Friday, October 31, 2008

Glorious day

Seal close to shore at Seamill beach

Like the title says it was a glorious day today cool crisp and clear.
Anne and I had an early(ish) walk down onto Seamill shore.
The tide was flowing and the seals were leaving the rocks to get on with catching lunch
A few of them came quite close to shore so got a few nice shots. If you look closely at them the seals eyes look a bit cloudy. I doubt this is normal and wonder if its something to do with poor sea water condition here abouts.
It certainly looks like they would benefit from a course of antibiotic eye drops.

Lots of other things to see along the beach but I found myself resenting the dogs and walkers. We were making our way slowly taking fotos whilst the dogs and walkers were passing by scaring off all the bird life....don't they know that's my job!

PM got out on the MTB up over my favourite hill and then into Kelburn for a downhill run on Fairlie Glen.
I've got another gripe here. I spent a lot of time clearing a trail of gorse, overhanging branches, and laying a stone ramp, now that its all nice and accessible its being used by folk out hacking on thier ponies ripping it into mud.....grrr! wish they'd go clear thier own trails and leave mine in peace.

In spite of all the grumpy old man rants I had a great day out and about.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Busy day

Dry stane sunset

When a good day like today comes along in amongst all these wet unpredictable days I feel the urgent need to get out and about as much as possible today was one of those.
The skies had cleared and by 10am the sun was looking good and bright so I got out on the road bike for a couple of hours over the back roads on my Dalgarven Mill route.
Its like the farmers have booby trapped the back roads with thorns, cycling concentration comes down to about five feet in front of the wheel all tensed up ready to dodge when one appeared, it really pisses me off, I think some of the ******** scatter as many and as thickly as they can, at times I've carried the bike along perfectly good roads just to avoid certain pucture! Luckily today there was only about 2 miles of easy grade thorn dodging before I could settle back and enjoy the cycling. Had tea and cake at the mill before heading home for lunch.

PM Anne and I went off down the beach for an hours walk but it was only 3.15 when we got back, too early and still too nice to stay in so I went off again up my favourite hill to see the sunset, not a huge one but I got a few nice photos out of it.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Hill and beach

Goldenberry Hill Silhouette

Great to have a nice sunny cool day today, we decided to do a linear walk from the far side of Hunterston over Goldenberry Hill and back along the beach about a two hour walk but with photos maybe a little longer. Didn't see much in the way of wildlife, just a few gulls, crows and jackdaws.. oh yes! and a couple of dippers at Seamill which I managed to get a few photos of but they're rubbish, the birds were in shadow and a fair away...better luck next time I hope.

After the walk the car needed picked up so Anne ran me down to Portencross so that I could run (jog) the couple of miles through Hunterston and retrieve it. Nice except for the wet and mud, my trainers may take some time to dry. That's three jog outing I've had in the past week, I'd rather be out on the bike but jogging is great for fitness and can be squeezed in between showers by doing a bit of cloud watching.

View today's photos here.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Wild weather

Ardrossan harbour

Wild today, went along to Ardrossan and Saltcoats to see if there was any good waves crashing in for a photo or two. There was, not only that but some unfortunate sailor had grounded his yacht on Horse Island poor sod, almost home safe only to be shipwrecked half a mile from a safe berth. Hope whoever it was got off safely and isn't wandering about the little island waving to shore for rescue.
A day or so back I noticed what I thought was a badger print up near Biglees so PM I went up there to try finding the set, no luck though maybe the badger was passing through, I'll keep my eyes open for more signs up there in future.

Wild weather video below.

Friday, October 24, 2008

A good walk around the peninsula

Wigeon at Seamill

I had a notion to get out on the bike but just as I was getting ready the showers started, so instead I thought I'd take the car down to Portencross and walk back along the shore, wind and showers behind me. I took the new camera (Lumix fz18) and tele convertor with me in the hope I might catch a few photos along the way.
It showered enough to demonstrate that I need new waterproof trousers, the rain just went straight through them, luckily the showers eased and the fresh breeze soon dried me out.
It was great along the shore the tide was high pushing the birds up toward me and the camera, and no one but me disturbing them, got quite a lot of nice shots.
Got back home after a couple of hours had a spot of lunch then decided to go back for the car by walking over the edge of the moor around the northside of Hunterston Peninsula.
Took me another 4 hours to get back to the car but it was marvelous, the showers had died and it was lovely and cool, thoroughly enjoyed myself.

