Friday, September 26, 2008

New camera at the beach

Took my new camera (Limux FZ 18)down the beach today to exercise my skills with the zoom and settings, nice day for it warm still and overcast.
I don't normally go photo hunting I find it frustrating, so generally stick to snapping at things I stumble on but the new toy prompted something different.
I was out for five and a half hours and only walked the same number of miles, just as well Anne went shopping she gets a bit fed up walking at 1 MPH (sometimes less). I was pleased with the outcome nothing that will stand out in a crowd (of photos) but I'm happy.

View the slideshow here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Parkhill and Crosbie

Sailing at Castle Semple

Gentle day today up by Lochwinnoch to catch some bird photos at Lochwinnoch RSPB and a walk along the side of the Loch into Parkhill Wood, come to think of it we could have walked all the way from the RSPB place, although that would have delayed lunch in Craigmiles Cafe a bit to long, maybe next time.

At lunch Anne mentioned that there might be a chance of photographing a dipper by Gogo burn up behind Largs, so after eating we went up there, just a very short picturesque walk along the old mill track. We enjoyed the walk but no dippers to be seen.

On the way back home Anne was kind enough to drop me off up the moor to walk over to Biglees Pond for some dragonfly photos but no luck there either nice walk though and a few photos of other stuff on the way home. Got back at 5pm in time for a small refreshment (or two) before tea.

View slideshow here

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gleniffer Braes

Fabulous view from Robertson Park Gleniffer Braes

Had a great short run to Gleniffer from Beith today in beautiful sunshine what a treat! Unfortunatly had to cut it short to go pick up my sons car after its MOT but that was maybe not a bad thing the return route was very nice indeed.

View a similar route description here, today though I started at Beith and cut off the bit to Dunlop.
View slideshow here.

Beautiful Goldenberry

Anne braves the big rope swing

The title of this entry and this slideshow sums it up better than words.

PM I went down to Seamill beach to photograph the seals sunbathing on the rocks and then dragon hunting up at biglees pond with some success, caught a pair of Common Hawkers mating in that wonderful inverted heart shape they do. Got a bit of video as well so I've just got to find a couple of hours to put it all together. I was trying to get the photos into flickr but I think my son is stealing all the bandwidth downloading music or DVDs cause flickr bonked out but the photos did go into (very slowly) so view a slideshow below.

OR watch the video not a bike to be seen just a big rope swing views and wildlife.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Two good days on the bike

Two day video Ardentinny and Mauchline Gorge

Yummy! two good days in a row I'm exhausted.
Yesterday I went across the water yet again to Dunoon to investigate trails around Ardentinny and perseverance has payed off again...I found some...great! These's also a bit of fun downhill that I'll need to get into my web site.
The problem is that there is a 10mile road cycle to get there but at least there is a reward. Actually there are two downhills one beside Knap Burn and one above the car park (MR194895) at the forest track junction and its very nice (but short).
To make a decent MTB outing I came back via East Loch Eck track, its got a nice singletrack down to the road and the cafe in Benmore Gardens for coffee and cake before the return to the ferry.

Today was even nicer than Ardentinny forest trails. Graham and I went through Mauchline Gorge twice (out and back), then to Auchinleck and Dumfries Houses all linked together (almost) with off road and some really nice singletrack and the sun shone too, yipee! it was fabulous, much more variety than Ardentinny and absolutely no, not even one, forest road.

Mauchline gorge route description can be viewed here, there ain't much better in mid Ayrshire (unless you know different).

PS have put the Ardentinny trail (GPX) on triptracker with a few photos, find more if you want by searching using keyword 'wheehamx'

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Walk by the river

Lucky catch by the River Ayr

View a slideshow of photos taken today by the river Ayr

A walk by the River Ayr making the best of a grizzly day but it brightened up nicely.
Also took a turn down at Portencross but for some reason flickr doesn't like photos of Portencross (2x failed) so I gave up and left it as the River Ayr.
Also failed miserably to make a video so no more to show....bye for now.

PS you may have noticed that I did finally get the Portencross pics into flickr-perseverance has its reward..sometimes.

New camera

Toadstools in Benmore Botanic garden

I was fed up trying to capture wildlife closeups with spoting scope and home made bits. 80% of the time I'd fail to get a picture and a good proportion of those were rubbish so I splashed out on yet another camera (LUMIX FZ-18) with a 18X zoom. So far so good its made a huge difference to my success rate and the big zoom has other photo spin offs. I'm still getting to grips with it macro may not be one of it strong points but time will tell.
Needless to say I've been out playing and shooting lots of photos most of which are in the delete bin but there are still plenty left.

View Benmore Botanic Garden slideshow


View birds and some Clyde views slideshow

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Benmore Gardens

Anne and I dipped into our (money) pockets today and took the car across the water to Cowal.
I had an idea for a walk at Ardentinny to check out a possible MTB trail but first I thought it'd be nice to visit Benmore Botanic Garden and have lunch.
It was so nice around the garden we were there for ages (lots of photos) then by the time we'd had lunch in the cafe it was too late for my original plan. Instead we took a walk up Pucks Glen just across the road from the garden. Lovely spot but oh so humid, all those little waterfalls enclosed by the gorge and huge trees, so high the sun never reaches it. The walls are damp and mossy just what you'd expect in a gorge I suppose and quite a contrast to Benmore Garden, altogether a lovely day out!

