Monday, 29 January 2018

Pylon Road; Revisited...


I have cycled this Maintenance road for the Pylons that traverse the Lammermuirs as the leave the coast at Torness Nuclear Power Station and inland many times but every time always remember that day in January 2010 during the Arctic blast of that winter which saw the coldest temperatures in 50 years, that and having a fatbike allowed me to ride up here in the frozen conditions and cycle through what was a frozen wasteland of temperatures that dropped below -20 Celsius...

Now if you from the USA then this does not sound that cold,  however bring in the moisture level here in the UK and those temperatures were not far off from becoming dangerous, get to -30 here in the UK and Central heating systems, cars, and the elderly would start to get in trouble...

Here is a 3 days/3 films edited into one that i made at the time from that first day where i crossed the pylon road, the later edits in the film after Lammer Law are from the 2nd day when i cycled from Garvald Village to the Whiteadder Reservoir

Song is by Jakatta...




You see me ride down the hill and skid to a halt here in the film...

So heading up here solo was kind of a bit of a Micro Adventure, and when i met a snow plough driver clearing the road on top of Redstone Rig he could not believe i had cycled 15 miles up to here!, then took a double take at the size of my tyres on the Pugsley!,  and when asked and i said where i planned to ride next to get to Lammerlaw and descend off the hills to Gifford village!
It was -25 C on the front of his snow plough...
He did ask me if anyone knew i was up here, if i had a mobile, and survival kit (answer to all that was err no) but i said yes and pushed on...

That day was a real eye opener to winter cycling as i left the ploughed public road and crossed the snow bound Pylon road and although rode in places in tracks left by farmers checking sheep would see no one up there...

8 years later...
Roll on 8 years and same me, same bike (well triggers broom but same Surly Pugsley frame set) and this time i drove up to park and ride a few miles in and back on the Pylon road,
And a lot has changed up here since that first Fatbike ride here,
A Wind farm has sprung up and loads of side tracks leave the original road up to access turbines.
A substation feeds all this generated power onto the old Pylon line, and even there is now signs for the ancient `Herring Road` route that is documented to once be used by 20,000 people a year who transported the salted `whitey`s` from the harbour of Dunbar to the Border market town of Lauder and beyond using pack horses that have left there mark to this day with v shape gouges across the hill sides here, and then there was also the Cadgers and trades people who would use the route,

All this history, and recent modern developments yet again as 8 years ago i saw no one as i left my footprint across the hills...





A lot of change, and not a lot of change, as i can still escape and have some `me time` for a few hours...




Filming all done i headed back to the van, warm and safe and music home i drove back as the afternoon brought out sledgers and walkers cars parked up at Redstone Rig...





Here is a wee film i made at a more balmy -2 Celsius  than -22 Celsius!...
Song is `Organ Inc` by Phontaine...


Pylon Road Winter cycle; Jan 2018 from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

More soon...

FORTH FAT 2018 Dates and info...


Dates for this years FORTH FAT 2018 is the weekend of 5th/6th of May 2018.
This is the only details that will be posted online for the weekend.

Anyone with a  +3"  `Fat lite`  or regular 4"/5" tyre Fatbike is welcome to come along to the Gathering which kicks off on Thursday evening when the first folk will start to arrive in the coastal town of North Berwick for the weekend.  There is three meeting times on three days for the weekend for two beach rides, and a Friday afternoon social ride;

Friday;
Meet at the Celtic Cross 2pm for a  beach ride/trails probably to the bar of the Walled Garden, Archerfield Estate...
After that we will ride along to SteamPunk Cafe for 5pm. where the Big Blu Van for Pizza should be set up, then probably a couple of pints at the Ship Inn afterwards...


Saturday;
Saturday at 9.30am ready to ride from the Celtic Cross at North Berwick harbour, usual ride west to the subs and then back along the coast line to North Berwick. We may diverse to Archerfield Walled Garden for snacks and optional beer - to be confirmed. Then a social hangout/beer outside and in at the Ship Inn in North Berwick town...


