Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Run to Dumfries

Our cold weather persists but it was sunny today so I got out for a favourite run of mine.

In Sanquhar this pond was still partially frozen

I was mobbed by these ducks who seem to have been under the mistaken belief I was going to feed them

Footbridge over the River Nith in Dumfries


Spring flowers in Dumfries



Phone boxes have become rare here now but this one has been converted into an emergency defibrillator point.

Solway Firth at Gretna

Annandale north of Moffat 

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Serious Snow

So the snow melted, then it fell again, then it (mostly) melted again.

There were reports on the TV that a nearby area, the Carron Valley, had been badly affected. Some people had been cut off for a week and even the snow plough couldn't get through.

Today I tried to visit the affected area. It isn't remote being in the Campsie hills only 12 miles from the city centre. 
Warning signs, but the road looks ok

Deep snow where the road has been cleared

No way past!

Looking back

The road ahead

Friday, 2 March 2018


Britain is currently enduring a period of freezing, snowy weather. This is due to cold winds from the east.

Here is an interesting satellite picture. It shows almost the entire country blanketed in snow.

It doesn't look like the bikes are going anywhere soon

The arctic wasteland that is my back garden

Friday, 23 February 2018

Further Along the Coast - Part#2

Continuing my journey across East Lothian…..
Now that's what I call a bearing! It came from the machine that ground coal to a powder for use in the nearby power station.


Although it looks like it this isn't a bearing. It’s a ball pulverizer. Lumps of coal are milled into powder between the balls and the ring. The powder is then blown into the furnace and burnt like a gas.

At Longniddry there are war time tank traps on the beach

Gosford Bay

Gosford Bay

Gosford Bay

The church at Aberlady. Parts were added over the years but the tower dates to the 15th century

Spooky old gravestone

Mounting block. Handy if you're travelling by horse or KTM Adventure

The golf course at Gullane - there seems to be more golf courses than farm land in this area.

Lobster pots at North Berwick

North Berwick harbour

This looks like an old outhouse but is an ancient church

The beach at North Berwick

Selling ice cream in Scotland in February - this must be the definition of optimism. I mean who wants ice cream in winter?

Well, why not?

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Further Along the Coast - Part#1

Last month I posted about a run I did to the coast around Edinburgh. Well the weather has improved so that I can continue my journey east. I only covered about 15 miles of coast but I found enough for two posts.

My first stop is just before Wallyford at the site of the Battle of Pinkie Cleugh. Fought in 1547 this was the last pitched battle between Scotland and England (we lost, badly) I don't usually bother about battlefields because, now, they are just fields. Henry VIII wanted an alliance with Scotland and proposed a marriage between his son, Edward, and Mary, Queen of Scots. When the Scots declined Henry started a seven year war. So it was "marry my son or it's war". To make things weirder the couple in question were 9 & 4 years old at the time of the battle.

The SV at Prestonpans

In Prestonpans I found what I hoped was a medieval dungeon but turns out to be a memorial to Scotland's nation poet, Robert Burns.

This is his family motto apparently. Eh, ok. I've never heard of it but "Bield" is a Scots word for house.

10C? that nearly spring in Scotland!

Preston tower house. 15th century. The English had a habit of burning it down over the years.

It is common to find a doocot (dovecote) near a castle or old house. This one has almost 1,000 nests so you'd never be short of meat.

Preston mercat (market) cross. This indicates that the town is allowed to hold a market. After the Reformation the cross was replaced by a symbol, in this case, a unicorn.

This was a coal mining area and this is a memorial to the men that toiled in the pits
Another battlefield. The Battle of Prestonpans was the first action of the Jacobite uprising of 1745. Charles Edward Stuart, "Bonnie Prince Charlie", was attempting to regain the crown lost by his grandfather, James VII. Charlie took advantage of the absence of most of the British army who were abroad fighting in the War of the Austrian Succession (for some odd reason)

There must still be Jacobites about because there were some fresh flowers at the cairn.

Again the battlefield is now just a ploughed field.

The mural on a wall of the demolished Cockenzie Power Station tells the history of the town.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

A Small Repair and Memories of a Near-Death Experience

Just before the New Year I adjusting the chain on my CBF250 and I found that rear sprocket was rattling about. The cause was not hard to find. The sprocket carrier bearing was shot. It's a simple and inexpensive job to replace the bearing.

The sprocket and bearing, seal & spacer

I was keen to fix this because I have a memory from twenty or so years ago when this kind of fault had dramatic consequences.

I was commuting on another Honda 250, a CB250RS. This was a great little bike but the rear sprocket arrangement was prone to a problem. The bike didn't have a carrier, the sprocket was connected to the wheel by steel pins that fitted into rubber units to provide cushion drive. The sprocket was on a hub secured by a large circlip. Then this wore the sprocket because loose. This is a problem because, under power, the chain pulls the sprocket out of alignment. I did a makeshift repair but things were about to go very bad. 
CB250RS rear wheel - pins(16), rubbers(4), circlip(20)
One winter's morning I was riding to work. I left town, opened the throttle and got up to about 50mph when there was a bang and the rear wheel locked. (my adventure last summer on my SV650 was therefore a case of déjà vu) Luckily on this occasion I kept the bike upright until it stopped. Well done to the following motorists who avoided running into me.

The chain had jumped off the sprocket and jammed against the swing arm. The force was such that the arm was considerably bent. 
One for the bin
The moral of this story is to keep your chain in good condition because if anything goes wrong the consequences can be serious. 
Gwen riding the CB250RS on the beach at Lindisfarne Island in 1984. The little bike carried the pair of us for a weekend away, I think we must have been a bit slimmer then!