Wet for 2 days

Video slideshow of Miller Walk
Just about to only bit of outdoors I've seen over the past two days.
I'm very very grumpy.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

No unauthorised persons!

Big machines... no people!

The forestry people were up to their normal tricks today over in Glen Massan near Dunoon, having cycled all the way up the Glen and onto the new forest track to Loch Tarsan there it was the "No unauthorised persons beyond this point" notice absolutely no chance I'd be paying any attention to that, especially on a Sunday, but there was indeed someone hard at work grabbing a bit of overtime. I gave him a wave as I passed.

This track is very new its not on the map and its not on satellite images, I found out about it from the Dunoon Art and Walking festival web site but as forest tracks go this one is very pleasant, nice and open with some good views. The trees still have a lot of growing to do so things may be different in a few years.

I decided against turning the route into an epic via Glen Daruel and Branter in favour of Coffee and cake at Benmore Botanic Garden Cafe and a downhill thrill beside Pucks Glen.

Very nice day in the saddle view a SB video here, don't expect lots of action though its more about the days scenery than mountain biking, just the way I like it really.
It was a bit overcast for decent photos today so I don't think they are worth a slideshow, the video is quite enough.

PS changed my mind, there are a couple of interseting photos of Benmore house so decided to upload and make a slideshow

PPS View the route with some photos on triptracker, also I've added the route to my humyo Dunoon GPX file which can be viewed and downloaded.
Sometime soon I'll get around to adding these routes to my web site.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beautiful but dead

Young swallow roadkill

Yesterday I put the bike on the car and set off to Kilmaurs to do a loop around Kilmarnock. I had only gone a couple of miles when I noticed the ominous trailing grey below the clouds that signals rain. I did quick about turn, no point travelling to the rain when the sun is shining at home, mountain bike here I come!

Spent a bit of time taking MTB video beside the burn in West Kilbride Glen before heading down to seamill and the Beach track, Goldenberry hill and back to Cafe Whee (home) for coffee and cake. Just by the roadside I came across the sad little swallow pictured above still warm after being hit by a vehicle. It may just have been unconscious so I layed it on the verge away from passing cars in the faint hope it might recover.

The weather was getting better all the time maybe good enough for some dragonfly photos up at Biglees pond. I've had some success shooting video through my binoculars so stuffed them in my rucksack and cycled up through the quarry to have a look, all I got though was very wet feet and a few midge bites, no photos, well none that were any good. I also got a good half Kaim downhill for my efforts, so it wasn't a complete waste of time.
Back home for 4.30pm via lovely Portencross in glorious sunshine in time for a beer in the sun before tea.

View slideshow

SB Video here

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

PM rain

Sheep posing on Fairlie moor

Yesterday I filled a wet afternoon doing bike maintenance, chain, cassette, pedals and rear disc pads. There is something strange going on with the rear wheel hydraulics the lever goes almost full in all of a sudden then recovers for a while then does it again. When I changed the pads there wasn't much wear so I made sure I set them up central to the rear disc. I suspect though that the problem will come back and my favourite bike shop will need to take a look, however its fixed for now. There was a little bit of chain suck on the small ring but a bit of bodging with a file improved things enough for me to risk riding with it.

Today AM was bright and breezy Anne and I headed out for a walk West Kilbride to Fairlie along the hillside with a great outlook over the Clyde Estuary to Cumbrae, Bute and Arran. It takes just over 2 hours to walk and 4 minutes back on the train. We sometimes get a free ride if the ticket chap is a bit slow, not today though he caught us just seconds before we got off. I like to think I'm an honest chap but I can't help feeling pleased when the ticket man fails to catch me.

A previous video here.

or view a short slide show.......mmm that one was a bit short see a longer one here.....yes that one's better.

Monday, September 08, 2008

More Dragons and Damsels

Common Darter by Biglees pond on Fairlie Moor

AM was still dull and drizzly but Anne and I had a nice short beach walk without getting too wet.

PM looked much brighter, very still and mild so I decided to go up to Biglees Pond and get a few dragonfly photos. Last time up there I saw some large lovely blue striped dragonflies and hoped to get another (better) look.
Sure enough there were lots of them about and I did get a video shot of a female laying eggs in the water, a nice one through the spotting scope then managed to creep up on it for a spot of video macro. I think the species was Azure Hawker. Unfortunately none of the males stuck around long enough to be photographed they were too busy fighting and hunting to be videoed.
Getting a good shot of them needs a lot of patience, I'm not sure I have enough of that quality for the job. I did have quite a relaxing afternoon watching, snapping and shooting video although if I go up again I'll take a seat, get nice and comfy and see what reserves of patience I have.

Short boring video can be viewed here.

