Saturday, December 29, 2007

I Went Paddling !

It's been quite some time, I don't think I have been out since the night paddle!

Today we done a route that I have done in the past. Chanonry to Cromarty, however last time I continued to Invergordon.

The forecast for today wasn't brilliant, it was a wee bit windy right from the start.

However after getting 'around the corner' the sea calmed down considerably and we were blown along the coast at a healthy pace.

We were also given sporadic peltings with rain, also not so bad when they are at your back.
We stopped for scran at the Eathie bothy.

The scene was very different from August 2006.

Now back to today.

After scran it was back on the yet flatter water with less wind but equal amounts of rain.

Another blast from the past. I think this is McFarquhar's cave.

And Today.

Is this Mcfarquhar's house ?

The sea remained clam, we paddled on.

Now I can't remember whether this was the cave beside McFarquhar's which might actually be McFarquhar's or the one at Red Nose. It was substantial though, as Andreas managed to turn the Cetus inside.

Soon after we were rounding the South Sutor. There followed a 2.5Km paddle into the wind to end tha day ay Cromarty.

Thanks To Neil for the organisation, everyone had a great time despite the weather.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Long Time No Blog

It's been a while. I'm now on holiday for Christmas. For the previous couple of months the weather wasn't too good and I spent most of my time at work.
One of my colleagues crashed due to the ice whilst cycling home one morning and broke his arm, I have been covering his shifts.

It hasn't all been work, I have fitted in an occasional cycle and I've also started to run again ! Yes you heard right, although it's more like jogging:-)

Santa was very nice to me and gave me a prezzy well before christmas day.

Here's a quick look at it and what it can do.

ForeRunner 305

Here's a wee workout I made up myself consisting of 1 minute runs and 2 minute jog recoverys. These are done 8 times. There's 15 mins jog at either end. The Fr305 is great at helping you do exactly what workout you want to do. There's also a load of feedback at the end when you connect it up to the PC. I love that bit :-)

You can create a course from your track to use again and again.

You can also tranfer tracks/courses to and from Memory Map.

Or view it in Google Earth.

I'm going to keep running through the winter and maybe get some cycling done.
We did go to a local cycle trail today but the ground was treacherous, ice covered with water.
Weather permitting I'll also now have some time for Kayaking before I return to work, now where's that boat...

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Of The Same. Learnie and Abriachan.

Still I'm reliving my love of cycling that I had before the small humans arrived.

At the end of October I went over to Learnie on the Black Isle.
It was a familiar scene in the car park, perhaps I am lucky to work shifts, which
allows me to do things during the week when the less fortunate have to work.

I decided to ride all the blue then the red downhill, the whole shooting match is just over 7Km.

On the blue there's some predictable trail but some nice jumpy bits too.

Ah, blue or black ?

Is it for me ?

NO !

Not if I'm going to walk the bike over most of it.

Nice view over the firth where I go kayaking with the club in the summer.

Back to the car through some nice singletrack, a short but really sweet red section, and then a green section with some wee jumps.


Now the trip I did at the weekend was a little different.

I told you I cycled a lot about ten years ago, well just to punish myself into getting fit again I agreed to this:

Inverness to Abriachan, around the blue trails and back to Inverness.

Yep do-able, just take it easy, no prob.

I went with Brian who does a SPIN class in Invergordon also Jean and Saunders who attend spin classes, run, do triathlons and the Loch Ness 360 !

Here's the route.

It's 17Km to Abriachan and then there's 7Km of Blue routes.

As the profile suggests, it was a bit of a lung buster to start at a faster pace than I have been used to.

I thought I could do the distance but the pace was just above me.

I was able to make it up the first bit without keeling over, and took a photo of Brian and Saunders.

Then it was head down arse up again for a while, through the trees mostly apart from the odd open bit.

I made it to the trails, we did all the blue stuff and there were only a few crashes. Loads of jumps and berms for a blue route, tight, twisty and bumpy. My back brake gave up and just stayed on until I noticed the next day !

Too much happening to get pics but just to prove I made it to Abriachan :


Another 17K cycle along the lovely Great Glen Way, where I had to draught Jean on the road section. Thanks Jean.
I got left when we returned to the wooded part, I could do no more so stopped to relieve myself.

We arrived above Inverness and I was STILL alive. Now we had the high speed descent into the City ... YES.

Passing the old buildings of Craig Dunain which recently suffered fire damage.

