Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny. It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old. We are going to her birthday party next week.
It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.
Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.
This entailed a hilly route…
…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover. Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.
All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.
I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.
I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.
In between, there was never a dull moment.
I was often up on a ridge with good views.
Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland. I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.
It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.
Past the church, I got into some high moorland…
…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.
I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged. As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.
As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.
I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time. Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.
The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….
..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there. I never played well on it.
I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…
…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post. It may have been hopping mad.
I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….
…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit. The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.
I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.
Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…
..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.
Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.
Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph. This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.
It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.
Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries. I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant. When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).
A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.
In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking. Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it. The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.
There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.
Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride. It is a lovely route.