Aye, it’s been a week………..

Monday was a day off the bike, parcel duty plus other stuff took priority. The legs would be rested for the following day with its forecasted high temperature.
I’d decided a run down NCN 75, turn right down NCN 7 to Glengarnock then decide the next move, it would be down to the conditions.

Tuesday AM, it was hot and humid.

Ben Lomond from Balloch Pier

Ben Lomond from Balloch Pier

I put ice cubes into the bidon, spare SIS tabs in the bar bag as I’d have to get a refill or two en route on such a hot day.

After a quick climb up to NCN 75, it was downhill literally the way ’till Linwood. The track was surprisingly quiet considering the WX conditions, too hot for folk?

22 miles later, I arrived at Glengarnock and mulled over the options, up to Beith, over Caplaw, followed by a swift descent down the Gleniffer Braes into Paisley?. Back to Lochwinnoch, up over Clochodrick, Kilbarchan? Nah, it was a return up the track, I reached the high point at Port Glasgow and thought, ach, why not back down but 5 miles later, at the ‘Lost Legion’ I decided just to turn back, it was getting a bit stifling.

Wednesday was another day taken up odds and ends, I’d decided a run to Loch Lomond the next day. The usual drop down to sea level and out east through Langbank, up the Hatton Brae, Bishopton, over the Erskine Bridge down Lusset Glen then head west to Dumbarton, up along the river Leven path to Balloch. I’d thought I’d have a lunchtime special fish and chips, I arrived outside the chippy to a road and pavement all dug up, no hot food here, ah, well.

I grabbed a baguette and coffee down at the services on the A82 at Dumbarton whilst mulling over my next move.

Home over the bridge or Glasgow?, but I decided Yoker, the ferry across to Renfrew and head back home on familiar roads down past Glasgow Airport.

Passing through Clydebank, I met a fox, I slowed, he looked at me, me at him and he nonchalantly headed on his way, me too.

I dropped down to the ferry slip at Yoker where a big notice informed me that due to technical difficulties the ferry was off, a minibus was in place.

Back to Erskine then home.

XVII Legion

XVII Legion

It was frustrating but I’d logged the first metric century of ’17.

114 miles on the past two runs, no bad.

I got home and found out we got an invite to a BBQ the next evening

It was in Falkirk, aye, the computer quickly switched on, yes, Bob checked the WX, aye, looking good I thought.

‘I’m going to cycle through, okay?’ I asked……

Falkirk Wheel in operation

Falkirk Wheel in operation

Friday lunchtime arrived,

The wee rucksack packed and off I headed, over past Clydebank then not far up after the usual escape point down the Kelvin Walkway, I met the canal junction which heads to the East or Spiers Wharf.

I dropped down on the road and 100 meters away I cycled up the track along the east branch of the canal, I’ve been previously as far as Twechar Bridge but today I’d be on ground I didn’t know. I stopped at Twechar Bridge where a barge was heading west through the bridge, interesting to see how the bridge lifts and how quickly the barge gets through and everything get back to normal. I carried on past Auchenstarry Quarry, I was now in an area I’d done some fishing. I’d a feeling it wouldn’t be long until I was at the spot where I caught my smallest ever pike, it must have been 9 inches at the most, a red maggot if I remember rightly. A day remembered for one of the lads suffering a hangover falling asleep in the pouring rain whilst we sat dry under our brollies.

It was soon under the busy M80 and it wouldn’t be long until Falkirk. Along with a quiet track at Bonnybridge, I soon saw my turning which took me into the Falkirk Wheel Basin.

Falkirk wheel

Falkirk wheel

An impressive piece of machinery, and a busy area with visitor buses in the car park, I cycled up the hill for a better view. I hung around waiting to see it in operation, I’d seen it on TV but surprised how quiet the operation was, it took roughly 5 mins from lift to finish.

Tunnel roof

Tunnel roof

Time to find the start of the Union Canal, I knew of a long tunnel in the area, a quick cycle through a smaller one and I came across the longer one, a 600-metre long tunnel impressively dug out of solid rock underneath Callander Park. I should have taken the off track to the left but couldn’t resist a trip through.Space is limited and with wet cobbles, I didn’t fancy a swim so I walked through. I just reached the end and heard a group of students speeding through on their bikes..brave lads.

Hmm, where do I go now? I left at the next off track, saw a bridge and was checking it for a CBM, I got asked if I was lost but I had seen a sign for Slamanan Rd so I knew that was where I had to go. I got further directions and 10 mins later, I had reached my destination.

A good run?

Aye, most enjoyable 44 miles plus.

The track from Old Kilpatrick through to Falkirk is an excellent mix of surfaces, tarmac, compressed dust with the odd dusting of surface dressing, the odd road crossing but generally all single track. I found it busy at Kirkintilloch and the usual traffic as I passed through Glasgow. A good run.

I’ll do this again.

Scottish Canals blurb HERE

Wikipedia on Falkirk Wheel HERE Forth & Clyde Canal HERE Union Canal HERE

To embiggen images, feel free to click for full size.

 

 

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About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
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