Monday, 22 June 2009

Blairskaith Bike Tour.

Thought I`d sneak this one in under the radar while Alex is still in Canada/USA.
Just like he`s a bagging addict and has to get two trigs a week or he gets fidgety,eyes jumping around, looking for his next white concrete fix I freely confess I`ve got a problem with sun addiction when I`m not at work.
I`ve never had much motivation going out if its dull or raining but at the first hint of sun I spring to life like an unthinking windup toy.Don`t have a say in the matter. It just happens.
As I`d booked a precious day off today I felt obliged to do something but didn`t fancy another long drive unless it was going to be good which I already knew it wasn`t.
Dull morning.Stayed in bed re-reading my book as it was a cracking story.The Family by Ed Sanders (the story of Charles Mansons dune buggy attack battalion) which gives a fascinating insight not only into the dark group of the title but also the entire late 1960`s west coast sub culture.I wouldn`t normally plug anything but this is one of the best things I`ve ever read. Still available at if anyones interested.You will not be disappointed.

Anyway,Got up at 11.30am. (Hey! Give me a break, I,m on holiday!) and checked the latest weather update.Hazy sunshine by 1.00 pm, good gaps in cloud opening up just north of Glasgow.
Perfect for my other favourite bike ride near my house.
All the cities in Scotland are well placed for the outdoors but,having cycled them all, I think Glasgow is special for sheer variety of landscapes in every direction in a compact area. (Well, I would say that ,wouldn,t I?)
So,tossed bike in car then parked at main car park in Mugdock country park. ( What! Hey, I`m an old man. No way I`m cycling from Glasgow when I don`t have to.)
From here cycled to Strathblane via twisty Deils Craig dam road
As its usually quiet with set back houses and half hidden small lochans.
Once in Strathblane followed the A 89 out of village past a pub then turned down right at church carpark to pick up the disused railway track which gives flat level cycling on good tarmac with views over pasture, hills and woods.
Approaching Lennoxtown the path veers uphill through a small grey scheme of houses (nice)....

....then on to a farm road which runs slightly downhill to the main challenge of the day.The hill climb up to Blairskaith summit at 218 metres.

This is a beast and if you climb this hill in a oner you are very fit or have an amazing bike.I`m not so got off halfway up and rested my fat arse on a boulder for a while admiring the views.
This is the only real ascent of this trip so it`s not too bad and you can always push the metal nag up the steep bits.
A well earned rest at the summit was my reward for panting in the saddle in low gear.
It was empty and peaceful up here with a much needed cooling breeze.Sitting on heathland ,skylarks trilling overhead,mountains and forest to the north,entire city spread below to the south in the distance. A favourite lunch stop.
Some people envy the lifestyles of the rich and famous (see book I`m reading) but nothing beats days like these in my opinion.Besides, think of all the hassle keeping all those mansions staffed,furnished and free of burglars. No thanks, not for me.
Incidently Alex,you may recall a little car trip last winter where we failed to reach here due to a spot of unfortunate navagational error on my part.Think again good buddy!This is a Classic hard bike tick boy,you only earn this trig if you`ve sweated up in the saddle not ambled up to it
through the secret woods.Ha!

Isn`t it a beauty! What views.
From the summit a rough but ok farm track leads across the open moors to just above the quarry where even better views over the city unfold.
Return is via the high balcony road past North Blochairn and the minor back road (Yellow on map) to Mugdock village and then the car.A classic day out.

The last two weekends have been very funny weather wise to say the least . Dull overcast mornings lasting til 12 noon then slowly brightening up to good afternoons and even better evenings.Still I`ve made the best of them. Still no rain though....hairy wood is best. (sound of head being tapped.)

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