Tuesday, 2 June 2015

The Plan...The Pentland Ridge...But The Wind Says NO !

The 1st day of June & still not much sign of the baking hot summer sun as of yet !
I fancied a blast around the Pentland Hills just south-west of  Edinburgh & I'd planned to ride around some of the hills passing some reservoirs & then a return journey over the Pentland Ridge, but the wind had other ideas...

Parking the van at the Ranger Centre car park & setting of for a day of leg pumping up & down the Pentlands Hills.
Leaving the car park via a single track road & after only a few hundred yards I turn off onto a small track up hill towards Castlelaw.

The gorse bushes in full flower & smelling amazing.

After a short climb I arrived at Castlelaw Hill Fort & Earthouse. The Hill Fort is the remnant of a stronghold of the Iron Age when it was occupied the site consisted of three earthwork ramparts, ditches & timber palisades. The fort contained a Souterrain for the storage of agricultural produce.
The fort commands views over the Forth & Lothian, Traprain Law & North Berwick Law, both significant centres of power in the Iron Age & are both visible from this site.

Just up the hill a bit is a Ministry Of Defence firing range on the lower slopes of Castlelaw Hill, I once used this range during my basic training in the army, out of 50 of us in my platoon I was the top shot :-)

Climbing up the road with Castlelaw hill to my left the wind was really howling & it was tough enough climbing this hill without being buffeted by side winds.
The weather forecast was wrong for the day as the strong gusts of wind in the region of 40-50 mph were meant to come in the early evening not mid morning.
Glencorse reservoir in front & bending around the corner of Turnhouse Hill, the last of the 5 peaks of the Pentland Ridge that I'd planned to cycle back to the car park & this would be the last hill to bomb down. Already I was having doubts if I would manage to do the 5 peaks in this nightmare wind.

A good test to see what the wind was going to be like high up on the hills I climbed up to the summit of Allermuir Hill, the most northerly of the Pentlands summits.
Stopping for a breather half way up & looking over I could see four of the five peaks along the ridge.

Allermuir trig point & another one bagged.
From the summit & again looking back towards the ridge, the wind was horrific I could barely stand upright & worse still within a couple of minutes a passing heavy rain shower soaked me.
You can see the rain working it's way along the valley.

Just before the rain shower I managed to get some pictures of the toposcope &...

...some pictures looking over Edinburgh.
 The first being the iconic & famous Forth Rail Bridge along with the road bridge & the new road bridge which is under construction.
Secondly Arthur's seat, an extinct volcano & the main peak in a group of hills forming Holyrood Park.
And thirdly looking eastwards back towards home with Cockenzie coal powered power station which has been closed down since 2013 & through the haze further along the coast is North Berwick Law.

With the rain shower passed I head back down from Allermuir Hill & followed a track around the side of Capelaw Hill.

Stopping for a minute to look over at the views of Edinburgh again.

As I cycled around the side of the hill westwards the full force of the wind was soon in my face, what is normally a good downhill ride had to be painstakingly cycled down.

Hard work today but fresh air in the lungs is better than sitting about the house.
An old cast iron sign unfortunately broken, warning that this is a danger area when the M.O.D. live firing exercises are taking place, luckily today there were no red flags flying.

The planned five peak Pentland Ridge that I was wanting to ride back along starting on the furthest away peak called West Kip then onto East Kip, Scald Law,Carnethy Hill then finally Turnhouse Hill.
Glencorse reservoir at the foot of Turnhouse Hill.

Back up hill again between Bell's Hill & Harbour Hill before going downhill towards the sea of yellow in front of me.

The oil seed rape field looked stunning, it was a neon yellow colour when there were breaks of blue sky & sun poking through the moody grey clouds & the smell was strong.

Reaching Harlaw reservoir I spotted a few fly fisherman hiding at a little bay to get out the worst of the wind.

I picked up this geocache along the way too, a very clever hide it was. The cache owner has carved out a piece of wood to place the cache inside off, then hid it behind a wire in a hole within the fence post. To the un-trained eye this would of been easily missed. Signing the log book with my geocaching name I placed it back where it belongs & will record it on the laptop when I get home.

Around the corner I come to Threipmuir reservoir where there was a lone fly fisherman struggling to cast in the wind, even the boats were moored up today.

Up the big long hill of Bravelaw, I hate straight roads, you never seem to get anywhere ! 
Then taking the right hand track which ultimately takes me to the foot of the West Kip, the first of the five peaks along the Pentland Ridge, but after a few hundred yards I thought to myself no way not today, the wind was horrendous by this point, it's very open & very exposed here with none of the big hills to help bield the wind & I thought that it will be far worse along the top of ridge.
So I'll need to pick a better day to come back again for this challenge.

Turning on my heels I jumped a wall & head eastwards alongside Hare Hill to link up with the track which takes me back along an easier route between hills with the wind behind me.
Normally here at the Pentland Hills Regional Park it is a really busy place with walkers, joggers & other cyclists but today they were more sensible than I was, but on the good side I had the place pretty much to myself.

My all time favourite trout fishery here at Loganlea reservoir.

From west to east the 5 peak ridge that will keep for another day.
The overflow from Loganlea & there were a couple of anglers just around the corner on the dam end trying their luck.

Some logging under way & I think that freshly cut pine must be one of the best smells ever.

A beautiful big grey heron stalking the water of the Logan Burn.

The Logan Burn as it enters into Glencorse reservoir & the final photo of my day in the Pentland Hills, slightly disappointed that I never got up onto the ridge but there are other days to do it, preferably with a lot less wind & a brighter clearer day to enjoy the views. Now to head back home through the rush hour traffic happy days !
Thanks for looking & until the next time,
cheers for now.