Sunday, 28 April 2013

27.04.13 ForthFat

I wasn't to sure whether or not I was going to attend the ForthFat. This is a friendly gathering of Fat Bike enthusiasts from all over the UK. The event was taking place at North Berwick which is only around 115 miles away from me. On the Friday evening I wasn't feeling to well, a bit of an upset tummy. Never mind I hoped it would pass by the time Saturday morning came. Luckyily for me I received my first wage from my new job slightly earlier, something to do with how the weekend falls as this was another concern, could I afford to go as I haven't had a great deal of spare cash for the last few months.

Anyhoo I found I had some spare money so decided to treat myself and head up to Berwick and hook up with a few of the lads I already knew and whilst there make some new friends.

I set my alarm for 5:20 in the am and had a relatively early night. I awoke to  pretty miserable day so accordingly packed my wet weather gear thinking I would be in for a right soaking.

Mr Hinks must have heard me get up so he decided he would pop down stairs and keep me company, well more like get in my way. No sooner had I opened the back door and he had pushed himself past me and ran out. I continued to pop the bike rack and then my bike onto the car and then place my bags on the rear seats. Hinks was still out at this point and it had begun to chuck it down. I realised I was running a bit late so had to go chasing after him in the garden. He then decided he would come back inside and it was at this point I saw he was covered in mud so tried grabbing him so that I could pop him in his cage, which we have under the stairs. (I know it sounds cruel, however he usually goes in his cage no bother and you can quite often find him there asleep) This morning however he took it upon himself to slip my grasp and then as I shouted at him to "come here" he ran along the hall and up stairs, heading to Ern's room (My dad). It was at this point I thought "aww crap" as he had left a huge trail of muddy paw prints across the laminate in the kitchen and then leading along the hall and up the stairs. So I decided to make a quick exit and face the consequences later lol.

I had a canny ride up to Berwick, wow there was all sorts of weather, wind,rain,sleet and by the time I got to North Berwick beautiful sunshine...dam it I knew I should have brought a short sleeve shirt.

A quick change of shoe's and of course limb, detach my bike and I was pretty much ready. I then found  a few of the lads I knew and we said our hello's, before all the group got together and we headed of to explore North Berwick. I'm sorry I can't really tell you our route I'm useless with directions I know we took in part of the John Muir way as I saw various signs.

One of the Mini Subs

The ride to the mini subs at Aberlady Bay was excellent a nice mixture of trails, gradually getting more sandy as we approached the coast. We only took in one fairly big climb and I was chuffed as I didn't have to get off and push. Once we reached the subs everyone spent a little more time getting to know one another and having a chat and a look around the subs. We then set off on the journey back, this followed the whole of the East coast and although it was tough in places I thoroughly enjoyed trying out the different terrain. At some points I had to get off and push over the particularly large and slippery rocks, saying which so did some of the able bodied guys so I didn't feel like I was holding anyone up. As per norm for me I fell off on a few occasions, however nothing serious, mainly soft landings in the softer sand. I did fall when my front tyre got stuck in some soft sand and landed in a rather nasty thorn bush, which was accompanied by nettles, again I was ok. Mike and Barry the two guys I was riding with helped me out as I was still clipped in and we all shared a good laugh...

A very friendly group of Fat bikers

A quick stop at the top of a canny climb

Helmet Hair :(

Large concrete blocks to stop enemy tanks

  The whole group had become spread out along the coastline, everyone just going at their own pace, or stopping in groups to ride and chat. As I approached the end point the tide was just about fully in.

We all got back together as a group and headed off for some well earned grub, in the shape of fish n chips. I was starving and thoroughly enjoyed my meal.

I stuck around for an hour or so to chat with friends both old and new, then decided to say my goodbyes and head off home. I had had an amazing fun filled day, couldn't have asked for better weather. 

I'm very sore today, as my socket doesn't appear to be fitting quite as well, but I'm so glad I chose to go along to the ForthFat. It was a cracking day and for anyone wanting to get out and ride and meet genuine friendly folk, who are down to earth I would highly recommend you getting a Fat Bike and coming to one of these get togethers...

A couple of Fat Bikes just chillin in the glorious sunshine

Ousbrough Woods - St Georges day

It's been sometime since I last posted on my blog. I guess it's been a quiet month. I've been continuing to get out and about on my bike, however I've found I have been getting bored of doing the same local trails so this has led to me not taking as many photo's or doing a video.

Never mind I decided the other week to head down towards Beamish, it's been a while since I had ridden in Ousborough Woods, as due to the weather we have had the trails where pretty much impossible to ride.

Ousborough Woods are actually in the borough of Gateshead rather than Co Durham where I live. I bet quite a few people who live locally don't realise they are quite so close to Gateshead's border.

Gateshead Council have quite an interesting website which you can find here if you would like to read a little more about the history of the woods.

Rather than ride the plainly marked trails I decided to just take my own route through the trees and was quite pleasantly surprised that in fact I could possibly have a fun and adventurous ride out and take in some new sites and scenery.

My plans are now to wait for a nice day, set off early and check out more of the woods and plan a route where I can shoot a decent video. You have to be fairly careful when in Ousborough Woods as they are kind of situated in a huge valley and this means in certain places there are huge drops on either bank side. It's no good just going flying down some unmarked section of woodland without first scouting it out as before you know it you could potentially end up going off a 20 or 30 foot drop or out of control down a really steep bank side.

Anyhoo watch this space...

In the meantime I thought I'd post some images that my good friend Ade took of me whilst down in Ousborough Woods. I had mentioned to Ade about how I had really enjoyed exploring the woods and he suggested we pop down on Saint George's day so that I could have a play around and he could grab a few shots.

Just before we headed off at the picnic area at Beamish...

These are the results and I'm sure you will agree Ade has captured some terrific images that show off just how lucky we are to have such natural beauty and surroundings.