Day 2 – Yosemite Part I

The day started in bright sunshine and clear skies..

(I am struggling with wifi speed for the last 2 days – I have loads of pics but cannot upload them 😦  ) – I will catch up
We entered Yosemite Park and I bought an annual pass as it seems the best way…. we will see!


The first decision was Glacier Point… I am a bit of a geek by trade and for cryptic reasons have always wanted the see Half Dome… The mountain a processor family was named after in the usual tradition…


After that it was El Capitan – a truly unreal piece of rock…

At this point I was dying with the heat and we pulled in to fill up on $5.40/gallon  gas (87 RON) and I spotted that even with all the vents wide open, my Badlands Pro jacket/trouser combo was struggling at temps of 106 in the shade….


We dropped down from the hills into Mariposa, a great little town

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and well worth a visit with plenty of cool bars and hearty restaurants 🙂 Fuel was only $4.29/gallon here for premium but there is no gas in the Park so you fill up where you can when the tank allows 110 miles!!!!!


Day one on the bikes

She ain’t sexy & new but she’s all mine for the week…

A really great favour from a friend of a friend and I have a bike this week… Thank you Uncle Dickie!




There she is outside Weinerschnitzel – possibly on a par with GreggsIMG_2150Travelling light – I had to buy some undies.. Wait till you see them, Maybe not!!

My riding buddy Charl – just back from the Burning Man Festival, where he ran a 50km in the Black Rock Desert, while I ate Chinese in SF 😀


Day one

San francisco to Walnut Creek to collect the bike – then down to Patterson and via Raymond on a lovely route, twisty with low hills and an amazing view ( and what a crazy bar!!) a night in Oakhurst. Tomorrow Yosemite!




San Francisco – finally here…


Arrived yesterday after a delay due to the captain being unwell – I suppose everyone has an occasional right to a duvet day…


Anyway – the weather is beautiful in California… I know!
The weather report on TV in the morning made me smile “sadly we won’t exceed 92 degrees today”

They are gutted with 92 down here in the sunny south. I was sweating just walking up and down the San Franciscan hills…

IMG_3736 Another sunny pic… The market area down on the piers… every Saturday they have a farmers market… peaches like footballs!

IMG_3741 Loads of organic fruit and veg from around the area… I have eaten veggie meals all day and they are beautiful here, the veg tastes of something 🙂 (saving myself for the steaks later this trip!)

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I have to say – I have heard sirens all day! But I have found the most secure place in San Francisco… every security guard I have seen in the last 24 hours was stood here 🙂



Anyway… a great day…


Yup – swimming the Bay day


More market pics above and downtown below..IMG_3705





My only negative.. I didn’t think it was this good…

The painted ladiesPainted ladies

Obligatory cable cars
SF cable cars
last but not least from today
Lombard St – the crookedest (sic) street in the world…. sadly they won’t let you take a motorbike up it 😦SF Lombard StThis last pic isn’t mine-you may have noticed a pink tinge to the pics – took it to Samy’s Cameras for a check, “failing CMOS sensor…” so raher than let it fail- I bought a new camera…

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 II



I am jealous…

As I prepare the last bit of packing to go to USA on my trip – Celia has gone over to Sicily to experience some Mediterranean sun and soak up that energy pumped out by the sun… One day and I am now receiving emails and texts extolling it’s virtues 🙂Sicily1


The view from the terrace looks amazing as it faces back  from Ortygia to Syracusa…

The apartment she has rented is beautiful too with a terrace made for soaking it all up 🙂



So – am I jealous? YES!

Can I wait to set off this week to SF and a week on the road with Charl in California – NO 🙂

Have fun!!

Empty net on the River Tay

Well… The river Tay in Perthshire Scotland continued to catch salmon but still in disappointing numbers due to hot weather and low water last week making life difficult. Currently there is a weak run of summer salmon and odd grilse on the river but expectation is high with a pending improving summer run with signs of more grilse running last week. Rain at the weekend has freshened the river up and the weather is to be reasonably settled and cooler with a chance of some rain this week that may just trigger off some much needed improvements. The catches have been disappointing but could suddenly improve at any minute giving renewed optimism for the coming week assuming more fish enter the system.

This past week saw water levels continue at summer height most of the week due to warm settled weather making catches suffer. The fishing can be supreme and the scenery is not bad either. Currently there are numerous wild flowers blooming on the river banks. Ospreys visit the river on a daily basis and we saw deer darting past while in mid cast! It is true what they say,  a salmon is a bonus! Middle Tay. We were at Lower Kinnaird The catches further upstream were harder earned this past week, as conditions were more settled with lower river levels. Over the weeks to come this will hopefully improve as the salmon run freely up the river with improving runs and more water.

