Thursday, 10 January 2019

Winter blog post from January 2010...

The Big Freeze of 2010, here is a blog post from 3rd January and first time we had proper winter conditions here on the SE coast for years,  no one was laughing now at my buying a Fatbike!




Sunday i got up looked out and it was very white indeed..!
a look over the back fence at the mainroad and i knew my day was going to be fun again on pugsley...
an hour later this was my view along the main road...no grit!!..


The roads were ploughed but no grit spread? had they run out?  (hope so!)
i decided to ride on the hardpack roads up to garvald at the foot of the Lammermuirs, along to Gifford then trail down to Haddington and return again along the Garleton ridgeroad once the roads thawed to slush...as things turned out i wouldnt have to worry about slush, or lack of snow.
Along above the tyne from east linton as the sun got higher the views of the county were superb...






From Whitingame to Garvald there was little tracks on the ploughed roads, i still hadn't passed a car since East Linton...






The trail through the three bridges woods to Garvald village was ride able despite the snow depth as already it had been walked by several folk and dogs packing it down a bit...




The temperature down in here had plummeted,everything including branches, grasses etc was frozen solid..





Cars in Garvald village were`nt going anywhere today...


Riding on west to Danskine...


And the views over the Lammermuirs opened up and the depth of the snow up on the top looks real deep. That snow going to be there for weeks..




Meanwhile under foot-tyre the road hadn't been ploughed past Tanderlane farm... i pushed on down to 2nd gear punching through covered ruts now hidden from yesterday, now we were snowbiking!..



Then the farmers sons came through in a Hilux pickup with a round silage bale in the back (great smell) going out feeding and ploughed a convenient rut for me to get up the climb after the hairpin and descent to the crossroads at Danskine, good timing!..



Here's a great shot of why hedges are cut wider at the bottom narrowing to the top, so snow doesn't break them over under weight...



Lunch break at Danskine crossroads, under the old cast iron roadsign. East Lothian is one of the few county's in the UK with lots of these. They were made pre WW2 but removed in 1940  incase `ze Germans` invaded and would use them for navigation. Many like this have been restored and note the mileage given to within an 8th of a mile!...



View east...


And west, Lammerlaw in foreground...



Lunch was a big cheese peace (Scottish word for sandwich!), flask of tea-hip flask top-up with whisky and Toblerone chocolate. A Rangerover heading to Garvald stopped for a chat. The 2 guys interested in the pugsley. 3 guys out xc running waved and yelled hellos, a car with sledges on top slithering up the road, its occupants big grins and waves.. All out enjoying this very rare weather for East Lothian.

Down the hill the trail through the woods down to Gifford was too deep to ride so i had to ride by road to Gifford. I had hoped i would get offroad and not have to ride on road down to Haddington, even though they were snowpacked, the views above Gifford was superb. Look at the colour of the sky, fantastic!..



Although the snow was deep i found the trail to bolton had lots of footprints and a sledge track, so was a bit packed down and rideable, the further on i rode the more scenic it became in the trees...







At the start of the trail i thought there were 2 sets of fresh mtb tracks, then i thought no,  its an old style sledge with runners, then i thought its one with steering front runners but they sometimes vary in width, then i saw the ski pole marks, ah, its a xc skier!...


And i soon caught up with him so stopped for a drink and food, happy to let him keep blazing the trail for me. I then passed 2 walkers who indeed said he was just in front of me, he had headed up a hill then skied down infront then pulled over for me, i was nearly at bolton and at the bridge took a pic back up the trail,here he is!...



The main road down to Haddington was still snowpacked...




The Pugsley had alot of frozen snow/slush on its wheels and frame now and i hate to think how heavy it was now..,through slushy roads of Haddington i had to cycle up the plantains road as the trail in the wood was too deep and not trampled by anyone to be able to ride up. It was a slog as my legs were now tierd, after 2 weeks cycling daily and over 40 miles today. The reward of the climb though is always the view...


You could hardly see my tyre tracks from last night along the trail to Blacktoll...


Again as last night a push up Barney hill.  My tracks hardly visible in the fresh snow but if you got the tyres on top of the old tracks it was alot easier to push up. In the last 3 weeks ive found out theres a lot to learn about snow riding, as is sand riding, just like cycling downhill, jumping, xc riding,
All require experience and skill learned that make them easier and then more rewarding...


Then i headed down and for home. I was and knew i was shattered. Daily cycling now catching up on me in this amazing weather we have had the last 3 weeks here. Who knows if we will get a winter like this again for a longtime . If we got this every winter it would be sweet. I took this last pic along the road near my house...


My friend just texted to say Edinburgh council has run out of road salt!. So that means East Lothian council will run out too. Fun and games for commuters back to work in Edinburgh tomorrow (Monday 4th jan),  looks like i will be riding pugsley up to work tomorrow. Don't think i will forget the scenery of today's ride for a longtime...

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