We descended the final part. I was behind Saunders with Brian and Jean behind.

I saw Saunders brake hard and noticed a large plank if wood sticking side-on out of the ground. ( It was like one of those things you see to divert water off a trail.)

This plank was several inches above the ground and thanks to Saunders braking warning I was able to bunny hop it. Jean wasn't so lucky.

We waited at the bottom then heard Jean on the walky talky, she had stacked. ( ha I'm getting the lingo now )

To cut a long story short, I found out later that evening that they had stayed on in Inverness.

Jean had done an extra trip, one to Accident and Emergency.

I think she got an x-ray but all internal bits and bobs were still in the right place. Drugs were dished out and a 38 minute cycling ban imposed.

So thanks for a great day out Brian Saunders and Jean. For a pretty complete cycling experience.

No, I'm not ready for that 3 hour spin class !

Thursday, October 25, 2007

More Biking ?

Yes I'm afraid so.

Today I went back up to the Wildcat on my own to check out the Red Route.

Now I used to mountain bike quite a lot a few years ago, it was all on forest trails. The only technical thing was jumping the centre part of the forest track to line up for cornering on descents.

Today I realised that things have changed.

I started out at the main car park in Golspie although Wildcat now has it's own car park further north, I cycled past it !

The uphill cycle is quite straight forward and not too tiring at all. Part of it is the Cat's Climb which I cycled twice last week.

I could also just see the 20m high walkway on the Black route further on up the hill.

At the top of the climb the red route goes to the left, first downhill then climbing up a forest track.

It was then I got the first glimpse of what downhill is all about. It isn't just going flat out down a wide forestry road as I had believed for the past 20 years.

Through the trees I could see jumps, drop offs and berms.

Soon I arrived at the entrance to 'Valhalla'. I just hoped that I wasn't REALLY on my way there.

Now still having a bit of MTB savvy, I had swapped out my SPD's for platforms and was just about to lower my seat. Doh ! I had put on a rear light the other day in order to take my bike to work. It needed a flat head screwdriver to remove it. I had a cross head, spanners, umpteen allen keys bit no flatty. The seat was staying up.

I started the descent with white knuckles on the brakes.

Hold on. You can't see where these jumps and drop offs are going. Better stop and have a look. JESUS!

I did quite a bit more stopping and looking on my way down. Some I rode others I cheated and some I re-rode. This trail is superb. What I could have done with though, aprt from a lower seat, was soemeone who actually knew what he was doing to go first and I would follow.
The place was deserted. I spent a while looking and redoing a few features but nobody came past me.

Lessons learned.

Make sure you can lower the seat.
Take along an expert.
Don't be such a big jessy.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Highland Wildcat -Blue-

I had a week off work after doing a bit of overtime. The kids were off too but the weather was pretty bad at the start of the week.
It was tidy up the garden and chop wood time.

The weather improved near the end of the week.


The wee fella is really getting into cycling so we tried the Blue route with the 20" wheeled bike that he had. He did very well, but I thought he could have done better given the right equipment, so we decided it was worth upgrading to a better bike.

We traded in his Dawes Redtail for this lovely machine.

After a day riding locally and getting to grips with the gears we headed back up to Golspie.

The Blue route is for families, it starts off very easy, has climbs, wooded sections, stones and switchbacks.

Theres some nice views too.

At the top.

On the way back down now...

Kill those switchbacks.

Oops, cut in too quick...

We were the only car in the Wildcat car park. The red and black routes start from the Town car park. We saw three other cyclists, then another bunch going up the black route - they were pushing their bikes !

Off to practise on our wee trail at the bottom of the road, need to get ready for the red route.

No kayaking this week.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Night Paddle

Tonight we set off from Chanonry Point to do a night paddle.

We headed across and past Fort George where we landed, got fed and watered then Neil produced the glow sticks.

We attached them to the back of our BA's. Neil and Guy also had one on the back of their boats. We followed Guy.

We headed out into the channel and around the red buoy.

The camera has compensated for the lack of light here. On a night setting.

Then back across and past the west side of Fort George towards Ardersier.

This photo was on a normal setting, with flash.

I switched back to night shot so as not to wreck peoples night vision.

We avoided the tidal stream that would have been flowing through the narrow channel at this time, extending the paddle and letting it get darker.

Night paddling is great. I'm waiting for reports in tomorrows papers about strange dancing hoops of light on the water :-)