Cullykhan Bay – a short and wet walk

The weather wasn’t looking great for our 1st full day, so we decided to stay close to the cottage.

Just a few miles along the coast was Cullykhan Bay and the map showed that it had a small but sandy beach – perfect for Jas, so off we went.

Cullykhan Bay

There is a small car park down a track off the B9031, then a short walk from there down to the beach. We wore our jackets as it was windy and cold and the sky was grey. Jas shot down to the thrashing was and loved it.

The rain was starting and we had a quick look at a cave that went through to the other side of the cliffs, but got caught in a real downpour – should have wore full waterproofs!

Cave showing other side

Gamrie Lodge – The Coach House

On easing of the Lockdown restrictions we booked a weeks holiday for the end of August at Gamrie Lodge – The Coach House Cottage in Aberdeenshire, an area we have never explored. The Lodge itself is a mile south off Gardenstown, a small village on the North East coast, just 9.4 miles East of Banff.

Note that Gardenstown is known locally as Gamrie, and Gamrie is pronounced ‘gay-m-ray’, not ‘gamm-ray’ as those South of Aberdeen may say!

Entrance to Gamrie Lodge
The Coach House

Fault with Iain’s Yamaha FGXS730SC electro-acoustic guitar

The FGX730SC is the acoustic-electric version of the FG730S. Features inherited from the L Series, such as non scalloped X bracing and a reverse L block neck attachment, make it an instrument of high quality. Equipped with an A.R.T. 1-way pickup system (System 56), it delivers a clear, bright tone, typical of FG guitars, and performs just as well whether playing accompaniment or lead. Onboard electronics that include a 3-band equalizer with an adjustable mid-range frequency and a tuner make it a perfect instrument for performing live.

Got this to look at but had no idea what the fault was, or if there even was one.
Straight off, the thinnest string is missing and so was it’s Bridge-Pin. Also, more importantly was that the 9V battery box had a very acid corroded terminal, so bought a new box from…

On swapping out the box, I was then able to test if the guitar O/P to the amplifier worked or not – it didn’t!!

Further investigation showed that the guitar has a preamp module and 2 under-side ‘contact’ pickups.

On hooking a scope up to the pickups I was able to get a rising signal from each string approaching 100mV, so my assumption is that the pick-ups are ok.

After connection the guitar amp’s 1/4″ jack (this when inserted turns on the amp) to the guitar O/P, the scope signal was quite flat with no change from any strings. This was tried with a brand new tested 9V battery, so my assumption ?? is that the pre-amp is faulty.
The pre-amp is labelled model: AB1CBL, but a google search shows it is as similar to a ‘Yamaha WG320100’.

A new one from Australia (all I could find) is approx. $170…

Ebay though have very similar & cheap ones , although the physical size may be different, as is the I/P’s & O/P’s, but may be worth the risk…
search : ‘4-Bands Acoustic Folk Guitar Preamp EQ Equalizer Piezo Pickup with Tuner‘…
These have a plug-in battery box and a saddle fitted piezo transducer with a smallish mono jack.

UPDATE – have ordered the preamp from Ebay @ £14.14.

AND, if the preamp repair does work, it will still need new strings, new Bridge pins and maybe a new ivory saddle to sit in the bridge as a bit had broken off – although a bit super glue may do. I will tape the broken bit to the guitar.

If I end up having to get it repaired professionally, try ‘Harris’ at DM Studios in Dundee (he is often in late 5-10pm).

Airlie monument – 1st walk this year – 01/07/20

Due to my troublesome sprained ankle taking the best part of 5 months to heal, and then Corona Virus Lockdown, this is my 1st walk of the year.
Met a forestry chap at the gate to the forestry and had a nice chat, before cracking on.
Although not a hard walk, I was surprised at my fitness and never struggled at all.
Th boy was quite well behaved, but he was on the lead with 2 bungee extensions, with the lead attached to my rucksack buckle.
A young couple in training shoes got ahead of me just at the forest exit as I had stopped for a coffee, but I over-took them at the hill-top.

The rain threatened twice but never came to anything.

All-in-all, a very got walk to get me started again!!!

Airlie monument in wind and rain – 18/08/19

Earlier in the week I had fancied going around the walk again, but come the weekend and not a great forecast I was put off.
It was Gails prompting that coaxed me into making the effort to go.
More showers rather than rain, but heavy enough that I had to wear waterproofs, and once on I just left them on.
Wet & windy but nevertheless I still enjoyed the walk and was glad I made the effort.

Painful walk up Airlie Monument – 25/08/19

Had been up here last week in wind and rain and thought it a good idea to keep the fitness up, but half way into the walk, just leaving the main track from the forestry, heading towards the monument I went over my right ankle. Jas’ lead had been tied to my rucksack belt and I guess I couldn’t really see what was ahead for seeing a Collies’ backside & tail! I wasn’t using sticks either.

I lay on the heather for a bit before hobbling along to the monument then on to the car.
I met a nice old couple of keen walkers from Montrose on the path down to the car park.

Airlie Monument 07/07/19

1st time up the monument in a while, and probably first walk this year! As usual, parked at car park, walked up road to gate, than through forestry to a new track that leads to the hilltop. Took a branch right at the bend in the track along a path of sorts.
Lots of forestry has been removed through the forest and on the open hillsides, but at least this time the dead wood has been removed.

Sidlaws walk again – 23rd June 2019

The first walk in a while due to more important things to do at weekends and back pain in-between times. Weather was cloudy at first but really warm.

Iain was offered to come along but he had been working until early morning, so it was just me and Jas.

1st hill was Auchterhouse Hill where we met three mountain bikers. On leaving we met a woman walking her brown Cocker Spaniel. She had only had him 4.5 months and this was his 1st hill. Onward to Balluderon Hill where there three young lads accompanied by a man and woman who were given them instruction. Can only thin that they were doing the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. My left foot started playing up on the way to the top of this hill just decided to give Craigowl hill a miss.

I took the long path East down and my foot was OK, so would have been OK to do Craigowl!

Back Pain Update April 2019

Been having some unbearable pains, since start of year getting gradually worse.

I had tried doing approx 40 cat-cows morning at night and deep low back stretches by touching the gground with near enough straight legs, or by hanging my upper body weight over at the waist. That seemed to give some relief but then it got much worse.

My SI Joint belt had bee lost for some time and I found an old back support belt with heat retention for back and front. This support is good at supporting, but gives too much heat somethimes, and heat at the front groing area where is is definitely not required. Anyhow I percivered and tucked my front shirt between belt & skin. I also started taking Turmeric capsules (I’d tried them previously with no success) and Ginger tablets. Alongside this I cut-out Dairy from my diet.

That was over 3 weeks back and my back has impoved a lot, so much so that walking Jasper is now pleasureable and it is much easier getting through a day. I did have a long weekend past, taking the Monday/Tuesday off so that also helped. I am writing this on the Friday, so three days back at work and I am much happier, and pain much more bearable.


Things I am doing that may be helping with pain relief…
Wearing heat belt
Taking Ginger tablets
Taking Tumeric capsules