Yesterday we went for our longest cycle ride so far, a 15 mile round trip on the Hillend Loch Cycle Path. We set out late so we didn't do the whole thing. Review from The Guardian here. I really hope we get good weather this weekend so we can do the Bathgate to Caldercruix (and back) ride. It's too bad this path will be closing next month for the reconstruction of the railway.
Sculpture Trail part 1
Clicky for bigger versions...
Bzz bzz Bee on a creeping thistle:
Through the keyhole...
This is one of the sculptures on the NCN route 75 Hillend Loch Cycle Path, and is by Jeremy Cunningham. It's representative of the gateway between the urban and rural areas.
Tower by Paul Matosic
Another sculpture on NCN 75. It's based on the Fibionacci Sequence.
This was very spiky!
There were lots of these along one section. We suspect they'd been found nearby and moved out of the fields so they formed 'scenery'
We saw this huge foxglove growing around these glacial boulders.
And close up:
This was a surprise. Rampant bamboo, or bamboo-like woody grass. Bamboo, a well-known native plant of West Lothian.
Common spotted orchids:
This was next to a former colliery. It's a coal bing covered in new growth. West Lothian has a lot of dead mining industry, and there are coal and oil shale bings everywhere. The oil shale bings tend to remain stubbornly bright red and vegetation-free, but the only obvious evidence that this was no random hillock were the worn bits with coal remains.
Bothie by Stefanie Bourne
Oh dear, this sculpture hasn't aged well, in fact there's not much left of it.
This is close to where we live. Can you guess what it is yet...?
Does this help?
Still not got it?
It's the Bathgate Face by Lumir Soukup and lots of local schoolchildren. The measurements of the faces of over a thousand local schoolchildren were taken and the averages used. Apparently it's the largest communal portait in Europe. You can read about the project here.
We also saw lots of butterflies. The path was really busy with cyclists, walkers and dog-walkers. It's just unfortunate that some of the dog walkers think it's okay to let their dogs runs around uncontrolled on a cycle path and then look confused when cyclists try to get past, giving the dog(s) a wide berth. On the way out it was mostly flat with a very gentle uphill, so on the way back we had lots of easy cycling and frewheeling. OH got to test out the very high gears on his bike, and has thanked me for making him get a bike as he's really enjoying it now. Hopefully we'll get to do the rest of the Sculpture trail next weekend or the weekend after, before it's all torn up for the railway.