View slideshow here and video below.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Road and MTB dodging showers

Kelburn castle

The picture has nothing to do with today, but I like it so there it is

For the first time in a good while Tom and I got out on the road bikes today but we didn't venture far the shower clouds were prowling over the sky. If fact, to avoid a shower that was tracking SW, we changed our plans from a Kilwinning start to a Dalry even before we set off and half way through we changed route to avoid another shower. In the end we only did about 1.5hours including a stop at Dalgarven Mill for a bit of lunch, but it was a real treat to be out on the road bike after such a long break.

Got back about 2pm, the sky was cloudy but not rainy, I was all dressed up for the bike so decided to get out the MTB for a spin over Glentane Hillside and maybe Goldenberry hill if the weather held. I may have managed it but had a pinch puncture and all the pleasure (pain) of tyre puncture repair in the mud and cold. Funny (not) the way tyres and tubes don't play ball when they're wet, its like a game of chase the tyre bead round and round the rim. Repaired the puncture just in time to be chased home by a shower, just made it.

Nice days cycling in spite of the flat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pottering under a showery sky

Breaking waves near Portencross

Let's just say showers limited play. Got up through Kelburn PM it was....fresh up there in the showers and breeze but at least there was some shelter when a shower comes along also visited Glenburn falls (Upper Biglees) just to fill in an hour before tea.

With all this wind and wet it looks like I'll have to get back to doing a bit of jogging cause the amount of cycling I'm doing these days ain't going to keep me very fit.
Its just getting the routine going that's a problem and of course getting over the first few awful runs until a bit of fitness gets into the legs.
Well now I've said it and brought it right to the front of my head it may just happen...then again the thought may just slip away, it is a bit late after all.

Took a few Photos today including the shameful bonfire boys mess. I may have to go up there and clean it up. One or two of those big building supply bags would be good.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Wild sea at Portencross

Wave at Hunterston pier

Pretty wet and windy this morning, I looked out a heavy army surplus (Italian) gortex jacket I bought years ago for fishing (my sons pastime) waterproof trousers and wellies hoping to wander over Goldenberry and stay dry. I've said before I'm not very good at staying indoors, choice... get bored indoors or get wet outdoors, wet it is then.
Spent a long time quietly wandering but the only thing of interest was slugs eating fungus.....hardly exciting stuff.....wasn't bored though, honest!
I noticed on the way back that there was quite a roar from the sea, big waves and high tide were putting on a show. I nipped along to Portencross to take a look.
The little harbour was swamped by the tide, the waves were thundering in crashing on the rocks and onto the pier, a great sight.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blair walk and Kaim thrill

Video of my favourite local downhill, Kaim Hill.

AM was drizzly so we had a wellies and brolly walk in Blair Policies near Dalry, lovely autumn colours. Anne was in her element hunting for conkers while I snapped away taking photos. They are pretty dull so haven't decided if I'll do a slideshow or not.

PM the sun came out and so did the mountain bike, all the way to the very top of Kaim Hill, 1200ft of climbing but I was pleased with my efforts and the downhill and views were absolutely fabulous. I suppose if I put the best of the am/pm photos together there may just be a decent slide show. If I decide there is a link will appear below soon.

View slideshow

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Deer on Goldenberry

Deer on Goldenberry Hill

Anne and I had decided to visit the arboretum over by Kilmun and Dunoon but heading up that way the sky was dark and it was showery on the other side so we made a quick change of plans in favour of a walk behind Skelmorlie. That way if the weather turned bad at least we would have saved on the ferry fees.
Just had a look in my web site and I don't seem to have a route for it. Its a nice walk so I may add a description of it to this entry and link back to it.

PM because it was bright and the tide was high I went down the shore to try getting some more bird photos, the tide was too high really, there was virtually no shore so decided instead to go up Goldenberry in the slight hope I might get some deer photos. Surprise surprise! I did get some very nice ones and a little bit of video too, was I pleased with myself. I tried to get closer by crawling on all fours but the deer soon sussed me, let out a bark and ran off, guess I need some camouflage for next time.

