I was back up at Kirkhill Saturday afternoon again for another MTBSkilz training session. This week was about brake free cornering technique, something I clearly need to improve as I managed to come off twice. I think I need a chunkier set of tyres, schwalbe black jack are a good solution for the kind of 50% hard pack/ 50% off road journeys I do where you want a balance between speed /grip, but not much cop when pressing in the loam.
Helmet took a wee dunt – without it I’d have probably had a scrape on the face, and a lump. There are opinionated folk out there that are anti-helmet, but they’re plain wrong, sure they might not make much difference in a serious high speed smash but in smaller tumbles they can be the difference between getting up as if nothing happened, and taking a count and slapping on a bandage.
Saw a couple new trails. This one is short but steep with both rocks n roots, I crept down it trying to avoid another off.
Afterwards I thought I’d stick around and get a bit of exercise in. Had a crack at the ‘carpark to tappie’ strava segment which climbs the entire hill, got 9th overall which was not bad for a first attempt on a well contested route. Without stopping for a breather, what goes up must go down, via the short rock ladder at the back..
I’d forgot to stick my seat back down and sure enough came off near the bottom. Same as last time, jumped back on in a ‘save a fast strava’ attempt.. came off again. Still got my best :-/
One day I’ll clean it and do a reasonable time. It’s not really one for hard tails.
The last few yards were rippling on a pinch flat, tube properly ripped. While fixing, I noticed bits of broken tyre levers, valve rings, tube packaging. A veritable graveyard of cursing puncture repair. There has definitely been swearing, and probably some bleeding, here.
Picked up a bouquet from the verge
That’s enough MTB bouldering for the day, I’ll have a few bruises tomorrow. I decide to head North-West towards Hatton of Fintray for a bit of exploration.
There a couple quiet trails heading down off Kirkhill that whizz through East Woods ending up at on some back roads.
This looks worth a look.
Left follows the edge of the woods, right goes through them
This fellow wasn’t shy, thanks for staying for the snap
Halted before heading back through the wood, pumped up the front which seemed a bit soft, a slow puncture?
OS maps have a track at the back. It’s barely passable, churned up mud, and then blocked by gorse. I have to busk it through a field fortunately with no livestock or crops.
Heading towards the bridge the road runs alongside the Black Burn. OS Map shows a standing stone in the field to the East, and I park up to have a look
I think I can see it’s tip. Another empty field beckons me to climb
There it is.
It’s quite a size, perhaps 9 or 10 feet.
Best view from the dyke
The other side has pylons near by
There’s small hillock with some rocks out of view here to the left, I should have climbed it for another photographic perspective. Back down at the road a tyre has entirely flatted. Beginning to work up a sweat, wish I’d taken my filter with me, almost out of water
Fixed, back on my way. Brief conflab with a fly fisher. He’d caught one trout. Probably a bit bright. Water was high and brown, I thought it might have been more AWPR run off (they were shut down recently for a week by SEPA due to the silting they’re causing) but we’re upstream of their machinations
At Hatton of Fintray I decide to follow the river instead of checking out the village.
Probably not a great choice, the path is barely passable, very overgrown and pitty. This hut was probably demolished by the floods earlier this year. Aerial maps still have it intact
The train track to Inverurie is on the other side.
Eventually the riverside clumping finishes to some fields. Nice tree partition
No idea why a lot of farmers just bang in a barren barbed wire fence when they can have nice nature-friendly and sheltering edges like this. Is it because they prefer visibility or are trying to squeeze every last foot from their acres?
I don’t mind windfarms, but I can see why folk can hate them. These pylons also kinda spoil the view down by the river
A couple of km back I could see pink patches, now I can see what they are
If black cats are lucky, are rabbits? Seem to quite a few going about. Not the best camouflage
I’d be out nibbling at night if i was a black rabbit. Stealth ninja rabbit
The pink continues along this lane for a few 100m
Pretty high growth. A pink wall
Back on to the roads. I can’t see Mimrikins Clump, but through another clump..
Is Liddell’s monument. Poor old Liddell should have something commemorative back on the Old Aberdeen University campus really. Not many will notice this isolated memorial, I guess the odd train commuter passing must wonder.
Back down some winding lanes, last target of the day – St Meddan’s Church and graveyard, dating back to medieval times, reckoned to be over 900 years old. A rusty gate beckons..
Into the dark overgrown shade. Old graves are peeping from the undergrowth
Walls have trees and ivy
Some of the graves are slowly being surrounded by growth
The entrance is guarded by an army of nettles. This is definitely one to visit in the spring.
There are graves worn over aeons, others more recent. A lot from 18-early 1900s
The oldest date I can read is in the 1700s, when the church fell into disuse. There are some too worn to read. The newest I saw was 2014 which was surprising
This ancient aumbry/sacrement house has some barely visible carvings
This grave is one of three really ancient, the other 2 being recumbant. Is it related to the Templars?
A buzzard mews in the tree above to add to the eery atmosphere
Back along the Don home. No otters today, just some horses
Benholm’s lodge. No news on it being revamped as a community cafe