Graham and I had a few hours around our local area 3 hours and hardly more than three miles from home, great fun though. SB video here.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Peregrine Falcons

Kilmaurs Toll House

Nice and warm this morning, gave Tom a ring and arranged an outing on the road bikes.
We intended to go to south of Ayr but in the car on route we thought the sky looked a bit dark that way so opted instead for one of our favourite local cycles over to Stewarton from Eglinton Park.
Easy going with no wind the miles just slipped past pleasantly except just beyond Dunlop there was a light shower of rain, it only lasted 10 minutes, just enough time to get the waterproofs on and off.
We stopped off at 'The Coffee Pot' in Stewarton for some early lunch.
The waitress should be on the tele weather forcast, one look out the door and she said it looked like we were going to get wet.
Tom had some things to see to PM so we just did the normal route getting back home about 1.30.

After a freshen up and a bite to eat I went down to see if I could see anything of the local peregrine falcons, luckily enough there were four around, the adult male and three youngsters all sunning themselves on the crags.
I managed a spot of video through the spotting scope and a few stills of some insects so I've put them together and the video can be viewed here.

I was going to link to some photos of the route but those cursed people at Yahoo photos are about to close it down...ARGH... a year ago they changed their site and I spent hours relinking now their abandoning ship so goodness knows what I'll do now. Their alternative site is flickr or I may just have to find some direct web space somehow...a little challenge...hmmm??

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A two hill day

Kaim Hill Old Millstone Quarry

Took a notion to do the Kaim downhill MTB route this morning the sky had that do anything look, it might pour down, the sun might come out, or just stay as is.
Before leaving I made sure the waterproofs were in the bag beside the 'camelback' and mobile phone.

I thought about exploring some recently bulldozed tracks but in the end chose my well tried route over Glentane, a bit dicy but great fun, after the slog up that is.
Today I chose to go right to the top for the full downhill experience, and my was it great. The view was a little limited but the trail was in good condition except for one spot that's getting a bit cut up with use, I may need to give it some attention.
Timed getting back just nicely for lunch.

PM was still a bit of a lottery weather wise so Anne and I took a stroll down at Portencross and back over Goldenberry.
We had given up on the peregrine falcons but today we heard the young ones whining from the cliffs and saw one exercising near the nest (we think).
It looks like we may be lucky enough to see a bit of action from them soon so we need to get down there a bit more often to see them fledging.
I'm looking forward to getting a few pictures and maybe, if I'm really lucky, some video.

Kaim downhill video here.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wee Cumbrae

Lighthouse on Wee Cumbrae

For my birthday Anne arranged a day trip to Wee Cumbrae with a few friends, originally it was to be Saturday but the weather forecast was bad so she postponed it to Sunday, just as well the sun shone on us and it was a flat calm for the crossing. The boat was a semi inflatable for 12 people and it could sure go at some speed, but very stable as the guy threw it about to give us a thrill.
On the way over we saw a porpoise in open water and then some resting seals on the rocks at Millport.
The island is looked after by Al and Bonnie Davidson, they made us welcome, showed us where to stow our stuff then showed us the garden they've made a lovely job of the garden and grounds around the big house.

We all dashed across to Castle Island before the tide cut it off but even so on the way back one of our party managed to get wet feet as she failed to keep her footing on the wet rocks.

The caretakers keep a path open to the west side of the island where there is a lighthouse built by Thomas Smith in 1793. Its not operating now but its worth a visit for the great views alone.
We had our picnic there before coming back across the island.
The gulls were nesting at the highest point and weren't happy with the disturbance, but we managed to catch sight of a few nests with big chicks, eggs, and a chick just emerging.

The return trip was super fast, the chap was probably ready for his tea, we stopped of at the marina for a quick refreshment before heading home.

Great day out!

View photos here.

View video here.

Info from

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Arrochar and Ardgartan

Damsel Fly

A few weeks back (May07) I took a trip up to Arrochar to do a mountain bike loop around Ardgartan peninsula but all I did was watch the rain falling for three hours from the boring comfort of several tea rooms.
Sunday past (10June) Graham and I had another attempt this time it went much much better.
I hoped to do two routes from the visitor centre, the first round Ardgartan peninsula (32km and 1000m ascent) then a shorter route (22km, 900m ascent) around Glen Loin.
There is some nice singletrack to be had but the Ardgartan loop has some very long forest road climbs especially after Lochgoilhead up to the Rest and be Thankfull, what a slog!
The other shorter route around Glen Goil is much more rewarding with some lovely enclosed glen riding and a great singletrack ending down Glen Loin.
Both routes start at the Tourist information centre (coffee and snacks) with a singletrack climb starting (and finishing) the Glen Loin route.

We were on the bikes for six hours with only a half hour break at the tourist office between routes for some much needed fuel.
A fabulous outing but long and tiring, I'd recommend the Glen Loin route, its a smasher!

Map is Landranger 56, the tourist centre is at MR270038, the Glen Loin start is 50m down the road and the only other navigational difficulty is the bridge at MR303093, the start of the singletrack in Glen Loin. There is a new track at Succoth zig zagging up the hill from the car park this saves doubling back to climb up the forest road.

Video of the day here.

Friday, June 08, 2007


The weather looked fair for a few days so a provisional plan was put in action, a check on Calmac web site for ferries, a phone call to Tom, permission sought and granted and we were off to Islay on the bikes.
We live close to the Arran ferry so getting to Islay is easy, an hour on the ferry, 14 miles on Arran, another short ferry crossing, 6 miles to the Kennacraig ferry and pop off at Islay (2 hours later).

We had hoped to get over to Port Charlotte Youth Hostel for the first night but it was full, so was the hotel, fortunately the Tourist Office sorted us out at Bowmore the first night but that ment more cycling next day.
On the way around to Portnahaven we had a bag incident, after taking a picture Tom left it beside the road and it was three miles later before he noticed it missing..oh no! I just hate going back but there was nothing else for it, even the sheep looked stangely at us after passing three times.

Finally we got to Portnahaven, a lovely spot, nothing much there just a row of white houses, a nice harbour, lots of blue sky, very blue sea, a few seals, and waves crashing at the harbour entrance, all very pretty on a warm sunny day.
In order to get a better circuit we intended a short bit of off road at Machir Bay, WOW! what a cracking route a narrow rough track below shear cliffs down to a meadow of buttercups and daisies beside golden sands and some more very very blue sea with big atlantic waves breaking on the beach.
Just up from the beach is a little distillery with a cafe so we stopped of there for some lunch before heading over the second loop taking us round by Ballygrant and back down the minor road to Port Ellen to the 'Trout Fly' B&B, a very nice lady made us most welcome.

We woke to blue skies and sunshine next day but didn't get cycling until midday due to the ferry crossing back to Kennacraig.
The afternoon cycle made up for it though lovely quiet roads (after the first 5 to Tarbert) along the sea lochs to Bute back home in time for a late tea.

Fabulous three days on the bike.

Photos here.

Islay video here.

Basic route map below.

Friday, June 01, 2007

More macro photos

Iris with Arran in the background

It was a fabulous morning this morning, I've been hoping to get up to Arrochar again with the MTB but the weather lady said it was to be showery later today so I abandoned that idea in favour of a local stroll with Anne along Portencross shore and back over Goldenberry.
On the way I was keeping my eye out for anything I could get up close to for a photo and a few things came my way but the highlight was when Anne discovered a nest of baby spiders, and mummy wasn't far away.
Mummy spider was quite patient and I got lots of shots some good close ups amongst them.
Another nice shot was of a bee, wings extended, landing on a lovely Viper's Bugloss.

View the photos here.
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