Today’s picture shows a view from the top of the Riddings viaduct that Sandy and I visited recently, It was taken by Gavin who fearlessly walked across it.
I took advantage of a warm, dry and relatively windless day to get the speedy bike out to see if I could still cycle 100 miles. It turned out that I could. I chose a flattish route with a long gently up hill section with the wind behind me and the return by the same route into the light wind.
I was feeling very good as I pedalled down to Gretna and I turned on to the old A74 and set out to visit Beattock for lunch. I stopped beside some sheep near Lockerbie after 30 miles to munch on my high tech nutriment ( a cheese and tomato roll from John’s). It looks very peaceful….
…but the large grey erection in the background is a motorway sign and my day had a perpetual accompaniment of light traffic noise. Often the motorway was on one side of me and the main line railway on the other. In spite of this, it was a surprisingly peaceful ride. After Lockerbie the road follows the valley of the River Annan as it goes up Annandale but I saw very little of the river. I crossed it at Johnstonebridge….
…but the fact that the road I was on was frequently one of the remaining carriageways of the dual carriageway that the motorway superseded meant that I had plenty of space to pedal in.
This is the bridge over the Annan. The broad expanse of grass is the unused second carriageway. They have encouraged the growth of trees on most of the second carriageway so the road is very sheltered.
I stopped for lunch in a pub in Beattock (fish and chips) before setting off to pedal up the narrow valley towards Beattock summit. The road was lined with wild raspberries and fortunately my 50 mile turning point was just beside some bushes. It is a great road to pedal up with little traffic, two good cycle lanes with good surfaces for once and a well engineered gentle gradient.
The railway line runs beside the road on the right as you look at the picture but as you cycle, you do not see and only a hear a faint whisper as the express trains glide up the hill.
I stopped when I had passed through the village of Beattock on the return journey when the village church caught my eye.
As you can see, the sun had come out and my return journey was quite a bit warmer than I expected and I found that I was rather overdressed. I had secretly hoped to do the trip at 15 mph and I did manage to do the first 75 miles dead on that speed but after that, the heat, combined with the light wind in my face and some part worn legs slowed me down considerably. I haven’t done a lot of long rides over the past two years and I began to suffer from saddle soreness. This led me to take quite a few unscheduled stops for snacks and pain relief and I was very pleased when I finally got home to find that I had just beaten seven hours cycling time for the journey (though it took me eight hours with the stops.)
Those interested can see details of the jaunt by clicking on the map.
When I got home, I filled the bird feeders which were empty and it didn’t take long for action to commence.
I noticed a new poppy. In spite of it not being the usual orange colour, Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is an Icelandic poppy.
A bright red phlox has also appeared.
The bed at the end of the drive is the most colourful in the garden at the moment…
It would be more colourful still, if the marigolds that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted behind the nicotiana and cosmos had grown a bit taller. Such is life for the gardener.
In the evening, I went to the Archive Centre with Jean (Sandy is away) and we added another week of the newspaper index to the database and followed that with a well deserved refreshment in the Douglas Hotel.
I would like to thank all those who made sympathetic comments about the death of our neighbour. It was a great shock as he had been in fine fettle before and even right after his operation. It has certainly made me determined to try not to waste any days that remain in my allotted span. As to getting our affiars in order, that may be a bit harder. We have been meaning to do it every year since I retired.
I did catch a rather blurred flying bird. It was too late in the day for a good shot.