Sunday;
Sunday meet at the cross at 10am - for the usual Sunday ride east to Seacliff`s amazing wee harbour with more amazing views of Tantallon Castle then ride the Car Rocks along to Peffersands,  and some dune riding for those that want to partake, good viewing for all others!, we will then return from Tyninghame to North Berwick town via Whitekirk and the John Muir Way.


What you need/should have/and can do!
Anyone coming along for the whole weekend or just for either day has to be self sufficient and carry own tools and advised to prep their bikes with tubeless sealant and/or carry tubes, and bring/buy an OS map 66 if visiting the area for the first time and/or unsure of the routes. I can mark days route on OS maps when people arrive.  There is no GPS of this years routes.
Decent offroad bike skills and fitness are required for coastal cycling that includes technical rock riding and sandy single track and possible strong headwinds.

Two campsites are in North Berwick , the preferred is Tantallon Caravan and campsite where wigwams are available if your quick to book, phone if unable to book online, mention the Fatbike cycle Gathering as they will be aware of the weekend.

There is no arranged eating out this year due to unpaid bills last year. Good food is available around the Town, recommended and visited on Friday evening is The Big Blu Pizza van at Steampunk Cafe, and The Ship Inn on all evenings, also the usual gathering place for beverage!

Being May on the Scottish east coast it could still be cool with possible onshore easterly winds, so pack warm and waterproof clothing!,  Fingers crossed though for good weather!,

Will see you on the beaches...

Monday, 22 January 2018

East Coast Winter light...




Mid winter... and high pressure cold weather on the east coast and some amazing  light,
The above two pics were taken midday cycling along the coast to Archerfield, for an appointment with a vintage Bi plane flight - more on that in a bit...

Riding back to Gullane an hour before sunset and friend Craig and i rode into an amazing sunset...

Enjoy...








More soon...

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Mid week update... and some Ha-ha history...


Midweek and a lot of folk got a serious dumping of snow Tuesday evening and posted up pics on line out on their Fatbikes, we only got a dusting here near the coast and with the country roads here being minging with wet mud i have decided to abandon commuting until things pick up from the smeared conditions on the roads and with minging off road trails I'm happy to ride only sandy stuff until it improves or we get some good frost to dry and freeze everything,
So with a Fatbike in the Van i headed into work early to spread road salt before most other staff start to arrive,
That done i jumped on the bike to do a quick check around some of the estate and filmed around the paths by bike lights with the Go Pro, the snow covered ground providing enough light to get some usable film...

Song is `Maybe Some day` by The Barr Brothers...

Post work Nightride from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

Daylight and a few errands done and using a bike back and forth saves running a 4x4 short distances and is far healthier...


With the Festive activities over and all packed away it`s back on with Estate work and with the woodland re stock planting done it`s on with Ha-ha maintenance,
`what`s a Ha-ha` your probably asking thinking i`m pulling your arm?
Well below is a summertime pic of a Ha-ha, be it a short section of one,
You have probably never noticed, or paid much notice to  these old walls around the local big Estates here or wondered anything about them,
There are probably several miles of these sunken walls with two different heights either side around the Estate here and they run around all the farm fields and also through some of the woods...

Summertime pic...



History;
Over 200 years ago these walls were built with all the stones hand cut by tradesmen and constructed to prevent livestock which were kept to graze the grassland from getting into ornate lawns and gardens and the woodlands on large Estates...

These walls were of course hand built with no modern machinery to move them, the labour and size of construction is quite staggering when you see how many miles there must be of the walls around the Estate...


Bigger grand views...
The Ha-ha`s  also allowed an uninterrupted view across the landscape from the Big House giving the impression of the Estate looking larger and thus grander than that of a view with fences or walls or hedgerows, this being the Renaissance period where one up man ship and out doing your neighbouring Estate owner was all the rage...

Why called Ha-ha?
Those crossing the grounds were surprised coming across theses hidden ditches from the big house often said ~Ah-ha! on there discovery...


