Today’s guest picture is a copy of a postcard sent to me by Ziriacus. Fed up with our puny bridges here, it shows the fine railway bridge that crosses the river Wupper near his home in Germany.
We saw a glimpse of the sun today. Not much of a glimpse and not for long but it was undoubtedly the sun. It shone fitfully on Dropscone and me as we pedalled over Callister on our morning ride. Dropscone’s new trousers were still working their magic and we lopped a full twenty seconds off yesterday’s time.
I took advantage of the better light to look at the birds.
Although our morning ride only lasts about an hour and a half, somehow by the time that we have had coffee and scones, Dropscone has left and I have looked out of the kitchen window and had a shower, the whole morning often seems to disappear. So it was today.
For my lunch, pursuing my Mediterranean diet, I cooked some fish cakes using sardines. I didn’t have all the ingredients to follow the recipe properly and I will have to try again with a little more forethought another day.
Although the sun had gone, it still seemed like quite a nice day so Mrs Tootlepedal and I decided to go for a walk. The plan was for a short drive and a mini expedition into the hills but as soon as we left the house to get in the car, it started raining. I went back inside to check on the weather map and it said that going to the east should enable us to get out of the rain.
We took the road east over the Langholm Moor, hoping to follow the Tarras valley to its head but the rain hadn’t read the map and kept on dropping out of the sky so we drove on over the hill to Newcastleton. I stopped near the top of the hill for a couple of pictures.
Our new destination was the Seven Stanes mountain biking centre, a couple of miles outside Newcastleton and we had outrun the rain by the time we got there.
We were the only people there so we parked the car and walked off along one of the wider tracks.
The Seven Stanes at Newcastleton is one of a set of seven mountain biking centres in forests across the south of Scotland and a lot of money has gone into setting them up.
We could see the single track routes from time to time. They certainly looked well maintained.
I have never tried mountain biking seriously and it has always seemed far too bumpy to be any fun though lots of people locally are great enthusiasts. The possibilities of injury and damage to the bicycle seem to be ever present though.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I stuck to broader paths through a mixture of deciduous and conifer woodlands.
We were sheltered from the chilly wind in the forest and the rain held off so our walk was pleasantly peaceful.
We walked down through the forest until we crossed the Tweeden Burn, dark and mysterious among dense trees.
We followed the forestry track up the other side of the little valley…
…taking time to wonder at the covering of lichen on some of the trees that we passed.
The forest underfloor was a garden of moss and lichen and at our turning point we saw a wonderful display of colourful moss on a bank.
Mrs Tootlepedal wondered if the moss might have turned red as a result of a mineral deficiency.
On our way back we noticed a fine crop of a toothed lichen which we had missed on the outward journey.
I am pretty sure this is a lichen but in spite of searching through a large numb er of images, I am unable to find what it is.
We crossed the burn and walked back up the hill to the start of the cycle tracks again.
We both thought that this had been a good walk although the choice of destination had been forced on us by the rain. We will certainly come back again. My photographs can’t show how visually pleasing the walk was as this was definitely a case of the camera not being able to see the wood for the trees.
Just as we got back to the car, the rain caught up with us again which gave us great pleasure in having outwitted the weather gods for once.
For my evening meal, following my healthy eating plan, I made a pearl barley dish with roast squash and stewed leeks, mushrooms and carrots. To my surprise, it tasted delicious.
To round off an excellent day, I went to play recorders in Carlisle (without Susan who was working late) and enjoyed myself thoroughly.
I was rather tired though by the time that I came to write this on my return home so I am quite ready for a little lie down now.
The flying bird of the day is a brambling leaving the plum tree at speed.