We have had sun, sun, sun which has made May one early summer month. (yeah, I know it’s now June)
Lora, my oldest daughter took the plunge and bought herself a bike. It looks like being a winner and has me touring around showing her some routes and destinations.
We’ve been east, west, south and now it was the turn to head north, to the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond. I’ve been to Balloch on more than a few occasions but this would be Lora’s first 40-mile plus run. I’ve tested out my Polar v650 new routing facility so it was to plotaroute.com and creating a route using the cycle tracks and roads we would take. One variant on the return journey from the normal route would let me see the mapping in operation (worked well, bright sunshine kinda made it a bit harder to keep an eye on)
Bikes had a quick check over and off we headed, a day for first putting on sunscreen and even as it was a Bank Holiday Monday the initial roads were quiet, I did put in an effort up Hatton Brae but only equalled my 3rd best time, I’d thought I’d cracked it, another time. We met at the top and cycled through Bishopton, up over the Erskine Bridge and a drop down through Lusset Glen (kudos to the volunteers who keep the glen neat and litter-free) to join Route 7 at the Old Ferry Road in Old Kilpatrick. The track was busy, walkers, dogs and cyclists aplenty all heading one way, west. Another excellent surfaced track.
It wasn’t long before we were heading through Dumbarton and heading on to the track which runs along the west bank of the river Leven. For a sunny, blue sky day, the river was busy with anglers, bait, spinning and fly fishermen but the river was flowing through at a fair rate.
It wasn’t long until we reached Balloch and headed through the busy parkland paths and reach our destination at Balloch Pier. We parked our bikes next to the Maid of the Loch and enjoyed the view of the Ben, slightly under cloud.
A quick break then it was a return down the track to Bonhill Bridge where we’d detour south along the A813 to Dumbarton and our lunch break at Greggs. Coffee and a filled roll, one thing out cycling together we eat well. I’m nromally guilty of buying chocolate.
The route I’d planned in now came into use and we followed it through Dumbarton and not before long back on familiar ground. We headed back the reverse direction which I knew would be interesting as the rise to home from sea-level is up some seriously steep rises but a quick last water break and a slow plod up and I’d made it to home. The legs would be feeling this later. An excellent day out and just over 45 miles logged.
I headed out the next day and thought the time to test the legs again, I headed to Kilmacolm and the steep climb over West Glen with its welcome downhill drop and your choice of the route but instead of heading south towards Houston, I’d travel across to Gallahill Rd and up to the telecommunication masts. I knew there are constant steep rises before I’d stop and check out a geocache site at Bogside. I gradually worked up and came to the last rise before the top, aye, this looked a steep ‘un but I just turned the pedals and made the top. I now know the steep rise is locally known as ‘The Wall’, I made my way over to the gate where I’d head in and check out the WW2 anti-aircraft battery of Bogside (Gallahill Wood). I parked the bike and made my way over a nearby fence and wander about the buildings and old gun emplacements, still in good condition considering the 70 odd years they have been in place, graffiti covers some of the buildings, maybe a couple of bulls which live in the field containing the nearby High Mathernock battery buildings would help keep people away. The battery was built on a hilltop which has great all round vision, communication masts are nearby now being surrounded by conifer trees and sadly more than a few spoil heaps of discarded fly-tipping.
It was then back and down to meet Old Greenock Rd and its long drop down to the back of Langbank, where next? Bishopton, Houston? a last second swing right and Netherton Rd was next, another hill, I was pushing today, into the lower gear and a stifling ascent along a breezeless narrow tarmac road, once topped the breeze returned and it was off to head towards Houston and home. Good leg stretches which I recently reprised.
The geocache? it had been muggled and not replaced, time to place another in the area, I think.
I’ve recently been venturing further east and now just disappearing down side roads, industrial estates just for a nosey. I’ll document a few of these soon, an excuse to return to some of them.