It had rained overnight but was sunny and not too much in the way of clouds about and just a light breeze adding to the very cold air. Though for up here it pretty much counts as lovely.
The plan was reasonably simple, finish the jobs I needed to get done around the house and then about midday Heather was taking Caleb for his horse ride so after taking Spot the dog out I would go for a ride and maybe we would meet up at our friends later on.
I decided to take the Jack Taylor out and head the opposite direction to yesterday and head out Canisbay war memorial and pay my respects before going on past John O'Groats to Duncansby Head. Stop for a coffee and cake at Groats on the way back past, get home and then if enough light and the timing was right I would take the Big Dummy and head back out.
Started out well if cold, really nice, clear, crisp day with the roads still wet, though with the temp so low and no winds they weren't going to dry today at any rate. It was a really nice relaxed ride to the memorial situated on the quiet singletrack road above Canisbay. I stopped, payed my respects for a couple of minutes, sat for a while on the grass taking in the silence in contemplation, then headed off towards JoG's.
At this stage it was cold but clear and sunny and I got to the junction where I could turn down into Groats or head up the road to Duncansby and asked myself do I want coffee and cake before or after? I wanted it before but knew I might not make it to the climb if I stopped now. It was a really nice ride up and even though I am out here regularly for pleasure and work it always looks lovely. It's a steady grind up but the views are worth it. I was convinced that I am too old to be running Dura Ace 7400 race gearing and vowed it will return with a triple front and wide range rear
On the way back I pulled into one of the little cafe's only to find it closed and not wanting to head down to the JoG's waterfront area I just turned for home. The clouds had started rolling in and it had dropped a few degrees so thought I would head back along the coast this time and turn back onto the inland road at Mey. Another long but steady climb up from Gills bay revealed to clouds closing from the south at a fair pace taking any heat and light from the day and so pushed on taking a couple of dirt short cuts onto the back road. By this stage the temp had dropped quite considerably and I was sure it was only about 5 degree or so.
Got home and warmed up and decided against getting back out on the Dummy as Heather was on her way home and I wanted to get the dog out before it got dark. Lucky I did as it rained not long after.
So another good weathered ride out on the Jack Taylor. Really liking this machine and it's great handling, very surefooted but very relaxed to ride.
My plan for the Jack Taylor is to keep the finish original for as long as I can, which means lots of cleaning, waxing and keeping maybe harsh winter riding to a minimum. It's definitely a keeper along with my Merckx and Mercian. I will slowly now build it up with more fitting long term components in a more touring/randonneur type style that I prefer and seen as how it is a beautiful machine to ride now those tweaks will make it even more special. In the short term I will change the bars and stem for a set of Nitto B135 bars and a 80mm Nitto stem and change the Dura Ace levers for a set of Mafacs to go with the Racer brakes already fitted. Will most likely have this done for a old school ride in a couple of weeks time as I have the stuff sitting there and just need to get some bar tape.
Hope anyone reading this managed to either get a ride in or at least had a good weekend.
The view from home over to Hoy on the right and Dunnett Head on the left Looking across to the island of Stroma in the foreground and Orkney across the water in the background Nice place to sit and be thankful. Lest We Forget Across to Orkney Out of Gills Bay looking back along the coast towards John O'Groats Top of the rise and looking south Same road and same view as the second photo above.