What with holidays and shopping trips it's been a month since my last local bike ride. The morning is fair and I set off at about 8.
Himalayan balsam grows at the foot of the walls lining the long road road which climbs slowly out the village. Its sweet scent fills the air at this time of year.
Near the top of the hill the balsam is joined by bright pink splashes of patches of rosebay willowherb.
Common hogweed creates a striking silhouette.
View over the fields.
Cows, curious and watching.
It's hard to see on this small photo, but beyond rosebay willowherb lies the folly atop its little hill.
Harebells in the foreground.
A little clue as to where I'm headed. Only three miles from this point but all uphill.
Just two now to go. The countryside is becoming steadily more upland in appearance.
I pause a little to take in the delicious scent of the honeysuckle and admire the view of the hills.
Past a little cottage.
The last mile marker.
Rumply hillside, waving grasses, weathered post.
I've arrived. At Muirshiel Country Park. It's lovely up here, so quiet and peaceful and yet you aren't all that far from "civilisation".
A row of trees on the horizon, so pink the rosebay willowherb.
I'm tempted to phone hubby to bring the kids up for a picnic, but it's a bit early yet, and anyway we've to go to a wedding in the afternoon so wouldn't be able to linger too long. While I'm here though I decide to walk up to Windy Hill.
The first section of the walk is through spruce trees and is dotted with tatty excerpts from a poem.
The trunks (incase you were maybe thinking of the elephant or even the swimming kind!).
Once through the woods and past a kissing gate you reach the moorland and the last section of the walk, I'm heading to the highest point in this photo, if you look closely you can see the little cairn on top of the hill.
It's a good path, the edges of which are lines with thick planks of wood which have weathered to a beautiful silvery grey.
At the top, looking to the south.
The view to the north west.
Looking north and slightly east towards Ben Lomond in the distance.
I lean with my back against the cairn and take in the views and the peacefulness. Soon a fell runner appears and we chat a little. Then it's time to head home
A dead tree noticed whilst walking down the hill.
Back on the bike. From here the road is gently downhill for several miles, wheeee!
Past the pretty little shed amongst the trees.
I stop to get a good look at the weir, you hear it before you see it.
Then home along the cycle path. The verges are full of wild flowers and grasses. I've never seen them look like this, probably a combination of the good weather we've had in July and the fact that the verges haven't been cut recently. I like it!
I do so like your bike rides - they show how stunning Scotland is!
Like the shed one and the weir.
Looks like an incredible journey! Would love to have a bike path like that nearby!
I'm always amazed at how green and fresh everything is, even in high summer. Here everything looks dehydrated from the heat.
Thanks for all the lovely photos!
That rose bay willow herb - beautiful! It grows here too, according to the wildflower website, but I've never seen it.
What a fantastic climb and destination! How old is the cairn?
The weir is lovely too. And the tree trunks - they look like something out of LOTR.
P.S. The butterfly you asked about is a tiger swallowtail.
I love your Saturday morning bike rides mainly because you do all the work and we get to see a beautiful part of Scotland.
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