Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Frosty moor route

Ice at the secret waterfall

It was marvelous on the bike yesterday along scary Glentane route to Fairlie was ice and frost not a drop of mud to be found. Graham and I had a great outing the sun even shone for a bit to give us some photo opportunities. I was a bit like a bike video outing Graham had his video camera with him as well as his stills camera and I was shooting headcam stuff. All the stopping and starting meant we didn't sweat up much, a good thing in the cold weather as it can lead to chilling.
Graham suggested visiting the 'secret' waterfall near Fairlie glad we did, it was plastered with ice. The overhanging branches were covered in frozen waterspray really lovely.
PM Anne and I took a walk in Eglinton after dropping my son off at Kilwinning station, he was off to Glasgow to meet a lady friend to shop (poor boy). By that time what sunshine there was had gone and it was very cold indeed, we didn't linger, once round the loch and that was us ready for a warm up in the car.

Fairlie route video below.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Ardentinny and Loch Eck

Finart bay

My MTB pal Graham and I went over to Dunoon to do an Ardentinny loop weather was lovely for it. Views were great, cycling was nice but it seemed to be virtually all uphill. Its an illusion of course (except in terms of time) since its a loop its equally up and down. We were out for nearly six hours and it feels like it. Made a video but its even more boring than usual and for some reason its squished.
Now its time for a bath.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Largs at night

Old and new on Goldenberry hill.

Just pottering today, walked with Anne into Kelburn but the shooters were banging away so we diverted to above Fairlie instead of going through Kelburn to Largs. Very nice too but I'd rather be able to follow my plans through rather than give way to blood 'sports'.

PM since it was so nice (and cold) I took myself up Goldenberry hill to admire the views then up behind Largs as the light faded to get an evening panorama. It was freezing up at the Douglas viewpoint shame I could have lingered a bit longer but my hands (more like my whole body) were going numb. Quite pleased with the panorama but there was a fair breeze so its not as sharp as I'd like. Fortunately at the scale its done it doesn't really matter much.

View slideshow

Friday, December 26, 2008

Flickr video test

Noticed I could embed Flickr video so gave it a try, its nice I think I'll leave it as an entry.

Merry Christmas

Cat at Portencross

Kids, well family, were expected for Christmas Dinner Anne was busy sorting it all out so I got out of the way down to Portencross just to meander and take some photos if there were any to be had. It was really nice, mild and still with high cloud and good visibility very nice for doing nothing very much.
One of the residents was out pottering about in his little yacht probably keeping out of the way the same as me. He was only just moving in the tiny breeze but happily provided me with several photo opportunities.

View slideshow

Christmas lunch was a little different from normal, Starter (Salmon fishcakes)
followed by present opening, main course of turkey etc followed by a walk down the Glen onto the beach, and finally sweet (syllabub) followed by lots of drink and Christmas games.

Today was a late rise (not surprising after all that booze) and a bit of mountain biking over to Busbie Muir Windfarm. It was nice and muddy lovely stuff.

Video may come soon. Yes, see it below...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The 4th dimension

Bog Bike today

As you can see from the picture Craig had a wee mishap today he thought he could cycle through this bog but nearly drowned when he went head first into it completely covering the front wheel. Katy said it was very funny unfortunately I missed the moment but had a good smile all the same.

Nice run today down near Carsphain over the Garryhorn Lead mines with an extra loop in the forest and a bit of open moor (and bog) thrown in for good measure. I have christened the silly stuff today the '4th Dimension'. It follows on from the good, the bad, and the ugly.....its the unspeakable 4th dimension of carry, push, and bog trotting, unless you've done it you you haven't had the full mountain bike experience. Some people may not want to go there and I can understand that, in fact I'm not sure if Katy and Craig will feel inclined to go to the 4th dimension again...I go regularly and I quite like it there, in a strange quirky way I find it quite satisfying.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Annebank to Stair

Anne leaving tracks for the camera

Visited Katy and Craig this morning to swap the back wheel on Katy's bike, its worn done. It wasn't new when she got it but last time out we noticed the rim was beginning to bend due to thinning on the rim sidewalls. I've had a wheel collapse on me due to the very same thing and its a long walk home if it happens. Should be OK now I've just got a rim replacement to do sometime to get my spare bike I borrowed the wheel from back up and running.

