Monday, 30 September 2013

End of the season for Heron

Sails have been taken down to be cleaned and stored.

The mast is dropped, the running rigging removed and the standing rigging needs washed in freshwater then given a squirt of oil.

It's that time of the year again and the poor wee Heron is ready to come back on to dry land for winter.

There's always next year,

although I'll have to replace that front mooring before spring!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

A Lazy Sunday with Fatty

I really meant to get the LHT out for some more serious miles this weekend but I got too tied up with other matters. By Sunday afternoon I had a chance to get down to the harbour to sort out a few things on the Heron, so as it was going to be a short ride, I grabbed the Fatty. Turned into an hour to cover half a mile. 

The wind was fair whipping through town and it would have been a hard pedal out on the open roads so I just wandered about, bouncing off rocks and marveling at the grip.

When I finally calmed down, and started acting my age, I paddled out to the Heron to start to get her ready for coming back onto land for winter. I tidied up, put the kettle on, then sat in the September sun re-reading the Riddle of the Sands. Not exactly what was planned but very pleasant none the less.

I did manage some tasks, cleaning up an old multiplier reel, but generally it was a lazy afternoon.

This lady came over to visit whilst 'Sammy' the bull seal was away but she wouldn't pose for a photo.

The Fatty is a lot of fun, and a lot of exercise, but I have to get the 'trucker back out for more regular slow paced outings.

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Sailing, Saturday 14th September

I've not really had much of a sailing season this year, family commitments, weather and tide all seem to have conspired against me. With only a few weeks until it's time to put the boats back onto the hard-standing I grabbed the chance of a fishing trip in Saturday's sunshine.

There was hardly any wind so we all motored out from Dunbar, across Belhaven Bay and on towards the wildfire rocks. 

Stuart and Ross were on the Seline, I was on the Heron, and Davie on the Wee Beastie. They are all smaller yachts around 20ft. They might be limited for longer cruising but they are ideal for slipping the moorings for an afternoon on the water.

The tide was falling and there was a wee chop, but nothing to worry about.

Clouds slowly moved across the sky and gave us amazing views back to land. We had started out with the idea of a wee wager on the biggest fish of the day. I was using mackeral feathers with a jelly eel, and so it turned out was everyone else! Slow drifts on an ebbing tide and we were soon into some cod and the ubiquitous mackeral.

I took a decent cod but put the mackeral back as they were never going to win. Davie and Stuart were soon hauling some good fish so I gave up and put out the little sea anchor.

 Then went below to put the kettle on for lunch.

Aye it's hard life kicking back, listening to the radio and bobbing along in the sunshine.

As the afternoon went on, we rafted up the three boats, which looks a lot more stable in the photo than it was in reality, and a few cold beers were passed round.

A bit of sail in the lightest of winds on the way back.

Back to the harbour mouth and the tide was getting low but it was enough for us to sneak back in. A great day out in good company and cracking weather.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

John Muir Country Park on the Fatty

I was woken this morning with rain lashing off the windows and a howling gale whipping the first of the Autumn leaves through the streets. I had loosely planned to go for a cycle with Coastkid and it took a lot of self discipline to get out there.

There is a lot of jibber jabber spoken about fat tyre being easy to cycle with loads of momentum. I can tell you it was hard work cycling into a gusting 40mph wind with those wide bars. Once I was onto the sand though it all started to make sense.

The sun also came out which made the waterproofs we were wearing a bit superfluous.

When you have open beaches like this just a couple of miles from your front door, it's an easy decision to get a fatbike.

The pristine new On-One Fatty is beginning to look like a well used bike which is just as it should be.

After heading out to the tank blocks, it was a pleasure to turn and have the wind behind us as we cycled around the edge of the salt marsh. When I looked back at the soft land we had crossed there wasn't a mark from the floater tyres. On the loose sand there were faint tracks but these will disappear with the next tide and is certainly nothing compared to the hoof-prints of horses.

Coastkid nosing through flotsam on the shoreline.

Abandoned sand martin nests.

As the rain really began to bucket down we cut into the single track in the woods for some shelter. It was another short cycle of probably only seven miles including the road sections, but it it was a good couple of hours of blethering, pedaling and hiding from the rain. I still love getting on the LHT for big runs but today would have been misery in the wind and rain. The Fatty is ideal for just getting out for a bit of fun.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Fatty at the Salmon Station

Coastkid called round this morning and we loaded the Fatbikes into the car then headed along the coast to the Salmon Station at Redheugh that I last visited at the end of June. 

