Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Ready for the off!


Here's Bessie the bike all packed and ready to go on an adventure...


I'm off on Thursday's ferry for 4 days bikepacking. A trip from Perth to Aberdeen via a mix of quiet roads, estate tracks through glens and forest and hopefully some nice single track too. 

Plotted on the maps its around 345km or 215 miles, but I'm sure the actual mileage will be a touch higher unless I take some short cuts. I've a rough idea where I hope to wildcamp each night, but will play it by ear depending on the weather and how fit I feel, or not!



I'm hoping to do a video of the trip, so watch this space!

In other news... I was ill all last week, along with Clare and Beren. Despite this I managed to dose myself up on Sunday in order to attend the Shetland Wheelers Handicap TT. It was an ideal day for it and I had the chance to use my super speedy aero-helmet for the first time....


And super speedy I was. I'm not sure is it was the sudafed and paracetamol, aero-helmet or a week on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, but I broke my person best for the 10 mile course by 2.16 minutes! Due to my massive handicap points for the race I also won the Handicap TT! My first ever bike race win, if you can honestly call winning it with what is still realistically a slow time a win. Still whatever I was super chuffed!

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Feels like summer...

Wow, we seem to be having another summery spell at the moment! 2 days in a row so far and forecast to stay until the weekend.

To make the most of it I've been out and about a fair bit with work and today was checking out the possibility of a new route on the west coast of Yell from Ulsta up to West Sandwick beach.

Someone had got in touch to ask about the possibility, so I thought I'd check it out. As it turns out there'd be a lot of work to make it a sensible route to promote, and that's if landowners agreed. However there are certainly some gems along the way.


Looking north towards the Ness of Sound at Setter...


I didn't have time to go across the tombolo, but I'd like to pop back sometime to explore the little isle...


Looking across to Ronas Hill from the cemetery...


Approaching the remains of the Broch of Westbrough...


And finally West Sandwick beach around 12km after I'd set off...


I'd left my bike at the beach car park to cycle back to the car at Ulsta. Not a long ride, but the wind had got up to a stiff headwind all the way back. A sneaky ice cream at Ulsta shop and I was quite refreshed after a hard day in the office!

The other day I also got out to the Bard on Bressay. A route that could easily be developed with willing land owners.

Setting off from Kirkabister lighthouse I headed south east up the hill to follow a pretty direct route along the coast to the Bard.

Looking back to the lighthouse...


My favourite area on this walk is the valley of green that appears between the heathery hills at Veng. There's a nice burn and waterfalls and it's such a lovely isolated spot.


It's not far from Veng before you get to the Bard. If you look down from near it you'll see the Giant's Leg, a massive arch that's visible from the mainland...


And next to it the WW1 gun that remains on the Bard rusting away...


 It's probably an hours walk each way from the lighthouse and a great walk to do with fantastic views.




Monday, 15 August 2016

Busy cycling...

I've been pretty busy cycling lately when ever the weather is decent, quite long rides, and when not cycling I've been resting. The reason being that in September I'm away for 4 days of bikepacking in the Highlands again. This time the plan is to get the train to Perth from Aberdeen and then head north into the Cairngorms via Glen Almond and Loch to Tay to Blair Athol; then via Glen Tilt to Braemar, before loosely following the Deesside Way back to Aberdeen for the ferry home. 

Roughly 280-350km with big off road sections and camping, though the actual route details may change before then as I've a few options. If the weather is too poor I might do something entirely different!

Anyway I've been doing some long road rides of 100km plus lately (60+ miles) and yesterday happened to have the motivation (and a friend who wanted to do his first) to do just over a century (105miles/170km)


And you can view it on a cool new app that links to strava (what I record my rides with on my phone) here ...  https://www.relive.cc/view/675923608

Me and Steven...


We set off from Scalloway on a misty Sunday morning, heading north...


After a quick pee stop at Voe we went up Dales Lee to Mossbank before heading west in to a reasonable head wind to Brae, our first pit-stop at the new Co-op.


I had plenty of my own supplies with me. One being a macaroni pie! Something I've avoided for years, but Da Kitchen in Yell make fantastic pies so when I saw this one from them I thought I'd give it a shot. Very nice it was, slightly warmed from being in my jersey pocket! I'm still not convinced about macaroni pies in general though.


Carrying on north we did a loop through Sullom, somewhere Steven had never been and then out to Nibon. Nibon is another place he'd not been, but one of my favourite places. It's just lovely there.


Then it was back on the main road and north to Isbister at North Roe and a quick stop at Sandvoe nearby...


Another headwind stint along Ronas Voe to Hillswick saw us with another pit-stop at the shop there...


..,Before a more direct route back to Scalloway with a tail wind along Ronas Voe and on some of the stretches home. It was a great ride, no problem for either of us fitness wise, but my friend had to purchase a small tub of vaseline at Hillswick to ease his journey home (not funny, but it was). Thankfully he could apply it himself!

It's not just me with sporting endeavours though. Beren went to Cunningsburgh Show with the Islesburgh out of school club and took part in the hill race, winning himself a medal despite doing it in wellies! Good lad!