Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Dalwhinnie - Tail end of winter

The days are lengthening now and there's a hint of warmth in the sun when it's out. Winter may be on the wane but Rob and I were happy to steal a final wintry weekend in the hills above Dalwhinnie.

Late evening we biked to Loch Pattack along a dirt road and into a stiff wind that the ruffled the grey waters of Loch Ericht. Spots of rain fell and the darkness advanced so that eventually we put on our bike lights to illuminate a small patch of trail ahead. Rob's new tent went up on my favourite wild camp spot hereabouts. It's a wide open place with mountain views and big skies where the river flows silently under the wooden slats of a shoogily bridge before emptying into the loch. In the wind and the darkness we were glad we'd practiced pitching the tent the previous weekend between the daffodils on Rob's lawn.

We lay late next morning listening to the pitter-patter of rain on the tent and the distant warble of black grouse, then opened a sliver of door to watch snow falling. But the forecast had been right and by late morning the day dried up and brightened. We continued along the lochside track watching a pair of whooper swans out on the water, perhaps pondering their flight to Iceland to breed. Our boots came off for a river crossing then we followed a rough path to Creag Pitridh, eventually pulling up into the snow.

Creag Pitridh is a modest hill itself but the views to its higher neighbour, Beinn a' Chlachair, were spectacular. Steely grey clouds drifted around it's snow-sculpted edges while sunlight illuminated its fine lines. Our return route found a path that passed along the edge of the snowline on a shelf above the waters of Loch a' Bhealaich Leamhain. Several point avalanches scarred the steep east face and had sent down snowballs in spiral patterns.

Next day dawned grey again with the hills covered in low cloud as we biked south through Drumochter. We hid the bikes in heather before slogging up the boggy slopes of Sgairneach Mhor. 


Eventually our boots were on the snow again as we walked along the massive cornice edge overhanging the hill's north side. A crack line was forming and it seemed like the gentle push of a boot could send the whole lot down into the glen. We were lucky again with the weather and by the time we were striding across the broad top, the cloud had cleared and the sun beat down.

Visibility was crystal clear and our view stretched westwards to Rannoch Moor and the snow-streaked peaks of the Black Mount and Glen Coe. Closer to, the massif of Ben Alder and its near neighbours still held huge amounts of snow.

lt's always difficult to walk away from the top of a mountain on a beautiful day like today but eventually we turned our backs on the views and on this year's winter. A bit of heather bashing took us to the glen below and a downhill bike ride put as back in Dalwhinnie.

Fact File
More photos on Flickr - click here.
Start/finish: Dalwhinnie
Public transport: Glasgow/Edinburgh trains stop at Dalwhinnie.
Route for Creag Pitridh: Out of the station turn right along Alder Road and cross the level crossing at the end. Continue straight along this track, passing to the right of the estate gate house and then along the shores of Loch Ericht. The track splits eventually but hang right and climb uphill. Eventually Loch Pattack will come into view and at the loch take a lefthand track that follows the water's edge. After the second bridge take a right hand split in the track and follow it to a ford over the Allt Cam. Pick up an obvious path on the other side. Follow this path up the east side of Loch a' Bhealaich Leamhain and onto the bealach between Creag Pitridh and Geal Charn. We struck up the hill on its south side skirting crags and found a bit of a path in the snow. We returned via the path that passes above Loch a' Bhealaich Leamhain on its west shore then picked up the outward route.
Route Sgairneach Mhor: From the station in Dalwhinnie cycle down Station Road and turn right on the main street. Just before this road joins the A9 the cycle path to Pitlochry leaves to the right. Follow it as far as a track heading down to a cattle creep under the railway at grid ref NN636742. Turn right on the other side and follow this track to a bridge over the Allt Coire Dhomhain. Cross the bridge and strike up south towards the point at 758m before turning southwest to Sgairneach Mhor. A faint path crosses boggy ground then joins a firmer path along the top of the ridge to the broad top. We returned via the same route.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Fife - Trundle through Tentsmuir

Just across the water from my home in Portobello, is the Kingdon of Fife - great  for a quick escape and a bit of variety. Here are some pics from a mini tour I did a couple of weekends ago with bike buddy, Graham.

