Saturday, 15 April 2017

Home for Easter

Well, we've just returned from two weeks back home for the Easter Holidays.


We spent a week at my Mam's seeing family including my new granddaughter Isla-Rose...


And had several walks and picnics including a lovely spring day up Roseberry Topping, a local landmark.



Amazing to think it's 22 years since the path restoration I was involved with on Roseberry Topping was finished. it was opened by a childhood hero, David Bellamy, with lunch in The Kings Head afterwards. A big day!

 

I managed to fit in plenty of riding in the area on my own and with my brother both locally and in Dalby Forest. I even did the coastal cinder track from Whitby to Scarborough and back.

Here's a little video of me and my brother reliving our youth on the local moors...


The second week of our holidays we met Clare's Mum and stayed in Whitby with her and her husband with a few of Clare's family dropping in. The weather continued to be great and we had a another week of picnics walks and good food, along with a bit of fishing.



A great Easter break, but we're glad to be home now with a few days to recover before we're back to work and school!

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Nippy trip to Fair Isle

Second time lucky I managed to get in to Fair Isle to retrieve a people counter that's been hopefully doing it's thing for the last year. That, a few photos of other things for a colleague and a bit of exploring.

It was sunny with a light breeze, but pretty nippy and the snow showers we saw as we flew in made me happy to know I'd brought a big flask of tea with me.


Approaching the south end of Fair Isle...




I hope these counters have survived a year on a fence. I'll see what they've got to tell me later...


An old tram way up to Ward Hill...


It goes down too!


The remains of the winch for the tram way...



Ward Hill, 217m, no danger of altitude sickness, but maybe frost bite today...


Bird life's not picked up yet, but it was nice to see the fulmars cruising the cliffs and walls. Lovely birds...

 

I wasn't too disappointed that it was a short day on the island. I'm still pretty tired from my few days sooth with bad sleep and plenty of exercise.




I'm not sure when I'll be back Fair Isle, but hopefully it won't be too long...


Monday, 20 March 2017

A few days sooth

I had the chance to get away sooth to the Joint annual Access Forum at the back end of last week. Due to the ferry dry dock periods and to make the most of my trip sooth I decided to put a couple of days leave in to explore a bit at the same time.

My first day's adventure was a 70km mountain bike ride around the forest tracks of the Fetteresso Forest just west of Stonehaven...


Relive my ride...

There are miles and miles and miles of tracks there ranging from super smooth to super rough and boggy, most of them are pretty good going and it's gravel grinding heaven really. Ironically the couple of troublesome sections I came across were actually official signposted public rights of way.


I'm no great farm or windfarms, or commercial forestry really, but if you want some where to get out for long easy rides or walks off road then they do provide a means.


A better section of one of the PROWs that were challenging in parts...


I'd left my car at the car park for the Clachnaben near the Bridge of Dye, so after my forest ride I picked up some over night gear and headed off to Charr Bothy for the night.


Again very nice tracks out to the Charr bothy on a lovely but very windy evening...



Charr Bothy, sadly no fire in the 'paupers' end of it. I assume the near end that is locked up and obviously has a stove is for estate use or MBA work parties.


Bed for the night...


And tea for the night...


Overnight it got very cold, was beautifully starry and there was a touch of snow and icy tracks in the morning. I can't complain though as I didn't receive a visit from the ghost of a 'tinker' who was apparently murdered there a long time a go!

It's lovely round about and it'd be good to go back some time to go up Clachnaben or Mount Battock that are near by.




The next day saw me at my meeting near Perth, after which I had a long, slow, wet drive north to Aviemore. I put the tent up at Rothiemurchus campsite in the rain, got very cold as the sky cleared in the night and set off for another long ride.



The long ride was supposed to be about twice the length, but things didn't go to plan.




Another early start meant clear paths and wonderful scenery as I followed the road side trail up to Glemore Lodge and over the Ryvoan Pass.


The snowy mountains across the loch were stunning...



As were the views riding up to Ryvoan Bothy.








I went in the bothy to find a big group of young lasses just getting sorted for the day. Feeling a bit in the way I had a brief warm by their fire and a quick bite to eat before heading on down into Abernethy Forest.


And what a ride down it was. Fantastic!



I was soon on the road at Nethy Bridge...


Anyone you know?


From where I followed some road and trail, including the Speyside Way until I came to the long steady climb back over to Loch Morlich.





Part way up the start of the An Slugan path I thought my chain had snapped. No, that would have been easily fixable with spare links and a chain tool. What I had was a broken free hub. If I pedaled everything went round except the wheel itself! 

Boo Hoo! No more biking this weekend and several miles of pushing and free wheeling back to Loch Morlich and then back to camp.

I commiserated with a trip into Aviemore and a burger and chips at The Happy Haggis before returning to camp for an early evening walk around Loch An Eilein


 Moody, but not me, despite my broken bike I was very happy.


 Going a bit slower on foot I could take things in a bit more...







 I absolutely love the Rothiemurchus area. it's so stunning and the old forest is amazing.



Farmed deer. I'm not a fan of venison, but its nice to see the deer even if not wild.


And soon I was nearing the tent and my last night out...


Packed and away by 7.20am I was parked up at The Vat O Burn carpark near Dinnet before any one else was out to enjoy the day. A still, sunny morning with birds signing in the forest. Bliss!



The Vat O Burn is a enormous eroded out pot hole in the river gorge. You enter via a narrow crack in the rocks...



And I exited via the waterfall to continue up the gorge...




Gorge and gorgeous are well suited words...




At the head of the gorge I wandered back through the forest to the carpark to continue around the Muir of Dinnet NNR


It's a couple of large lochs of glacial origin surrounded by wetland and woods and home to many species such as adders and otters.






There are also ancient remains and homesteads in the area.




 And that was that. My little impromptu adventure sooth! It was great, but I'm glad to be home again. Not long until we're away as a family back to North Yorkshire for Easter to visit family and see my new granddaughter, Isla-Rose, can't wait!