View slideshow

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Around Cornalees

'Speedy' Graham

My long lost cycling chum (haven't seen him for 5 weeks for various reasons, work, DIY, visitors etc) and I went off up to Cornalees today do some singletrack, Kelly Cut and Leapmoor forest. Quite a bit of up and down lots of nice views and mild dry weather. Just plotted it on Anquet maps at 30km 760m climb, a good run.
The only bad bit was going down to Wemyss Bay beside the burn the lovely little track is just being neglected, the bridge is down there are great ruts and worst of all near the bottom there are 4 or 5 trees down making it quite an effort to get though. You'd think some of the locals would have got it sorted out they must walk it all the time.

In Leapmoor forest we had a feeding stop beside a little pond with a great view over the Clyde to Dunoon and way up north to the Arrochar Alps.
What a lucky choice of lunch stop, there was so much going on, damselfly and dragonfly a plenty engaged in procreation activities and below water I caught sight of a large water beetle doing the breast stroke. I've added it into todays video maybe someone out there can name it.

PS Just added the route into Triptracker with a few photos, view it here. Also I found some web info on pond life and think the bug in the video is a Greater Water Boatman.... oops thats not right! another site says the GWB swims upside down so this one may be a Great Diving Beetle, it had a yellow edge just like in the web photo.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Bride and Bridesmaids

Fort hill from Seamill beach
My daughter future inlaws and bridesmaids were up to West Kilbride OPUS couture to look at wedding stuff. Beforehand we all had lunch with more than a little home made prizewinning apple wine and us 'boys' went off to kill time walking down through the Glen and along Seamill beach while the women went off to do women's things in the local shop.
Two hours later they were still at it while us boys were back from our stroll taking in the sun, beer and in my case Anne's lovely Almond wine. Goodness me that stuff's strong thank goodness it ran out or I'd be flat on my back by now.

Tomorrow lets hope the sun shines, who knows maybe I'll get out on the mountain bike to work off the excess.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Biking by the river Ayr

Ayr old harbour viaduct

Its late and I'm tired, spent the evening at ballroom dancing and during the day was out on the bike from Troon to Ayr with Anne a nice route matching todays nice weather. Again I did a bit of video but am not happy with it, I'm wondering if my expectations are outpacing my abilities, the last couple of videos I've made are rubbish so I decided just to stick the photos into flickr with a slideshow link.

View slideshow of todays cycle here

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Hedging bets at Failford


Graham splashing along the River Ayr way

Decision making AM. A big shower had just passed over but it was looking OK south so thats the way we headed, off to Failford for a sheltered walk along the river and if it stayed nice perhaps as far as Stair Inn for lunch.
The Failford trail is absolutely lovely, soon to be even nicer when autumn colour take hold. Its a figure of eight first by the river and then up in the wood.

Along the riverside betwen Failford Gorge and Stair we saw an unusual site (unusual to us anyway) a flock of 13 heron by the river, normally I'd expect to see a solitary heron, it was quite a surprise to see so many flocking together as they flew off.
Then near Stair another unusual site, I saw a familiar face from life before leisure. He and his wife had the same thought as us, lunch at lovely Stair Inn. We spent a merry lunch hour together eating drinking and chatting about leisure, holidays and walking all the usual stuff, very nice to see him again.

Had a look for a Failford/River Ayr video and found this one.

View the walking route description here but it can be extended to Stair along the River Ayr Way - that's what we did today.

The video MTB description can be viewed here but I'd now recommend following the river Ayr Way from Stair to Failford.

Both routes are well worth doing.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Good day bad route

Amy MacDonald

Dundonald Castle

Went over to Eglinton today to do a bit of easy MTB stuff but made a bum route choice to do some track investigation, ended up carrying and cycling through fields and grotty tracks then it rained then I punctured.
The sun came out again but by then I was fed up.
Took some video but its just as rubbish as the cycling, the photos are OK though, view them here.

Similar (better) Route description here.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Blogger panic

Amy MacDonald Mr Rock and Roll

Dunlop church

I was mucking about embeding a music player from seeqpod which looks OK but I screwed up and deleted some of the blogger HTML....yikes! all went sort of blank. Of course I hadn't saved the original like they suggest so I thought for a bit that it might be bye bye blog. Lucky for me it was easy enough to transfer to the new format which happens to look exactly like the old one. I only had to update the sidebar links....what a relief that was!

A few days ago I found a neat route logging site called Triptracker and this link will take you to view today's road cycle, a lovely 40miler from West Kilbride to Stewarton and Dunlop. Its one of my favourite longish cycles, 'Coffee Pot' cafe in Stewarton then up over tho picturesque Dunlop village and its church and beautiful little back road overlooking all of the Garnock valley, definitely in the running for prettiest road (view) in Ayrshire. There are a few photos that can be viewed on the Triptracker site. I am quite impressed with it but I was uploading GPS files and haven't tried any other way to get a route in there.

No video today just the photos here in Triptracker or here via jalbum

PS I just uploaded some Amy MacDonald tracks to modified the player and stuck it into this blog entry, I think its quite neat, I can click on some music if I want while reminiscing through blog entries (this page).
Free Web Site Counter
Free Counter