Our wee tour started on Saturday afternoon by taking the train to Dundee and cycling back over the River Tay. Despite the proximity of traffic, I always enjoy cycling the Tay Bridge.
On the other side the route headed east along the coast to the pleasant village and harbour at Tayport where we picked up water for a wild camp later. 
The route hugged the coast where mud flats were revealed by the low tide. We passed "dragon's teeth", the name given to the jagged line of concrete war defences. On the other side of the water stood an older defence, Broughty Ferry Castle.
It was early evening when we cycled into the pine forests at Tenstmuir and set about looking for a spot to camp. On a grey night that was threatening rain, we seemed to have the place to ourselves. The tents were pitched on a grassy shelf between a thin line of birch and the sandy beach.  The dusk time air was filled with birdsong and breaking surf.
Next morning we set out in heavy rain and meandered across Fife, passing over the backbone of its little hills via the High Road.
Next stop was the village of Ceres. We tipped our hats to the famous 18th century statue of the Provost and ate lunch overlooking the quaint village green.
The sun finally broke through as we rounded Fife's Lomond Hills and headed to Thornton to catch a train back.
Fact File

Start: Dundee railway station
Finish: Glenrothes with Thornton railway station
Map: OS Landranger 59
Route: From Dundee station follow national cycle route 1 signs over the Tay Bridge and eastwards to Tayport and Tenstmuir Forest. Continue on route 1 through through Starthkinnes or divert via a traffic free route to St Andrews. Continue on route 1 to Ceres via Kemback then beyond Ceres the route passes over Cults Hill. Just beyond here it junctions with cycle route 76. Follow route 76 to Thornton and the railway station is to the left of the main road through the village.

 

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Kilpatrick Hills - The four stages of the Tour de Whangie

I'm not ashamed (well, maybe just a little) to admit to reading the Scots Magazine. For many years it's been squashed into my rucsack or panniers to provide some light reading as I head off to the hills for the weekend. Mind you, these days I more often take my smartphone having packed it with downloaded online articles to read. My favourite downloads at the moment are archived Tom Weir articles from the Scots Magazine during the 1970s and one of those really whetted my appetite for a wee place hidden away in the Kilpatrick Hills called the Whangie (it sounds good if you say it with a Glasgow accent). A quick look at the map showed a cycle tour between the train stations at Dumbarton and Milngavie with a short detour to the Whangie and I set out to ride it on a grey day in the middle of March. The mini tour broke down into four neat and quite distinct stages.

Stage 1 - North from Dumbarton
Be very afraid when the new man in your life (called Rob) arrives for your first bike ride together on wheels emblazoned with the words "Rapid Rob". Well, Rapid Rob and I cycled north out of Dumbarton following the fast-flowing waters of the River Leven passed dreary urban sprawl to Balloch. Beyond Balloch things got better and we meandered along a series of lovely country roads and a new bike trail that took us to the quirky Pipe Bridge. It was a slightly unnerving cycle across as the iron grid platform made us wobble high above the river below. At the end of the first stage, I shoud put the record straight and point out that Rapid Rob is the brand of tire on Rob's bike - a pure coincidence when he bought it!

Stage 2 - The West Highland Way
As we cycled away from the Pipe Bridge our route joined the West Highland Way and we turned south, cycling past groups of heavily loaded teenagers setting out on their long walk north to Fort William. Some looked miserable and sultry while others were in high spirits and belting out music. I envied them for their adventure ahead - there's nothing like that first big step into the great outdoors. The Way was a nice single track here that twisted through the woods but we cursed the endless, and often pointless, gates that forced us to keep stopping.


Stage 3- The Whangie
A short detour from the West Highland Way took us to the Queen's View where we chained up the bikes and set out on foot to find the much anticipated Whangie. A bit of contouring round the hillside opened up views of Loch Lomond, although Ben Lomond itself stayed hidden under low cloud. When we got there the Whangie was more than enough compensation. The Whangie is a bizarre rock feature on the side of the hill created by glaciers in the last ice age slicing open the crag. Although the local story tells that it was made by the devil flicking his tail as he flew past. Today the feature is a deep canyon with walls 50 feet high and a sliver of a path meandering through. It's a magical place with a primeval atmosphere.

Stage 4 - Mugdock Country Park
Back on the bikes, we continued cycling south and entered the wooded trails of this country park north of Milngavie. The routes were pretty churned up in places so I will affectionately remember it as Mud-dock Country Park! We got a little lost in the maze of routes here but as a chink of late afternoon sun broke through the clouds all roads eventually led to Milngavie and the train home.

