Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mist and sun

Arran from Seamill beach today

When Anne and I decided to go up to Castle Semple today for a walk around Parkhill Wood we forgot all about the road works. When I remembered I tried to skip around them but just ended up back in the queue.
I'm glad I went though it was still and misty with a light drizzle quite atmospheric and the birds were singing their little hearts out.
I took a few pictures trying to catch the atmosphere and combined them with some video from afternoon today.
PM got out on the MTB over Goldenberry, my favourite hill and there was quite a weather contrast between am and pm.
From the beach I could see the clouds falling off Arran as the sky cleared, a fabulous change, even warm enough for a couple of bugs to bite my bare legs!
See what I mean on the video.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Cleeves Cove

Cleeves Cove near Dalry

Because the ground is a bit drier and the wind was blowing Anne and I decided to have a walk through Blair (Dalry) then up the burn side to Cleeves Cove a small set of limestone caves beside Dusk Water (map reference 318475, Land ranger sheet 63).
To get the best out of the walk we tried to stay beside the burn as much as possible crossing back and forth and climbing the banks several times.
It took a while but was far more entertaining than following the field edges or walking along the road.
This time I remembered to bring a torch so was able to explore the caves, not that there's a lot to see but its good fun all the same.
There are three entrances all interconnected by two tunnels, a large one and a smaller one further back.
I couldn't tempt Anne into the cave, she's not very keen on dark confined spaces but I enjoyed the 10minutes or so of exploring.
We hadn't taken any snacks with us and it took us such a while to walk along the burn that we cut out the North Lissens and community woodland bit of the planned walk in favour of lunch back home.

PM, while Anne got on with some garden tidying I managed and hours run up into Kelburn, first hours run I've had in almost a year, I was very pleased with myself.
If I could just loose half a stone as well I'd be really chuffed.

Short boring video of the mornings walk here

Other videos here.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Passing time by the River Ayr

MTB video Largs to West Kilbride

Car service day today down in Ayr, Anne and I killed the time walking from Auchincruive around the loop in the river. Its lovely now (apart from the Annbank litter track!) its possible to get a 2 hour walk with hardly any time on road.
I like the Auchincruive section at the start the best there seems to be more chance of seeing some wildlife in the mile stretch upriver from Oswald bridge.
As for Annbank I'd love to take all the litter from the trail and dump it in a pile in the middle of the village, although most of the inhabitants probably wouldn't notice the difference.

Got back about 2pm and decided to get out on the MTB over Goldenberry and along to Kelburn for a spot of Kelburn and Fairlie Glen downhill. The effort set me up nicely to enjoy a couple of glasses of wine with dinner, love the way it goes down when I'm a little dehydrated although its a fine line between enjoyment and headache so now I'm going onto the coffee.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mauchline gorge and Lugar water

Walking beside Lugar Water

Anne and I took a walk along Mauchline Gorge and Lugar Water today.
Its a fun walk if you like rough stuff and a bit of difficulty, like the little gorge crossing that needs a bit of confident stepping.
There is lots to see if you have time, Wallaces cave, the 'dangerous' bridge, Auchinleck house with its ice house, game hanging cave, and old summer house on the cliff.
Its a great place to explore, walk description here, go NOW! or at least before mid June when the undergrowth will start making the walk difficult.

Also some spring photos from the past couple of days, but be warned thay are not all sweetness and light!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Picnic on Blaeloch hill

View from Blaeloch hill yesterday

Yesterday morning it was throwing it down with rain but by about 11am the sun had come out and so did I.
Because it still looked showery and the ground was wet I decided on a wellies and brolly walk up into Kelburn, there's a little more scope up that way, if the weather is wild the trees give shelter or if its nice there's the open moor.
I made my way up Fairlie glen taking macro photos then because the air was so clear and it was turning out nice and sunny I climbed high up on to the side of Blaeloch hill to admire the view....WOW!... what a view it was.
I found a nice spot in amongst some rocks out of the cool breeze and settled down for a picnic. I only say picnic because unusually I had brough a flask of tea, normally I just carry a bottle of water.

