Friday, May 30, 2008

Cornalees to West Kilbride

Mayfly on brake cable

Since it was warm still and sunny this morning I thought it'd be nice up at Cornalees for a MTB loop around the cut.
If the air is clear the views are stunning, over to the highlands across the Clyde, sure enough it was like that today and cycling anticlockwise gives the best outlook, so that's what we did, pottering along admiring it all.
It only takes about an hour to do the Greenock cut so I decided to cycle back home along the Kelly cut then minor roads took another couple of hours, great views and lovely warm sun.

Video here.

Loch Thom routes here.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Revisit to jalbum

Sunset over Wee Cumbrae

Just got my bike back from Walkers Cycles, Kilmaurs there was so much do be done to it that I thought I let them do it while I enjoyed the good weather.
Thats it done and the only pain was parting with the cash.
Haven't tried it out yet but the sun is to shine tomorrow so there is a chance I'll get out.

Tonight I revisited jalbum a neat package for producing on line photo albums.
It didn't take me long to put together a little album of the macro photos, the presentation is nice, better looking than the flickr stuff. View it here then have a go for yourself its FREE!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Garden Safari IV

Damsel Fly

Did some garden macro yesterday, video here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Carrick and Culzean

Deer park at Culzean

Ground dry weather fine tide at Girvan low, a good recipe for a Carrick hills Culzean circuit.
Graham and I were off to Maybole to take advantage of this rare opportunity. Starting from the railway station gives a good warm up climb. The visibility was not great but we couldn't expect everything, if that was put into the equation we'd never get there!
I forgot the map so had to do it from memory but it turned out ok, just a couple of iffy route choices but we didn't get badly lost.
One little unusual aspect of this route is needing low tide along Croy shore otherwise its a road diversion, kind of defeats the point really. Today was OK for tide just the loose stones and sand on the shore were a pain.
Coffee and cake in Culzean before we did a loop in the park and back the short way to Maybole.

Very nice day out, video here.

Route description here except that we shortened it by going from Culzean direct to Maybole.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cairngorm Circuit

Braemar Castle

For a long time I've had a desire to do a Cairgorm tour on the mountain bike and being a bit of a weather forecast watcher I decided this week looked good.
I chose Braemar as the start point (I thought it would be slightly less driving) with Aviemore and Tomintoul as stop off points.
Drove up Monday morning early and got started by 10am, I'd only gone 1/2 a mile before I was drawn into a local Braemar cafe for coffee and cake, the early rise was my excuse.
Road to Linn of Dee is a nice warm up with some lovely views, from there its an easy track a long way past White Bridge but I'm glad the ground was dry because the bit from Geldie Lodge to Glen Feshie is nothing wonderful. It has been 'improved' for walkers so there are these large stepping stones to bunny hop between, what a pain, sometime literally!
The descent down Glen Feshie was fabulous lots of lovely singletrack. I kept off the big track lower down and got some extra marvelous singletrack as a reward.
To keep off tarmac I kept on the east side of the Glen to Achlean, Inchreach Forest, Lochan Eilein Inverdruie and Aviemore Youth Hostel.
A good long day Glen Feshie and Inchrach are a dream!

From Aviemore I kept away from the tarmac by retracing my route to Lochan Eilein and following the lovely trails through Rothiemurchas south of Loch Morlich.
There were groups of youngsters out on bikes and canoing on the loch, walkers all the way to Ryvoan Bothy but after that it all got quiet.
I chose to go down to the River Nethy ford and crossed the river barefoot, a bit of a painfull experience. I'd think my foot was on a nice comfy flat stone, put my weight on it and it would slip of onto something extremely uncomfortable. Not so easy with a bike on my shoulder.
Eag Mhor was a bit of a disappointment, not as much singletrack as I'd hoped, but would be much better in the opposite direction.
Stayed at Glen Avon Hotel in Tomintoul for the night, and watched The Bourne Supremacy for the third time while relaxing with a glass of wine.

A nice light breakafast set me up for the last leg back to Breamar lots and lots of landrover track but with a nice bit of singletrack by Loch Builg and a final massive downhill run to Braemar.
I also broke my derailluer clean off and had to shorten the chain to make any pedalling progress. I took the chain off completely for the rough downhills to keep it from wrapping itself around my back wheel and destroying that as well!