Down past the coastguard cottages and it was a great descent picking out the old track to the shore. The On-one Fatty handled impeccably, rolling over the bumps and providing loads of confidence through the corners.

The Pugsley was pretty good too!

On the shore and it was tricky pedal across the rocks trying to follow the cuttings of the old cart track.

We had a nose around the boat shed and Coastkid climbed up to have a look at the little vintage hyrdo-power station.

The bikes were left as we scrambled along the rocks to see the old bothies and have a nose around the next headland.

A buzzard was soaring above the cliffs and there were a couple of big corvids that sounded awfully like Ravens. I didn't know that there were any in this area but a quick search on the internet has revealed that a colony has recently re-established itself.

Around the headland and there was what looks like the remains of a ships hull. I also found a grey seal cub skull. The teeth are slightly hooked to help keep a hold of fish.

Unfortunately for the poor creature it seems that it had some sort of skull lesion. I don't know what part of a seals brain this would have affected but it probably wasn't destined to be long lived.

Back on the bikes and we picked a route back along the bottom of the cliffs, past the route we descended, and on east.

Lovely little gorge with a waterfall and an improvised barbecue pit.

The Fatty is great. I managed to cycle a lot of the coast in the above pic. It won't suit everyone, particularly if you like speed. Today we probably only cycled a few miles but we were on the go for at least three hours. If you just want to get outdoors and explore places that bike never normally go, then you will understand.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

On-One Fatty

This post is the fault of CoastKid. Five years ago he bought and built a bike I had never seen the like of. I have coveted the Surly Pugsley from that day but could never justify the expense. But life is for living and if you have patience and a keen eye on e-bay the exclusive can become affordable. Over the last year I have collected parts and placed them in boxes labelled 'useful'. Last month I pressed the left mouse button and bought an On-One Fatty frame set. This morning the patience paid off and the 'useful' became 'practical'; Oh, and it was a joy.

Early morning emptiness and the sun was just starting to warm the air as I was out on the beach at Belhaven/John Muir Country Park. There were a couple of hardy souls swimming, but no surfers yet.

Last night's storm had swollen the Beil Burn to salmon swimming levels, but it's a bit late in the year for that.

I can't really think of words for the last two photos. If you have ever had an early morning pedal along a deserted couple of miles of sun kissed beach, then I guess you can insert your own caption.

Again, you have to get up early and pedal along empty beaches to know what I was feeling. Fly was happy too.

Hoody on as I stopped on Spikey Island for breakfast. Hot coffee ('Asda After Dinner' (4)-very good.) and helmet hair. Is it just me or does a flask of freshly brewed coffee always taste better outdoors?

Quick pic of one of the ubiquitous 'Glider poles' placed in the sand 74 years ago to foil a Nazi invasion. Now a quick opinion to upset the locals!! I agree the rare concrete pillars were 'Glider' traps. But, I think these wooden posts were stobs for the coils of barbed wire that stretched across the bay to do the realistic job of slowing an enemy advance whilst in the killing grounds of  pill box machine gun posts. In the event of an invasion, there simply would not have been enough battle hardened troops to resist. It had to be about about a nasty process of slowing and sacrificing. Anyway, enough of that sort of talk, the sun was still shining.

After the beach and off into the sunlit glimpses through woodland single track.

The Fatty wheels are 26" but the huge tyres make the overall diameter far closer to 29"ers and I could really notice this in the woods. Slow techy bits with off-camber roots were a breeze, steps and drops were easy bunny-hops with loads of forgiving 'suspension' from the floater tyres. The grip through corners has to be experienced to be believed.
The chain stays are the same length as a Surly Pugsley, but I think I'm correct in saying that the head set/fork angle is slacker. I was really reminded of a Montessa Cota trials bike I owned 25 years! ago. You don't ride it fast, you ride smart and you might not get there quite so quickly, but you do get there with a huge grin.

Don't know who lives in here. The smell suggests it could be a Troll and the hot summer seems to have driven them down from the hills. It's been an awful year for their pesky ways but I suppose they have to live somewhere.

The Fatty is so very different from any other bike I've ridden. It excels at cycling in places where I never thought I could take a bike and that is what I wanted. It also just makes you smile. Can't be a bad thing.