Well most of my macro shots were rubbish and are deleted but some of the others were OK, view them here and see a similar walking route here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Lots of miles to Kilmacolm

Cycleway army near Kilmacom

I am not a fan of railway cycleways generally too boring, yesterday however in order to avoid some big hills but still cover a good mileage I opted for the cycleway to Kilmacolm. There was a reward, apart from the lack of hills, there are some scupltures on display beside or close to the cycleway.
I love the cycleway army fashioned out of railway scrap and the bronze sculpture 'Fruit Salad' in a lovely setting below double viaduct arches a mile before Bridge of weir.
To keep the energy levels up and bum pain down I stopped off at Kilmacolm for coffee and cake before the long rough stretch to Largs up and over the Brisbane Glen road.
The reward for this effort is a great run downhill into Largs.
I pottered the last bit through Fairlie and along the cycleway enjoying the nice views, got back a 4pm having done around 50miles and still feeling quite good!

SVB video here and photos here.

The route can be viewed here but I used the cycleway from Castle Semple to Kilmacolm yesterday.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

A walk around Neilston Pad

Ploughing near West Kilbride

Anne's been suffering from a cold but was feeling a bit better this morning and fancied a short walk. I decided to go over to Neilston Pad, have a short walk with Anne and then cycle back home.
It was lovely and clear on the hilltop at Neilston, we could see over the top of Glasgow city all the way to Ben Lomond, the Arrochar alps and further into the Highlands.
Neilston Pad is a bit small for a 'serious' walk it only takes about an hour to go round at a leisurely stroll, but the views are great although, because of the trees, there is nowhere to get a full 360deg panorama.

Anne left me and the bike there and I set off down to Stewarton's Coffee Pot cafe for lunch, then back home via Kilwinning and the coast cycleway. It was quite hard work, clouds came over and a bit of a cool headwind got up taking a most of the fun out of it.
All mile in the legs though and that's what its all about at this time of year.....isn't it?

Very short boring (VSB) video here.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Dundonald again.

Kelburn view

Tom phoned this morning he was finished with workman watching and although he had some clearing up to do he thought it could wait until after a few hours cycling, "good thinking" I said.
We went down to Eglinton for a short cycle to Dundonald, only about 25 miles but the weather forecast was for showers PM, so it was a case of "make hay while the sun shines".
Turns out we could have gone a bit further but coffee and cake at Dundonald sitting out below the castle was lovely so it was a good decision.
After the cake stop we cut over the Smugglers Trail on Dundonald Hill to the cycleway at Barrasie and followed it back through Irvine's lovely harbour side area back to Eglinton by about 1 o'clock.
After getting home, having a bite to eat, I got out on the MTB down the beach and over Goldenberry but the forecast showers were heading my way so I sauntered back home for 4pm and spent the next hour changing my freewheel.
It has been slipping after freewheeling, not nice when standing up on the pedals and suddenly there's no resistance.I don't throw much away but that freewheel hub is in the bin!

View the route description here.

I suspect I may have a video of this somewhere, thought so here it is!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Kelburn and Stair

Graffiti Castle (Kelburn)

Yesterday Anne and I had a morning walk trying to keep out of the cold north wind as much as possible by going up Fairlie Glen and into the trees in Upper Kelburn coming back along Lady walk to Fairlie castle.
After lunch with the same idea in my mind Anne kindly transported me and the MTB up to the high (east) gate in Kelburn, way up the Haylie Brae.
Starting from there I was hoping to have the cold wind behind me all the way home. The ground was a little drier than recently so the going was OK, none of that paddle steamer action in the mud from the rear wheel. The moor above Kelburn still has plenty of water about even though there is a well defined track, the ditch needs cleared out to stop the water running down the trail but it won't happen, too much outlay for no return, pity it would be great up there if the track was half decent.
I had a very nice run back home shooting a bit of video on route, view it here.

