Saturday, 31 October 2015

Autumn's Show Of Colour.

With summer a distant memory & autumn here once more bringing a change of season the shorter cooler days & longer nights creeping in turning the plant life to it's autumn colours before falling & decaying on the ground, I had no where planned to cycle other than an enjoyable day out riding the local hill roads & trails at this beautiful time of year, warming red, orange & yellow leaves & a strong earthy damp rotting smell of the dying back vegetation filling the nostrils as I made my way along.

Following the hill road up towards Elmscleugh I veered off up a tractor track & down onto the Brunt road as I decided to have a wee blast around Woodhall Dean.

Freshly clipped hawthorn hedges with thorn covered clippings all over the road, I was just waiting on the tyres going flat as there's been no wind to blow the cuttings off the road. 

Into Woodhall Dean Nature Reserve for a blast around the trail, love it in here. 

A great time of year for fungus spotting in the damp conditions, a real damp earthy smell with all the die back.

Great scenic views with all the trees changing colour & more fungus growing by the track side.

Looking across the glen to the ancient oak forest it looked like a painted canvas the colours were so bright & vivid.

Leaving Woodhall Dean behind via a field which for once was cow free & I was soon on the farm track towards the Halls farm.

After passing through the Halls a little bit of a road cycle along the quiet country roads which soon brought me to a field gate, through the gate I went & I was now into Meiklerig Woods. 

Some big beech trees within these woods & their canopy's are still changing from green to orange coloured autumnal leaves, the strong winds will soon be here making quick work clearing the trees of leaves leaving their skeletal limbs bare for winter. 
As I rode through the woods I came across a couple of bairns old gang huts looking a bit worse for wear, especially the one where a beech limb has broken off & crashed through the hut.

Out of the woods & through Meiklerig farm en route to the little village of Stenton.

Stenton is a lovely little village with lots of old rustic buildings & houses with lots of character. Stenton's old church was abandoned in1828 because it was 'very incommodious'. A local benefactor provided funds for the present day church built in the Gothic style of it's time.
The 16th century tower of the old church became a doocot with 60 nesting spaces for pigeons to provide the country folk with fresh meat through the winter.
Stenton was a focal point for the wool trade in this part of East Lothian, the tron or weighing scales in the middle of the green would be used as farmers would bring sheep & wool to be weighed & sold. Shepherds who spent most of their time on the hills would have the chance to meet & chat with friends.
Just outside Stenton there is a cleverly hidden geocache, this one is an old 35mm film case with fishing line taped onto it & then placed down inside the tube of the road sign. I found this geocache a while ago but it took me a while to find it when I was looking !

Down through the decommissioned road through the dry arch, I'm not sure why this road has been closed off as the walls are still quite solid & the road is in good condition. 

I love it up here at Whittingehame I spent a fair bit of time up here when I was a bairn as my Grandad worked on the estate for Lord Balfour. The trees here on the banks of the Whittingehame burn looked awesome in their autumn colours all sorts of warm earthy colours.

And looking over the other side of the bridge the trees & views were equally impressive.

A remnant from WWII, this hole in the wall was made by the home guard for a German land invasion, located opposite a T junction if the Germans approached they could open fire as they slowed down at the T junction. This is just one of many of homeland defences around the area that are still visible.

As I rode along the tranquil country roads I took a small detour to where I used to fish a lot for brown trout in the Whittingehame burn, it still looks as beautiful as I remembered all those years ago.

As I was cycling along passing a field entrance I spotted this fox daundering up a tram line in the field, I stopped & hid behind the wall watching it for a while, it quickly got wind of me & left the field into the cover of trees, great to see I love watching the wildlife when I'm out on the bike.

Again as I was passing a field entrance I noticed a strange crop growing at the far end of the field, my nose getting the better of me I cycled along to see what it was.
I'm sure it's a couple of different varieties of kale :-/

Along the driveway of Biel estate the trees here were stunning unfortunately I couldn't hang around too much as I bumped into a couple of pheasant beaters who told me that they were preparing a drive to flush pheasants up into the air for the guns down below. 

Leaving Biel estate by the south lodge & emerging at Pitcox.

I think every section of road that I cycled today had the road side hawthorn hedges cut with the clippings strewn all over the road & I was a little surprised that I never got any punctures ! 
I took the return section of the Spott Brock walk as it's a fantastic little bit of single track through the woods & a good fast descent down to the ford at the bottom.

With the majority of fields ploughed & sown everything seems dull & brown so the last rustic flush of colour on the trees is most welcome.

Back off road again following field tracks with yet again more freshly cut hedges.

Last wee bit of the journey up through the tree lined track of Thurston Manor before arriving back in delightful Innerwick & the day's ride done.

Thanks for looking :-)

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