Thursday, 24 September 2009
Hooray! A precious midweek day off stuck on to the start of the September weekend holiday.After three long months of dull unsettled weather in the west coast ( Hello barbecue summer!) I knew how Vincent Van Gogh was feeling when he left the drab winter fields of his Dutch homeland to paint sunshine colours in vibrant shimmering Provence.
I too headed off to seek fields of honeyed gold after watching the usual suspects turn up in the television sun lottery.No Alex this time, as he was working on a contract job.
Fife looked best this time,a lasting sun hole predicted after lunch before more dull skies swept in from the west.
Left a very overcast Glasgow at 10.00 am after a long lie and cruised smoothly to Cupar with the vague intention of trying to capture the colours of sunshine. (i.e. pictures of the harvest)
I wasn`t the only one making my way towards rich pickings in the corn fields of Fife.
Yes,I know they have a harvest in the west but its just a pale stunted shadow of the Eastern seaboards annual extravaganza.
I must point out at this point that I`m not anti west having lived all my life in Glasgow.I like it there. If it was sunny up the west coast I`d be spending all my time scaling jaggy peaks quite happily but the orange ball I worship at weekends tends to reside in the east so that's that I`m afraid until the situation changes.
Passed the massive Quaker oats factory on the outskirts of Cupar then parked at the long stay car park (free) in this busy market town beside the combined toilets/tourist centre.
This is on the east side of town off the A 91 St Andrews road just past the park and aptly named River Eden.
Trusting the weather forecast I set off on the bike into a howling gale and unpromising cold grey skies around 12.00 noon.
It`s always good to have a target to aim for,some destination in your sights just to get the juices flowing.
Now Alex likes to pat trig pillars,I`ve even seen him stroke them furtively when he thought I wasn't looking. Me, I like something a bit more impressive.More in keeping with the size of my ego perhaps.
Party due to the strong wind which was making cycling very difficult I headed towards the slopes of Mount Hill and the beacon of the Hopetoun Momument soaring above the woods which looked good for shelter."Now that's a beauty worth a pat or two on its stony windswept bum"I thought.
Following the map pleasant minor roads led uphill through a landscape dotted with busy tractors and static hay bales in all shapes and sizes.
This is obviously a frantic time for the farms,getting the hay and corn cut, stacked, dried and stored as even with its more favoured climate its still a race against the elements.
For the people involved this was the profit and loss time of the year when a whole seasons work was translated into hard cash in the bank.Worth skipping meals and working from dawn til dusk for.
I just stayed out of the way as much as possible pushing my bike up hidden tree hung rutted lanes towards the summit slopes.It was fairly hard work as well but far more enjoyable as It was my own idea not someone else. Funny that, If a boss had suggested it as an idea I`d have been less impressed!
Who says I`m not a bagger.45 hills for the trusty metal nag and I!
At the top I was pretty knackered but the sun was out.It was still windy but warm, tee shirt time again as I treated myself to a huge Mississippi mud muffin followed by grapes and thinly sliced chorizo. Job done.Stuffed and happy.
I had good views all the way down again still pushing the bike satisfied with my four hours of sunshine,worth the two hour drive to get here.Cycling back to Cupar it suddenly struck me how most of the farm animals had been relegated to the higher steeper slopes to make way for king corn in the valleys.Truly a different land.
A grand day out with the evening sun fading over the lomonds.Back in the house for nightfall and another massive Mississippi mud muffin. Like all the best things in life they are sadly addictive.
Winter. Get thee behind me.Nature willing, this year summer will last through until spring 2010.With a plate of these oversized American big sticky buns to munch I may well die trying!