Monday, 21 August 2017

Classic Show in Fife


Yesterday I went over to Fife to meet my friend Malcolm at a classic vehicle show in Ladybank. There were a lot of interesting vehicles.

There are a couple of Yamaha two stroke twins from the early '70's

An AS1 125cc and…

….a YR5 350cc

Mod style scooters

I always feel a twinge of guilt when I see a BSA Bantam having killed one many years ago.

A rare one, I think. A 350cc Norton Navigator(?)

Indian Scout

If you were a kid in the '70's a Raleigh Chopper was the bike to have

An Isetta bubble car. Although an Italian design this one was made by BMW (see badge)

I liked this little crawler tractor. Intended for use in market gardens. It must be like having your own mini tank.


A British sports car I'd never heard of. It's a Healey Elliot. This car has a racing heritage. It won the touring car class in the 1948 Italian road races, the Mille Miglia & Targa Florio.  

This truck took my interest. It's a Sentinel DG4 made in England by the Glasgow engineering company Alley and MacLellan. It's steam powered and amazingly produced until the late 1930's. My mother worked in the Glasgow factory before I was born.

Malcolm thinking - what the hell is this thing? - It's a 1992 Suzuki 250 SW1.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Back on the SV


I've enjoyed riding the CBF this summer. It's nice looking at the scenery as you trundle along at a modest pace and getting a whole day's riding on a single tank. But with the SV repaired and a fresh MOT obtained it's time for some speed.

It's not that the SV is crazy fast - it has brisk performance. But with the combination of light weight, great handling and a willing, revvy V-twin engine it just begs to be trashed. Of course I'll be keeping it sensible today. I'm keen to avoid any more dealings with the medical profession for a while.

I headed to the Scottish Borders and Berwick upon Tweed.

This is a favourite view of mine. Looking north from Lammermuir Hills to the Firth of Forth and Fife. (try saying that quickly three times) 

I'm not superstitious but some lucky heather can't do any harm.

I took this photo of a wind farm for the purple heather in bloom


Berwick

The old bridge in Berwick

Looking across the River Tweed to the town

Another favourite view - the River Tweed near Broughton

Monday, 14 August 2017

Back Roads to England


This is the fourth in my "Back Roads" series. It's a simple concept. I pick a destination and figure out a route there and back on minor roads. I'm looking for great biking roads, scenery, history and adventure!

In this episode I'm heading south, to England. The main road is the M74 (in places called the A74(M) for obscure reasons) There is also the old A74 now de-trunked and designated B7076 & B7078. But I'm looking for a more scenic and winding route. 

Studying the map I found a road I'm sure I've never been on. It starts in Carronbridge and heads for the Lowther Hills and the Forest of Ae.


I know I've complained about this before but come on guys, some road signs on  back roads would be helpful. We don't all have satnav.

But I found the way. The weatherman said it would be sunny but this was not really true.
Lost again. I'm sure this sign once contained useful information like "this road is a dead end in 2 miles".
 


Cattle grid in the hills.

Robert the Bruce statue in Lochmaden.

Silted up harbour in Annan.

This was interesting. The "Devil's Porridge Museum". The what? This is a new  museum on the site of a large First World War munitions factory that produced cordite. Cordite being the propellant in bullets and shells. The place was huge employing 15,000 workers, mostly women, to mix nitro-glycerine and guncotton to produce a paste. This was dubbed "the devil's porridge" by writer Arthur Conan Doyle who visited the factory. I didn't have time to go inside but I'll make a note to return.

Workers making cordite

Near Gretna I came across these cars waiting to race in a rally stage.

The motorway at the Scottish border

The River Esk at Longtown

Heading back into Scotland


The road between Canonbie and Langholm has been closed for some time because of a landslip. The local council don't seem to be in a rush to fix it but this earth mound placed to stop traffic is easy to get past.

They don't bother fixing pot holes either

Suspension footbridge in Langholm

Another excellent "Back Roads" run. I found some new roads and some interesting places. The day was slightly marred by uncharacteristicly bad behaviour from the CBF. It started misfiring and spluttering. Later that evening when I fuelled up it left a pool of petrol on forecourt. Oh well, excuse me, I've got a carburettor to strip……



Thursday, 3 August 2017

In the News - Harley Davidson flavoured Gin


I'm a big fan of gin. The old "mother's ruin" is my preferred tipple if I'm drinking spirits. Gin has undergone a huge upsurge in popularity in this country. In the past a bar would have a bottle of Gordon's and maybe Bombay Sapphire and that was it. Now there will be gin menu stretching to many pages. A booze shop will have literally scores of brands from all over the country. A reason is that gin is cheap & easy to make. Take grain spirit and flavour it with botanicals - juniper, orange, cardamom, liquorice, anything really and you're ready to sell it to a hipster for £35 a bottle. No blending and ageing as required by whisky.
 
 
But German bike builder Uwe Ehinger has taken things to a new level by flavouring gin with Harley Davidson parts. Ehinger has created three varieties of his premium-priced gin based on bits and pieces of a 1939 Flathead, 1947 Knucklehead and 1962 Panhead. Each bottle comes with the part’s backstory and from what far corner of the world the part was unearthed.

All this doesn't come cheap, of course. A bottle starts at $1,058.


video (hilarious)





Monday, 31 July 2017

Sunshine & Showers


The American writer Bill Bryson, who lives in this country, said that he heard a weather forecast that went something like "it will be cloudy with showers and some brighter intervals". He noted that this could be read out every day in Britain and seldom be wrong. Well, today was one of these days. But we are nothing if not used to changeable weather so it won't spoil a day out, will it?
I took a selection of waterproofs. Luckily it never got so bad that they were needed.

My plan was to head into Dumfries & Galloway on the minor road through Glentrool Forest. My first problem was finding it. Junctions with no direction signs seems the norm on the back roads in Ayrshire.

Found it!


It got dull so I switched on the HDR (high dynamic range) setting

The Solway Firth near Creetown

I don't know a lot about agriculture but it seems that giant pink marshmallows are grown in this area.

In Kirkcudbright there is an early (1926) reinforced concrete bridge over the River Dee

Beach huts?, I'm not sure there's a beach here.


A "99" from the Mr Whippy van. I don't think I've seen one of these vans in years.


MacLellan's Castle.....

........with its own Rapunzel

HDR panorama

It's rare it happens but I don't think I'm ever been on this road before.