Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Coed Brenin Enduro 2014

Monday, 29 October 2012

Deer, Castles and standing stones!

Day 2 on Arran and again we had fantastic weather.

In summary the ruined castle on the North of the island is a treat, along with seeing a red deer herd hanging out on the local golf course, as a lone golfer played around them. I'd never seem such tame red deer before.

Castle ruins at loch Ranza

He wouldn't look at the camera, more interested in the bunkers (and his hinds grrr)
Then we headed to the Machrie Moor Stone Circles - in one word amazing.

The site is a raised area of moorland (now), ringed by mountains on 3 sides with the sea to the West. The whole area is littered with the remains of early man, from hut circles to chambered cairns and solitary standing stones that are estimated to be from 1600BC – so 3600 years old!!!!

Looked good to boulder - but not really cricket!

The most impressive of the circles consists of three upright red sandstone pillars, the tallest of which is just over 18 feet high. I can’t imagine how they got them here without machinery.

What a spot! Goat fell in the background

Although the stone circles date from around 1800 to 1600 BC during the Bronze Age period, there is plenty of evidence to suggest much earlier use of the site during the Neolithic period. At this time several timber circles were erected on the moor in the general area where some of the stone circles now lie.

It felt a very magical, calm and spiritual place.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Bigfoot on Arran....

We headed to the beautiful island of Arran for a short break. We awoke (late!) to beautiful weather on day one, so trundled to the North of the island. Our plan was to sightsee, and go for a few short walks.

It didn't happen quite like that! We popped into the distillery on route, and the wee tot of free cask whisky (50+%) meant that I was firing on all cyclinders as we headed off on our ?first short walk.

We parked up at the start point and my mind wandered (due to the whisky) trying to determine how this small hamlet had been named 'Thundergay'. I didn't make headway with this puzzle, but off we set on the 1 hour walk to Coire Fhionn Lochan, a fine lochan ringed by mountains and with a golden sandy beach.

When we arrived, indeed it was beautiful, but the mountains surrounding it pulled us on! We'll just go up the first one then head back was my suggestion (hoping that once on the ridge Abi would not want to turn around!).

Beyond the lochan (visible), views over the sea to the mainland. Abi declares we go on...

On the first top, how tempting is the ridge?
  I knew Abi would want to carry on once we'd got onto the ridge and indeed she did! It was such fantastic weather we would have been fools to head down!


Two peaks behind us!
 At this point we were committed to finishing the ridge and the walk turned from a 2 hour amble into a brilliant, but longer prospect ;-). Abi saw a female snow bunting sitting on the boulders near to where we had lunch. It didn't seem worried by our presence, but I guess it doesn't get much company up here.
Mullach Buidhe the highest peak at 721m
Looking back it seemed a long way from where we had started and the car! We descended off the mountain, through moorland and hit a new man made 'hydro electric' track which saved some bog trotting. We arrived at a beautiful beach and had a couple of miles along the coast back to the car.

I'm not waiting for you to take anymore pictures Abi declares!!  
 Half a mile before the car I had a quick rest...............

We didn't see a soul all day, but followed a mountain bike track the whole way round the route - strange, I would estimate that 30% was rideable so it wouldn't be my first choice for a ride.

A brilliant day in the hills, with outstanding views of the sea  and surrounding mountains.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

The Keswick News

We had an important mission today - to get Abi some new walking boots in preparation for our Scottish Island mini adventure! Her old Scarpa ones are akin to walking in sandals and after most walks she has to ring out her socks - good old Scarpa goretex boots (her second replacement pair!!).

I'd expected a long day trawling around getting fed up with outdoor shops, but not so. The boots were in the bag within one hour........

The news from Keswick is as follows - firstly today it was summer (very sunny and warm), with people sitting out enjoying the cafe culture. Secondly, sadly the Pedlars, a cult vegetarian cafe is being sold and the staff are unsure whether it will carry on in the same vain with the new owners. It would be sad if it changes, but I've always (secretly) thought that it could do with some bacon to go along side its fine vegi food and Linda McCartney sausages!! Visit it soon in case it disappears is my advice.