What do I think of the Cairgorm Circuit? Well its epic, its scenic, it doesn't have a lot of singletrack, but it is undoubtedly worth doing if you like big country landrover tracks, and then there's lovely Glen Feshie, Inchriach, Rothiemurchus.....YES it was worth my efforts, don't know if it worth yours though, its your decision after all!

View the video here.

I'm working on a route description and maps preview it here.

Just plotted the route on Anquet Maps statistics are
Day1 Braemar-Aviemore 62Km 1374m climb.
Day2 Aviemore-Tomintoul 43km 1264m climb
Day3 Tomintoul-Braemar 37km 1245m climb
Total 142km 3883m climb

So it gets easier each day....mmm don't remember it that way!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Galston trails

Galston trails Video

Graham's first outing on the mountain bike for a few weeks, we went across to Galston in the Irvine Valley, there are some very nice trails in the area if you know where to look.
Along the south side of the river, Lanfine Estate, the forest on the hill and beside Cessnock Castle.
It was a treat today in the spring sunshine with lovely dry trails, just had to watch the loose surfaces.
We found a new bit of singletrack on the south side of the wood, it starts behind the communications mast at MR-NS557355 and goes through the edge of the wood for about 1km, nice surprise.
The only 'bad' bit of the route is the push up to the Covenanters monument and viewpoint MR-NS533354, but the great view, sunshine, lunch stop and the fast road descent followed by more singletrack made it worth the effort.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Back to local cycling

Bug on Marsh Marigold

I've been out on the bike a few times since coming back from Spain.
First time out with confidence high, I cycled up to Kaim quarry taking knee and elbow pads to finally have a go on the lines I've groomed for the 'Kaim Quarry challenge'.
The cliff edge is easy, just ignore the drop on the right, the curving drop is simple if the speed is right.
The terrace climb is tricky, it needs a bit of speed and good control to get over the rocky bits, it took me five goes to get it done.
The slab and berm is intimidating and the big boulder line is just scary and steep.
I did it three times before I stopped while still in one piece, last time I only dabbed once.
I won't be doing it often, its just too stupid really, but its nice to get it behind me after spending so much time in the winter grooming it.

On one of my 'secret' trails the downhill boys are really rutting it up, no problem to me but the owner may get a bit upset and start messing about with it, time will tell.

Today I put in 4 hours on the road. I thought about going over to Great Cumbrae but eventually decided on miles instead of photos, it was still nice though, Dalry, Stewarton, Uplawmoor, Lochwinnoch and back.
Bit dull to start but the sun eventually got through at the RSPB place near Lochwinnoch enough for me to take a few macro photos.

Similar route description can be viewed here.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Joyriders in Estepona Spain

Shrine to the Mountain Bike

I've been off to sunny Spain the past couple of weeks, first week with the happy go lucky Nick at Joyriders mountain bike holidays at Estepona.
Lovely accommodation wonderfull companions (Graham and Mike) and a smiley happy to be with you!.. Nick our guide.
We all had loads of fun, lots of nice trails some excellent singletrack a great base at Estepona and lots of lovely sunshine!
We,... well Nick and Mike.. (I know my limit).. had a few late nights but still managed to get up with a smile and ready to ride, youth they just have it all, everything that matters anyway!
I had a great time!... Thanks Graham for being such a great, considerate, fun guy, I hope that Mike appreciates you (I think he knows how lucky he is), if you read this get in touch.

Anyone who gives a damn can see the video here!

Photos here

Second week Anne were booked into a quiet hotel above Arriate village stuck in the middle of a field with a rough track leading up to it, fortunately it had the compensation of a great view across the valley to the Grazalema hills.
I'd got hold of an Andalucia guide book by Guy Hunter-Watts published by Santana, maps and guides of Sierra de las Nieves and Sierra de Grazalema, both published by Editorial Penibetica.
All three were excellent and we had no bother finding plenty of walks, I even did a spot of skinny dipping on one of the trails thats how warm it was!

Funny thing on Sunday we were hiking up Torrelcilla in the Sierra de Nieves when we met the mountain bikers I'd been with the previous week, a nice surprise.
They were just about to descend the route we had come up, a really rough trail with rocky drops, I couldn't have done it!

We had a lovely week of walking, view photos here.

SB video here.
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