Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sunshine Superman.A Solo Weeks Holiday.

Blackhope Scar.Yup, It was a stinker alright. (I changed into shorts by the way for this hill,not what Alex implied)
Anyway,I`d booked a weeks holiday from the treadmill of work so I was determined to make the most of it but the weather ahead was the worst forecast yet.There would be sun alright but no long blue sky windows without heavy downpours sweeping past as well. This would take my best effort yet as I intended going out most days.We had planned big trips to a few west coast islands but after looking at the days ahead this was swiftly changed as I didn`t want every day off to be like Blackhope Scar again.It was time for some new adventures.I did ask Alex but he`s only really interested in hills but I`ll have a go at most things outdoors as long as its in the sun.
So,here`s a brief look at my solo week.

TUESDAY.14/07.DUNDEE.

Used to know this city well but hadn`t been in it for years and had heard it was changing fast so fancied a visit.Parked in the City centre car park and cycled the Green circular route which goes right around outer rim then along the coastline.
A purpose built cycling/walking corridor linking parks,riverways and urban green spaces in a loop.Headed past the city centre up steep hills until it levelled out and I could make for the western edge of the city.This part of the route was still interesting but a lot of the rough schemes had been knocked down or tarted up so for me its lost its zing a bit as I like a good wild ramble on a bike.However the flat easy coastline stretch from Broughty Ferry (a lovely place) back to the centre is still smashing.

It was a typical Scottish July day with heavy downpours and bright sunshine sharing the same mile.Here`s the view looking the other way.


I was still in shorts and tee shirt and stayed dry all day but did have to shelter under a tree in Caird park for 15 minutes during a downpour.
If I`d done a hill this day I`m sure I would have been soaked as the high points around took a few real batterings.

I ended the trip by touring around the docklands area.Like Glasgow and Edinburgh this was getting the usual glass and steel makeover,boring and very bland once you have visited a few as they all look pretty much the same with no individual character.
However I did spot two friends from former days stuck down here among the trendy new apartments like a pair of bewildered crusty old sea dogs who have suddenly found themselves in a posh wine bar by mistake.

And his bigger pal

The unicorn. All in all the best day given the conditions.It was a start.

WEDNESDAY.15/07.CASTLE SEMPLE TOUR.

Luckily I love this area and it has plenty going for it.Weather was poor until after 12 noon (AGAIN!)
A long drive was out so this area looked the best option given a 3 to 5 hour window
Set off from water park at Lochwinnoch along disused railway line now a flat cycle route. No views but bags of flowers.

Used this as a fast path then climbed minor road to Dalry with good views opening up but still on cycle route.

Then paid a wee headtorch visit to Cleeves Cove a muddy cave system which has had a few cave ins since the last time we crawled through it Alex. Returned via the B707 and Cockinhead moss
past Barrhill to Barcraigs and the Belltree hills.


What is it about bullocks?


Think you`re hard enough you magnificent eleven?


Or maybe not?


Other wildlife.

Although the weather thus far had been excellent something big was brewing up in the near distance.


Would I get back to the car still dry?


You betcha! Was really delighted when a thunderstorm hit once I was back in the house.Went out to dance in the downpour.Yippee!!!

THURSDAY.16/07

Spent all day hacking down the jungle that was my garden .Cleaning house and painting fences.Ho Hum!

FRIDAY.17.07.PORTPATRICK.

Haven`t been here since I was a kid but the weather window she say yes! Arrived with bike ,boots and new cheap wet suit and, as soon as I`d seen the cliffs, pulled on the last and went for a swim round the headland.Good fun under the cliffs was had.
Came out after a couple of hours and went a walk along the Southern upland Way.


This is the view looking across at it. Slendid walk with cliffs ,sandy beaches and rugged outcrops in a few miles of winding path that lead to the lighthouse.


Where, I retraced my steps then went inland through Dunskey Glen and Gardens back to Portpatrick.Great day out. Lucky with the camera too.


Very lucky!


And it wasn`t over yet.Due to the Open golf traffic at Turnberry decided to head inland and bag a new road. The B741 via Dailly,Straiton,Dalmellington,New Cumnock and back to Kilmarnock. This is a fantastic road or maybe it was just the light conditions but it seemed wonderful.Straight, empty and beautiful.

With a real wild west frontier feel to it.Open cast coal mines dotted some of the hillsides, old coal bings and former mining towns lay in the valleys with interesting hills all around.


A real gem of a road in good light.

And yet again the heavens opened when I was safe in the house.

SATURDAY.18/07.ST ABBS.

Phoned Alex.I had a "plan" He was not bothered.Solo again (wee sigh!)
Went to St Abbs area and swam under the vast cliffs in wet suit and flotation jacket but it was very cold with a swell though a bit sunny. Picked a quiet spot away from any folk as I didn`t want anyone to think I might need rescued.Was ok but being on my own had an unnerving feeling that there might be something lurking beneath me in the deeper areas which stopped me really getting into it this time.Don`t think it`s really for me this sea swimming lark but a change of outdoor action. Didn`t enjoy it as much as the other days.Must mean its time to go back to work. Ah Well!

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