Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Mid Week Cycle 27th June

It's been raining off and on all day. I was struggling to get motivated to go out for a cycle so I grabbed the Kona and went for a shorter spin through the mud and around John Muir Country park.

Out past the new bridge and I rewarded myself for going out in the rain. I stopped and managed to get the Kelly Kettle going for a brew. I had brought some wood scraps and newspaper as it would have taken all evening to cut up dry wood.

Unsurprisingly there was no-one else around. I was soaked but relaxed just listening to the birds out in the bay and the rain falling softly.

On the way back this young fellow came over to the fence. I got a quick pic as his mum herded him away.

Around two hours for a wet and muddy 9 miles (and a cuppa). As usual I just enjoyed getting out and clearing my head. My fitness has definitely improved from getting base miles in on the Falcon and playing around in the woods had me thinking of all those miles of empty beach!!! Oh for a fat bike. 

14 degrees, no wind, Scottish rain.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Sun 24th June Woodland Scramble

On Sunday the weather was changeable with sudden downpours. Still no sailing and no cycling today. I took Fly back to the west side of Pease Dean in an attempt to try to follow the stream down to the main part of the nature reserve. The woods here are natural due to the steepness of  the gullies in the dean. It is too steep to graze or farm and has been left as it would have been for centuries.

The Ramsons have died back since my last visit but everything else has grown up and the going was difficult.

Above is Sessile Oak. The ground was wet and I had a few slips working my way along above the stream.

The soft ground also meant it wasn't too difficult to follow the deer tracks. Further on I found a flattened area in the grass where a deer had spent the night.

I also came across a badger sett. There was recent digging and a pile of cleared bedding nearby. They often do this when reusing an old sett or if there are cubs around.

Badger cubs are born early in the year in January or February. The damp ground will hopefully mean plenty of earthworms for them

This is not a badger,

The spindly trees show this area has been felled recently and has new trees planted.

 A stand of Sycamore.

The Rain starting again on my way back. A good couple of hours, plenty of stings and scratches and Fly is fast asleep now.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Mid week cycle 20th June.

It's the summer solstice today and its pouring with rain again. Fortunately I managed to get out for a wee adventure yesterday when the weather was perfect. I caught the 0956 train to Edinburgh from Dunbar station.

I haven't been in Edinburgh for years and 10 minutes in the city centre was enough to remind me why. The Waverly Station and Princes street are building sites. 

I quickly headed over by St Leonards, bought a haggis roll, and cycled down towards the park. This wee fellow wasn't keen on moving off the path.

I eventually picked up NCR1 and possibly the first railway tunnel to be built in Britain.

The Innocent Railway was built in 1831 by James Jardine from plans by Robert Stevenson (he of the lighthouse fame). It was a horse drawn, as those new fangled steam engines were still thought too dangerous, and designed for carrying coal from Dalkeith to "Auld Reekie". It soon became popular as a means of public transport and the goods wagons were replaced by passenger carrying ones. At the height of its popularity the railway carried 300,000 passengers per year and never had a fatality which was pretty impressive in those days.

Back out into the daylight and a lovely stretch of path through Hollyrood park. Just minutes from the city centre but a different world. I didn't stop on the Niddrie and Craigmillar stretches of the path, just kept going to Brunstane where I put my feet up and ate my haggis roll. This may be the first time anyone has ever eaten a haggis roll in Brunstane Mill! A great stretch of cycle path and a really enjoyable way to get out of the city and down to the coast.

The next section was along the shore from Fisherrow Harbour.

After following the Esk I cycled along the back of the lagoons to Prestonpans and Port Seton. For some reason I never took any photos but I do remember there were loads of skylarks singing.

At Port Seton I took a photo of the "grinding balls". These steel balls were spun around in the rings at 37mph to crush the coal into dust for the power station. You wouldn't want to get your fingers caught in that!

Prestonpans and Port Seaton have loads of murals. I also noticed I was now following NCR 76 which was good because it eventually passes my front door.

Further along I turned away from the coast at Longniddry and stopped for a baguette at the "Filling Station". They were also quite happy to fill my water bottle. I now had the option of following the Railway path to Haddington where I go to work everyday. Instead I went back onto the roads towards Drem. A bit of  wind had picked up and as usual it was right on the nose. I stopped for a proper water break in the shade at Merryhatton.

What more do you need?

After East Fortune I turned up towards Whitkirk where I caught up with Coastkid and tried to convince him about the ways of the Dark Side (skinny tyres). If you can call 700x35 on hybrid rims skinny.

Bonny cuddy getting buzzed by flies.

