Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Doing the Skyline in mist and heavy rain and a dead Bambi

Last Saturday morning and things were looking a bit on the misty side as we pedalled up to the 
final climb to the summit of West Kip!

Its too steep to pedal now so it's hike-a-bike time now...onwards and upwards!

Eventually we reached the top and set off into the mist for the descent where Barrie nearly came to grief right at the start as he took the right hand side to descend from!

The dead roe deer I came across on Monday evening, which, by the look of it had been shot but not fatally and had run on before succumbing to its wound, no doubt whoever had shot it had no licence nor any love of wild animals either, I passed it on Tuesday night and at least some other wild animals had benefited from its carcase rather than the scumbag who'd shot it.

An adventure last Saturday morning in the mist and heavy rain as we pedalled along the Pentland Skyline, my cycling glasses proving worse than useless and Barries worn out tyres sliding on the wet grass and greasy track. This must go down as the slowest descent on record from Turnhouse Hill down to Flotterstone but at least we made it in one piece. 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

The Forth Bridge to the Tay Bridge via The Fife Coastal Path

6.30am and the adventure begins

Dalgetty Bay and a view back to the Forth Bridges and they're now about 5 miles into the ride

The caves at East Wemyss rumoured to have some of the oldest cave writings in Britain

The East Neuk of Fife and the path goes over farmland and past a herd of cows that Dougie mistook for bulls and fell into a ditch in his panic to avoid them!

Barrie consults the map for inspiration!

Anstruther's world renowned fish and chip shop was just too much of a temptation to pass by!

Barrie said a rock jumped out and forced him to use the ejector seat!

The path crossed the golf course at Kingsbarns where the British Ladies Golf Championship was in its final rounds, our two bold riders were told to silence their clicky freehubs and noisy brakes as they were upsetting the concentration of the golfers ( what a pathetic bunch golfers are!!)

They discovered cycling on soft sand when you're not on a fat bike ain't easy 

Eventually after 13 hours of blood (in Dougies case) sweat probably both of them, and tears,mostly mine as I waited for them at St Andrews, they reached the end at the Tay Bridge, where Barrie's dog, Rebus, was waiting to greet them.
Barrie's dream which he's he's harboured for some time has been to bike the Fife Coastal Path from the Forth Road Bridge up to the Tay Bridge in the north of Fife. Dougie agreed to accompany him and I was back up crew with food, water and a change of clothing when needed every so often.
They set off at 6.30am and after 13 hours and a few adventures, from upsetting a herd of cows to upsetting professional lady golfers (not really much difference there then) they eventually reached their goal with the weather alternating from bright warm sunshine to torrential rain and easy going bike tracks to soft sand and hike a bike in places, that's now been ticked off the bucket list, thank goodness my services as back up are not  required for a while again, sitting around waiting is nearly as tiring as doing the actual ride.......well maybe not quite!    

Friday, 28 July 2017

More downpours in this sorry summer! But better times to come......

The track down the valley to the Howe was drier back at the end of the winter  than it is now!

The stream or small river as it is now is just too risky to try and bike across , the dark peaty water hides the boulders that have been washed down when it's in spate.

Kathy negotiates the stepping stones which are just clear of the water, we need another bridge here!

Out with Kathy this morning on muddy tracks, her first time for a couple of months and I can safely say it was a lot drier two months ago.
The reason for her absence is the puppy above, and if that doesn't make you go awww!! then nothing will!  She's now the proud owner of a Vizsla pup called Heidi who's taken over her life for the past two months but she assures me that she's nearly ready to do a bit more biking again. The long term plan is that Heidi will accompany her as she runs and bikes in the hills once she's an adult (Heidi that is, not Kathy, she'll never really grow up thank goodness!!)
Anyway already Heidi can probably accelerate faster than a Ferrari so goodness knows what she's going to be capable of in a year or so!   

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The wettest June in Central Scotland since god knows when....

This is Threapmuir reservoir which was at the lowest level I've seen it on Wednesday night since I started riding up the Pentland Hills. Today, Sunday, the water was pouring over the overflow as a result of last Thursday and Friday's downpour! 

Barrie and I came up behind a small squad of armed soldiers presumably out on an exercise this morning and took no time in informing them we had no intention of launching an attack against them!  