PM Anne and I had a walk from Annebank to Stair along the river. Outwards on the River Ayr Way and back on the other bank (nice and muddy) and with a stop off at Stair in for a light lunch. On the way home in the car we got a call from our son looking for a pick up at Gourock so it was a bit of a long trip Ayr Gourock West Kilbride.

Took a few photos along the way view them here.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A bit of MTbiking

Arran from Blackshaw hillside

Ya-ay! got out on the bike today while Anne was stocking up for christmas at Azzda, Tesko, or Morriston or somewhere else I'd rather not go.
Wasn't out long though it was so mild I sweated up going up Goldenberry Hill and then just sauntered home feeling quite pleased to have got an hours cycling, bit wimpish but it was nice and that's what matters.
PM had some films needing developed so went off to Irvine and while waiting for the 1hour service I had a gentle run around Eglinton Park. Didn't seem to have much energy though but certainly a lot more than yesterday, yesterday my body was in exercise rejection mode possibly due to two days of doing nothing much.

The films I was getting developed were more pinhole tests and quite frankly they are a bin job. I'd refined the pinhole lens on my old SLR but it made no difference that was worth paying the £5developing charge, not to mention the film charge, a dear little lesson. No more pinhole photos until I've got my home made camera finshed.

Video of a recent MTB outing below.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas visiting

Perspective in Portencross harbour.

Been visiting my sister in Northumberland the past couple of days so haven't been out and about except today on our return I went off down the beach to wind up my body again, unfortunately my body had other ideas. I just couldn't seem to get going at all, eventually just gave up pushing and made the best of a bad effort and jogged slowly back home.
After a quick shower I nipped down to Portencross to play about with the camera in low light I managed to get a rather nice panorama from the pier and one or two other photos I'm quite pleased with. Its so nice to get a positive return now and again, view slideshow here.

Must, must, must, get out on the bike soon or I'll have to abandon this blog as a fraud!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Just wind and rain

Skiddling with wine

It rained from the word go today not just a little but lots and lots.
Took some pinhole image films to get developed, that's about it, it was so awful I didn't even go for a run.
Just played at making a larger pinhole camera to see if the images are better than those I'm getting from my old 35mm SLR using a pinhole instead of a lens. It has extension tubes so I can get a telephoto effect by adding more extension tubes between the pinhole and the film, nice!...still very blurry though.

View slideshow

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Cycling down fitness up.

Law castle at night.

On a lovely clear frosty evening I decided to go up Law brae and photo the castle against the lights of West Kilbride. Its a quiet dark road so I was surprised when a group of a dozen folk appeared near the castle. They were visitors from Norway staying in the castle for a few days and were just on the way to their evening meal down in Chu Chu our new restaurant down at the old railway station...good name.

Other than a few local walks a bit of running and photo stuff I haven't been doing much at all. I've spent lots of time when its wet (wet = lots of time) playing with old cameras making pinhole lenses and trying to get decent pinhole images straight into my digital camera, I've now decided that's not going to happen. I'll just have to content myself with taking pinhole stuff on film.

Put together a little slide show of some stuff from the last week view it here.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Troon to Ayr and pinhole photos

Tree and weed on the shore

Sky looked good to the south from home Thursday so we decided to have a stroll from Troon to Ayr. The sunny outlook didn't hold though cloud crept over and it got rather cool still nice though but strange light with half the sky blue and half overcast.

Friday I got down to Portencross to try out my pinhole camera. Its strictly speaking not a pinhole because its got a lens I've just put an f110 pinhole in where the diaphragm goes.
PM Anne was off to a work lunch, dropped the film off and collected it on the way back. Then I spent the next 24hours trying various ways to digitise the negatives. I finally got a negative scanner I bought about 4 years ago to work and got the things into flickr so its now possible to view the Troon Ayr walk and 'pinhole' photos here.