I have to say Celia enjoyed her first ever fishing trip – she wanted to know what we did up there… I think she half expected dancing girls..    I obviously told Jock to cancel the usual entertainment but we soldiered on with beautiful weather and great optimism from Jock Montieth as usual 🙂

First chance to use my new rod and reel, fitted with Jock’s own tips. Had great fun over the two days and saw a few fish about but despite long hours and determined swinging about… no bites even!! I even remember some of the flies this time as I refused to buckle and cheat by harling or spinning…  Red and black Francis coneheads in various sizes, Red Sunray stripped over the top !!


My first ever blank trip in Scotland… Chris Harden will be ecstatic:(   On the food and drink front things were better though… Sandemans was great and the Fonab Castle couldn’t have been better..

Planning planning planning….


Now my personal approach is a sort of, spend several hours on google and google maps.

Then ponder for a while.

Then get out a paper map (thanks to internet for making this a doddle nowadays!) and start to scribble in a pad.Then I start to “punch” the info into Garmin Basecamp. Now I use Garmin Basecamp because I own a Garmin Zumo 660 not because I like it…

I think the software is great, I think the sat nav itself is awesome and easily the best I have played with… But who in Garmin-world thought these worked well together.. No I have to edit that, actually it’s not really only Basecamp software that Garmin struggle with – it’s all software!

The process of updating maps (that you have paid for) and minor firmware updates is a vision of hell… trawl the internet and you discover a multi volume opus of tales of woe!


Luckily, this time we can thank Bilco.

This man has worked tirelessly to ensure we will have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies in the coming weeks…:)Bilco1

I actually think the evenings will be somewhat like this pic as he is surrounded by a small horde of slightly confused middle aged people asking if we are going this way or that )




My worry is who will be Pvt Doberman 🙂

Pitlochry Fishing trip


IMG_1408Originally my plan was to take Celia for a fishing trip to show what was great about standing up to your waist in ice cold water with only the very faintest chance of a fish.. What could be more enticing for my long suffering lady I pondered? See some hardy fools on a recent trip – not content with arriving in the near dark, we have to go and check the water levels… Lower Floors , I love you!!


The new plan……



Just like home really


Then, knowing my wife I rethought my plans… I know, how about a luxury break to Scotland… with fishing.





Good food in the evenings, a glass of Scotch to warm us up in the lounge after dinner too!!Fonab2

Now the salmon seem to run best when the cold air nips your ears and that single malt just calls to you from behind the bar but; I decided to be even more generous and risk the low water that is August.. Nice and warm to encourage her a bit.

It seems my best laid plans have bitten me in the arse as there is no water and even less fish about…

However the ghillies, ever the optimists,  tell us:

Hi Peter
A bit quieter than usual but a few knocking about. There’s a few fresh fish moved in so you’ll be definitely in with a shout!

See you both on Friday.
Best regards
Jock Monteith
Professional Scottish Salmon Fishing Guide

Now – Jock knows his stuff – but if ever there was an award for cheerfulness it may surprise more than a few of you to know that a Scotsman was in the running for it!!

Expectation is high with a pending grilse run and an increase in summer salmon running the river. This past week more grilse have been seen and caught all be it in small numbers. The weather was very hot for last week making fishing hard work but some heavy thundery showers on Saturday helped to clear the air but all in all conditions were not easy for the pursuit of that magical salmon and limited runs kept catches low during the week to single figures on most days. It has not been a summer to remember but hopefully this will change in the days and weeks to come for the better as we enter August.

Currently the river is at summer level (approx 6′ on the Ballathie gauge). Lower river levels in the coming days should enable the river to be fished easily and hopefully a stronger run will produce some top quality fishing and allow fish to run further to enable catches to continue to spread. The weather is looking reasonably settled over the next few days with a chance of some rain that should benefit the river and give a great chance of producing some more sport and some “Bars of Silver” .
The weather is looking far more settled and a bit cooler with a chance of some rain in the week to hopefully spark off some better sport in the coming weeks with a strengthening summer run. The warmer weather will certainly continue to give us more settled water levels and encourage salmon to run the river, as we should soon be seeing a proper grilse run. The water temperature is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit or 18 degrees Celsius. These are now normal temperatures for the time of year and the conditions have seen salmon running throughout the system. Hopefully there might be a chance of a fresh fish anywhere in the river.

As to methods, in settled conditions fishing by any method should enable you to catch the elusive Tay salmon. The water temperature has warmed up enabling floating lines with the addition of a sink tip being a favoured tactic and using normal dressed flies. It is still worth a go with sinking lines as well depending on water heights and stripping a Sun Ray Shadow is always worth a go. When spinning, Tay favourites include Toby Salmos, weighted and floating devons, flying C’s and Visons or Rapalas. Harling is also a favoured method many beats depending on water heights.


Of course, there is a dark side to fishing an shooting, there is always the possibility, just like landing a fish, that you bump into the strangest people wearing bizarre clothing… See you soon Chris 😉


Shortest cast award

A fellow fishing addict in the Wild Shortest cast award


Dressed to impress the locals!!