Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday Morning Lighthouse Cycle

Sunday morning and I was out early for some space before everyone else woke up. I took a quick pedal down to the lighthouse at Barns Ness. I visited here back in February "Frozen Barns Ness".  The weather was a bit kinder today with the sun peeping out from behind some threatening looking clouds.

I propped the old Falcon up against the lighthouse wall to get a couple of pictures. The bike is going great although the jockey wheels in the rear derailleur are looking a bit hooked. I think I might have some spares somewhere. Any new parts are for the LHT build. Poor neglected Falcon!

Breakfast was from the leaky wee flask with a decent Colombian 'after dinner' coffee. There were a couple of boats working their creels just offshore. I think they were the Triton and the (Jimmy) Sea Breeze. Apart from them, it was just me and the birds. A Cormorant was drying its wings down on the rocks and a couple of Terns swept north. 

The wind started to pick up as I headed home. The soil that has been dug out for the new quarry has started to re-seed and nature is finding its way. Poignantly its always the Poppy that can establish itself in the most disturbed ground. I pushed the exposure and played with the light in this photo to try to get a bit of an Impressionist feel about it. Not sure if it worked.

A relaxed Sunday morning.
11degrees, Intermittent cloud F3 SW veering.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Mid Week Cycle 25 July

This Wednesday evening was almost like summer! The sun was shining so I had a leisurely couple of hours cycling little back roads and lanes. I stopped at Preston Mill because its too fine a place pass by on a summer evening. There weren't any ducks on the mill pond but lots of Swifts shrieking and diving between the buildings.

The Mill in the was built in the 1700s although there has been a mill on the site for at least a hunderd years before that. It was still grinding oatmeal for the morning porridge in 1959!

I think that is an 'undershot' wheel which is not very efficient but relatively easy to build.

This is the mill pond which is fed from the river Tyne. No sign of any drowned Ophelias. There are usually ducks but the recent rains and high water have probably driven them to safer nesting sites.

This sluice controls the level of the water in the mill pond which then flows either back to the river, or can be diverted into the mill race to turn the wheel. 

The wheel then turns all these cogs, pulleys and shafts with wonderful creaks and groans. It all still works.
After the mill I cycled up to Lawhead and then down to Tyninghame beach. I took a photo of the Falcon outside one of the old farm buildings. There are few of these buildings used for farming now. Most seem to be converted to homes that are well beyond the pockets of anyone who works on the land.

Lovely couple of hours, 18 miles, 18 degrees ?F1 E.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

A weekend of quiet Harbours.

This weekend El was feeling a bit better and wanted to get out and about. We went to Burnmouth which is a place I'd like to include in my cycle diaries but the road is just to steep for me!

We tried to enjoy a wee picnic but it became a little weird when a pensioner couple parked their car a couple of feet from us and then sat drinking out of their thermal mugs and staring at us. I wasn't offended, just a little perturbed as to what they regarded as a day out.

Fly wasn't bothered at all.

Sunday and I went out to the Heron to take down the flags I had dressed her with for 'Lifeboat Day'. I stopped at the sailing club to help clear up from Saturdays excess.

I didn't stay long because I'm well behaved.....
Oh yeah, forgot to mention, I bought a 62cm Long Haul Trucker frameset, old trucaccino!  Don't tell El. This is going to mean a lot of handbags and shoes!

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Mid Week Cycle 19th July

On Wednesday it was still monsoon season, so a Thursday evening cycle this week.

The roads have mostly dried out although there are the occasional blocked gullies and streams. The fields are starting to ripen but there has just not been enough sunlight. Hopefully the weather should start to improve as the jet stream finally starts to move north. 

I cycled towards North Berwick then turned off at Whitekirk and followed the road to visit the Coastkid residence. He was building a wheel and watching the Tour de France, so kettle on and feet up.

The Surly Moonlander is nuts. Those tyres have to be seen in real life to appreciate how big they really are.

The tyres on the Falcon are 700x35. Skinny malinky! Wide bars and thumb shifters look good on the Moony.

We blethered for far too long so I needed a get a quick run home before El noticed I was missing again. The fastest route has one slight problem, the hill from Jane's Field to the Markle turning. Nothing else to do but keep the head up and pedal.  

A great evening cycle. 20.2 miles, meeting up with a good friend and having a coffee whilst watching today's highlights of  Le Tour. The rain even held off for most of the time.
12 degrees, no wind, overcast.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Easy Sunday Cycle

I couldn't make up my mind about a cycle today. It hasn't rained for two days which probably counts as summer, but a 30 mph westerly wind had blown up. I headed into the wind with fresh legs but soon gave up and turned back from East Linton to John Muir Country Park. Trying to grind away in second gear wasn't any fun.

The 'bridge to nowhere' is living up to its name. The last two months of rain have swollen the Biel Burn to the point it has cut a new channel to the west of the normal flow. 