Fact File
Start: Dumbarton Rail Station
End: Milngavie Rail Station
Route: Out of Dumbarton station follow national cycle route 7 signs north via Balloch on traffic free bike paths and quiet back roads. Just beyond Croftamie and the Pipe Bridge, route 7 meets the West Highland Way. Follow the West Highland Way in the direction of Milngavie. At Easter Carbeth the way joins the B821 - turn right and then right again onto the A809. After a couple of kms you reach the car park at Queen's View. The path to the Whangie leaves from the back of the car park and is a well trodden route up the hill. Return to the West Highland Way and follow it south to Milngavie where it ends in the vicinity of the train station.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Edinburgh - Figgate Burn microadventure



I live in Portobello, Edinburgh’s seaside village. One of the best things about living here is the sandy beach. Anyone who walks the beach here will know that at one point you have to get wet feet crossing a small stream that empties into the North Sea. That stream is the Figgate Burn and for some time I’d had the idea to make a wee journey along its course, from its source in the Pentland Hills to its outflow close to my home here in Portobello.



The Figgate Burn has a couple of name changes over its course but is essentially 9 miles long and forms up near Bonaly in the Pentland Hills from the waters of Bonaly Reservoir and Howden Burn. It drains an area of almost 12 square miles and much of its catchment is urban. For my microadventure along the Figgate, I chose Allermuir Hill as my starting point as below its slopes is the source of the Howden Burn. On a cold, crisp, late winter morning I walked up Allermuir’s steep slopes on grass that was crunchy underfoot after a hard frost. Allermuir is only 493m high but its slightly isolated position at the northern end of the 25km Pentlands ridge, affords great views. 


This morning the air clarity was superb and I could see north to the snow-covered hills of Angus, Perthshire and Callander. I could even see Ben Lomond today, its snow-capped pointed peak looking Himalayan in character. The rest of the Pentlands range stretched westwards, its shades and contours delicately picked out in the soft, early morning light.



A descent westwards from Allermuir took me passed the deep cut formed by the early waters of the Howden Burn, then a stiff climb took me up and over Capelaw Hill to look down on the Figgate’s other source, Bonaly Reservoir. The water of the reservoir held a thin veneer of ice that reflected the low sun with an ethereal, ghostly glow. A steep stony track drops down from Bonaly into the woods. I’d left my bicycle here and jumped back on it now to travel the rest of the route on two wheels.



A bit of zig-zagging through the houses at Bonaly took me back to the banks of the Howden Burn as it gathered a bit of volume and cut a quiet route through the woods at Dreghorn. The low-angled sun cast long tree shadows across the water as I cycled along a dirt trail that eventually took me into Covenanters Wood. The wood takes its name from the Battle of Rullion Green in 1666 when 3000 soldiers of the Royal Scottish Army opposed 900 Covenanter rebels in the culmination of the brief Pentland Rising.



Beyond Covenanters Wood, the Bonaly and Howden Burns join to form the Braid Burn which then passes through modern housing. Despite the urban sprawl, there was always a way to cycle alongside the water and eventually I was pedalling into the lovely parklands of Braidburn Valley Park. The river meandered through this green valley and I stopped cycling to enjoy the open view back to the Pentland Hills under a warm sun.



A bit of a brush with busy roads took me to the next, and perhaps most beautiful, section of the route, the Hermitage of Braid. I had company for this section as I was joined by mum and her husband, Dougie – the wide, well-made trail was perfect for his mobility scooter. The Hermitage of Braid is a deep, dark defile cut in the last ice age by the flow of glacial meltwater. Today the warm rays of the sun didn’t reach many of its inner recesses so a cold chill hung in the still air that felt like a distant breath from the ice age. 

On one side the Hermitage is bounded by the Braid Hills and on the other by Blackford Hill, once the site of an ancient hill fort. Where the Hermitage broadened slightly and the sun’s rays bathed the woods, we stopped to look at a landscape feature called the Agassiz Rock. Its exposed face provided the first evidence of the action of glaciers to be found in Scotland and was discovered by Swiss geologist, Louis Agassiz.



Leaving the Hermitage, my bike route continued across Inch Park, leaving the Braid Burn for a little while as it disappeared under Cameron Toll. The rocky, knobbly top of Arthurs Seat towered above the allotments here as people dug the earth, busily tidied and stretched stiff backs. I crossed the burn again as it completed a big meander around Duddingston Golf Course. 