View slideshow and video below.

PS Just uploaded a map of the Skelmorlie walk.

Park at the community centre where there is a large parking area. Go out the back of the car park straight into woodland going left. Right in 100m up a muddy driveway. Go left off the drive way around the front (left) of a house. Easily follow the improving muddy track crossing the Kelly Burn in about half a kilometre. Up to the road (150m) go left to Kelly Mains leaving the road here along a wide firm landrover track lined with beach trees. In 2km at the road go left down to the rail bridge, just before it go left onto a track climbing through woodland and rhododendron. In 1 km go right along the edge of the wood (field on left) and in a further 1km go left at the road up to Kelly Mains. Return the way you came.
An alternative finish and cafe stop can be made down the north side of the Kelly burn just before the metal bridge go right down the side of the burn. This leads to Wemyss Bay with a cafe just a few yards on the right on the main A78.
Return by crossing the burn on the main road and going first left up hill to the start before doing so go and view the inside of the railway station its a classic.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Walk and more walk

Upper biglees waterfall

This picture hides a sad fact, two yards behind is a site where fires are lit regularly, last time someone chose to stoke it with old wheels and tyres so beside this lovely little waterfall is an ugly eyesore courtesy of the bonfire boys, nice one chaps!

The weather today wasn't promising for the bike and Anne had a notion to collect some berries for Sloe Gin. We know a good spot down by the River Ayr which would also give us a decent walk, so off we went, only trouble was there were no sloes. Normally there loads but we think this is maybe a bad year, don't know why but I suspect it may be due to early season weather. Anyway no sloe gin for us this christmas.

Later I had a drive to the beach for some photos and then a little bit of trail patrol up on Fairlie Moor passed Upper Biglees and Lower Biglees falls. Pleasant enough in the afternoon sun, see a very few photos here, took more but the rest are rubbish.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Lundeston bay and the cuts

View over Gourock from the Greenock Cut

Struggled today to decide if it was worth putting the MTB on the car and playing away but finally decided to just get on with it up to Inverkip area. Even on the way up the sky looked dark and it wouldn't have taken much to make me about turn. There was rain up the Kyles of Bute but by then I was well on the way so carried on to Lunderston Bay.
From there its a nice climb up the gorge at Inverkip then the road to Cornalees but I decided to branch off around the Greenock cut first. That way I'd have lunch of coffee and cake at the Centre.
To the north cloud was clinging to the hills with one or two small showers to be seen but luckily it stayed dry on my side of the Clyde.

The lady serving in the cafe at Cornalees was telling me about researching her family tree. She's quite deeply into it and by getting out to the localities where they originated has traced back to the 1600's.
My efforts have only been through the internet back to 1790's, I don't know if I've got the inclination to push any further, although I would like to know the origin of my surname. Maybe I'll get back to it..

Anyway I finished off the cycle via the Kelly Cut and ended up with about 4 hours on the bike. I also got a bit chilled it took quite a while at home before I warmed up properly, I think the days of cycle shorts is coming to an end.

Took quite a few photos but it was a bit dull and so are they.

View slideshow

Sunday, October 12, 2008

On the bike at last

Portencross Castle at sunset

At last! got out on the bike for almost 4hours today over to Busbie Muir Windfarm nice up there cool and clear. Passed a farmer chap on a tractor, not unusual except this tractor was a vintage thing all bright and newly painted, so what he was doing way up on the windfarm beats me.
When Anne and I find something inexpicable out there in the big wild back country I just say "Don't understand it, it must be a country thing"
Came back down via Law Castle for a bit of lunch back home before setting out on leg two down the beach over Goldenberry and up Biglees quarry onto the moor.
Unfortunately the clay pigeon shooters were in the quarry, so rather than have bits of the things falling on my head I took a really crappy detour through a field. I'm not very fond of the shooting brigade. They just ain't a nice quiet group out enjoying the peace and quite of the countryside like most others on a nice bright Sunday afternoon.
Anyway they didn't spoil the run entirely still got in a nice little downhill bit before heading home, happy to be a cyclist again.
Video below or click the link below it for a bigger version.