Due to the fine weather and quick shop we got time for a short walk up Latrigg, ascending by a very quiet path in the woods on its South side. On top there were fine views of all of the Northern Lakes. We were tempted to continue up Skiddaw but with limited daylight and no rations we headed down happy to have had this sunny fell encounter....

Its this way! No its not....

Great views out towards the coast
Note - Abi has received some very shocking news today. She had her feet measured in Cotswolds and was very shocked to find that her right foot has crept slightly over into the size 8 bracket! If they keep growing at this rate who knows where she'll end up (A guiness record breaker?). I now can't decide whether to call her 'hobbit' or 'sasquatch'?! ;-)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Gisburn Forest - Mountain Biking

I managed to get out today with Steve to have a blast on the bikes. Gisburn Forest is our local 'trail centre', and has changed a fair bit since we were last here. Firstly we couldn't get in the carpark (soo busy), and secondly they were building a big new visitor's centre and cafe complex - how things change!

The new 'Hope' line...

As well as the existing loop, there was a new 'free ride' section sponsored by Hope. It was fun, with big tabletops, berms and drop offs!

Speedy Steve on the berms!!
The original loop is suffering quite badly from erosion, but thankfully a local trail group are trying to keep up the repairs

THE biggest berms out there (Hulley Gulley)!

Beautiful and remote (not me the scenery!) - Brilliant
We had a relaxed (?slow) ride around the course, chatting to various people who had driven here from Newcastle, York and Leicester to name a few....

Great to be biking again, I highly recommend Gisburn Forest, but a word of warning the 'red' route is quite a test (or am I soft!?)!

P.S. Thanks for the camera loan Rob ;-)

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Not sure of the etiquette...........

I haven't looked into the etiquette, or rules related to blogs, so I'm not sure if this will 'fly' (!), but....... now I am starting to feel more human after battling a viral infection I've found a few amusing photo's that I like, so on to the blog they go...
who needs lycra - wow hard climb - but made it...

Abi gets very hungy in BC

Buffalo sponsored team rider!

ahh the pop group (The Destroyers) promo photo shoot - memories. Kev (left - drummer), Steve (furthest back  - trouble maker!), me (erm singer!), and Dave (right - lead guitar)

Another cosy night in! We'd gone to this very cold recording studio in France to try and write some new material - the band split soon after this........
How times have changed........this was back when Steve was living the dream as a pop star - now he's much more settled and happily married...

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The best laid schemes o' Mice an' Men..........

This weekend I had a grand plan that sadly hasn't materialised! I wanted to mountain bike the West Highland Way, a 95 mile path from Glasgow to Fort William. The weather forecast was good (rare), I had a train reservation to get back to my car with my bike, kit ready and a emergency cat feeding plan instigated (various food stashes hidden around the place to hopefully last more than 10 minutes).
Q: So what went wrong?
A: Illness!

Instead I forced myself out on a local short bike ride to the Trough of Bowland

Autumn colours (wee tweak!)
 tree, sheep, tree, tree...

Bowland savanna

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Car conversion part 1!

Ok, so the original intention of this blog was to post a few pics of my '?car conversion' on the Internet so that I could prove to friends in Brussels and France that I have made a step towards living the (my) dream!

Well....I've decided on a 2 stage conversion strategy! Stage 1, is a panel with supports that will allow me to sleep in the roomster when going solo on trips away. This is what I've worked on in the last week....

Stage 2 will be a larger project that will seek to achieve this:

Well maybe without the shower and glamour model!

In fact it may be closer to this cool conversion:

When you have no 'shed' the lounge will do!

Hope to have this 'bed' available soon, because we have Sue coming to stay in 4 weeks.....