The name also possibly descends from France where they were built around the same time and so maybe the name `Ha-ha` derives from there...

Anyhow`s
Check out this Wiki page that also reads about their unusual use in Australia;
Ha-ha Wiki page


Maintenance;
Many as in the above pictures are kept strimmed for ornamental views around The Walled Garden in summer...


Elsewhere as well as forming a boundary these walls in some places act as water ditches from field drains-or were later adapted to do this.
As as well as drainage work sometimes required there is also Brambles and seedlings of trees that have sprouted along the wall tops that if left will eventually break open the walls and so these trees have to be felled and the stumps treated to prevent re growth...



Recycling;
Nothing goes to waist on the Estate we harvest, grass cuttings and leaves lifted go to compost,
And so do these trees with the smaller branches stacked to be chipped next month, we will use the bark chips around the Willow structures on the Willow Walk...


And the trunks are sawed, and then split for logs for firewood, then stored to dry out for fire wood for next winter...



These trees cut this week are growing in a coppice's of 4 or 5 trunks so have already been felled and are an estimated 40 years old counting the rings on the wood, so you can see how Estate maintenance has been on going for doing this already before this winter on the Ha-ha walls...


Let`s see if any more snow arrives as forecasted tonight and later this week...


More soon...

Monday, 15 January 2018

Winter sun cycle...


Sunday morning dawned cold but bright and i met Donald and Callum for a cycle along the coast west to Gullane...

Broadsands...

Beach hut Archerfield style...

Westlinks...

Just these pics from the days cycle, overcast by midday i put away the camera...

Freshwaterhaven...


Here is some film riding west to Gullane,
Song is `The Shape Is In a Trance` by Thurston Moore


Winter sun Beachride;  Jan 18 from coastkid71 on Vimeo.



And some film heading back along to NB along some ace sandy single track above the coast..


East Coast fatbiking; Marine Villa Singletrack...  Jan 18 from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

More soon...

Sunday, 7 January 2018

Back on the coast..



Sunday and finally a day off work over the Festive period where the weather forecast and midday low tide times were sorted for a day along the coast...


From the cross in North Berwick i left NB 9am and rode west along the retreating low tide as the sun came up over the horizon and lit up the coast in amazing morning glory gold...




Recent full moons and high tides have moved a lot of sand,  like here at Point Garry where sand has again been removed exposing the rocks. Sand will again be blown in here and make it all rideable...


Beaches were strewn with seaweed and kelp ripped up off the sea bed in recent swells offshore...



Here comes the sun...





Across Broadsands and fantastic light on the wet sand...




Changed days in Fatbiking when a rider rides down the beach and does not exchange waves,  seen this chap a few times inc New Years Day slogging into a headwind to Gullane when i was driving...



Heron are so hard to photograph as they always take off when you pull out a flashy camera... must have been a big fish trapped in this pool for him not to spook...



From Yellowcraig i rode up above the beach at Archerfield for a better view to film and pic before rejoining the coast...



Recent high tides did not refoat this yacht...



Along to Freshwater Haven, and a Cormorant drying wings on the rocks...



Gullane sands we're heaving with people out for a stroll being the last day of the festive hols as expected so not many pics until along to Gullane Point, and looking west across the bay to the sub wrecks out on the sand bar...


10 mins and was soon there...



Filming done i decided to ride out across the expanse of sand exposed by the low tide and cycled out to the end of the bay and the Puffer Burn Estuary,
In the meantime here is some film,
Song is `Break To The Future` by Phontaine...
Dawn Beachride; Jan 18 from coastkid71 on Vimeo.

Out at the Estuary and looking back east...




Back across the bay and the sub wrecks were now beached at low tide on the sand bar...


The eastern sub in lesser condition i rarely photo so here it is!...


Returning back the 7 odd miles of coast to NB Town i snapped a couple of pics, like this old wreck...


And sand art at Gullane...



A clean on Scorpion and i was soon along Broadsands and into NB and back at the van...




Back to regular work hours next week and lights on charge to get back commuting...

More soon...