The beach and Portencross

Flying shark

Haven't been out on the bike for what seems like ages. If I don't do it soon I'll have to change this blog title to something like 'Reminiscence of a one time mountain biker' don't think that will happen yet though I feel an outing coming on very soon.
Yesterday was another sunny shank's pony day around West Kilbride, Meadowhead and the beach. Meadowhead footpath was a bit grotty but the beach was very nice. The breeze was off the sea so we couldn't hear the nearby road and the water was low enough that we could walk on the firm sand watching the waves break over the rocks. Took lots of pictures and ater after a bit of enforced garden tidying it looked like there might be a good sunset so I went off down to Portencross for a little more fresh air (just as well its not possible to overdose on it) and with any luck a few more photos.
As I waited to see the sunset develop a couple of chaps came along carrying lots of gear they were settling down for a nights fishing from the pier. Kind of dangerous the pier has a 15 feet drop to the sea (no barrier) lots of rusty bolts sticking up and a huge hole in the middle, not the kind of place to go wandering about in the dark.
Looked like they had all the kit though so I'll try not to worry about then....ahem!

Friday, October 10, 2008

River Ayr in Spate

Autumn colour by the River Ayr

Anne and I had business down in Ayr today but after sorting that out (and having a spot of lunch) we went over for a walk by Auchincruive. What a surprise we got, the river was in spate, wow what a sight!
It was just like the river was cleansing itself all the debris along its banks was being washed downstream toward the sea including whole trees. There were huge standing waves all along the river especially at the bend where the water seemed to roll over itself four or five times producing waves about five feet high.
Anne wasn't happy walking beside it, it was.. er.. stimulating being so close to all that power, it was really nice to climb away and head back via the high track well away from the river side.
Lots of fungi in the wood too, view the video below or view a slideshow.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Culzean on the cheap

Cormorant at Culzean

Anne had a notion for Culzean autumn colours today. Its a place we have spent many happy hours wandering about in all seasons for the past 30 odd years (some of those years have been very odd indeed) but rarely have we payed. Being walkers (and cheapskates) we usually park at Maidens and walk in the back door. One other advantage of this is that the cafe stop is mid way on the walk with all the best bits in between, Barrwhin views over Maidens Bay first followed by a nice woodland to the Swan Pond, then the Cliff walk, Castle, Coffee at the park centre and return via the gardens, Happy Valley, Swan Pond and beach.
Today the sun was shining and much to my surprise the garden was still full of colourful flowers, many of them the same as we have in our garden but ours are long past. As for autumn colours... well lets just say the best has still to come.

View slideshow

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Wet and gloomy

Blackbird in the rain feeding on Rowan berries

My goodness it rained today, spent the morning trawling the Internet finding and ordering an Olympus TCON 17 to give my new camera extra zoom, should be interesting.

PM went out to shoot some bird photos from the car, I prefer doing it on foot but when its throwing it down like it was this morning the cars a nice place to be. Got one or two nice ones and a lot not so wonderful but the good thing with this super zoom is I can at least get the shot even if its rubbish. With the spotting scope thing I missed most of them.
At about 2pm the rain eased and I decided to walk up Fairlie glen to photo the burn and Clyde views, it turned out rather pleasant, the burn was flowing well and the clouds lifted off the hills nicely. I was tempted all the way up to the upper waterfall.

View a gloomy day's photos here.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

'Explore' Andalucia

Exotic flower Canillas village

The walking club from Hunterston were off to sunny Spain for a weeks walking in Andalicia, Anne and I were joining them. We were centred in the pretty village of Canillas de Albaida near Competa in a lovely hotel Posada la Plaza all organised by 'Explore' holidays and led by our lovely natured guide Sarah from Califorinia.
Lovely area for walks, day 1 was two easyish walks from the village and lunch at the Wine museum in Competa. Day 2 a lovely walk to Salares village, day 3 was on part of the ancient silk route. Gradually the weeks walks built up to the last day up Cerro Lucero 1779m high with a wonderful very steep rocky zig zag track to the top and of course fabulous views.

Wonderful week of walking and the food was absolutely fabulous, Gustavos or host was quite a character. He came on some of the walks sporting a cowboy hat and when he learned Morris was a keen tennis player he challenged him to the local game, a bit of a mix of tennis and squash, of course Gustavos won much to Gustavos's delight.

View slideshow video may follow soon......done view it below.

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