Monday, 3 November 2014

East Lothian In Amber

I love this time of year, the whole district seems to be shrouded in a rich amber colour giving one last flush of colour before the big winds blow the remaining leaves from the tree's & winter finally sets in.
I wasn't sure of a route for this cycle so thought I might head up hill to the wind turbine farm at Crystal Rig as there are a lot of route choices to be had from there, as I was climbing the hill with a nice fresh breeze cooling me down I decided to head over the Dunbar Common towards Deuchrie but my friends the cows put paid to that !


Cycling along the road I spotted a game trail coming from one side of the road across to the other side then through a hole in the fence & an obvious trail through the field past the tree's & up the hill. I did have a look at the bottom of the fence to see if there was any hair caught on it but there was none to be seen, my guess would be either a badger or a fox as they are both territorial animals & are creatures of habit.









 Now off road heading up the pylon road I thought that I'd take a spin around the High Wood, the beech tree's spooky & skeletal in appearance standing guard to the soft wood forest behind & displaying pumpkin coloured leaves looking very Halloween.



A fairly new addition that I never knew existed, must be something to do with tree felling operations, whatever it's purpose they are prepared to dig in for winter as there were plenty of logs drying under cover, spotting a dog bowl outside I didn't want to hang about just in case !




I love cycling through fire roads I find them very still & quiet often startling unsuspecting wildlife, the smells from the rotting damp vegetation was amazing.
Witches butter fungus.


 The tree's are covered in lichen & old man's beard lichen a sign of excellent air quality.



Emerging from the woods it was onto a track separating the tree's & fields where I used to chainsaw a lot of wind fall firewood which blocked the road between the fields & as you can see the tree's are still falling... 

 ...I would log up all the fallen tree's into rounds ready for splitting then sit in my Land Rover pick-up where I would boil up some water for a mug of coffee then have a break drinking coffee admiring the view & overlooking the lowlands & my house below of which I wish I still lived :-( Then after I would chuck the logs into the back of the Land Rover & tidy up all the waste scrub from the tree's I'd logged before heading home to start splitting sticks. I was in my element living up there.


 Down the field track off the hill passing my old house & back onto the pylon road gearing myself up for a big climb ahead.




 Starting the climb uphill I spotted a roe deer feeding totally unaware of my being there, stopping for a couple of quick pictures it got wind of me then bounded off over the hill.
Finally at the top I was disheartened to see the coo's along the trail where I wanted to go, so Deuchrie was not to be today & a change of coarse it was.


 Good views from up here looking down over the Firth of Forth, the Bass Rock & my local town of Dunbar & you could see amber coloured tree's all over the place.




Workmen working at the top of a turbine & from down here it looked a fair height up, not for vertigo sufferers this job.


Signs that once was the Crystal Forest with the fire beater paddles a common sight in soft wood forests & a few small surviving saplings, but the forest was decimated & had to give way to modern energy !



Hard to imagine that most of this area was thick with pine tree's.







Back onto the fire roads this time through the White Cleugh woods & again awesome damp woody smells to fill the lungs with.




Stunning variety of earthy colours all around here up in the Monynut Forest.




Cycling along the single track hill road I came across all this heavy plant, not what you'd expect to see up here but these are here to destroy more beautiful moor land to build yet more roads for yet more wind turbines !!! Too much now way too many :-/
 Along the road a bit further & a choice of either a massive fast downhill road to Elmscleugh farm or... 
 ...my newly discovered & definitely the find of the year, the shooting path down & along the Sheeppath glen.





Well it wasn't much of a choice was it down the Sheeppath glen it was.



A brilliant fast track for bombing down.





Some curious sheep, a pheasant foraging around in the game crop & a real contrast of colours with the dark heathery back drop of Wester Dod along the Monynut Edge.

 Peek a moo I see you coo, can you see the coo ?


The farmer putting the ram to the ewes, the rams have the ink pad bibs on them so the farmer can tell which ewes have been mated & more rams in pens waiting to be harnessed with bibs.





 More ongoing destruction creating roads for wind turbines here at Aikengall very sad to see as this is a very popular place for the local towns people to have fun rolling Easter eggs, camping for the night or to have an afternoon BBQ, but for me it's sadder to see the beautiful big mature beech trees ripped out of the ground then tossed to the side.
Just around the corner from Aikengall on the Elmscleugh farmland is the hill where I done a lot of hunting rabbits with my ferrets, the conical peak called Bonnetty Knowe was like swiss cheese with the amount of rabbit burrows on it & I had some great days sport here & around the Elmscleugh farm land where the farmer was kind enough to grant me permission to ferret on his land & in return to show my appreciation I used to give him trout from my fishing trips.


 One last wee flash of amber before I head back to my home village of Innerwick...

...and you always know when you had a good day out on the bike when you get home all dirty :-)

Cheers for looking come back for another tour.