Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Mid Week Cycle 29th August

The weather is back to short spells of sun between torrential rain, so this week I took the Kona for a cycle in the woods at Penmanshiel.

The ground was saturated from today's rain and it was easy to spin out so I sat down and dropped a couple of gears. I might not have been travelling very quickly but I certainly got my heart rate up. It was good to have the wider range of gears and look forward to having the option on the LHT. I also enjoyed having decent brakes!

I had Fly with me this week. The nights are beginning to draw in and its difficult to get out for a decent cycle and still have time to take Fly out after.

She had a great time and never ran in front of my wheel once.

This old house features in most pictures of Penmanshiel woods. It's a shame to see such a lovely property falling to pieces. No road access, no mains power or telephone...Sounds ideal!

The barn in the woods, cue banjo music.

I liked this pic of the Foxglove. Not for eating.

Further on however I spotted some Hazel nuts which are most certainly for eating. I'll have to come back in a few weeks when they ripen.

Around the old house there was a huge variety of trees but I didn't spot a Rowan. There's usually one nearby to keep the witches away.

As the light began to fail I headed back to the bridge at Pease Dean where I had parked the car. Not many miles but a couple of hours of messing around in the woods and Fly enjoyed herself. She's lying sleeping at my feet as I type this.

Before I got to the car I found a fellow called Alex who was walking the Southern Upland Way and had become temporarily misplaced. A bit disappointing to walk 209 miles and get lost 3 miles from the end! We chatted for a while until he was back on the correct route. He really got me thinking about how much I used to enjoy multi-day journeys. Perhaps next year.

Rain, rain, sun, rain.

Friday, 24 August 2012

more signs

Way back at the start of the year I posted pics of signs that make me stop and cause a smile, Feb 22 Sign of the Times,   Toad alert., Here's another that made me pause.

I don't know how true it is but it's going to make thieving scum think twice!

There are probably laws against this sort thing but I think Billy Gillespie has the right idea.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Mid Week Cycle 23rd August

This week it was a Thursday cycle, not because of the weather but due to a tooth extraction on Wednesday!  At least I don't have to dread any more root canal work.
After work this evening I headed east in the evening sun toward Cockburnspath. I added in a little loop by Torness.

Down by Bilsdean and I had to take a picture on the bridge. The rusty railings sort of complemented the saddle and bar tape.

Further on I met these three Tups. The one on the left was whistling the theme from "The Great Escape"!

There was a road over the old bridge at Dunglass. It was stopped up a few years ago now but I went to have a look to see if it was still passable. Basically it isn't, at least not with the summer growth. I'll maybe look again in the winter months.

It was still good to have a look along a road that very few people ever travel. The views to the east and the Berwickshire cliffs were wonderful with pools of sunlight picking out distant fields. The little compact camera doesn't do the view justice.

There was also an added benefit of traveling the back roads by bike. The summer never really arrived this year but autumn brings its fruits.

20.1 miles in total, lovely evening sun, plenty of head space and too many brambles.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sunday - day of rest.

Saturday was hot for Dunbar and the forecast suggested that Sunday would be sunny with light southerly winds. Ideal for sailing.  Unfortunately the forecast was wrong. By the time the tide had started to flood cloud was gathering.

I spent some time tidying up the odds and ends from last weeks trip to Anstruther. Then mostly sat onboard watching the world go by and catching the occasional wee coalfish. There wasn't much eating on them so they went back.

The cloud increased and it wasn't long before the rain came on again.

August in Scotland.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Mid Week Cycle 16th August

It was a Thursday cycle this week as yet again the rain was pouring down on Wednesday. I got home from what has become an increasingly frustrating week at work and grabbed the Falcon. I wasn't in any sort of mood to plan a route so I just headed out along an eight mile loop I use on winter mornings.

First time around and the wind was beginning to drop. The sun was still high in the sky but the shadows are starting to get longer every evening. The muscles were loosening up and so was my head.

Chasing my shadow and finding metaphors.

I ended up doing 31.5 miles. Four times around the loop. I got into the mindfulness bit and concentrated on the moment. Just pedaling, breathing, feeling the sun.

Work will be fine tomorrow.

Monday, 13 August 2012

Anstruther 2012 pt2

After our wander along the coast we returned to the boats for some sustenance before heading out to the fleshpots of Anstruther... I had a couple of beers in good company and went to the Marquee where it initially appeared as if friends were suffering from some sort of seizures. Further investigations revealed that they were dancing. Oh dear Stuart..!

Fortunately sense prevailed and I headed back to the Heron. As I had sneaked on to a pontoon mooring it should have been an easy walk back but I didn't have a pass for the gate so I there was some interesting climbing over the "security" gate to get back.

Back on the wee Heron with it's rather basic lighting system. But I was warm in my sleeping bag with half a pizza? What happened to the rest Scott?..  I had been up since 05:15 and was feeling the long day. It should have been a peaceful night but the wind was getting up to 20+knots. I was a little unsettled at the thought of the sail back in the morning. I had the offer of a lift back "Barnacle Bill's" camper van if the weather was really bad. - It's usually accepted that you can leave a wee boat "storm bound" at a mooring for free rather than risk your life going to sea.