PS I was brousing (reminiscing) through my blog and thought it'd be nice to be able to link to a page from which all my slide shows could be viewed, mmmh looks like I've just given myself a little computer diversion. Now lets see........

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Walking to Largs

Buzzard on railway pylon near Largs

Cracking day again crisp and clear. Anne and I took ourselves of to Largs walking along the hillside. Takes between three and four hours but Largs has Craigmiles cafe which makes a fine end to a great walk.

View todays photo slideshow here.

Don't understand how to order these flickr photos I upload them in the order they were taken and flickr inverts them so I drag and drop to re-order them, next time I look there in some other random? order then when I make a slideshow its changed again. There maybe a pattern to this but I guess I'm not clever enough to see through it to the end of the line.

Walking route description can be viewed here.

PS made myself a pinhole camera this evening. There was an very old broken thing called a Cosmic Symbol (Russian I think) lurking in a cupboard. It'd been dropped on its face at some time by one of the kids.
I stripped out the lens, took it to bits and used a aluminium can to make a pinhole over the diaphragm. Re assembled it taping the broken bits in place with good old black insulating tape. Checked it against some bright lights and it seems to be focusing OK. Just have to make up an exposure table and give it a go.
Trouble is it costs money for film and developing but what the heck I expect I shan't be doing much with it.

Ted admiring my 'new' pinhole camera

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Seal release at Portencross

Seal pup being released at Portencross

Haven't been up to much over the past couple of days, yesterday was like a day at the beach. Walked down there in the morning with Anne for a couple of hours then played with filters at Portencross then down the beach again for a jog.

Today was a another Portencross day still trying to suss out how to make best use of my new photograghic filters. Still got a lot to learn but I'm slowly getting used to using them. Problem is I'm only getting a very few decent results for a lot of time and effort, hope that improves soon.

While down there I was lucky enough to witness and film the release of a couple of seal pups by Hessilhead Wildlife rescue they were very cute but looked a bit puzzled about what was going on. One of the folk told me they had been looked after for 5 months getting fat and healthy enough to be released.

View todays photo slideshow here.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Culzean MTB

Culzean Castle garden October08

Was Mountain biking around Culzean today with my daughter Katy and fiance Craig. They are both really keen but Katy's fitness has a bit of catching up to do on her enthusiasm, still its nice they both like to get out and about on the bikes. She likes me along to hold Craig back a bit and keep the pace down, being an old(er) guy I'm not so prone (less able) to go dashing off into the distance.
Stopped off at the centre for cake and coffee between climbing and downhill loops. About two and a half hours of pottering in lovely cool conditions. I think this little circuit could be added to my web site (see side bar) as a loop maybe I'll do that if the notion takes me.

Now I'm back home I'm relaxing with Anne's home made wine, a seasonal variety, Clove and Ginger made at my request but its a bit stronger than last year and I'm not sure I can cope with much more, may have to go back to plum or maybe elder flower its all pretty good.

View today at Culzean below.

Map of todays route here for t909

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Yuletide and a beach walk

Ardrossan memorial

Absolutely lovely day today we did a walk from Ardrossan to West Kilbride along the beach. Tide was way out and the going was mainly easy except for one or two stream crossings, only negative was the constant low traffic noise. Although we've lived in WK for thirty years strangely we havn't done this walk before, can't think why not although beach walks are something fairly new to us, only started them at the last foot and mouth outbreak Troon to Ayr now a regular walk of ours.

Just as it got dark I nipped down to Hunterston for some photos of the power station at dusk.

View slideshow of the walk here.

Friday night was Yuletide night in the village took a spot of video and it can be viewed below.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Playing with photo filters

Kelburn castle turret.

Anne packed me off out this morning she had things to do and didn'y want me around so I went down to portencross to play photo games again with filters and long exposures. Practise makes perfect some say so now I've practised when's perfect coming?