As the waters enter Duddingston, they undergo a further name change and become the Figgate Burn, named after the Figgate Whins which at one time covered the banks in its lower reaches. I cycled the bike route alongside the river as it passed down through the beautiful Figgate Park. With its woodland edge and large pond, it’s a mecca for wildlife with many types of birds, bats and foxes. Even otters are spotted here.



On the far side of Figgate Park I entered Portobello and cycled along the old cobbles of Brighton Place, a wide street that gives a narrow slice of a view back to the Pentland Hills. I turned into Rosefield Park which Figgate Burn crosses before cutting a secret route behind Adelphi Place. Here it can only be spotted from a couple of open bridges that are hidden away amongst the houses. As the sun started to sink and the cold of the morning began to seep back, I ended my journey on Portobello Promenade where the Figgate Burn finally empties into the sea.



Fact File

All the photos on Flickr - click here.
Start: Bonaly Country Park

Finish: Portobello Promenade

Transport: I cycled to the car park at Bonaly but it’s also accessible by Lothian Buses route number 10.

Map: For the Pentland Hills I used OS Landranger 66. For following the route across the city, I used the Maps With Me mobile app for the level of detail required.

Route: From the car park at Bonaly continue up the steep track then turn left after a small building. Follow this path as it contours round the hillside and eventually drops down to an open field. Turn right along the more faint path that crosses the field and picks up another track as it enters woods. Turn right and follow this track up hill, passed another small building and up the Dreghorn Drop to a pass between Allermuir and Capelaw hills. Turn east up a clear path to the top of Allermuir, then descend back to the track and climb Capelaw. Continue west along the path which drops down to a wider path, turn right and follow the woodland edge. Go through a gate and follow this track back to the car park at Bonaly.

I did the rest of the journey by bike as follows. Continue down the road, across the bridge over the bypass and into Bonaly. Take a right immediately after the school then another right, then another right to pick up a path that passes into the woods. Turn right and go down some steps then turn left after crossing a wee wooden bridge. Follow this track passed new housing and where it appears to end at a road, go straight across and pick up another trail that continues through Covenanters Wood. On exiting the far end of Covenanters Wood turn right on Redford Road. You’ll shortly come to a nursing home and at the back of the car park is a sign and entrance point for Redford Woods. Follow the trail and soon join the Back Path. Follow the path along the burn, switching sides a couple of times. It eventually emerges at Oxgangs Avenue opposite the entrance to Braidburn Valley Park. Cross the road and cycle through the park. On exiting the park, turn right onto the road and go straight on at the traffic lights. At the next junction turn right and then quickly turn left into the Hermitage of Braid. Cycle the length of the Hermitage to eventually join Blackford Glen Road. Agassiz Rock is on the left near the old quarry between Scout Bridge and Howe Dean Path. Cycle straight on at the traffic lights onto Kirk Brae then take the first left onto Double Hedges Road. Turn left onto Gilmerton Road then first right into Inch Park. Follow the drive and when it exits onto Old Dalkieth Road, turn right. Take a quick left onto the bike path through Craigmillar Castle woods and when it exits onto Peffermill Road turn left and use the cycle crossing to take the next right. Where the road swings right, take the bike path straight ahead. Turn left onto Duddingston Road West and immediately after the school, turn right onto Cavalry Park Road. Where it does a sharp right, take a dirt path straight on. It joins a road that crosses Duddingston Golf Course and passes over the burn. Turn left onto Milton Road West and at the next traffic lights, turn right onto Duddingston Road. Enter Figgate Park on the left and cycle along the main track. On exiting at the far end, turn right and then left at the traffic lights onto Brighton Place. Turn left into West Brighton Crescent and then right into Rosefield Park. On exiting the park turn left and at the end of the street cross the burn by a pedestrian bridge. Turn right onto Adelphi Place and turn left onto Portobello High Street. Turn right onto Bridge Street and cycle onto the prom. It’s here that the Figgate Burn joins the sea.


Saturday, 20 February 2016

Montrose - Sea, land, mud, sand

Boundaries are always rich places where the fauna and flora of one habitat meet and mix with that of another. Montrose Basin on the Angus coast is a tidal basin with a narrow neck of river connecting it to the sea. Washed twice daily by the tides, it's neither land nor sea but a place of shifting boundaries.

