Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s Bristol trip and shows the cathedral there. Two of his sisters sneaked into the shot.
In a recent post, I asked for a small ridge of high pressure to give us a break from the rain and today my request was granted. We woke to blue skies and they continued for almost all of the day.
I might have thought of cycling after breakfast but two things intervened. The first was an outside thermometer showing a temperature of 1°C, which is too cold for me to cycle. I, along with the other patients at the time, got such a fierce warning about not falling off our bikes and ruining our freshly installed new knees that any hint of icy conditions is enough to keep me off the bike.
The second factor was the wish of Mrs Tootlepedal on such a promising day to get in the car and go somewhere for a walk, preferably somewhere new.
I was happy to go walking but as I also wanted to go cycling, we didn’t drive far, merely to the top of Callister but we did attempt a new route. I had recently walked along the forest track there with Sandy and then back again the same way. We had wondered whether there was a circular route. Today Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to see if we could find one.
The map told us that we might find a helpful forest ride which would take us to the far end of the track. We found the ride….
…and set out to see if it was walkable.
It was but it was mighty hard work. There was no path along it and the mossy tussocks were substantial.
You can see that there were still a few scraps of snow left about and the cold weather made the going a little less boggy than it might have been but it was still tough going.
Luckily, we only had to plough on through the rough stuff for about half mile until we met the forest track and after that, all was plain sailing.
The forest, which is a commercial plantation, has been partly felled and partly replanted and this gives a short walk some good variety.
You can see all three stages in the next picture, clear felled at the front, newly planted trees in the middle and a mature plantation at the back.
It isn’t all as neat as that though because where the trees have been felled, the exposed plantations are very liable to wind blow…
…which is a nightmare if your route takes you through it.
Luckily ours stuck to the forest track and our way was clear. The felling has opened some extensive views over the Kirtle Water valley.
We soon reached the top of the track….
…and returned to the car feeling that we had had a good adventure and very ready for a cup of coffee when we got home.
It was quite warm enough to cycle (4.5°C) by the time that I had had my coffee but the tramp along the tussocky ride had taken a bit of the oomph out of my legs so I sat and did a crossword and had some baked beans on toast for motive power before setting off on the fairly speedy bike.
I took a moment to stare out of the window before I started pedalling.
A redpoll had bitten off more than it could chew..
..and had to let a seed drop before turning back for seconds.
It soon found itself in company with the chaffinches.
I was cycling into a noticeable west wind when I set out and normally that would mean a warm breeze but the weather in general is coming down from the north and the wind was far from kindly. My back hurt and I had a slight headache as I battled up the hill to where we had started our walk earlier in the day but once again good old Dr Velo worked his miracle cure as time went on (aided by a downhill section of road) and I was soon pedalling along without a care.
Although it was still a very sunny day and the gorse was in bloom…
…there were now a few clouds to my left….
…and some slightly more menacing ones behind me as I climbed up to Gair.
Luckily the windmills showed that the wind was now behind me.
I am not at all fit at the moment for so I settled for a 32 mile circular route down to Kirkpatrick Fleming and back by Canonbie and hoped to beat the oncoming clouds.
I nearly managed it but was overtaken by a light shower when I was four miles from home. It didn’t last long but I was feeling quite chilly without the sun shining and was glad to get in for a cup of tea and a slice of toast to warm me up.
I made a dish of baked eggs and spinach smothered in a cheese sauce for tea and it was good enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to have a helping (and to be seen scraping the bowl afterwards).
After tea, I went up to the Archive Centre by myself as Sandy was having a day out in Edinburgh. I had hoped to get a little work done but the internet connection was not working so I came home again. (I should have done the work when I got home but the combination of the morning walk and the afternoon pedal made me feel that a little rest might be quite attractive so I have left it for another day.)
Once again the better weather gave me several flying bird opportunities. There were wings closed….
…and wings down….
….but I ignored them and went for wings up.
Some of you may be wondering why I have hardly mentioned that it was sunny today. The fact is that we are so used to sunshine now that it hardly seems worth a mention.