Next Morning at 07:00 and the harbour was silent. The wind had dropped but the sea was running at a couple of feet of swell. The intervals were around 6 or 7 seconds which was cool but it was from the east which meant the sea was running forward port all the way with the wind gusting on the nose. That was not so cool, especially as it was due to pick up with a sea breeze as the sun rose. 

Just the Heron's hatch  and the fluttering of bunting.

I made the decision to go, got the Heron ready and cast off as the other boats started breakfast. The first hour was blustery but I kept the head down and pushed the little 5hp outboard into the wind. As I was passing the Isle of May the wind and sea started to build. Cheerio Ainster!

The photo below was the last I took on the journey back. The sky darkened and the sea was soon breaking over the Heron. I was soaked and cold, hunched into the little cockpit .

By 13:00 I was back in Dunbar Harbour. I tied up then staggered home only to discover I couldn't find my house keys (El and Fly were away to Glasgow). I borrowed a chisel and opened my front door in about 3 mins which is a bit worrying. I later found my keys in the bottom of my spare clothes bag.

The "Mighty" Heron flying her Ainster burgees with pride.

A mini cruise, only one night away but a lot of fun. As usual the Heron did the job. An Alacrity 19 may be a 40 year old boat but the heavy lay-up from those days makes for peace of mind. Here's to the Anstruther Muster 2013!

F4 gusting 20+ SE, moderate, good.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Anstruther 2012 pt1

This weekend was the annual gathering of small boats at Anstruther. Several boats from Dunbar had left on Thursday and Friday but I couldn't get the time off work. I eventually managed to get away just after 6am on Saturday. The forecast was good with slight seas and an easy south-easterly to push me along. 

As I left the harbour the sun was just rising above a low cloud bank out over the North Sea.

Lovely sailing weather, out early on my own with no other boats around and just the occasional sea bird for company.

Inevitably the peace was broken. This is the Fionia Swann, a chemical tanker owned by Brostrom of "Middelfart"! 

Most of the passage was empty sea with some very welcome sunshine and the wind on the starboard quarter. I had a wee worrying moment when I was approaching Anstruther. I had dropped the sails and was motoring in when the engine cut out with no warning. I got the sails back up and hove-to. Fuel was fine but no spark so I changed the plug and the engine fired up. I've never had a plug fail on me before and I change them yearly which is probably excessive.

14.6 nautical miles and the Heron had got me safely to Anstruther again. In the harbour I spotted some Dunbar boats and rafted up to the Aquilla and the Zig Zag. This was at one of the pontoons rather than the wall which is a bit cheeky without having a prior booking but is a lot more convenient. Tam the harbour master didn't seem too bothered as long as I paid my dues.

As usual there was greeting of old friends and drinks were offered. As it was only 10 am I thought I should try to do something more productive with my day than lying on a boat, lazing in the sun with a cold beer in hand. Hmm.. Eventually Darren (Zig Zag crew) and myself went for a walk along the coast to Cellardyke, which was a lovely wee town, and on to Caiplie caves.

On the shore we spotted some wreckage of an old boat. The keel and the rudder stock were heavy duty with old nails and roves in the timbers.

This looks like a tabenacle. You can make out the bent cleats for the running rigging. It was a couple of feet high so would have been able to support a substantial mast.

Further on we found the caves. The rock shows that this part of the coast is a raised beach. The caves have links to St Adrian and there are supposed to be incised crosses from early Christian and Pictish habitation. We didn't see any of this, a torch would have helped.

Wave worn patterns from when the sea washed against these rocks.

 Worth the visit and the walk worked up an appetite, and a thirst.

Back in Anstruther and the Reaper is keeping watch over the harbour. A wonderful old boat, 110 years of history. I should have taken some more pictures but the link will have to do instead.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Mid Week Cycle 8th August

This Wednesday was a summers day! I got out for an evening cycle and headed east vaguely thinking of going to the Bilsdean bridges. Unfortunately its about six weeks since the summer solstice and I didn't have as much light as I thought so I cut back by Torness and nipped down to Skateraw.

The track through the cement works was full of rabbits and the quarry is really beginning to expand to the left of this pic. I can't complain, Lafarge is a major local employer, and quarrying has been going on in this area for hundreds of years.

The Limekiln at Skateraw dates back to the 18th Century. Limestone was quarried locally and stacked in layers with coal in the kiln.

Some sort of chemical reaction, (sorcery as far as I'm concerned) took place and lime was drawn from the arch ways and exported to improve farmland and for iron production.

By 1773 86,000 tonnes of lime was shipped from East Lothian to places all over Britain. In return it required 6000 tonnes of coal to be shipped in.

In front of the kiln on the foreshore there are blocks of stone that once formed a little harbour.  As the sun was going down the there was only the sounds of the Oystercatchers and a family enjoying a barbecue in the distance.

I was running out of daylight quickly so got the head down and pushed the pedals. I had a really strong run home, breathing hard but enjoying it.

These lovely shiny things arrived in the post for the Trucker build. Unfortunately it might have to go on hold for a month or two as I've got a big bill coming for a gas boiler part and the car needs taxed.....

12 miles, 20+ degrees light SE.