I didn't cycle many miles but I was content to potter around sheltered roads just enjoying the slower pace and soaking up the views. Today was a good to reminder to slow down and enjoy the journey.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Mid Week Sail 11th July

The rain continues. There was a race at Dunbar Sailing Club this evening so I took the chance to get the Heron out for a sail. 

There was a westerly of around 8mph due but it never came to anything. On the way out of the harbour I had a worrying moment when the outboard spluttered to a halt. I checked the usual but couldn't spot anything. I was close to the rocks but there wasn't any immediate danger. Unfortunately the lack of wind meant I couldn't sail out of trouble. Nothing left to do but fix the engine. I eventually traced a block in the fuel tap and bypassed it. The other boats had waited out at the marker and I got to the line as the one minute horn sounded.

The wind was really fluky with lazy swell that made for poor sailing. It gave me a chance to fiddle with the roller furler and the foresail.

It all seems to be working and makes things a lot easier and safer when single handed.

'Summer' skies over the North Sea.

As usual I was last with the other boats making 5 knots to my 3 in the light winds. Not the most exciting sail but nice to be out on the water for a couple of hours.

13 degrees, 2ft swell, variable wind F2N occasionally.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Sunday Cycle to Cove for Coffee

On Sunday morning the rain finally stopped. I grabbed the chance to get the old Falcon out and went for a cycle to Cove, near Cockburnspath. This little harbour is one of the hidden gems of Berwickshire. I remember being brought here as a kid and fishing for crabs. In those heady days of the 1970s it was always sunny! The weather has changed but not much else.

Cove is a little village built around 1810 by the Halls of Dunglass to house the estate workers and fisherfolk. There has been a harbour of sorts since the early 1600's and in 1740 the access road was built. Just before the road reaches the cottages there is a tunnel that leads to the beach. You can see it on the far left of the above pic.

The road was a bit bumpy but not any real problems until my front brake failed, then it became interesting. There are a couple of boats still fishing from Cove. These creel boats will mostly fish for the lobsters. With all the rain this summer the sea is brown from the rivers. There's not a lot of fishing to be done in these conditions.

 Old frame, older stone.

The red house below the cliff can only be reached across the beach. Guess if you want a piano it is going to have to come in by boat.

I didn't bother with the stove today. Just brought a wee flask of freshly pressed coffee. A fine place to sit and enjoy Sunday morning.

As well as being a wonderfully peaceful little harbour, Cove was also instrumental in 19th Century Scottish art. From 1883 to 1888 an informal group of artists lived here. They became known as 'The Glasgow Boys'. Sir James Guthrie spent a lot of time painting the lives and people who farmed and fished in those days. The post box has 'VR' so must have been installed during Queen Victoria's reign. Given that post was the only means of long distance communication in those days, Guthrie et al must have posted their letters home from this very box.

There seems to be a resurgence of an arty feel to the hamlet although whether you can compare this with the work of The Glasgow Boys is a matter of personal opinion.

If you visit Cove by car there is a small parking area between the cottages. Originally this was a common ground where the workers for the Halls family grew their vegetables. The Scottish word for a farm labourer is 'Hind'. Guthrie painted a lass tending the vegetables when he stayed here.

James Guthrie: A Hind's Daughter, 1883

James Guthrie's A Hind's Daughter, 1883. Photograph: National Gallery of Scotland

A fine Sunday cycle in a beautiful place. The coffee was good too.

19.5 miles. 12 Degrees, cloudy, damp F1 NE backing. New brake cable outer needed.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Mid Week Cycle 3rd July

I have been spending an extra 90 mins at work every Tuesday for the last 18 months before it's visiting time at the care facility where my mother stays. This isn't too much of a chore in the winter but spending unpaid time at work in the summer? 

So this morning I threw some riding kit and the Kona into the car and, come finishing time, got changed and went for a cycle. I headed along the disused railway line between Haddington and Longniddry. I could have travelled along this route a couple of weeks ago on my way back from Edinburgh but wasn't sure of the surface on skinny tyres with no mud guards.

Turns out that mud guards were pretty essential.

The Railway started in 1846. It carried cattle, crops and people from the countryside into Edinburgh. Unfortunately Dr Beaching spotted it in 1965 and the axe fell in 1968. The track was definitely gone by the late 1970s/early 80s when I used play here. We didn't venture as far as Longniddy - there were strange kids in those parts!

Loads of wildlife around. Rabbits, voles and as many songbirds as you could wish for. All the recent rain may have made the track pretty muddy in places but it had that 'after rain' smell when all the flowers are open. Those trees used to be saplings when we ferreted these embankments as kids. 

Back to work for a quick wash, load up and off to visit my mum. 

Loads of room.

The track is supposed to be 4.5 miles each way so today's cycle should have been about 10.5 miles but it didn't feel that far. 20+degrees, no wind, close and plenty of water. No coffee on this cycle.