Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mountain biking Irvine valley

Kilmaurs toll house pinhile image

Got out yesterday on the MTB on Irvine valley trails. Been a wee while since Graham and I have been there, its nice and sheltered and we hoped it'd keep the cold north wind off us, a good decision!
The full route is quite a beast we cut off the eastern loop in favour of the woodland tracks.
Unfortunately my chain broke again I was hoping it would last this one more outing as I intended going up to my favourite cycle shop Walkers Cycles to get some new drive chain bits.
Since my changer is worn out I've decided to convert to eight speed, the 9 speed has never worked well the chains are too weak and wear out far too quickly. Time will tell if its a good decision.

The route starts at Loudoun Kirk a picturesque spot so I took along a pinhole camera and took a couple of photos one of the kirk and one of Kilmaurs toll house (above). I'm pleased with the progress I'm making with this pinhole stuff, I've started developing some of images at home, just black and white, good fun except it can cause a bit of conflict for use of the kitchen.
Still doing colour stuff as well, when I got home from the MTB outing there was a set back from the lab, they are pinhole photos of Ayr from last weeks Troon to Ayr walk,the photos can be viewed here.

Some more here normal digital photos from the same walk.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Parkhill Woodalnd walk

Pinhole of Portencross harbour

Yesterday I received a delivery of chemicals and ortho lith film for pinhole photos.
So before Anne was out of bed I set about getting my first photo(s) with it and managed fine (I thought) leaving them to dry while we went off up to Castle Semple to have a nice walk around Parkhill wood. It was unusually bright the sort of bright that comes with showery weather, sure enough it showered, but only a little.

PM I was keen to have another go at the pinhole film developing thing. I blacked out the kitchen window with a screen I built last week end, loaded the 'camera' ( a cylindrical short bread tin) with film and went off to my favourite photo spot (Portencross).
The good news is the exposures were fine and the images were OK but the development was way off, I got lots of blotches on the negatives, apart from that I was quite pleased.

View the not so wonderful results here on Flickr.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Failford to Stair yet again.

Weir near Stair

Bright and breezy yesterday so Anne and I went off down to Failford for a walk along the River Ayr out of the wind and with the prospect of lunch at Stair by extending the walk if the weather held up.
All was OK, just a couple of short light showers but not enough to turn us back from the prospect of Stair lunch.

View a flickr slideshow here (Nov 08).

When we got back there was yet more photos of the pinhole variety waiting at the door. Doctored them up a little and you can view them here: and if you liked that lot see a few more here of the cross eyed stereo variety.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mugdock revisited

Lovely bike at Clachan of Campsie

Thought it'd be nice for Katy and Craig to get a bit of MTBing around Mugdock and Lennoxtown. It'd allow their friend Johnny to meet up and do a circuit as well.
Saturday past was good, we all met up in the main car park and set off clockwise around the park, out onto the West Highland way and along the now lovely smooth tarred railway line to Clachan of Campsie for the usual cake and coffee stop.
Lovely motor bike parked by the cafe, not that I know anything about these things but this one was all chrome and shinny blue, and about 200x more horsepower than we had with us.

I suffered two mishaps a chain break in mugdock and a gear changer fell apart just after the coffee stop, so I was down to three gears, plenty really.
Still got the gear changer to see to before I think about going MTBing again and I suppose it must be time to renew all the drive chain bits before I get a rash of chain breaks.

Short boring video below.

Latest photo thing I've been at is pinhole images on to paper and developing them myself like I used to do long long time ago. The results are nothing wonderful image wise but I've been having lots of fun making the 'cameras' and pottering in the darkroom.

View the paper pinhole slideshow here but don't expect much.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Troon to Ayr

Beach scupture

Anne and I took a walk along the beach Troon to Ayr today, it was a glorious day for it, cool and sunny just right.
This is a walk we started doing 6 years ago (ish) during the foot and mouth restrictions and we've been doing it regularly since then when the weathers not too blowy.
Lunch a bit of non essential shopping before getting the train back to troon.

Took a few photos along the way, some with my little Ixuss 55 digital compact and some with a little Kershaw 110 camera converted for pinhole.

View todays slideshow here.

When we got back there was a set of pinhole photos back from the lab waiting for me on the doorstep, Hunterston and Eglinton view them here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ardrossan Castle

Ardrossan church steeple through the castle window

Was up in Glasgow this morning to buy a present for a dancing friend, well I was more of a spectator really but it didn't take long so we went off to have a walk in Mugdock Park, a few pinhole photos snatched along the way.
There was a group of youngsters being guided around the park on mountain bikes.
Not a lot of cycling going on though it seemed every half mile they stopped for a bit of sightseeing or a game of chasing or climbing into hollow trees.
Best way to get them interested I suppose, minimise the hard work maximise the fun, wish I could do that!