Today Anne is nursing a bit of cold and chased me out for a bit of quiet time to be sure she could manage the tennis in the evening.
I decided to get out on the road bike down to Stair assited by the cool north wind, Anne kindly agreed to pick me up. I think the propect of lunch at Stair helped.
I enjoyed the run but was annoyed by the masses of litter at the side of some of the country lanes, miles from anywhere there were hundreds of polythene bags and bottles lining the roadside.
I was wondering if the council have cut back on roadside cleanup its a mess!

On a lighter subject if you are intrigued by the photo above more info and video can be found here and my own little offering here.

Friday, April 04, 2008

The Burrell

Pollock House

Just for a change of scene Anne and I decided to pay a return visit to Pollock Park in Glasgow for a walk, some lunch and a meander around the Burrell Collection.
We had a nice hours walk around the park remembering orienteering events with the kids something like 12 years ago, the mud is still there some of it migrating onto the mountain bike trails.
The Burrell lunch and viewing was very nice, I took some photos and video but they are just dull, not up to my usual standard of simply boring so I am going to delete the lot.....maybe I'll just have another little look before I do that.

I took a look at my Kelvin grove museum video and I can see that Kelvin Grove have the visual edge of a magnificent building and lively displays (better for kids), the Burrell is nice but in a much less flamboyant way, you feel you want to read the information on the exhibits... but they are both worth a visit.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Flowers bugs and Kelburn

Bug feeding on marsh marigold

Nice and mild today, Anne and I had a walk along some of my secret routes this morning only to dicover that Mr Block a Trail is in operation again.
I'll need to go into trail patrol mode and try to catch him at it and hopefully politely discourage him.
I don't know what kicked him off this time but I can almost understand it because on the Fairlie Castle trail horses have been using the path into Kelburn and just chewing it to bits. However a block a trail person has padlocked the gate at the top of the glen so that should stop it. Can't say I'm sorry so I guess I work on dual standards depending on what suits me....ho..hum.

PM got out on the MTB along to Kelburn to do the two downhill trails I've been grooming recently, my it was hard work doing the double climb, but it was just about worth the effort but the best bit is still the Fairlie Glen run down past the castle.
Needless to say I got very grotty from all the new mud and on the way back I got some funny looks from a group of young lads out on their gleeming bikes, but they'll learn about muddy fun if they keep at it.

Route description here.

Took a few macro photos in the garden before the bike run, view them here.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Dundonald Castle is open for visits

Munnoch reservior near Dalry Ayrshire

Yesterday looked like the best day of the week according to the Met Office web site, unfortunately Tom was on builder watch duty so no cycling for him poor chap!
I decided to get out on the road, recent rain has softened up the local MTB trails and I didn't fancy all that mud on a nice dry day.
I like getting out on the road bike when the sun shines and there's no wind.
I arranged with Anne for a pick up at Dundonald and set off not exactly sure which route to go. It turned out quite a bit less than direct, over to Dalry, Kilmaurs and Crosshouse but all very pleasant.
Dundonald castle and visitor centre is now open for the summer, one of my favourite stops.
When the weather's nice they put a table outside and being south facing and sheltered its a lovely spot for a coffee and cake stop.
After coffee its worthwhile walking up to the castle, the view from the hill is quite something, across to Arran and north to Ben Lomond over the Muirshiel hills.
Anne arrived and after coffee and cake we had an hours walk around Dundonald hill trails, lots of lovely primroses on show but only one bluebell to be seen.
It'll be a few weeks yet before there at their best, a spring treat to look forward to.

I'd originally thought I'd get a lift home in the car but it was so nice I decided to cycle back, so glad I did cause it was great, through Eglinton to Kilwinning Abbey and the shore cycleway.

Lovely days cycle, view a SB video of it here.

Photos here

Similar route description here.

Actual route on map my ride.
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