Barrie trying to get a bit of air under his wheels early on this morning

Torduff reservoir which also had been well topped up with the rain this week

The river crossing wasn't too bad apart from a deepish bit that had been gauged out when it had been in spate resulting wet feet for the both of us.

The news that there had been record rainfall in June came as a bit of a surprise because generally the ground conditions have been very good with the trails drying quickly after any rain early on in the month.I can only assume the record rainfall came about as a result of the very heavy rain in the last week of the month, here's hoping for a drier July! 

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Back to pruning jaggy brambles to save my arms and legs on the path to Bluebell Wood!

Barrie was in charge of the camera last Sunday morning 

Though he says otherwise I'm adamant he couldn't keep up with me on the descent from Black Hill!

This was the sweltering hot climb up to the top of Black Hill

As usual a good rides end with a problem.... ours was a puncture!

Out myself on Tuesday to do a bit of pruning, these brambles can tear your arms to shreds!

Thought this was a bit artistic looking.....probably not!!!

You couldn't have asked for better weather for a bike ride up in the hills of Scotland

A week of  hot dry weather with conditions perfect for mountain biking, the trails are back to their best only downside being we've now passed the longest day and nights start to get longer, at least it'll be a while yet till lights are needed!

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Dougie (road?) tests his new mountain bike up the Pentland Hills

The new Stanton Sherpa 29er and its proud owner

He's off, now to see how it performs on a fast descent 

Nearly at the bottom and all seems to be well

A little tail flick at the start of Maidens Cleugh

Me logging in on Sunday morning

Will Barrie go over the bars on this ditch crossing?

Rats!! He made it over successfully, now I'll have to do the same!

There's that view again, down over Loganlea reservoir before the final chaotic descent to the Howe

The broken chain that forced a 2 mile walk home for me earlier in the week when I didn't take my backpack and its array of spare parts with me! It could have been worse, it could have happened 10 miles from home.....

Monday, 5 June 2017

From jumping jumps to trying to get new PRs, just another week on the mountain bike up the Pentlands

Barrie went first in our pathetic attempt to see who had most style in the jump at the bottom of Maidens Cleugh

My effort was next and didn't really look aggressive enough, more a look of "HELP"!

Next morning and I was out pruning jaggies that threatened to tear my arms and legs to shreds on a narrow bit of path I often bike along 

Soon be finished!

Dougie looking out into the wide blue yonder on Wednesday when we reached the top of Capelaw Hill

A great vantage point for the view on a day like Wednesday

Barrie was sure he could conquer this tricky little climb at Black Springs.....

He was wrong...twice!!

What a way to spend a Sunday morning while 99% of the population are still lying in their beds!

Black Hill done and dusted, it's nearly all downhill from here on back home.

Another week of great biking weather with a bit of everything thrown in and a couple of PRs for me into the bargain, they don't happen that often these days so I'll gladly take any that come my way! 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Weather so hot even the fridge in the house gave up the ghost!

Wednesday night and things were beginning to heat up

By Thursday it was seriously hot for Scotland, we're just not used to this sort of nonsense!

Thursday night and Dougie and I tackled Hare Hill and met three other bikers cooling off, one of whom recalled Barrie and me fixing a burst chain on his bike five years ago at Innerleithen! I must have an unusual face that he could remember that!

The summit of Hare Hill was duly conquered after a fair bit of sweat had been spilt.

Friday and I went back up the hills in the heat for more punishment (and pictures)

Sunday morning and we're back to normal temperatures so arm warmers etc were back in action

Top of Turnhouse Hill ready for the last mad dash down to Flotterstone and Barrie attempts to "float like a butterfly", Clive remains unimpressed though!

We're off down the track, there's no turning back now

An earlier part of the climb up the rough track to the top of Carnethy Hill

The final part of the descent and there's a choice of tracks, Clive went to his left (his political viewpoint) while we went to the right!!

The start of the climb up the Kirk Road

This gargoyle outside Clives front door seemed an ideal place to put a spare helmet on, at 6am it's what a few people would be feeling like on a Sunday morning.

Last week our weather went crazy for a few days and temperatures soared to the 30s C which is just not what the people of Scotland or for that matter our household appliances can cope with! My fridge suffered a complete breakdown and had to be given life support and I've since heard of other household machines which objected to the extreme heat!! We still went out on the bikes though and maybe we didn't go as fast and drank a bit more fluid, but the ground was dry and hard and you cant argue with that!