Cycling Round Strathclyde Park, Motherwell

Recently my employer participated in Cyclescheme which is a Government initiative to enable employees to purchase cycles tax free. As a result I ordered a ‘Pinnacle’ hybrid bicycle from Evans Cycles in Bath Street, Glasgow along with a waterproof jacket, gloves, overshoes and a set of expensive super-bright CatEye lights. 

After taking delivery of my new wheels, I tried it out in Strathclyde Park in Motherwell. It has been a nice, warm Autumn and the sun was shining when I went for a spin. I was trying the gears and getting a feel for them.

Hybrid bicycle

The bike is a nice light blue, which is quite striking. It has disk brakes which are nice and smooth. The 38mm Kenda KWest tyres are an ideal choice for the winter months. In the Spring I will replace them 28mm Continental GP4000 tyres.

Greylag Geese

As I started on my ride, I nearly fell off as I cycled along the path when a number of Greylag geese suddenly appeared in front of me – they had been hidden by a large rock! I had to pull my feet from the pedals and make an emergency stop.

Greylag Geese
‘Snow Goose’

The birds were looking for food and surrounded me but I could not offer them anything. One of the Geese was very unusual – it was completely white. However, in the park it should be reasonably safe from predators given its bright colour and similarity to the Mute swans who also frequent the park.
White Greylag Goose
The autumn colours were still on show and I managed to get some photographs of the trees with their golden leaves. When I see Autumn leaves I always recall my school days when the English teacher, Miss Thomson, (spelt the Scottish way without the letter ‘P’ which is in the English version of the name) had the class studying ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats (line by line).
Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shellsWith a sweet kernel;
to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,For Summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Autumn Colours
On the north side of Strathclyde Loch is an amusement park, a hotel and a cafe. Outside the hotel was this beautiful tree displaying Autumn colours. In the car park of the hotel is a fountain displaying a lady’s face which is very nice addition.
Fountain outside Alona Hotel

Further on some more trees caught my eye.
More Autumn colours
In July 2014 the competitors in the Commonwealth Games Triathlon cycled up this stretch of road during their events. 
After this, I turned towards the beach to see if there were any unusual birds, but there were none. The sand was quite damp and I did not want to get my shoe plates clogged up in case they jammed in the pedals, so I had to view the birds from a distance.
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Beach at Strathclyde Park
Preparing the Bike for Winter

My bicycles are always well maintained. One of the first things I did with my new one was to get it protected from the salt which is put on the roads to the melt ice in the winter. I coated the frame with Turtlewax and sprayed silicon on the gears. To protect the nuts and bolts I used petroleum jelly to fill in the allen key slots with a cotton ear bud to prevent water sitting in them and causing rust.

My transmission chain is lubricated with ‘wet’ lube which is heavier than the dry lube I use in summer. I’ll degrease it regularly and add more lubricant. One thing to bear in mind is not to use dish washing liquid as it often contains salt – use car shampoo instead.
Locks

It is important to use a good lock to secure bike when leaving it unattended. I use a Squire Eiger Compact D lock which has the highest security rating of 15 (gold). I also use a Kryptonite extender cable to wrap around the wheels and lock it through the D lock. This should make the bike secure when leaving it in the street. 

With all these precautions I should survive my winter cycling.

Autumn at Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

With Autumn fast approaching, I went to Baron’s Haugh on Sunday to look for passing birds on the pond. Many birds stop over at Baron’s Haugh on their migratory journey from Iceland to the Sahara Desert to avoid the cold northern winter. They return in the Spring. The weather was very warm and sunny, in contrast to the previous week, when it had been very cold for September.

To get to Baron’s Haugh I have to walk about 3.5 miles carrying a spotting scope, tripod, binoculars, bird book and some food and drink, so it also is a good form of exercise for me. 

I left my house at 09.30 and arrived back at the house at 19.00 having walked around the area and the adjoining Dalzell Estate. In all I walked 13 miles.

Below are some photographs from the day.

Some Cormorants, young Mute swans an some Mallards
Black-headed gulls
Lapwing
Cormorant
Two Curlew
Eroded path on way to Carbarns
High walls on road to East side of the Haugh

The photograph above shows high wall on the road down to the East side of the Haugh. This was build by the Hamilton family, who owned Dalzell House and its grounds, to prevent their view from the house being spoiled by seeing workers walking to and from the mine which was situated nearby.

Brambles 
Chestnut
Rosehips

Autumn is a great time of year for seeing many different things.  

Images of Autumn 2 – Golden Leaves

                                            View of map of Baron’s Haugh, Motherwell

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year. The green leaves of summer turn a golden brown before falling from the trees and are a wonderful sight.

The following photographs were taken in the Dalzell Estate in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire.

Golden leaves over the River Clyde

It was a lovely day and the leaves of this tree were highlighted by the autumn sunshine with the River Clyde in the background. The path on the left takes walkers to Adders Gill.

Tree in Autumn Colours

This tree was growing on the riverbank between Hamilton and Motherwell.

Red Japanese Maple

A Red Japanese Maple tree was growing under the bridge from the Japanese garden in the Dalzell Estate. The red leaves were very attractive and proved popular with visitors to the Estate.

Red Japanese Maple

Another view of the Red Japanese Maple tree.

Beside the Japanese Gardens

At the small bridge beside the Japanese Garden in the Dalzell Estate. The garden was created in the 1920’s and have been re-developed in recent years by North Lanarkshire Council. They were modelled on a traditional
Japanese garden and once boasted a copy of the Temple of Buddha at
Nagasaki. The exotic Japanese Maple trees are renowned for their beautiful crimson foliage in autumn as shown in the above photographs. 

Trees on the banks of the River Clyde

Along the banks of the River Clyde, the trees are displaying their Autumn colours.

Tree on riverbank beside River Clyde

In the distance a Heron sits in the autumn sun watching for fish in a small pond

Heron watching for fish in a pond

The above photographs were taken on Sunday 21st October. Many of the trees still had their leaves, but if there is any wet weather or strong winds the leaves will soon fall from the trees. Thankfully I got to see the trees in their Autumn colours as they will not hold these colours for long.