Back home around 3.30, too early for indoors so I went down to Ardrossan castle to snatch a few photos.
I've thought for a while I'd like to give it a try and with the lovely low sun today it seemed like a good time to do it.
I'm quite pleased with the results view them here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

A delightful spring day

Ash on Fairlie moor

WOW! what a great spring day. It started clear and mild and just got better and better.
I got the road bike out again today, second time this year (and this week) but didn't intend going far, it looked a bit breezy first thing so decided to do a Fairlie moor loop, a bit like this one.
That way I'd get back for lunch and maybe do something different PM, wasn't that different though, Anne and I went around Hunterston peninsula on the MTBs. With a nice following wind it felt really quite warm.
The new lambs were in the fields around Hunterston, daffodils flowering and some pink blossom appearing on one of the trees, very spring like.

PPM Anne was off to Largs to pick up one of her paintings she was having framed so I did another MTB loop down the beach and over Goldenberry. I must admit to feeling a bit tired by the time I got to the top of the hill so I just pottered home after the downhill blast.

What a lovely bit of springtime cycling.

View slideshow

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Loch Bradan Loop

Anne's prize winning knitting

Yesterday while I was out and about Anne was doing community support by entering knitting stuff into the West Kilbride flower show. She won 3 first prizes, one for a dressed doll (above) one for a lovely fluffy pink scarf and one for a babies woooly jacket. Well done Anne!

Today Katy, Craig and I went off mountain biking down near Straiton on the Loch Bradan easy circuit. A straight forward loop around the Loch with a rather strenuous Cornish Loch warm up.
In nice cool clear conditions it was a treat. Near the end of the run I suggested Katy and Craig freewheel down to Straiton while I collected the car, surprisingly they beat me to the Buck cafe almost 3 miles, its quite a freewheel ride! and the cake was yummy!

View the video below.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cornalees and the Cut

Graham in full flight near Cornalees Sept 08

Got out for a little spin on the MTB today up at Cornalees on the Greenock cut.

I'd been pottering at home too long and by the time I got up there it was looking a bit on the dull side.
Went over the hill and turned off to some single track on the north side of the hill above Gourock, sort of mini cut beside a couple of small reserviors.
When I got there a chap with a gun was looking as if he might have bagged a goose or two if I hadn't been passing, lucky geese, saved by the coincidental passing of a mountain biker, the ways of the world are....err....random.

Did the loop around the cut into some fine drizzle for a bit but it cleared as I got back to the visitor centre so I decided to repeat a bit of the track up to the top of the hill, somewhere I haven't been before and now that I've done it probably won't do again. Nice to get the view though so may take a walk up there sometime when the visibility's good.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Whitelee forest map

Hunterston castle and daffodils

I was up rather sharp this morning due to going to bed before midnight, so to occupy the hour or two till Anne surfaced I went off down to Hunterston armed with my stereo pinhole camera for a bit of photo pottering.
Very nice until the showers came over just as I was getting back to the car, 6 stereo photos in the bag.

Back home after having second brerakfast (Anne's first breakfast) we went off in the car along to Fairlie for a bit of a walk up through Kelburn to the Kel Birdge a lovely spot where I wanted to get a few more stereo pinhole photos.
Its a very nice couple of hours walk I should put into my web site sometime soon (see sidebar).
Up into Kelburn from beside Fairlie garage (parking beside St Pauls church) all the way up to Fairieward Cottage and the Upper Kel Burn Bridge, back down the Kel Burn Glen to Kelburn centre and return along the low road in Kelburn.

PM Anne was off doing her own thing so I went down to Portencross for yet more photo pottering in the rather pleasant afternoon sunshine.

PPM Had a jog along the beach with a lovely following wind but unfortunately I pulled a calf muscle and had to walk the last half mile home.
Embarrassing dressed to jog and limping along at less than a walk!

A few (5) photos here taken with my digital camera as I shot off some film pinhole stuff.

This eveniong I did a search on the internet for a map of Whitelee forest wind farm, its part of my East Ayrshire epic 170mile route but has been a problem area with all the work going on. Not sure its all open now but I did find this map which looks good from the MTB'ers point of view, lots of easy access and loops to be had.

View the map here.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Kilbarchan road cycle

Beith town centre old church

It was so nice this morning I decided it'd be an ideal day to get out the road bike for its first outing of the year.
It didn't seem to want to come out and play, maybe in the huff because I'd been neglecting it. The chain wouldn't turn, the mudguard was loose, and neither gear changer would work.
I spent 20 minutes or so freeing off all the stuck bits and giving it a quick test run before loading it onto the car for my getaway.

