Sunday, 17 September 2017

Crash, bang, wallop.....again!!!

I reckon I got off pretty lightly after I came off when my front wheel washed out on a greasy banking as I came down the track to Eastside farm. Embarrassingly my departure from riding a bike to having my bike cartwheel over me was witnessed by the farmer who enquired when we met him a few minutes later if I'd taken a tumble, I swear he was laughing as he drove off in his Landrover!
However apart from a couple of grazes around my knee a liberal coating of muck and sheep shit I live to ride another day, in fact we did another 10 miles. 

Prior to the off we'd climbed up to the bottom of West Kip on a morning that could only be described as "dreich"! 

How I'd hoped I might catch Barrie to have an over the bars moment here but apart from his back wheel lifting as the front one went in a hole nothing else happened!!
Considering I'd only had just over 4 hours sleep after being at a wedding the night before I think I acquitted myself OK and I'll put my accident down to fatigue, though Barrie thought lack of skill was more appropriate, September continues to disappoint on the weather front, I'm beginning to think it could be a rough winter.....

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Dumyat in the Ochil Hills

Barrie and I have had a hankering after a ride in the Ochil Hills for some time now with Dumyat in particular being the favourite so Paul who did the West Highland Way with us and who lives in Dunblane was contacted to help us out.
The start from Paul's house in Dunblane

Roughly half way up Drumyat and already Paul was suffering from cramp!
Barrie, Garry and I reached the summit, Paul said we would meet up on the descent, it seemed like a scene from Scott of the Antarctic and Captain Oates!!
Captain Oates had recovered and showed us some of his biking skills on the way back down through the woods 

Unfortunately my biking skills didn't match Paul's and I did an embarrassing face plant in front of the other three!
 Barrie happily points out where I met my Waterloo, which on reflection doesn't look particularly technical! That was the end of the photos as the Go Pro came to grief in the crash but we all made it back to Paul's house in more or less one piece with me probably sporting the most injuries, but as we always say "it's always a good ride if there's a bit of blood "

Saturday, 2 September 2017

The weather's improved now it's Autumn!

The first day of Autumn, the sun's shining and the purple heather looks terrific!
This lot looked at me as if I was completely nuts as I biked past them up Castlelaw, maybe they're right?
It was more or less all downhill from here, if the the weather stays like this I for one won't be complaining, tomorrow we're off to do a ride in the Ochil Hills and guess what...... there's rain forecast, never a dull moment in Bonnie Scotland!!!

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!