Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Biggar.Western Pentlands Bike Run.

I've got a slight backlog of trips at the moment as I never posted a few from the summer when I was putting up multi day long weekends first.
Biggar, seen above is one of my favourite small towns. There's a lot more to it than you think with lovely walks and  a collection of moderately priced museums. This is the old bridge on the west side of town. The type of  urban landscape rural English villages have in abundance but Its as scare as chocolate fireguards up in these parts. No village pond but you could sneak Biggar into Kent, the Cotswolds or Dorset and it wouldn't look out of place.
All around are the shapely hills of the southern uplands at their finest with Goseland Hill and White hill on one side, Tinto and Dungavel Hill to the west and the back of the lesser known and emptier Pentland Hills to the east.
It was this that attracted me as I hadn't cycled the minor yellow roads to the north of Biggar for over ten years but I remembered them as being special and unique .

OS Map 72. Upper Clyde Valley.    Just follow the yellow brick road.
As you can see here its a network of quiet highways that takes you into some superb cycling country with huge skies  and flat plains one minute, mountains the next.
My route left Biggar travelling North past Elsrickle and Walston then round by Dunsyre under the Black Mount, circling the South Medwin valley before skirting the unfrequented western slopes of the Pentlands.
Really enjoyable touring with great landscapes and few cars. Fairly flat as well with any hills being smooth and not too brutal. This is Black Mount above. Around twenty five miles or so in distance but I wasn't in any hurry, just taking it easy,  enjoying the views.
It was a warm lazy hazy day in October. Frost in the mornings high up but hot sunny afternoons in the valleys.
The autumn butterflies were out in force, aware their short fast life's would soon be over.
It felt like a lush fertile garden of Eden and there have been precious few outings I 've had those feelings this year with all the rain and chilly conditions summer long.
A great year for slugs and snails...not so terrific for everything else.
At Newbigging those wanting a longer bike tour can include the minor roads out to Auchengray, Forth and Carstairs but as I'd already done that section earlier in the summer(Wilsontown Post) I went back via Libberton, Quothquan  and West Lindsaylands.
Amazing what you find on your travels. In places this area  could be taken for the prairie and the animals roaming it are equally exotic. This is a Rhea, a South American bird.
It had company to make it feel at home.
Free grazing cattle.(Well, almost.) Just like being on the open range with a bike.
I just got back in time for a tour of the gas works before they shut for the night. Due to funny opening hours, 2pm to 4pm I think, Its the one museum in Biggar left I hadn't been into yet. Another ambition realised. Very interesting.
As the towns proverb proudly and cheekily says. London's London but Biggar's Biggar.

A blast of modern blues now by a young man with an old soul. Cracking band playing up a storm.


The Glebe Blog said...

Gorgeous countryside around there Bob.
Returning early from Auld Reekie one time, I decided I'd take a minor road into Bigger and turned off somewhere near Dolphinton. After driving for a while I somehow ended up on the A721.
Instead of stopping and consulting my map, I though I can sort this out by following the sun. Ha ha. I never got to Bigger, after a succession of minor roads and the morning turning into the afternoon, I ended up in a place called Thankerton. Now I got my map out.
My normal three hour ride home took almost seven that day

blueskyscotland said...

I've also been lost around that way years ago in thick mist. Took what I thought was a back road to Glasgow in the car and ended up in
Shotts then Wishaw.
I cycled past Thankerton on that Pentland bike run trip. The Medwin is a lovely little known river system.

Neil said...

Its a lovely part of the country. The hills are not bad either, very quiet but with expansive views. The Black Mount is a grand ridge.

Carol said...

That sounds a really nice cycle ride - especially when you said it wasn't brutally hilly - I'm crap at hills on a bike!

I've been through most of those places but, apart from Biggar, haven't actually visited many of them properly - hope to start on that kind of area when I've finished Munroing (if I ever do! )

Robert Craig said...

Nice cycling country, always wanted to see Little Sparta at Dunsyre but not managed yet.

Isn't Biggar's slogan:

'London's Big, but Biggar's Biggar'? :)

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Neil,
Yeah its great. Wanted to go up it in the Spring but was informed by Alex I've already bagged it.
That's the beauty of not counting them. I can do it again as a new hill.

blueskyscotland said...

Hi Carol,
Great area. Reminds me a bit of....Yorkshire and the Dales!!!!
As its lush and very fertile compared to most other upland regions in Scotland.

blueskyscotland said...

You are probably correct Robert as I never looked that up:)
Anything spawned from memory alone is a twisted beast, particularly from the depths of my dark mind.
Having said that I think mine is actually an improvement on the original motto :)
Hey, I'm a busy man these days. Time is precious.

blueskyscotland said...

The correct saying seems to be
London is big but Biggar is better.
Feel free to use my improved version good citizens :0)