Monday, 15 September 2014

Sunday morning cycle

It's been a busy old week. Saturday was spent sailing and there will be a post mid-week once I put it all together. Meanwhile I've bought another car as I need a diesel as my weekly commute could soon be increasing dramatically.

I finally found a car that was suitable, bought it and by chance a work colleague was able to give me a lift to pick it up. I drove the new car home on Friday night which left the old car lying at work. So on Sunday morning I was off on a cycle to Haddington in the rain to collect it.

It was a dull damp start on the Long Haul Trucker. I just stuck a bottle of water in the rack and didn't bother with the waterproofs as I was only going 12 miles or so. I would regret that omission.

The first mile along by the Winterfield was just damp with a Scottish smirr. But as I headed out along the straight to East Linton the mist became thicker and a cold rain started. For the first time since April I began to think about long fingered gloves.

The leaves are beginning to change to their various shades of brown and the sky was most definitely grey. Then the rain really started so I just had to get the head down on plod up over Pencraig and on to work where the poor Berlingo has been sitting neglected since Friday.

My journey time was quite quick (for me) at 48 mins, and I thought again that I should commute by bike, but the comfort of the car with it's heater and a 15min journey home kind of reinforced that I cycle for pleasure. It wasn't the most interesting of routes, nor the most pleasant of weather but I still enjoyed it, the 'trucker was impecibly behaved as ever and breakfast, when I got home, tasted that much better.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Sailing as it should be done.

Sometimes you just have to grab the moment and get out sailing. Last Sunday was as good a day for sailing as I've seen for a long time. The sun was shining, there was a light but steady breeze and there was only the slightest swell.

So the little outboard was fired up to get me off the mooring but as soon as I was out of the harbour entrance, the motor was off and the Heron caught some wind in her sails.

Davey came out for a sail on his yacht 'Wee Beastie' but was having problems getting tension in his mainsail.

It didn't matter too much, It's still a faster boat than the Heron.

Davey soon passed me and headed off into the distance. I just set the tiller and headed north.

I often take photos of the horizon when I'm out sailing. I don't post many because they don't convey what I really experience. In the pictures the sea looks empty but when I'm sailing it's full of movement, changing colours, birds, the sound of the water and wind and of course the insignificant dot that is the Heron slowly bobbing along in the midst of it all.

With the back of my neck suitably burnt I turned south to get a bit of sun on my face and headed along the coast to the east of Dunbar.

I gybed off the east beach the tried my best to goose wing back to the scart rocks. Having the wind directly behind you might sound easy but if you sail, you'll know how tricky it can be.

Back in the calm of harbour and the colours are changing again as the sun starts to get a little lower.
Then this weekend, the weather was really settled again on Saturday. There was no real wind to speak of but I wanted to get out on the water and so hatched a cunning plan to spend the afternoon practising the black art of anchoring. 

It's probably best not to tell anyone that you intend to drop an anchor as it is amazing how many experts there are out there. And none of them agree.

After dropping the hook a couple of times and feeling it set on different grounds I heard the buzz of an engine and Stuart appeared on the Seline.

My back was beginning to complain with hauling up 11 meters of chain so happily agreed to go for a motor to the yacht Carioca which we could see bobbing around a mile and a half off-shore.

We all rafted up and sat chatting and some cold beer was passed around.

The boats creeked and groaned and slowly swung around on the tide and soon Jamie appeared on the Ambition to increase the raft of sloth to four. As the tide started to ebb, the Carioca had to head in to harbour as it draws a lot more than our little boats. The change in the tide also brought a little breeze and we gathered ourselves together, cast off the lines and hoisted some sail to get home.

Days like these are few, and can be far between, but are good for the soul.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Easy harvest cycling.

 Saturday morning was bright and breezy and time for a pedal before breakfast. I'm still trying to get out on shorter cycles and I now have some exercises from a physiotherapist to loosen off my sore achilles. It seems to be working, albeit slowly.

 I always take a camera with me when I'm on the bike and usually take a few pictures but I haven't got around to posting much as the views all seem so familiar to me. But that doesn't mean that they won't be of interest to someone else, so here is a bit of my morning with the first views over Belhaven Bay.

Then it was along the dump road past the pond and a gentle climb as I headed inland.

 The harvest is in full swing and there are little hints of Autumn in the hedgerows.

The brambles not quite ripe yet but if the weather stays warm for the next week I'll be out picking and trying some cunning jam making plans.

An easy going ten miles and I didn't feel sore at the time, and more importantly I wasn't limping the next morning although it was definitely a bit tender.

I'll just keep taking it easy and try to post a bit more.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Anstruther Muster 2014.....stormbound in Dunbar.

