Sunday, 18 May 2014

Moorlands & Woodlands

Been a while since the last blog or since I was out on the bike for that matter due to one bike with a knackered seat post & typically a different size to my other bike so I couldn't swap it over, and my other bike needed new brake pads which I replaced only to find that the front brake needed bled as I discovered that fluid had been leaking from the handlebar reservoir.
Anyway with a new seat post on the Giant & new pads & bled brakes on the Kona it was time to hit the trails to freedom.

    A little bit of road work required for the route I had planned today, passing by Elmscleugh farm & then up the massive relentless hill that the farm sits at the bottom off, I only stopped twice today to take in fluids, catch my breath & of coarse a couple of photos.

Up through the White Cleugh woods where I could hear Jay's chattering up in front warning each other of my presence before I emerge from the trees onto the Crystal Rig wind farm site.

Crystal Rig wind farm & the bottom picture you can see the pylon maintenance road where I'm heading for.

Leaving the wind turbine farm behind & continuing along the pylon road where I came across this .223 casing.

Following along side the Whiteadder burn to the start of the Whiteadder reservoir. Another one of those stoat/weasel traps just one of many that I came across on my travels today.

Spotted loads of Greylag geese along the shores of the reservoir & even saw a fly fisherman fishing from a kayak which looked a bit iffy with his casting motion rocking the open top kayak from side to side.

'Doon the plughole' 
I love the amazing engineering in the construction of dams, the Whiteadder reservoir was established in the late 1960's, with the flooding ceremony in May 1968, Millknowe farm & Kingside school were both flooded & in the hot summer months when the reservoir levels are very low you can see parts of these buildings. The dam itself is 89 feet high & 600 feet thick at the base.

The ruins of Gamelshiel castle & a sheepfold in front of it, the castle was a tower house from the 14th century, it is reputed that the Lady of Gamelshiel castle was killed by wolves.

From the castle I thought I'd follow along a Land Rover track as it was in the direction where I wanted to head for going around Spartleton hill where in no time at all I joined up with the surfaced track to the hills summit, a nice little detour. While cycling along this track I could hear two cuckoo's communicating with one another but unfortunately I never saw either of them :-/

Sheep rustling on the way back home if only they had the sense to just move to the side ! 
Moorland Cotton Grass blowing in the breeze & there's always time for a selfie photo while I decide which way I want to head back, so many options from here.

Making my mind up where I was going to go I bombed down the hill of Boonslie Shank heading towards Woodhall Dean with a wee gorge to cross before I get there.

Now after a bit of bike over the shoulders traipsing up & down a gorge wading through thick Tick infested vegetation, crossing the Woodhall burn & into the Woodhall Dean nature reserve.

Crossing over the Woodhall burn at Tinkers Leap the wild garlic was really kicking off it's pungent oniony smell, love it.

Cycling along through the oak wood & the forest floor is awash with Bluebells then something strange happened ? How come when I pedal through a cow field they all chase me & yet on this occasion where I'm behind a fence they take off like the clappers away from me !

This section of the woods was like riding through a scene of the Avatar movie, the forest floor was almost neon blue with all the bluebells & the aromas were amazing in the warm afternoon sun.

Very colourful flora & fauna through the Woodhall Dean at the moment, but now the belly's starting to rumble so it's time to head back home.

About a mile to go & the kettle will soon be on.
A few more hill runs needed to get the legs in tip top condition for my Rob Roy Way adventure in June, starting from the village of Drymen & cycling all the way to Pitlochry, I can't wait really looking forward to doing a blog about this adventure.

Thanks for looking & do come back soon for another tour of the East Lothian country side.