Saturday, 27 April 2013

Heron (Alacrity 19) launched

A quick post this evening. Today's weather forecast had suggested northerly winds with a resulting swell of 3-4 feet at Dunbar Harbour. By 0900 this morning it became apparent that the wind was backing and the sea would flatten as the tide flooded. 

Denholm was available to drive the wee tractor in exchange for a couple of beers, Stuart was willing to get his dry suit on and get up to his neck in the water, my dubious trailer was rolling and the Heron was launched. No-one drowned! That's a good launch in these parts.

I'm on a new mooring this year and I was a bit concerned if the chains I had sunk would work. I'd scratched out sums and various calculations regarding weight, length, depth, tide, swell, prevailing winds, and with a bit of guess work and it all seems to have worked out.

The Heron (Alacrity 19) sitting happily on her new mooring. No mast or rigging yet but I'll hopefully get that done this week. I'd planned to cycle over to North Berwick to see the Fat Bike folk having their jamboree this evening, but the conditions for launching were ideal, so I had to grab the opportunity. Here's hoping for more settled weather and maybe some decent sailing this year.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Mid Week Cycle 24th April

It's nearly the end of April and I've not been getting out enough. The cold weather and persistent high winds have slowed up the plant growth and left me procrastinating indoors. This evening there was still a westerly wind gusting to around 25mph but it felt warmer and the sun was peeking through the clouds. Time to get out and about.

I went out on the LHT to East Linton, up by Binny wood then back along the Tyninghame road and down by Knowes Mill. This is just down river from Preston mill but is pretty much a ruin. The local red sandstone glows in the evening sun.

I've owned a couple of dangerous Fords in my time.

I crossed the bridge and then headed along the blaze track beside the river. The trees are still bare but the Willows had catkins appearing.

This trail has deteriorated over the winter with lots of frost damage and some areas where the riverbank has collapsed. The trucker took a bit of a beating cycling along here and I felt a couple of bumps through the wheels, almost as if the tyres were a bit soft.

Obligatory picture in the arch under the Tyninghame bridge. The bridge was built in 1931, so although horses would have been led through these tunnels, they were not designed for them. They are just flood overflow tunnels. This one is now part of the John Muir Way.

It was a peaceful place for a stop to watch the river flow by. But time was getting on, so back up onto the road and along to Dunbar. As I pedaled past John Muir Country park I spotted Mark from the Dunbar Cycling Group adjusting a bike. He had a new rider out for a training run and pointed out that my new Continental Tour ride tyres looked a bit on the soft side. We chatted for a bit and he offered me the use of his track pump as we passed his home. Oh dear, the tyres were embarrassingly soft. Thanks Mark. I had a cheap track pump but it burst. I think I need to get a new one.

An enjoyable evening cycle, 14.5 miles about 8 degrees.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Sunday Cycle by Stenton

I've not been getting much cycling in recently so I grabbed the chance to get out on a breezy but mild Sunday this week. The long Haul Trucker has it's new Continental Tour Ride tyres and first impressions are good. 

I headed out through Hallhill woods where someone has been busy with a chainsaw.

It was a slow and steady climb up to Stenton. Most of the way the wind was on the nose and, as usual, I was passed by a faster cyclist on a road bike. I was quite happy, pedaling away, looking at the hedgerows and listening to the birds. I saw a Swallow for the first time this year.

On the outskirts of the village of Stenton there is a Rood or Holy well. This is attributed with healing powers but is sealed off with a little iron grill. The flowered finial on the roof of the well is thought to have come from the original Stenton church and may date back to the 14th Century.

There is a neat little garden around the well with blooming flowers and a couple of Bumble bees. Even more surprising the was a butterfly. Perhaps Spring is finally here.

Further on  I stopped at the Tron on the village green. This would have been used to weigh goods on market days. Stenton was at the centre of the local sheep farming industry and the balance would have been used to work out prices for fleeces.

On the road to Pressmenan I stopped for a coffee at a roadside bench and soaked up the views and enjoyed the warmth of the sun.

It's the wee moments of peace that make the week at work a lot more bearable.

A long way back to the coast but at least it's downhill.

Ordnance Survey bench-mark on an old wall.

Back down towards Dunbar and there are buds appearing on the trees.

I stopped at the harbour and watched Dave wandering around in the water whilst I finished off my flask of coffee. He had become tail-tied on his yacht and was trying to free a line from around his prop. When I arrived he had swum over to Stuart's boat to borrow a dive mask. I didn't hang around to see what eventually happened.

21 miles overall and some lovely weather.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

A fire, an Alacrity 19 (Heron), but no cycling.

I've not been out on the LHT this week, I just seem to have been caught up with so many other things. The big boats were craned-in on Friday and Saturday morning I was down to the Heron in the early sunshine to get a few jobs done. 

It was a lovely morning with a warm sun coming up over the broad haven, gulls calling and low water lapping under the bridge. Fly came along to help.

Jobs done and I went home for breakfast. As I headed back to the harbour El phoned in a state of alarm. The washing machine was on fire! I ran back up the road to find a brave wee wife pointing a fire extinguisher at it. The safety tag was still in, so she wasn't actually doing much about the fire but its the thought that counts. The washing machine was a right off. I eventually got tided up and went back to fix a puncture on my dinghy. 

I'm still not sure why, but it took five of us to put that patch on!  Sunday was spent in Fife trying to sort out some annoying family issues and then Monday morning I was buying a new washing machine. Today the wind was gusting to 64mph and the big boats were wandering around on their inadequate chains. I was glad the Heron is on the hard standing. In the distance the fishing boat Spitfire is run aground in the harbour mouth. This is a fairly common occurrence.

The wind will hopefully die down by Saturday so I will try to get out for a pedal on the trucker which should be sporting a pair of Continental Tour-ride (700x42) tyres that I picked up for a bargain £20 for the pair.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

LHT off road, crumbling cliffs and a blue sea

Saturday and little sunshine makes all the difference. I made up a flask of coffee and headed out on the LHT for a couple of hours. 

It was one of those rides where I didn't have any real destination planned. I knew I wanted some blue sea and sky after months of soul sapping grey.

I followed my nose east until Cockburnspath then turned back and took the trucker off road along the John Muir Way above Bilsdean. 

Dry single track, warm sun and plenty of time. High above I could hear the trilling of a skylark. It's a song that I always associate with open grass land and blue skies.

This bush gives an idea of the struggle to grow in the sea winds. The little wall provided a fine spot for a break and a cup of coffee. I tried to experiment with fitting the camera onto the end of a stick for a more panoramic shot. Then I gave up and got on with enjoying the view.

I wouldn't have spent the afternoon out in the fresh air, getting some exercise and soaking up spectacular views if it wasn't for this bike.