I haven't been posting much recently partly because I just seem to be too busy but also because I've had a niggling problem with my right Achilles tendon. This has been going on for a couple of months and seems to be a tendinitis (there is a noticable lump on the tendon!). I have finally admitted that it does seem to get better with rest and that going for a long cycle just aggravates it.

The weekend past however would not normally include any cycling as it was time again for the annual Anstruther Muster. I had everything ready to sail on the ebbing tide at 07:00 on Saturday. Unfortunately the wind had other ideas and, as forecast, it was soon blowing over 30mph. That's far too much for my wee boat. If I was caught out in it I know the boat would be safe, if a bit uncomfortable, but to deliberately set out into that sort of wind is foolhardy.  

So I was at a bit of a loss. El was expecting her sister to visit and the usual suspects had all headed over to Anstruther on Thursday evening or Friday morning.  

 With nothing better to do, I decided to take it easy and have my own weekend away at home.
 I took Fly for some good walks along the beach and the cliffs.

I paddled out to the Heron, put the kettle on, then turned it off and had a beer instead.

 I had a look at the Kittiwakes and realised just how far on summer is. This years young are almost the same size as the parents and it will not be long before they all head back to sea.

 I went rock pooling and did some light rock fishing.

I caught wee Pollock, coal fish and a pugnacious little sea scorpion who kept hold of the isome worm even after I had taken the hook out. He went back eventually, but not without bristling his little spines at me.

It is the first time in five years I have not sailed to the muster, which is a disappointment, but there will always be next year. The rest arrived back from Anstruther in various cars as the yachts have all been left there until the weather settles. The summer seems to have slipped by this year and there is just the start of a hint of Autumn in the air. I've missed going for decent summer cycles, but every time I do go out, I end up limping the next day. So I'll make a commitment  to get back into regular cycling but just keeping it to short five to ten mile outings. See how it goes.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Same sea, different boat.

Saturday was a grim, grey day. The settled high pressure that all of Scotland has been rejoicing in finally broke and a more typical summer returned. Sunday was forecast to be more of the same but instead it brightened up with only the prospect of occasional showers and a gusty wind.

Stuart gave me a call and said that Kev was going out in the afternoon to catch bait for his creels, did I want to come along? I didn't have to be asked twice. I grabbed my boat rod from the Heron and off we went on Kev's boat the 'Sea Breeze'.

You don't want to slip through there. There's a big brass propeller slicing away just a few feet below.

Out from Dunbar and off through the rocks. Phil was out sailing on his Hurley 20 'Hamara Jihaz'.  The big displacement of the fishing boat just pushed the sea aside as the diesel engine hummed away below. Quite a difference from the rolling of the Heron as the little two stroke 5hp screams on the stern.

In the wheel house I can understand the plotter, the VHF, the finder, depth and GPS but the rest is a mystery.  Oh, and the gauge for rudder angle, I know that one. And the voltmeter, and I think there is a compass in there and the oil pressure gauge, there's a lifeboat pager and an MOB sender. I think the big black screen on the right is a television.

Back outside and now that we were steaming along there was a more noticeable roll but never anything uncomfortable. At the first mark I was drawing a blank whilst Stuart and Kev got a couple of stray mackerel. We headed east and Kev offered me some very useful heavier leads as we were drifting faster than I had expected. I soon got into mackerel, then cod and a few pollock.

There was a wee squall and the waterproofs went on. A couple of hours flew by and although it wasn't a big catch, there was a box and a quarter as we headed home.

Tied up to land again and a familiar face appeared looking for a free meal. Harry McNeil the harbour seal.

An unexpected fishing trip in good company with some good laughs. Just really enjoyable afternoon out. I'm very fortunate in the friends I have.

Sunday, 27 July 2014

LHT over Coldingham Moor

Last October I took the train to Berwick Upon Tweed and cycled home. It was a wonderful route but the weather wasn't so favourable with teaming rain all the way. I decided to revisit some of the route today and drove to the west end of Coldingham Moor above Pease Bay.

From then on it was a simple out and back to Eyemouth but the minor roads across the moor are a delight. The views are pretty good too.

The lambs are coming on well this year with hot sunshine and plenty of grass. These two were having some sort of sheep disagreement.


 At Peel I stopped to have a look at where this arrow led to. I had noticed the signs last time and took the chance to follow them today. Unfortunately the trail seemed to fade away into scrub. I'll go back for a proper look with Fly.

Back onto smooth tarmac with the hedges full of colour and birdsong.

Gentle climbs and long descents with the occasional twist and turn to cross a stream. 

A fine Sunday cycle, but yes that is a waterproof jacket peeking out of the trunk bag. I couldn't have it all my own way and inevitably I got caught in a couple of showers. After the heat of the last few weeks it was quite pleasant to feel the rain again.