Sunday, 21 May 2017

Leg power v horse power v electric power

The sign says it all "The Magical Bluebell Wood", at its very best just now!

Along the side of the River Esk near Lasswade

Deep in the heart of Bluebell Wood!

An irate biker who thought his cross bike was able with its flimsy tyres to tackle the sharp stones on Castlelaw, he was a bit bad tempered so I didn't have much sympathy with him! 

Round the side of Harbour Hill and I encountered two people with riding helmets but only one horse between them!

On the track up to West Kip I came across more horses, this time with a rider on each of them, seems like an easy way to go uphill!!

Met this Brad Pitt lookalike(?) who assured a doubtful me that he was off to catch some fish

The top off Hare Hill this morning and it was certainly no heat wave up there!

From here on its mostly downhill and a tail wind into the bargain, things can only get better!

A week in which I was offered the chance to participate  in an ebike trial which I turned down simply because if I had an hour on an ebike I reckon I'd never be really happy on an ordinary mountain bike again! I met a few horse rider as well but the cost of buying, feeding, stabling and generally maintaining a horse makes buying the occasional part for a mountain bike relatively cheap, so at the moment it's going to continue to be leg power!  

Monday, 15 May 2017

Our prolonged dry spell appears to have ended!

Bluebell Wood in full bloom, the dry weather doesn't appear to have harmed the bluebells

Sunday morning at the summit of Black Hill , the wind has gone from Easterly to Westerly indicating a change of weather is imminent, so there's not much we can do about it except enjoy while the going's good!

Couldn't resist getting a photo of these two Dalmatians, Jasper on the left was less than a year old and right bundle of energy!
Today, Monday, and its been raining all morning, we've had an abnormally dry last six weeks or so and it's going to take a bit of getting used to puddles and mud again! The only thing we can hope for is that it doesn't forget to stop raining!

Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Pentland Hills are the driest I've seen since I started biking up them

The 3 of us race down to the Howe from East Kip

The Strava Segment known as "Run sheepie run" (for obvious reasons!) now has 13 little bridges built into it.

Clive managed to find about the only boggy bit up the Pentlands just now and nearly went over the bars in it!

Bright sunshine but a cold Easterly wind.

Not only biking and hill walking goes on up these hills, there's a flourishing model remote controlled glider club as well!

Barrie and I sit and contemplate life at the top.....well we were at the top of West Kip after all!

Dry dusty tracks are the order of the day in the Pentland hills at the moment after an April with virtually no rain. The tracks are fast, uphill as well as down and the reservoirs are beginning to look a bit low, but never fear, rain is forecast for the end of next week and I'm willing to bet that once it starts it'll take a bit of stopping!

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Day 2 and 3 of West Highland Way By Bike

After a fairish bit of bashing of rocks along the side of Loch Lomond on a path that didn't exist in places, my rear derailleur must have got knocked off line a bit resulting in the chain trying to chew the spokes out of the rear wheel when I changed into the lowest gear, however with the usual mix of foul and abusive language it was soon repaired and bent back into place.

How did we ever manage to pick weather like this to cross Rannoch Moor, surely one of the loneliest spots in the British Isles in bad weather but on a day like this, fantastic!

The bottom of the Devils Staircase in Glencoe and we're faced with about 45 minutes of pushing the bikes up the rocky climb, but worth it for the scenery if nothing else!

A triumphant wave as I managed to reach the top of the |Devils Staircase in third place.

You just cant relax for a second on the track along to Kinlochleven with the stretch probably about the smoothest.

The last mechanical when Davids derailleur hanger came loose and jammed up his rear wheel, soon repaired though and once again foul language came to the rescue!

Andy's in laws stay in Kinlochleven and we took advantage of their hospitality to have a cup of tea and some crisps etc before heading to our bunkhouse for the night.

Next morning after a relatively short but hard and cold 16 miles we reached Fort William and cycled abreast up the High Street to the amusement of some of the locals who must see this nearly every day of the year!

Barrie and I pose for the camera at the end of the |West Highland Way with me vowing "never again" but pleased as punch at doing it (and surviving)!

The eight who set out from Milngavie all made it with a few scrapes and bruises and loads of memories.

My legs showing my personal cuts and scrapes more or less all done on the 4 mile stretch along the side of Loch Lomond from Inversnaid.

