Summer Cycling – west and south coast of Scotland

The mountain bike has had a few outings since I cracked my ribs back in June.  Three contrasting routes this week already

Crinan Canal and Knapdale, Argyll, West Coast  https://www.strava.com/activities/1123629010

Had not appreciated the beauty of the Crinan Canal before.

The canal which opened in 1801 connects the village of Ardrishaig on Loch Gilp with the Sound of Jura, providing a navigable route between the Clyde and the Inner Hebrides, without the need for a long diversion around the Kintyre peninsula, and in particular the exposed Mull of Kintyre. It is nine miles in length with wide path and gentle gradients all the way – a Leisure cyclist’s dream away from the traffic.

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Crinan Canal

We were based in Ardrishaig and had ridden to and from Crinan the previous evening – glorious weather to celebrate Liz’s 60th birthday.  Managed a puncture though on the canal path, went through two inner tubes and the midges attacked with great gusto enjoying a mild, still evening in the west of Scotland.  We made closing time for food by 30 seconds.   It had been a few hours since we had had a birthday lunch in style at 1 Devonshire Gardens in Glasgow.

In all honesty the canal a wee bit boring on successive days so next day we started on the canal but headed off over the hill to Tayvallich and then on down Loch Sween to Keill Point on the Sound of Jura.  What a breathtaking spot on a warm, sunny and calm summer afternoon.

Sound of Jura - 08 August 2017
lunch spot at Keill Point looking across Sound of Jura
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Idyllic Sound of Jura

On return took a brief excursion to the island of ‘Danna’, now with a causeway and beyond 30 metres …. inaccessible to anything but foot!

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‘Island’ of Danna – no welcome for bicycles

Caerlaverock and the Nith Estuary             https://www.strava.com/activities/1125343901

A short afternoon ride after driving south from Argyll to and from my home town of Dumfries.  The Wetland Trust Reserve and the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve were tranquil and devoid of birds.  Best season is winter particularly for the Barnacle Geese swarming in for the mild winter from northern climes!

white flower caerlaverock
No birds in sight, beautiful wild flowers on the estuary though

Quick visit to Caerlaverock Castle – a triangular castle surrounded by a moat first built in the 13th century to control trade in and around the Solway.  It has undergone many attacks and rebuilds since then.  Now a popular spot for families and functions.

caerlaverock castle
Caerlaverock Castle

Surprisingly tired on return journey back into Dumfries.  Glencaple was where the bird action was – ducks, tern and others I could not identify.

boat glencaple

Glencaple lies near the mouth of the Nith estuary and was the former port to the town of Dumfries.  A rather sleepy settlement these days a spanking new tearoom and visitor centre was opened by Princess Alexandra.  On the cycle it was closed due to fire.  Previously having recovered from flood.  An eventful early life.

River Nith at Glencaple with Criffel
Glencaple looking south down the Nith with unmistakable outline of Criffel

7 Stanes Dalbeattie – Red Run                                                                                                         7 Stanes Kirroughtree – Blue Run

https://www.strava.com/activities/1126815546

https://www.strava.com/activities/1130122371

Change of pace and style – the hardtail mountain bike doing what it was designed for.  In all honesty while I completed the route of the Red trail – my technical inadequacies were sorely exposed on many sections.  I spent a fair bit with feet on ground and at one stage with my whole body on the ground with the bike on top of me (albeit comical at low speed).  As for the infamous granite slabs at Dalbeattie – I well and truly bottled them.  Much practice needed.

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Beautifully engineered forest trails though at Dalbeattie – came across one person in over two hours.  Similarly Kirroughtree quiet even on sunny holiday August day.

Around the Whithorn Peninsula  

https://www.strava.com/activities/1131994843

Last day of the holiday – glorious sunny Sunday.  Easy cycling including a coastal stretch not designed for anything but a mountain bike beyond Garlieston.  Liz not a happy pup.  Refreshments at Isle of Whithorn and glorious stretch of coastline coming into Port William.  Relaxing end to a relaxing week.

liz in pink garlieston
Pretty in Pink, Garlieston

beach near garliestoncolours near isle of whithorn

port william
Port Wiliam
big bull
Big Boy
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