There was some welcome shade coming along the Tynninghame stretch of road.

Back to Dunbar and a photo of a lion.

A great cycle. 36 miles in fantastic weather and a cold beer in the pub afterwards.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Mon 18th June A/L messing about

Today was the start of my summer holiday. Woo hoo!  
Spent the morning messing around doing domestic sorts of things and amazingly the rain held off. As the afternoon dragged on the sea settled and a slow thick heat started to build. Cumulonimbus cloud stacked ominously to the north. 

I got the bike down to the harbour where I can use a hose, clean the bike and take some photos.

A clean and carefully lubed transmission.

The entrance to Dunbar harbour.

Sea facing wall on Dunbar castle. The Saltire is looking a bit tired.

The above pic is Jackson's hole. Mermaids turn up here every so often. They always swim off before I can get a photo.

I really should have got the Heron out for a sail but I had expected the weather to break again. It did rain hard but I was hiding on another boat. Maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Sunday 17th June and the rain came down.

It's been raining since Friday evening and I've hardly been out, just quick walks with Fly. The big boats grabbed a gap in the weather and headed off to Norway. To be honest I don't really fancy four days and nights ploughing through the North Sea in this weather. I spent Sunday afternoon stripping the old silicon off the bath and resealing it... I needed to get out! So a quick pedal in the rain to Cockburnspath.

On the other side of the road from the war memorial is a shelter marking the end of the Southern Upland Way. The masochists who walk this trail tend to go west to east to have the prevailing winds behind them. At least that is the theory but for the last four years the wind seems to always be coming in off the sea from the east.

 I'm drookit.

On the way back I took a pic of another bizarre road sign. Its not the sign itself but the stickers on the supporting poles.

Look! You can drive into these at 60mph and they will be your best mate.

Aye, its been an exciting day.

17 miles, rain, puddles, mud. Annual leave tomorrow so I'll take the bike down to the harbour and give it a proper wash and lube.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Mid week cycle 13th June

This Wednesday the weather was a bit better with dry roads and no streams to cross. When the sun was out it was even warm! I had run out of coffee on Wednesday morning so took the opportunity for an evening cycle over to Tesco in North Berwick to see what they had. I picked up some Douwe Egberts morning Americano. Unfortunately the journey was more enjoyable than the coffee.

The hedges and field are in full growth now. A brown hare had run off into this field but didn't hang around for a photo.

The view out over Tantallon Castle, The Bass and the Isle of May. 

Back at Dunbar looking west to where I had just been. The old Falcon is running fine and I'm getting a bit stronger on the hills. This is dangerous as I start to get thoughts about a better bike. I have to be realistic though, I can't afford a new bike and the Falcon may be old but it is still a better bike than I am a rider.

 A good outing with 25 miles in two hours which is fine for me. I'll try a stronger brew of coffee tomorrow morning to see if that helps the flavour.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Sun 10th June. Three Island Misery

Sunday was the Three Island Race at Dunbar Sailing Club. It's a long race for the wee boats around the Isle of May, The Bass and Craigleith. Myself and Stuart went in his boat, Ambition. Unfortunately for me I had my first ever episode of sea sickness. An hour and a half from land and I was feeding the fishes. We had made a reasonable time to the first transit and expected the breeze to drop so Stuart decided to retire. I was certainly not complaining. 

It was a cold sail back towards Dunbar. We knew it would be close for getting in before low water. Ambition probably could have made it but there was a swell breaking into the harbour entrance so there was no option but to wait for more water. Three hours of tacking back and forth. I felt terrible.

Got home, managed to eat something and then took Fly out for a walk on wobbly legs. I wasn't bothered, I was just glad to be on dry land. Found this egg which I think is a robin's. I'll try to spot the nest.

F2E varying, 3ft swell, and 7 cold unpleasant hours on a boat. Maybe the summer will arrive next week.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Mid Week Cycle 6th June

On Wednesday the weather was much the same as last week with rain and low cloud. I headed out for an evening cycle towards Lawhead. The lanes around here are really peaceful and full of wildlife, and water. 

Binning Wood and its smooth road to the 'green' graveyard where you can be interred amongst the trees. Just the sound of the birds and the rain dripping from the leaves.

After Binning I had forgotten about the climb by Newbyth. At the top there were probably birds singing but I couldn't hear anything but my poor lungs gasping for air.

I was never designed to push 52/42 chain rings up hills like that.

Outside the Kirk at Whitekirk with its traditional graveyard.

 A pleasant 18 miles, a couple of hills and two contrasting graveyards.