Sunday, 26 February 2012

26 Feb Preston Mill and no photos

This week had a minor cause for celebration as the Coolag insulation and second felt was applied on the roof.  Friday night and I was finally sleeping in a bed after nearly 8 weeks.

I was up early on Sunday. Got Fly out for a walk and play with her ball then a pedal and coffee for me. The bike computer burst into life. Maybe it hadn't been working in the cold weather over the last couple of weeks? But the camera battery chose to fail so no pics which was a real pisser as it was a good morning.

Here's a couple of pics from last summer on the same route.

It wasn't quite so warm or tranquil with a cold westerly starting to blow in today.
Followed the John Muir Way to Knowes ford. The peace as I sat beside the river for the obligatory coffee will keep me going this week.  At Preston Mill I turned up toward Phantassie and back towards Dunbar.

A mile short of Dunbar I stopped in at JMCP where I met Andrew with his very smart Salsa Mukluk. Bruce also appeared with his Surly Moonlander.  My Kona looked anorexic by comparison. After last weeks musing on the advantages of a fatbike I was jealous as they headed off across the salt marsh to the miles of empty beach. There will no doubt be some great pics of the two bikes and Andrew's wife's horse Orion.

Don't want a horse, do want a Pug.

I'll try to get a pic of Preston Mill during this week. Wildlife this week was skeins of geese heading north, loads of Chaffinches, Yellow Hammers and a noisy flock of Goldfinches. All beginning to assert their territory and look toward nesting. At the Biel Burn there were Wigeon, Eider and a couple of Shelduck.

14 miles (8 off road) F2 gusting F3 W. 9 degrees max Cloudy.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Feb 22 Sign of the Times

Just a quick mid week post.

At work I occasionally travel some of the back roads of East Lothian. This sign caught my eye some time ago and on Wednesday I took the chance to take a pic.

This is on the B6355 by Snawdon. Everyone knows it should be on the B6368 to Humbie...

Good mischief by someone.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Feb 12 Frozen Barns Ness

Busy Sunday. Lot of roofing materials delivered Friday and Saturday. Hopefully work can start tomorrow!

In the meantime I grabbed an early start and got out on the bike. I headed east along the coast to Barns Ness. Not far in miles but I still managed to spend a couple of hours cycling the coast and enjoying a coffee when the folk who don't understand are still sleeping.

Whitesands looking West. Skinny cheap Kenda tyres are great for the road miles and not too bad on the trails, but wouldn't want to go any closer to the sand with them!

Low light in the morning highlights the wind blown sand.

No-one around just a couple of golfers in the very distance admiring each others Pringle jumpers.

From Whitesands its a short pedal over to Barns Ness. In cycling guides this route was advertised as suitable for road bikes. A fat 29er would be great but skinny 700ccs would be wrecked. 

Barns Ness is one of the many Stevenson lighthouses around the Scottish coast. If your not sure what this means, then take a stormy winters evening in front of the fire to read Bella Bathhurst's "The Lighthouse Stevensons".

These old timbers that were probably a mooring pontoon or pier but there are lots of conflicting stories.

I was getting cold in this pic and as soon as I stopped I could feel the wind chilling me.
I hunkered down behind the wood to enjoy the coffee, the solitude and started wondering about fat bikes. Coastal riding can be hard going on the constantly changing surface. Being able to sit down and spin whilst the tyres float seems a better way to see the view.

Time to head home before I think too much and stop enjoying the journey.  

This weeks wildlife was a Kestrel hunting, Stonechats, fox spoor at Catscraig and a new nesting box at the back of the Broxburn estate. Looks like an owl box but I'll need to check.

The afternoon has been spent servicing outboards...not long before the boats go back in the water!

8 miles ish...get a working bike computer! F2 gusting F4 WNW, max 4 degrees.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Feb 11th Misty Morning Hop

Saturday morning 0800, cold damp and still no proper roof. Sleeping on the floor doesn't encourage a lie-in. I filled the flask with some decent coffee and dragged the Kona out for a blast along the coast.

A mile and a half of tarmac and then it's all off road into John Muir Country Park (JMCP). 

The woods were full of chaffinches and no sign of any other humans. I could here dogs barking out on the beach but they were hidden by the misty start to the day.

There used to be a bench here but it has disappeared and a couple of the trees have fallen onto the beach as the coast slowly erodes.

 That's my flask of coffee under the seat pack. Good eh?

After the winding trails of the woods it was out towards an area of flood plain that was reclaimed for farming by building a dyke across the original snaking route of the river Tyne. With this estuary being a large area of reclaimed land at sea level it would have provided a perfect landing site if the Germans had invaded during WW2.  Nearly seventy years later many of the defences are still visible. There are stumps of glider poles out in the bay and the rows of tank blocks along the edges of the farmed land. Some people think they are an eyesore but I accept them as part of the history of the land, like standing stone or ruins of castles.  They might not have the romance but they are a record of the people and the time they lived in.

Out on the salt marsh I saw a Heron lazily flapping away, Oystercatchers, Curlews and Redshanks piping their alarm at my intrusion.  This is so wonderfully different from being at work.

Behind this gate the river is to the right, the dyke centre, and the reclaimed land below the river level on the left out of shot.

Coffee time and it tastes so much better with only the river flow and the distant calling of the wading birds.

 On my way home I stopped at the harbour to use a hose to clean the bike. It really needs a proper service. I also need to get another spare tube. Yeah, out in the middle of nowhere and I managed to get a puncture.

Still a great morning out. Set off around 08:15 and didn't notice the time passing until E phoned at 11:45 wondering where I was? In a relaxed place.

3 degrees, cloudy,  no wind,  8-10 miles. lots of nosing around.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Feb 5th Bilsdean

This post is very much a diary entry for myself.

Work finally started on the roof Mon and Tues.  One skip full and the first layer of felt went on. Yesterday it leaked but I think I've got it fixed until the next three layers are built.
Sunday morning. After last nights embarrassment of Scotland's rugby defeat by England I got out with Fly for a wander.

I had hoped to take the Kona or the old road bike out but they are still buried under tarp and ladders for the roof.

Drove down to Bilsdean and took Fly down part of the John Muir Way to the coast. Shame the above photo is over exposed as the plants around the waterfall give a welcome burst of green during the winter.

Further on and there was a tree down across the trail. Someone has been clearing with a chainsaw but there was still a bit of clambering about.

Cut stump in the Ivy.

Snow drops in bloom which is normal but Herb Robert in bloom before March.

Where the burn reaches the sea there is a very old bridge. There is another bridge nearby that dates around 1790 and this one should be older given its position lower down the glen. Newer bridges used improved engineering to span the bigger gaps for a more level route. This bridge would have require a steep descent and ascent for the horses and carts.

The beach was wonderfully deserted.

Still cold but there is a little more daylight every day.

5 degrees, sunny, calm.