I arrived by train - the railway spans the river and you can get off right on the edge of the basin. It was low tide so mud flats, shingle beds and the fast-flowing waters of the River South Esk were fully exposed. Mud covering an area equal to 1500 football pitches was picked over by curlews, oystercatchers, redshanks, greenshanks and godwits. Set against a range of snow-covered hills to the north, it was a beautiful scene.


I cycled to the far side of the basin under big blue skies and along tracks that cut across fields still flooded from the storms at the turn of the year. A pair of little grebes bobbed and dived on the river while shelducks gathered on the salt marsh. By the time I cycled back to Montrose, the tide was high and the basin had become a little loop of lassoed North Sea. Huge flotillas of eider ducks clustered on the water and sleek, long-necked cormorants fished below.

At the boundaries of the basin are watery reed beds. I watched a kingfisher here for ages. It hovered above a pool, dived, came up with a fish, whacked it on a log then manouvered it the right way around so the scales would slide easily down its gullet.

If the basin at Montrose is a fluid, ephemeral boundary then the beach at St Cyrus, a few miles cycle up the coast, is a more defined one. Here the land gives way suddenly to the sea in a line of tall, rocky outcrops. With low tide again, there were miles of pristine sandy beach to wander along. The sun shone, the gorse showed some early yellow flowers and seabirds were forming pairs on ledges in the crags above. It might have been spring but for the deep, steely-blue clouds that passed over in waves sending down flurries of wind-driven snow.


At the far end of the beach, I found a grassy path that meandered back through an area of rough scrubland between the beach and the crags. Old huts here were the remains of fishing stations and ancient paths zig-zagged up where the crags relented to the village above. 

Further along, it was a surprise to come across a quaint old cemetery at the foot of the crags, its gravestones weather by the elements and camouflaged by coats of lichen. I stopped a while with the sun on my face and screwed up my eyes, trying to imagine this place in days of old when people might have hauled in nets or laboriously climbed the steep paths carrying huge creels of fish. It was easy to imagine because the links to the past could still be seen today and I felt like I was standing on another boundary. The boundary of time between my modern life and an older, harder existence. 


Fact File
More photos on Flickr - click here.
Transport: Edinburgh/Glasgow to Aberdeen trains stop at Montrose. The station is right on the edge of the basin and the bridge over the platfoms is a great viewing spot.
Map: OS Landranger 54
Routes:
Montrose Basin - On exiting the station head straight across the small roundabout with geese sculptures and swing right to the Tesco store. Opposite it is a park with a cycle path through it. Follow the cycle signs/path south over the bridge to Ferryden and then along the side of the A92. In about 1km is the Scottish Wildlife Trust centre with outdoor hide, indoor panoramic viewing window, telescopes and hot drinks. From here I continued along the cycle path beside the A92 (bit narrow in spots) then turned off at Maryton and followed lovely quiet back roads to Bridge of Dun. Take a right immediately after crossing the railway and you soon come to a SWT car park. You can cycle along the wide path and then tracks out to the two hides here - follow the signs. It's a decent walk if you're on foot with great open views. I returned via the same route.
St Cyrus Beach - Pick up national cycle route no. 1 at the bridge over the estuary in Montrose. It follows a lovely traffic-free route round the edge of town. Immediately after the amateur football ground don't take the signed route left as there is currently a diversion in place but continue straight on along the concrete airstrip (now closed to air traffic!). It eventually swings left and picks up the cycle route again after the closed section. Follow the signed cycle route through lovely pine woods and over a viaduct then along a quiet B road to the visitor centre for St Cyrus beach. I chained the bike up here. Set out along the main path and cross a bridge over marshy pools to get to the beach. At the top end of the beach a steep path comes down from the village. Here you'll find the start of a grassy path back to the start through the scrub below the crags. It's a delightful walk.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Meall nan Eagan - The Dircs

Simple things make me happy. Like standing on a bridge to watch the train pass below and the driver waves up at me. I was crossing over the railway line at Dalwhinnie to walk into its wee hills to the northwest. Hidden away up there are two fabulous landscape features.

Snow and ice scrunched under my boots as I walked into the hills alongside the partially frozen waters of the Allt an t'Sluic,  using an old drovers route through to Laggan. It was a quiet place gripped in the stillness of a cold winter's day. The glen was devoid of life except for a few deer scraping back the snow for some meagre grazing. Ice was draped over the rocks like sheets over fine furniture in an empty house. There was not a breath of wind to stir the winter-bare birches and the only sound was the tinkle of the river where it wasn't locked in ice.

