Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A great week end's mountain biking

Drumlanrig Castle

My cycling chum Graham was on a long break this weekend and was keen to make the best of the settled weather. Friday he cycled over and we did a local loop down to seamill, Portencross and Biglees. There is a prominent sandstone rock just off the track on the beach and thinking of McMoab at Kiroughtree I thought I'd have a little play. There's not a lot but it was quite fun.

On the Sunday we crossed the Clyde to the edge of the Highlands to do the Loch Eck loop, we did it clockwise for a change the down side being the huge climb out of Glen Branter although the view going this way is fabulous looking down the Loch and the single track finish downhill to the tea room at Ben More Gardens is another bonus.

Monday Anne, Moira, Graham and I went down to Drumlanrig, Graham and I to MTB and the wives to do a spot of walking. It was a little damp in places making for quite a few challenging rooty sections. This time we found part of the final section I'd missed on my last visit but there must be a sign missing or something as we had to loop back to find it.
There was a falconry display going on behind the Castle, the bird was a bit inexperienced, it decided I was the display master and tried to land on me, that was a bit of a shock. You can see it on the video, a very short image of an approaching falcon before I dive out of the way.
After the display we took a tour of the castle before Graham headed back down the road to work and we headed back home.

Fabulous week end of mountain biking.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Midge hell

Yesterday was West Kilbride flower show, Anne and I had several home made bottles of wine entered and she was lucky enough to win a first, a second prize and the wine trophy. I can't claim any credit except in an advisory role like "just add more sugar and see how it goes", well done Anne!
After yesterday's 16 hours of wet weather Graham and I decided to stay away from the mud and took a spin on the MTBs from Muirshiell above Lochwinnoch to Kilmacolm.
The moor track was gloriously wet but isn't muddy so it was geat fun splashing through all the surface water and swollen streams.
The route is a figure of nine with a stop off at Kilmacolm 'java minute' cafe for coffee and cake.
On the way our back our feet were so wet we decided to clear the bigger rocks out of a couple of wide stream crossings so that we could video each other splashing across on the bikes, what a laugh.
Back at the car the midges were unbelievable, clouds and clouds of the little biting beasts, by the time we got the bikes on the back of the car and climbed in we were well and truely bitten all over. It was a relief to get the car going and the windows down to clear the little bliters out.
Fun day out all the same.

Video of a winter crossing here.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Dog Menace

Diamond Hill falls

Anne and I were round at some friends last night eating supper and sampling wine for the upcoming West Kilbride Flower show.
Hardly surprising I was a bit slow of the mark this morning.
Graham came over about 10am on his MTB and we headed up toward Fairlie.
The weather looked a bit showery but was brightening all the time so I was hoping for the best and fancied paying a visit to Biglees waterfall, I thought it'd be going well after the recent rainfall.
The short route to the waterfall goes up a nice rough track toward Biglees quarry and cuts off left through Biglees farm, today the dogs were out, I know one of them Bingo, it seems quite friendly when its on its own but takes a lead from the other's barking and nips at the ankles at times.
Well today it nipped at my ankle and nearly got caught up in the bike, I was so surprised, no barking just straight for the leg while still wagging its tail.
So now I've a little bruise on the outide of my ankle courtesy Bingo, I'll be watching that naughty little canine in future.

The walk off the track down to the falls is a bit slippy and dangerous but it was worth it to see the spectacle of Glen Burn waterfall, 30ft high and going really well.
I didn't clamber across the burn and go behind the falls, the burn was a bit high and with all the spray off the falls I think I may have got a bit wet.
Stopped off at the Mudhook in Fairlie for a pint and snack before dodging showers home, good fun apart from the bruised ankle.

Video here.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Family Tree

When I was across visiting my sister a week or two back we got the old family album out and I decided to take a record of it just by photographing with the digital camera.
The results were just about acceptable so I posted them on a family album web site to share with others in the clan.
That and some agitation from Anne got me researching my ancestors on the web.
I've spent so much time on it I haven't had computer time to do photos or videos, today though, since the sun was shining, Anne and took ourselves on a lovely little cycle from west Kilbride up the coast to Largs marina for a bit of lunch.
Its somewhere we don't normally go, with the unusual marina surroundings and the sunshine it felt just like sitting outdoors abroad on holiday.

Maybe I'll get round to doing the video of the run and post it here soon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

MTB Largs

At Largs Marina

Graham came across for a spot of mountain biking yesterday, he fancied a cycle along the hillside to Largs.
The best MTB route to Largs starts up Biglees Quarry, getting all the climbing out of the way first on a good firm track then enjoying the singletrack and views along the side of the moor before the final super fast descent down through Kelburn to coffee and cake at the Harlequin cafe in Largs.
It was mild and breezy almost ideal weather for the MTB, with enough wind to keep the bugs away and keep us cool.
Half way along the route is a lovely little burn crossing at Fairlie Glen, I can clear it about 20% of the time but I didn't manage it this time, only got wet feet though, not like a few weeks back when I went in full stretch and had to wring out my shirt as well as my socks.

Up at Largs some rich chap had parked his helicopter by the marina maybe visiting his yacht for lunch and drinkies, I suppose life looks a bit different from the other side of piles and piles of ready cash, just as well I can enjoy myself on a low budget.

Video of the outing here.

I read Yahoo are changing the way they do video to compete with other sites, I hope whatever they do won't knacker my blog links yet again...rant...rant!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Mount Stuart and Bute

Rothesay Castle

I've been looking for an opportunity to get over to Bute with the idea of viewing Mount Stuart house and doing a bit of mountain biking over the moor tracks, today Anne and I decided to give it a go.
There are two new ferries on the crossing, the Bute and the Argyll, they are identical with strange square towering superstructures that the wind whistles around on all sides so we spent the windy outgoing crossing having a bite to eat keeping out of the breeze.

Mount Stuart is about 6km around the coast from Rothesay just a nice little warm up on the bike, with a bit of off road by the shore in the estate.
Because we came in a strange way it took us a bit of time and cycling to find the ticket office the signs aren't very good, I've yet to see one saying 'ticket office'.
I was hoping to get a few photos or video on the tour but they have a no photo policy inside the house with attendants in every room so didn't get the chance to take any and couldn't find any good ones on the web either but the web site has some Ipix virtual tours to look at. The place is completely built in marble, quite something, £7 a head to get in but there was a water problem during our visit so we got in for a fiver. My big dissappointment was not getting to see the swimming pool below the big hall.

After the tour we looped back over the rough moor track to Rothesay, had some late lunch and caught the 4pm ferry back, nice day out.

Today's photos here.
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