The route was a bit like this one Dalry to Lochwinnoch but I added in an extra bit, Howwood to Kilbarchan and a little detour along a couple roads I hadn't been on before.
I didn't have a map so it was a little bit of guesswork where I'd end up. Turned out fine although with an extra bit of climbing I hadn't expected.

I came down into Lochwinnoch on a lovely tiny back road above the river Calder where here used to be lots of mills, now either demolished or turned into large homes.
There is lots to see: the old lade, the weir waterfall, mill wheel ruins a grand place to stop off for a few photos or a bite to eat next to the waterfall.
Next stopping off spot was a coffee and cake break at the RSPB place at Lochwinnoch.
They've put in a couple of nice new scopes for bird spotting and I was lucky enough to spot a few Redpoll at the feeders in amongst all the usual stuff.
From there its a climb into Beith then a few back roads back to Dalry and the car.

View todays slideshow here.

Friday, March 06, 2009

A bit of local MTBing

Garden falls at Blair

Got out for a jaunt on the bikes today with Graham, wasn't expecting to hear from him until next WE so it was a pleasant surprise.
Weather looked good as we headed down the beach to Portencross with a bit of nice wind assistance along the flat but around here the time always comes for a bit of significant climbing- up on to the moor where most of the best trails are to be found.
To get up there we climbed the Biglees quarry track quite a demanding bit of climbing, rough and loose, then along the wide wet track to the Fairlie Glen downhill.
I was very pleased to clean the Fairlie burn crossing Graham though failed and got his feet good and wet. Not that it mattered much the weather was going downhill fast.
We turned for home at Fairlie into the wind and rain, luckily a shower, it just stayed on long enough to get us properly wet and cold.

I was going to link to the route but this is the best I can do.

PS Got a few nice photos back from the lab today view them here.


Thursday, March 05, 2009

Blair and other stuff

Blair house and driveway.

The day started snowy, the vertical stuff that comes down when there is no wind, didn't last though, by 10.30 it was getting quite bright.
We went over to Blair estate, they have a long standing tolerance to walkers in the policies, quite nice to know your welcome. Its not a huge area, nice for about an hours walk but its a bit muddy off the firm trails around the perimeter track.
We circulated around enjoying the sunshine and in my case 3D photo taking.

PM was still good so I got out and about locally then down to my favourite photo spot at Porencross. The light, sky and surroundings were just wonderful and I had a very nice time doing nothing very much (taking pinholeroid photos) while enjoying the fabulous views.

View slideshow
To see the 3D image view at about 12" cross your eyes until a third full size photo appears in the middle it should be in 3D. You may have to try for some time to get the hang of it after which it should be much easier.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

More snow

Puddle view at Portencross

It snowed yesterday evening, Katy and Craig were up for dinner and by the time they were leaving there was a good covering, enough for a bit of a snowball fight, great fun for ten minutes until the wet and cold get through.
Earlier in the day I did get out, up to the dump getting rid of woodwormed timber and then between rainy spells I managed to grab a couple of nice dry hours up at Blair estate, wandering about firing off some film in a horrible little camera called a Flexora, destined to be a pinhole camera soon but I thought it'd be nice to see what sort of photos it takes. Its got a reprieve until I see them.

Today Anne and I had a leisurely morning stroll down at Portencross, wow! the light and visibility were stunning, I managed a few quite pleasant photos view them here.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

A week end in the loft (attic)

Film back for 120 film stuff.

I've just spent the week end in the loft (attic) treating woodworm and laying a new floor, very pleased its now all done (and the nagging has stopped).
All the rubbish up there has been dumped so now it sort of empty compared to what it was and of course I'm rather knackered.
I can't go at things slowly I just get stuck in till its done...and I'm dead, same as mountain biking, its only worthwhile if I'm dead at the end of it...slight exageration!

Back to my present obsession....

Ever felt a bit slow on the uptake?
Of course you too!
Just today I realised that all this pinhole stuff would be so much easier if I could switch film between (homemade) pinhole cameras whenever I needed....the answer? obviously a 120film back.
I went onto eBay and ther it was, a 120 6X6 film back, 1hour still to go, I held off and made a last minute bid, now a 120 film back is wending its way towards me.
I can't believe how long its taken for the penny to drop, even though I've been browsing loads of pinhole photo sites I hadn't registered what a benefit it would be...doh!

Here is the the penny drop.
The hard bit about any pinhole camera is the winding mechanism also the film is stuck with the camera until finished. This means it can't be swapped to another format (camera), but if the film is in a 120 film back with a dark slide just put in the slide and go to a new camera.

Its another case of reading all the words about a subject but not grasping the meaning until I've made several significant trial and error failings.
Then again maybe its just my brain is wired that way.....thick!
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