After a while the glen opened out to a high heather moor. The snow-capped rocky peak of Meall nan Eagan rose above while the southerly boundary of this high valley was formed by the snowy flanks of the Fara with its lower skirt of forest. But the place was dominated by two gigantic gashes up ahead, the Dirc Mhor and the Dirc Beag. These ancient glacial melt water channels had sliced through the hills leaving behind two massive cracks in the landscape. It's hard to imagine the power of natural forces that can slice a mountain in two.


l pitched the tent in this big open space, forcing tent pegs into semi-frozen ground, then easily climbed Meall nan Eagan. It's snow was deep and soft in some places but shallow and wind-scoured in others. I put on snowshoes a few hundred metres before the top as the sun glinted briefly through a grey sky, bronzing the snow-speckled moorland below. There was a panorama of snow-covered mountains all around but their tops were cut off abruptly by a ceiling of low cloud.


From the top of the hill I could look onto the Dirc Mhor and the Dirc Beag. Their eerie recesses were filled with loose scree and a jumble of massive boulders. They looked rough and wild, and dark and foreboding. I couldn't believe I'd traversed the Dirc Mhor a few years ago as from here it looked quite impassable. That was also the opinion of my companions at the time by the end of it. But I'd loved its primeval, lost world atmosphere.

I dropped down off the hill and crossed frozen cascades of water to reach the bottom of the Dirc Beag. It revealed a secret birch wood whose leafless branches added their delicate, purple hue of winter to an otherwise monochrome landscape. I found the Dirc's outflow and followed it downstream. In some places it ran clear and fast, and in other places it disappeared under bridges of ice. It was soon swollen by the outflow of the Dir Mhor then wounds its way down ice-encrusted and snow-dusted moorland back to my tent. It provided the water for a warming pot of tea, enjoyed with the last of the Christmas cake and a view through snow flurries back to the Dircs.


More photos on Flickr click here.
Fact File
Start/finish: Dalwhinnie Train Station
Map: OS Landranger 42
Route: On leaving the station continue down Station Road and turn left on the main street. Follow this road passed the distillery, over the railway and up the steep road that continues to Laggan. A short way up the road take the drovers' route to the left signed for Feagour. When it reaches a cottage, take the left fork. The track soon ends but becomes a footpath. When it peters out, climb the bank to your right to regain the original track. It continues criss-crossing the Allt an t'Sluic but there is always a bit of a footpath on the right side. At the head of the glen, the track ends, the terrain opens out and I pitched the tent here. I continued across rough moorland and climbed up the east side of Meall nan Eagan. I left the top heading northwest for a few hundred metres to avoid crags on the south side then descended west to a broad bealach with the Dirc Mhor and Dirc Beag above. Following the outflow back to the tent provided good walking. I returned to Dalwhinnie by the same route.
Tip: Great collection of old photos in the waiting room at Dalwhinnie Station. 



Sunday, 10 January 2016

Gear Review - Endura Urban Flipjak Cycling Jacket

I've been on lots of hillwalks but I've never been on a catwalk. The reasons are obvious if you'd care to look at any photo of me! So the review of this reversible cycle jacket may in fact be my one and only modelling assignment.




I picked up the Endura Urban Flipjack jacket a few weeks before Christmas and I've barely been out of it since. I absolutely love it. I've found its reversible option incredibly practical. One side is a high visibility pink outer with reflective details. In the men's version it's a bright green. The other side is a casual-looking black outer. The jacket is filled with Primaloft and is really cosy. It's not often that you'll find yourself wanting to cycle in such a warm jacket so it's more suited to shorter, gentler rides where you're heading to a destination or activity that's mostly off-bike. I've used it a lot for cycling to my local birdwatching spot or visits to the folks. I cycle in the pink side and on arrival flip to the black side to either blend in with the landscape or look more casual for townie activities like going for coffee.


Each side has a zipped chest pocket and an insulated grown-in hood. The black casual side also has two zipped hand pockets. Both materials are wind and water resistant. I have found the high viz cycling side to be more so which makes sense and it shakes off a light shower. Whilst it doesn't pack down really small, it does squash up into the hood for throwing in the barbag. For women it comes in sizes XS to L and for men in sizes S to XXL. I bought the jacket for £94 at Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op.


I want to thank my friend Graham for taking the photos. And now that's the modelling assignment over, it's back to the outdoors ... more lichen and moss than Kate Moss.