A fantastic trip with plenty incidents and weather that couldn't have been better, Scotland at its best and not a midge in sight for the whole of the trip. So far over £3000 has been raised for Meningitis Research,thanks to everybody who donated.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Day 1 of The West Highland Way by Bike charity ride in aid of meningitis research

The start of the ride in Milngavie and Barrie and I  try our best to look cool calm and collected.....and fail badly!! 

The first glimpse of Loch Lomond and little did we suspect just how hard reaching the north end of it would be

A group photo minus Graham who took it and still no scraped shins!

The start of the descent from Conic Hill above the village of Balmaha which sits at the side of Loch Lomond, as we descended we encountered more and more hill walkers on their way up.

The descent at times was hairy to say the least, here David does the steps while Peter prefers the smoother side track!

Barrie also took the slightly easier way down, preferring to reach Balmaha and lunch in one piece! 

The Drovers Inn at the north end of Loch Lomond, if ever anywhere looked as if it were perfect for a horror movie it was here, but the accommodation was first class and I was asleep within 5 minutes of going to bed.

Eight of us left Milngavie at 9.30am on Friday the 7th April in great biking weather, not too hot, not too cold, with some of the group having expectations of averaging 10mph over the 40 odd miles to the Drovers Inn! In actual fact we took over 10 hours to reach it and you don't have to be a mathematical genius to work out our average speed! The section that really slowed us down was the last 4 miles or so from Inversnaid Hotel which took over 3 hours of not much biking, a fair bit of hike-a-biking and a new pastime to me of rock climbing whilst carrying a bike. This is where the scraped shins and multiple bruises appeared from along with the occasional near tumble into the loch.However we eventually reached our 1st nights stoppage point and after a meal which quite frankly a few of us were too knackered to eat it was off to bed in our en-suite accommodation, hoping we would feel better the next morning!
More later..... 

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Ten days to go before we tackle the West Highland Way

Baz and I are joining another six riders to ride the West Highland Way which goes from Milgavnie just north of Glasgow to Fort William. The aim of the ride which is spread over three days and covers 96 miles is to raise money for Meningitis Research which one of the riders suffered from just over a year ago but happily has made a good recovery. The picture shows Baz ,and me going over the bikes trying ,hopefully, that everything is OK to take the challenge as the terrain can be pretty rough at places!

Me out on one of my training rides up the Pentlands on a really cold miserable day a week ago, thankfully the weather has improved since then but the Scottish Highland weather can be quite unpredictable so we'll have to be prepared for anything.

Saturday, 11 March 2017

At last it appears to be getting a bit warmer, only needs to get drier now......

Out with Dougie a couple of weeks ago and the weather was starting to look up!

An old ruin up the Pentland Hills, I think whoever was the last person to live here will have been pushing up the daisies for a year or two now.

The view from the top of Castlelaw which Baz and me did for the first time in two years last week end, we did it again today and the track down we discovered is well worth the hard climb to the top.

The weather at last seems to be warming up and with nights getting longer Spring is in the air. The grass at the house is going to need cut in the next week or two but first of all the ground will have to dry a bit. All in all, Winter might still have a last go at us but the worst would seem to be over.......

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Help!!! Winter arrived for a couple of days.....then left again!

The road along the side of Loganlea Reservoir on Friday morning when it looked as if winter was here for a few weeks!

The views were spectacular on Friday but didn't even last till Saturday!

A lot of disappointed skiers who thought the Pentlands would be good for the weekend!

On a different theme, I had to drill out the retaining pin that holds in the brake pads on Clives Tektro hydraulic brakes on his mountain bike and what better way to replace it than with a bent nail....CBE (crude but effective) at its best!

On Wednesday night winter arrived in Scotland with a flourish in the shape of a storm with the rather odd name of "Doris" not exactly terrifying but a storm non the less. By Thursday night the Pentland Hills were looking at their best covered in a blanket of snow so a ride up them on Friday was essential for some photos, just as well I did for by Saturday the snow had more or less disappeared and flooding was the next problem.
Baz attempted to jump the river after I'd nearly come to grief cycling through further back a bit, but over estimated his ability and nearly ended up in the water!

The overflow from Threipmuir Reservoir was going flat out and try as I could to will him to fall off for a better picture he made it through.....