A text came in and it announced "bikes, Monday night, you fancy it?" or something along those lines. Yes but I'm away to buy body armour after my recent fall was my response. I packed up my stuff and shoved the bike in the back of the car and set off to work on Monday 21st June - Midsummers day, the longest day of the year. I was a bit worried about my wrist by now as it hadn't got any better over the weekend, in fact it was only on Saturday that the bruising started to appear and this was worrying. I contemplated going to hospital but frankly I didn't want to waste their time if it was only bruised. So a little after 4.15pm I set off along the Gargunnock Road again heading towards Bowling. It was quite quiet but again i stopped off at McDonalds in Balloch to use the rest room (I'd been guzzling down my water that day).
I arrived to meet Petesy and Phil at the usual place. We got the stuff ready but not before I got grilled on various matters and vairous people(!) and not before we eventually found a pack to fit me (sorta). I can't remember which pack i had this time, maybe the OMM one? Anyway we set off along a path then headed across the road and along the canal again, nearly the same route as the last time. Back across the main road and then headed up the track gaining height. It was hot and the midgies were out in full force. A few Police cars and vans passed us on their was down the track, I hoped they weren't up there findng bodies!
About haflway up the really rough gravelly section we stopped and Petesy suggested we go through a gate and head up the grass. Oh no I thought but it was ok. It meant we had to get off and push the bikes a lot but it was fine. I think he feels guilty for dragging us that quicker way...
The views were great so a few quick snaps were taken by me before the midges really took hold and we set off again. Onwards and upwards. This was turning out to be the first bit of hillwalking i'd done in quite a while. We eventually got to a cairn where a well deserved rest was had, with some more photies being taken.
I could see the track we took the last time and was told we were heading that way but not before some tricksy manouvering down quite a steep grassy section. By now my wrist was kinda throbbing and each time I took my glove off and could hardly get it back on. But we were now heading onto ground that looked familiar from my last time up here with these guys.
Next we headed into the forrest area where more photies were taken. I think Petesy kept the best ones for himself cos the ones he took on my camera are blurry! Or maybe i was just going to fast...
Through the dark section of the forrest was really difficult for me as i didn't want to risk it and I my wrist was painful so whilst they hopped and skipped their way down through big ruts and massive tree roots i decided to get off the bike and shove it down. Aah much safer for the moment. The next seciton was downhill mostly on grass with a few bumps and ruts along the way. It was good and there was a wee sectin at the bottom near the gate where i almost lost the back end of the bike but managed to recover in a expert way - yay me!! We headed down past an old house (I will remember the names of these places instead of forrest, old house, up a track...), anyway past the old houe and down a gritty road and into Dumbarton? through some streets and down the the waters edge. Having safely negotiated the various items that had been dumped by folks the waters edge was quiet and peaceful and the views were good. The sun was just nearly going down in the midsummer sky casting an orangey glow on everything around. Lovely.
It was time for something to eat (I hadn't had any dinner!) so we headed back along another path and into the BP garage at Milton. Tea and sandwiches for me, coffe and cake for those two. Another great night out with good company. I do enjoy these bike rides. And they never left me once to get lost! The midgies were really taking hold now so we headed back to the cars and packed up.
I headed back along the road to Stirling with a wonderful light show happening in the sky. It was awesome, so much so that I stopped a few times to take pictures.
Once again thanks Petesy and Phil for taking me out, for not riding away and leaving me on my own, for the kit and the chat. Loved it.