Saturday, 31 March 2012

March 31st and I hurt myself today

Saturday morning and time to get to the shops for some decent coffee. After last weeks musings about moving to a single speed/fixed gear I thought I would try the bigger gearing required. I changed the cranks over to the Solida ( are these French made?) 52/42 rings that I originally bought with the frame. The plan was to stick with the 42 front and try to find a usable gear on the 5 speed hub.

This was hard work on the thighs but I quickly got back into it. A couple of miles of hurt and I was getting the speed up and feeling the burn and also forgetting the idea of a single. Gears were invented for a reason.

Road then gravel track out by Lafage and then back on the old A1 and into the Hallhill woods. The bigger gearing was great so long as I kept the momentum up. The woods were full of songbirds. They were darting through the trees in front of the bike and singing for all they were worth. Nesting time is getting into full swing. The last week of unusually warm weather has brought lots of plants into bloom. I hope we don't get a frost now are there will be no fruit come the autumn.

A brown Brooks saddle would look so much better but first thing is a new rear wheel. I've trued the steel rim too many times and it took a battering today. When I came back towards home I cycled past the swimming pool to go down by the Harbour. Last week I had commented to Jason that I was happy to go down the steep grassy slope on a "racer" nevermind a fat bike.

Guess last time I did it I was a lot lighter.

 Halfway down and the brake levers were tight against the bars and I was still accelerating. Left a couple of big skid marks before I bounced over the little wall at the harbour road. Yeah, I know what your thinking!

Down at Belhaven with the surf building.

Atmospheric shot on gravel roads. Or it could be that I've been fiddling about with settings on the camera that I don't really understand. The Scots Pine on the far right of shot really is that shape!

Nothing done to the Heron today. Too much swell running through the harbour. Maybe tomorrow.

Bright, occasional cloud, 5degrees NNE F2 gusting F3. 9 easy miles.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Heron is back in the water

The weather was great on Sunday with clear skies and no wind. The tide was suitable so I took the chance and launched the Heron.  Amazingly my welding held up and the trailer I had built actually worked. I've not got any pics of the chaos of the launch as I was up to my neck in the harbour.

Heron sitting alone at low tide this morning.  Another beautiful day for March but I have to work so it was a long wait before I hurried home to get the rigging done.

I've raised the mast a few times on my own but this was always done on dry land. This year that was not an option but it went well with the calm conditions in the harbour making things a lot easier.

Mast up and the rigging all in place. 

Just need to get the boom and sails on, tune the rigging and it will be time to sail again.

Looks straight enough.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

24 March and another misty morning

Lots to do this weekend but still time for a quick cycle. 
The fog had come in on a light easterly during the night. This also meant that the temperature had dropped but it was good to be out and the fog added to the silence of the early morning.  Supposed to be around 7 degrees but it felt a lot colder in the damp wind. This week I left the Kona and dusted off the collection of parts I call a road bike. 

I like this old frame. Its steel, lugged and I think its Falcon from the 1980s. The Schwalbe tyres are pushing it for clearance but are great all rounders. I fitted a Shimano mtb crank and chain ring to replace the 52/42 front rings because I want an easy life.  I have to shorten the chain.  The saddle is an old standby from a Marin mtb, really comfy but looks terrible. The brakes are useless, I need to replace the suicide levers, re route the cables and re tape the bars. I'm not a the sort of rider who has white tape!

Friction shifters, old but they work. The back rim is steel and there are rust spots forming so when I replace it I might go single speed and get a minimal bike thing going.

The woods were really quiet and the blaze trails just smooth enough to be fast fun. Stopped at the shops on the way home and picked up some Lava Java coffee. A good morning and I met Bruce, Andy, Tom and Jason out on their assorted fat bikes while I was walking Fly. I'm sure there will be pics at coastrider.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Sat 17th March Lost Lammermuir trails

The Lammermuir hills lie to the south of East Lothian forming a natural barrier with the Borders region. Although only reaching around 400m above sea level they are bleak. Generally they are heather clad with no trees. I like that.

Throughout the hills are trails and track that would have originated as drove and trading routes. This morning I was up the hills at 08:30 to try and follow an old route from the Halls to Deuchrie above Stoneypath. This trail is shown on old maps then seems to have disappeared. On my latest OS map there is a path outlined. Possible cycle rout but today was recon.

After a quick climb from the Halls road end, the track followed a natural route through gulleys or "cleughs". Brilliant track which reminded me of the Highland "coffin roads".  These routes might not take the shortest path but instead take the path of least resistance that will be passable even in the depths of winter.

