Posts Tagged ‘campsie’

Roads with History

Somhairle and myself took off for a day of pedalling to clear the heads.  From Clydebank through Kilsyth and going up and over the Campsie hills only getting to the top mattered as frantic modern life disappeared to a background murmour.    Road cycling is a strange and amazing undertaking – even running up mountains doesn’t seem to reduce you to exhaustion quite as quickly.  Yes! a motorbike screeching by as you trundle up a hill puts question marks in your head, but then as its roar disappears over the horizon, it’s just you, the wind rustling, an open road, and a sublimely peaceful feeling as you whirr along.  It’s an honourable admission – where there is life there will always be pain, accept it and reap the rewards.  These roads have been ploughed by many cycling greats, and passing a number of cyclists with friendly waves you get the impression this deep routed culture lives on.   Nachos at Fintry were well deserved before the descent and a tired last climb over Mugdock.  We congratulated each other on our return.

Here’s the route.

Over the Campsie

So I’ve been cramming myself into the spandex and hitting the road in the hope of clawing back a decent level of fitness. I had planned to head out over the Campsies for ages, I have driven over the road quite a bit heading to the Carron Valley for mountain biking and had always thought the road would be great on the road bike. I was not disappointed, the climb was fantastic with a slight tail wind. The intial 1/4 mile is pretty steep but it soon levels out as it traverses the southern slopes, the surface is good and the climbing is steady and easier than it appears from the valley. After the viewpoint the road steepens a little with the surface becoming a little more pitted as the road winds up above the burn. It’s at this point that you feel like you have managed to escape civilisation, once the climb tops at 333m there is a bit of meandering across the tops, it is peaceful and has a wild feeling despite the usual evidence of human ignorance in the form of plastic and wrappers strewn along the roadside. The descent starts gradually but speed soon reaches high levels, the road surface near the top is excellent and there are some great sweeping corners, even a wee chicane over a narrow bridge. Once you hit the northern slope the road surface deteriorates pretty quickly, so a sharp eye has to be kept out for pot holes and ruts as speeds reach well over 30 mph. The sharp corners have plenty of warning and you can really rail them if you ride in the middle of the lane, you’ll be going so fast nobody will over take you any way. The normal cycling space is full of subsided edges, pot holes and cracks so offensive road positioning is a must if you’re going to attack it at speed. The bottom of the descent is a joy; rough, unpredictable and full of tight and steep corners, even a couple of hairpins. You are spat out on the flats on the way to Fintry and you can dig into a big gear and crank out 30+mph, TT style. Usually I would just carry on along this road but it was closed beyond Fintry for resurfacing. So I had to take a sizeable diversion round to Balfron, which seemed annoying at the time but turned out to be pretty good fun. Hairing along the singletrack roads that link all the farms together was classic. Almost a bit of cyclo cross the state the road was in, having to hop great holes and skittering round the corners on swathes of gravel. A big slice of millionaires shortbread in Balfron gave me the boot up the crotch I needed to get home and I despatched the main road home with heavy legs, and aching shoulders. The back roads had been fun but had taken a toll physically.

Once you’ve been out on a trip like this you realise we’re pretty lucky in the Weeg. It is possible to escape the city with ease, although it’s tentacles stretch out socially, nature claims the land back pretty readily. The hills around are superb; mini alps and despite a few heed the baws on the road you can escape to beautiful, challenging places with a little effort. Here’s the map of the route if you fancy the challenge? It’s a great ride…

About High-8

High-8 is a loose gathering of like minded adventurists who document first person, on the ground experiences with words, photos and film. The hope is to form a rough guide to outdoor adventure sports in Scotland and provide a warts and all, honest representation of what we find. No sport is excluded from mountaineering and mountain biking to gorge walking and kayak all are welcome and encouraged.


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We have compiled a list of usefull weather forecasts to help with planning trips. This list is designed to work on mobile phones, so it can be used when out in the wilds. Signal willing of course...

The Code

The Country Code, which most of us learned in school (and we probably haven't read since!), was updated in 2004 when it became the Countryside Code. Here's the updated version:
  • Be safe - plan ahead and follow any signs
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Protect plants and animals, and take your litter home
  • Keep dogs under close control
  • Consider other people
In Scotland, where there is a more general right of access, there also exists the Scottish Outdoor Access Code:
  • Take responsibility for your own actions
  • Respect people’s privacy and peace of mind
  • Help farmers, landowners and others to work safely and effectively
  • Care for the environment
  • Keep your dog under proper control
  • Take extra care if you are organising a group, an event or running a business.
There's obviously a lot to to be learned from these - it's amazing how many people get out to enjoy the countryside but are still happy to leave it in a mess. Even with the recent updates, the Countryside Codes seem slightly outdated when considering the wider issues involved when lots of people get out into the countryside. Some places just can't handle high volumes of people, no matter how they behave and publicity, no matter how interesting or well-done , has the potential to attract lots of people to an area. Blogs including video, pictures or words, form part the the wider media which could easily contribute to tipping the balance, and so we as bloggers have to consider the implications of what we decide to post. Can the place we're writing about take more people, and if not, it might be wiser to leave maps, place names or grid references out of posts. In Scotland, the Mountain Bothies Association has been careful to protect the location of some Bothies due to mis-treatment and, in some cases, even malicious vandalism. That is not to say they would not advocate people using them - in fact, a well used, maintained and loved network of bothies exist, and the MBA as an organisation is there to encourage this. Some bothies are busier than others but generally it is the less remote places which are more susceptible to abuse - something which might be worth considering when deciding whether to post information. It must be said, in most cases it's obvious what should or shouldn't be publisiced, but it's worth taking these considerations to mind.

Please note: The Code is constantly being revised and added to. If you like to add something login in to the discussion on the forum.