Another year over, and gone.
It was a year in which I spread my wings on the bike.
Firstly, two bikes were strapped onto Roddy’s yellow Land Rover and off we set 2 days into the year on what was a frosty morning heading to Callander.
White rime was everywhere and the car park by the Teith had its own icy covering.
The story of the run HERE.
It got me thinking about things I’d often mulled over, a couple of years ago, I read about a route which continues to inspire me. It was two years plus in its planning but more on that later. As we headed back to Callander, I made my mind up.
I’d the usual local runs around Renfrewshire, across to Roseneath then back over Loch Lomond, a couple of visits to the Cowal peninsula, one a return to revisit a climb which left me milking it on my only visit but this time I returned to conquer the climb up over Glen Finart from nearby Ardentinny, a mix of steep sections and surprisingly only a 6% average over the 1.4 miles. I’ve been only beat on one hill in the last two years, I’d done the hardest part and blew up on the gradual rise to the top, bad.
I’m not fast on the hills but more a determination to get there, I’ve had folk tell me to change to a road bike, I’ve been tempted but the hybrid lets me go 99% of anything I meet, I see a rough track, I head down the track, nosey? no, just interested.
I was visiting Newtyle more so the bike was broken down often and placed in our wee car, I decided to explore Strathmore, the Carse of Gowrie, even up as far as Arbroath and south to St. Andrews. This is a cracking hub for exploring and I’d many a trip out in the area.
The Arbroath round trip HERE
A couple of other highlights, Katie had an ‘important’ birthday and due to bad planning, I decided to meet her halfway back to home in Dunblane. I picked what must have been the hottest day of the month to do this, more HERE. I can still feel my eyes stinging with sunscreen from that day.
One more cycling trip to mention from Invergowrie was my trip over into Fife and down to the ancient town of St Andrews HERE.
Whilst I was at Newtyle, I decided after almost 40 years to climb up to Kinpurney Tower, which dominates the landscape, as I saw when cycling through Strathmore, it would guide me back to Newtyle almost the foot of its hill. Blog post HERE.
I’ve still to do more exploring in the area hopefully this year.
Ah, the route I mentioned earlier, the family had gone abroad and I’d taken a now regular run through to Falkirk to house sit. I’d hadn’t really planned anything but having travelled through via the Forth & Clyde Canal and the start of the Union Canal, I thought I’d have a trip to Edinburgh, aye, it’s HERE.
I even visited California on my travels in the higher areas to the south of Falkirk.
The canal paths are in excellent condition and barely a road to cross.
The family came back and Katie said ‘Your break?
I’d kept all this one to myself, mentioning it to my son but I grasped the nettle and said, ‘The Hebridean Way’. ‘Yourself?’ ‘If need be, yes’. ‘I’d like to go too’.
Short, sweet and it was a wait looking for a settled period of weather, two days later returning for a midweek birthday lunch, I said ‘Tomorrow?’
I’d the regular Lake District trip in August and as I do, I did a couple of SOTA activations on firstly, Red Screes and Dale Head. I’d missed the previous year but now in ’18 and onwards hopefully getting a couple of trips to the area. I’ve still a fell or two to climb.
Story on HERE
A busy year for me,
I’d been mounting up the miles with the intention of topping last years total and coming into December it was looking good and all I needed was a below monthly average to make the 6,000-mile mark.
Family issues and to a lesser extent the weather caused me to fall short by 180 miles, I’m more than happy with 5,820 miles. It gives me the motivation to top the total in 2018.
There is a list on my desk, I wonder what I’ll get done out of it in ’18.