The trail climbed out onto the moor. There were Peewits calling and larks singing. The wind was cold but I really love these open spaces. In this drop between the hills you can see the quad bike tracks from shooting season. In the muddy puddles there was frogspawn and I could smell the coconut of the gorse.

The next bit would be easy cycling over moor that has been grazed by sheep.  In the distance is "Rammer Wood"...stop sniggering at the back..  The wood is in a steep sided gorge which couldn't be cultivated. As a result the ancient sessile oak has survived. It was just showing signs of spring today but it will not be long until it is full of Bluebells and wild Garlic.

The trail leads down to Deuchrie. In the far distance I could see the Pentland hills. The track at the bottom of the valley leads back into Rammer Wood....stop it, I've told you before....and then on to a lodge.

Coffee time, outdoors, couple of hours walking and no other humans. Can't be bad.

Fly was happy too.

The trail got lost a few times in gorse and with new shooting tracks. Would probably be easier to follow west to east.

F1 gusting F2 W variable Clear 6 degrees.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

March 15th Fat Bike dreaming.

06:45 this morning and it was a lot warmer than the last few weeks. This morning's weather justified a quick stop for a pic. It was great to enjoy being out early on the bike rather than just slogging through a half dozen winter miles. 
Home, shower, breakfast, Fly out for walk (Kittiwakes still there).  In the car to commute to work. It would have been an easy morning to keep cycling...

The Kona at the "bridge to nowhere", empty beach for the next couple of miles but I aint got a fat bike.........yet. 

6 Miles 4 degrees Calm/F1 W

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

14th March Kittiwakes

When I was out with Fly this morning I heard a welcome sound.

Kittee-wake Kittee-wake.  

The Kittiwakes have returned to their nesting site on Dunbar Castle. Last year they returned on the 24th March, so a little earlier this year.  Most people think of the Herring Gull when they talk of "seagulls".  But many Herring Gulls spend all their year on land and it would seem that some find life easier in the cities and never go near the sea.

Kittiwakes are different. They spend all their time out of the breeding season at sea. Today there are only a dozen pairs back at the nests but soon every ledge on the castle wall will be covered with birds. When they return early it gives me some hope for more settled weather and perhaps a good sailing season!

Monday, 12 March 2012

Toad alert.

Like Coastkid I have also noticed new signs popping up. Just how big do these toads get?

Sun 11th March

The cold that I caught last week went into my chest this week so I wasn't feeling up to doing much. Still risked pneumonia on Saturday morning by wading chest deep in the harbour to check mooring chains. Dry suit didn't leak much!  The afternoon was spent fueling up the outboards and getting them running.

On Sunday morning I took advantage of the tide at low water springs to get down into the rock gullies I visited last week.

Normally this is all covered but with a 0.5m tide there was a lot to see that only appears a couple of times a year.

Six hours later and there is 5m of water covering all this.

The circular marks on the rocks are caused by Limpets. They trap water and hold tight at low tide then graze around there little patch of rock when it floods again. 

There were lots of beadlet anemones on show. When they're exposed to the air they are a jelly blob. When underwater they transform with waving tentacles. 

Not easy to see but there is a ragworm swimming along in this pic. I don't know if the trail behind it is milt or eggs. 

Fly, happy to be scrambling about.

The afternoon was spent trying to fix the VHF radio on the boat and doing the annual chore of scraping down and re-applying a new coat of anti-foul. Less than a month and the Heron may well be sailing here.

W F3 gusting F4 more at times. Clear and sunny 5 degrees.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

4th March, a grey Sunday

The roof was completed on Friday! Glazing and internals still need doing. I thought I was coming down with the man flu on Thursday, high temp and shivering. It has not really come to anything but I've not been feeling great so no bike this week.

A dreich Sunday so I took Fly out for a scramble along the bottom of the cliffs below the winterfield.

It was cold and wet and only an hour short of high tide although its at neaps. The Bass Rock is just visible in the distance.

Fly fascinated by the flooding tide. I'll have to try fishing these rock gullies or drop a creel in overnight.

Channelled wrack above and Spiral wrack below, not much for eating here.

No flask or stove with me this week so it was home for breakfast. As I headed along the path below Bayswell I spotted this little flower which I didn't know. It's a Lesser Periwinkle. So there you go.

It looks as if it may be brightening up as I type this but the rugby is on the TV and there is beer in the fridge so I know what I'm doing this afternoon.

3 degrees, calm, cloudy rain.
No sign of Kittiwakes yet.