Sunday, 24 February 2013

Sunday cycle to North Berwick

On Sunday morning the view over the hills showed snow and thick cloud. Down by the coast was a little clearer and I thought I would be able to get a decent ride in between the showers. It didn't really work out that way.

I couldn't think of anywhere in particular to go so I just headed in the general direction of North Berwick. I stopped to shelter at some woods near Halfland as the hail and freezing rain was beginning to get the better of me. Being cold, I can manage, but getting cold and wet is not a good idea

At North Berwick I did a couple of laps round the town but there wasn't much going on. As usual I ended up down by the harbour watching the boats. It's good to see boats in the water during the winter. In Dunbar they are all out on the hard-standing until April.

A flask of coffee and a bit of quiet reflection. Unfortunately the peace was broken by the chattering of my teeth. Jings I was cold!

In the summer this beach is packed with families enjoying their ice cream and having a good old fashioned holiday. I didn't stay for long today and soon started home. Pedaling the Long Haul Trucker back up the hill out of North Berwick warmed me up but by Tyninghame the hail had got to ridiculous proportions and I stopped to shelter. I was soon frozen again.

I managed thirty miles altogether but it was not the most enjoyable ride. My feet took some thawing out.

On a separate matter, the orchid I have been growing has finally bloomed! Three years of  tending and feeding, all for this moment.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Mid Week Cycle 20th Feb

I missed out on Sunday's great weather but managed to finish work on time today and was home by 5pm. Although it was a cloudy evening, the nights are slowly drawing out and I grabbed the opportunity to have a quick hour on the trucker. On the way to Barns Ness lighthouse I stopped at White Sands to take a couple of pics whilst there was still some light.

Unfortunately the battery failed on the camera. I suspected it was getting low and I have to get a spare for times like this. There was bitter wind at the lighthouse so I quickly turned around and stopped at the beach on the way back for a cup of coffee. Just the sound of the waves and the oystercatchers in the distance.

Camera battery flat, my battery recharged; off I went home.

Saturday, 9 February 2013

A crash and Burns and a bit of cycling.

I've needed out for a longer run on the bike but the high winds, rain, snow, hail, ice and general lack of light have provided me with excuses. Saturday dawned with temperatures around 2'C(35.6f), dry-ish roads and no wind, so off I went. I had loosely planned to do about 15 miles or a couple of hours including messing around taking photos and nosing about. On the way to Stenton I was passed by three faster riders on very smart looking touring/audax machines.

I thought I would see them in the distance when taking this pic but they weren't there. As I went down the hill the reason became obvious, and I had that sinking feeling when you come upon an accident. One of the guys had hit a deep pot hole and went over the bars. The others managed to avoid him. His shoulders were in line and he said he was ok, although he sounded a bit shocked. He had his mates, and I offered help, but I think he really wanted to preserve his dignity so I got back on the 'trucker and headed on my way. 

By Traprain Law I stopped to take a couple of pics. There used to be a hedge and a right of way across this field to the style at the Law. It seems to have been ploughed over but you can still see the route and no doubt  folk will continue to use it. This area is dripping in ancient history. I'll do a post about it sometime. There are also a few good single pitch rock climbs.

Near Morham I stopped to take a photo of this wee conversion. I think I remember it as belonging to the Post Office when they were in charge of telephones. Times change and it is now a wee bothy, ideal for cycling or walking. I was also passed, again, by they lads that had had the tumble. All seemed well and they were making good time.

It's a climb over the wall to get to Morham Kirk.

There was a lot of bird life and I saw a bullfinch as cycled through Lennoxlove estate. Up by Bolton and I was starting to notice the cold and getting a bit hungry. (Yes, those are bullet holes through the letter t.) It's wild up there!

I came back along a loop by Begbie and headed towards Haddington. Beside the road is a memorial to Agnes Burns. Who? Robert Burns' mum! Her other son, Gilbert, was a factor on the Lennoxlove Estate. Gilbert was obviously a harder worker than his philandering layabout brother. Mind you Gilbert couldn't write a poem to save himself. So I guess it all balances out.

Down through the fields to Haddington following the new blaze trails and across the Stevenson bridge.

 I had a quick food stop in Hadddington.

Back on the trail alongside the Tyne. I fished here as a kid. I can also remember riding a Honda CD175, with mole grips for a gear change on this track, long before it became an 'official' path.

Sea Trout and a good few Salmon leap up the 'cascades' in the autumn. It's one of those things that no-one talks about, because if it became common knowledge, then the fishing would become the preserve of a select few, and no for the likes of us.

I like how this pic turned out, the glassy texture of the water as it silently slips over the fall before the turbulance and noise. Anyway, back to the cycle;

After Haddington I started the climb up Pencraig and then a freezing descent to East Linton and a quick six miles home.

I ended up cycling 33.5 miles, double what I set out to do, which was far enough. I'll look forward to doing that route again when the summer comes. 

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Siccar Point, Berwickshire

Last year started with high winds and this year is proving the same. The last two weeks have seen gusts over 45mph nearly every day. On some days the winds have been hitting 60mph. My cycling has suffered as I simply don't enjoy sitting in a granny gear struggling to make any progress. So with time off today I took the opportunity to go for a decent walk with Fly.

I parked at Pease Bay and set off on foot across the little bridge, Fly has difficulty with bridges.

The wind on the cliff tops was bracing to say the least.

The aim of today's walk was to visit Siccar point. This natural outcrop of weathered stone and windswept grass has a long history. It was once the site of a Dun, or fort, which was populated by the Britons. They were a busy bunch who lived from the Forth down to northern France. ( North of the Forth was populated by the Picts). They farmed, traded and generally got on with their ancient lives from the iron age until the middle ages.

The other reason that people trek along the cliffs is to see Hutton's Unconformity (the mis-mash of rock above). A quick Geology lesson; 400 million years ago sediment on the sea bed formed rock layers. Over immense periods of time the rock was folded as mountains formed. This was then eroded and 55 million years ago more sediment was laid down by rivers which also formed rock. This too eventually eroded and 200 years ago James Hutton, a local farmer and amateur geologist, sat bobbing in a little boat with a couple of friends and observed what he regarded as conclusive proof of his theory of uniformitarianism.

Hutton's work was challenging, it both suggested that the Earth was ever evolving, and also that it was immensely older than any previous suggestions that were based on biblical texts. As you can imagine this led to all sorts of confrontations.

Back to the present and poor Fly was freezing, I was feeling the biting cold too and we headed off along the coast to find some shelter.

St Helens chapel is a fine old ruin. It would once have been the church for the parish of Old Cambus. I'm not sure why, but this was absorbed into Cockburnspath. The graves are 18th Century and unfortunately unreadable now. It must have been a bleak trail to church on a winter's morning.

The western wall is still intact and provided a very welcome break out of the wind. Tomato soup in the flask and the camera strap in the bottom of the pic.

A very cold and windy walk, and a few million years of history when you look hard enough..

Friday, 1 February 2013


This is a quick post to try uploading from my Kindle via safari and my cheap phone for pics. A surprisingly easy process. 

Guess where I've been this week? No cycling and I've managed to get my first cold of the year.