Finally the last lazy late blog post this one from 8th of March & glad to of caught up with myself now & a mistake I'll not repeat, it's all too easy to say to myself I'll do it tomorrow...I'll do it tomorrow & before I knew it I'm way behind myself !
Anyway for this ride out I took myself off down to the Tweed valley in the Scottish borders, a pure mountain biking mecca with so much choice of mountain biking disciplines for all ages & abilities.
My choice for the day was to cycle around the red graded route at Innerleithen, the last time I was here my chain snapped near the top of the Minch Moor hill so I missed out on a high speed ride back to the beginning & had to make do with free wheeling, so today I wanted to put that nightmare to bed !
The red route is a long ride uphill through thick pine forests, fire roads & deforested open moorland nothing too strenuous but a good workout getting the legs pumping the blood around up to optimum performance ready for the return route reward back down the hill.
There was still a fair bit of snow on the highest hills but the day was fairly mild & light drizzle.
Riding up through the remains of a former pine forest the views were starting to open up, I often think that deforested areas look a real mess almost apocalyptic with the left over tree stumps & branches all dead, weathered & scattered all over the place but at the end of the day these pine forests were planted as a harvestable crop that takes around 40 to 50 years to become mature enough to harvest.
Spot the house ?..
...centre of picture at the bottom of the far away hill.
Although these dead tree stumps & branches look untidy they are creating an ecosystem for insects which in turn attract birds to feed on them.
Back into the cover of trees again from which I welcomed the cover from the relentless drizzly rain.
And by the time I emerged from the trees the drizzle had stopped & it was only a few hundred yards to the summit of Minch Moor where the fun begins :-) not to say that the cycle up here was not enjoyable but going downhill is always more fun than climbing uphill.
As I neared the top I met a hill walker walking down the track & he was the only other soul I met here all day, there were other vans & cars in the trail centre car park so I was a little surprised that I never met any other bikers out up in the hill.
I soon arrived at the top of Minch Moor hill with the trig point & cairn & I was glad to of made it to the summit this time without my chain snapping so that was a good result !
Taking five minutes to fuel up & stare out in marvel at the views beyond with grey areas of rain falling on hills all around me.
Belly filled & hydrated it was on with the helmet to give it hell for leather down the trail.
Stopping to catch my breath where the Southern Upland Way long distance walking route crosses the trail path.
After another high speed blast I was soon onto the fire road again taking the opportunity to get my breath back again, as I rode along I noticed across the valley an area which had been recently felled & when you see the pile of timber piled up it's not much to show for the area of land that the logs once filled.
Some cracking scenery to be seen while riding along the fire road to the next trail section.
Often if possible small quarry's are made to supply the forestry with hard core stone to build the fire roads to bring in the heavy plant required to fell the forest & also so that road going lorries can access the timber to extract from the felling site.
I was surprised to see icicles hanging on the reeds & grass from the water running off the hill as it was not cold at all.
Last photo of the day as this section is just far too good to stop & take pictures, Caddon Bank the last little stretch back to the car park has some great drop off's & other good features but best of all it's fast to ride down.
So Iv'e put a little video together of the return route back down off the hill hope you enjoy :-)
Well that's it Iv'e finally caught up with my homework & can now get back to normal writing my travels as they are done !
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