PM we went up into Kelburn for a walk but the high Kelburn path was just a sheet of ice no fun to walk on at all so we cut off down the Kel burn eventually past the castle waterfall for a photo or two.
My son had placed a request for some maggots so he could go off fishing tomorrow early...I've heard that one before I stopped suggesting fishing years ago when he couldn't get himself out of bed to go, I'd be surprised if anythings changed.
However I went off down to Saltcoats to get some and as luck would have it I missed a glorious sunset photo opportunity. The sun dipped below the horizon and lit the clouds from below, wonderful sight and me babysitting maggots in the car, what a bummer!

This evening was West Kilbride Yuletide late opening starting with a Santa Clause parade. There were a few funfair things in the middle of the town and loads of folk about looking like they were spending money. Anne and I went down for a wander about to see the fun and I took a bit of video along the way, may post some tomorrow.

View slideshow of today's photos

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Trails of Ice

Creels at Portencross

I wanted to visit the RSPB shop at Lochwinnoch to see if they had a tripod quick release head cause I'm fed up screwing my camera on and off just to be safe when moving a few yards. Luckily they did, but it was no bargain.
After the purchase and a lucky photo of a great spotted woodpecker from the viewing window Anne and I went along the road to have a walk around Parkhill Wood beside Castle Semple Loch.
I have never seen trails like it, every track was sheet ice, we couldn't walk on them and had to take the dog crap alley along the edge on the grass.
It was nice by the loch, air was completely still, the loch was frozen and a slight mist was hanging in the trees really lovely, except we spent most of the time concentrating on placing our feet so as not to end up on our bums.

PM Anne had things to do so I went off down the shore just meandering, hunting for any nice photo view points in places I don't normally visit. Found a couple of spots worth going back to when the light is better.

Rounded off the day with a little jog around the golf course in the last of the light about 4pm.

View a slideshow from today's photos here.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Snow slowed play

Dipper in West Kilbride burn today.

Intended to go over to Bradshaw and Fairlie today reason being it was superbly cold and frosty so I expected the muddy trail to be easy(er) going.
It wasn't to be.
There was another factor at play that made the going just too hard, frosted snow.
One or two inches of snow was lying on the trail and it was so hard to pedal through, could just about manage on the flat but any uphill was just a push.
After the Glentane hill section I abandoned the idea of Bradshaw and just cut back down to Hunterston. Even then I couldn't cycle on the road it was too icy instead I cycled off the side where there was frosted snow and a bit of grip.
The going was so icy and bad that I just headed home and went out for post lunch walk down the beach. Very nice it was too loads of birds about and managed a few photos of the dipper in the burn.

PPM even though I'd made a conscious decision that I couldn't be bothered with a run my body, mind or endorphin addiction demanded it, so I did as demanded and took myself down for a jog along the golf course.
Very nice it was too out there at last light, soft frosted grass below my feet and a snowy Arran view to the west with a little cloud coming over, threatening snow perhaps?

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A slip in the weather

Portencross through a filter

What a disappointment I was expecting another crisp clear day today but IT RAINED!
I abandoned the mountain bike plans for the morning anyway, then the postie came with a parcel, a set of photo filters for my camera. Needless to say the mountain bike plan disappeared altogether in favour of some more photo experiments, and so the learning continues. AM and PM was down at Portencross playing about making a mess of things, its called trial and error.....the errors were plenty trying that's for sure. Learned some things though... I think?

View a short slideshow

PPM just to make sure I got my pulse rate up once in the day Anne dropped me off down the west end of the beach for a jog back home. I noticed today that I seem to be getting the running withdrawal symptom where I start pacing about looking out windows wondering when I can get out for a run. I haven't had that feeling for a long long time, maybe I was imagining it.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Frosty Eglinton Park

Eglinton Tower and Arran

Eglinton Park came to mind this morning when I was asking myself where could we have a walk that would give some shelter but still get a bit of sunshine.
I wasn't disappointed there was lots of frost about but we managed a good walk without getting too chilled and I enjoyed trying to capture the frost on camera.

PM another walk down the beach and then a little jog to round off the day and get the heart rate up. I'm quite pleased with myself it was more like a run today my fitness is up a notch now that I'm jogging a bit more often. Just hope my body can keep it up.

View a frosty Eglinton slideshow
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