Today’s flower is unidentified even by Mrs Tootlepedal but it is small and in the rockery
The morning was spent gently enough in drinking coffee, purchasing beef for stew and that sort of thing. Dropscone is in France golfing so the morning ride is optional at present. Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work after lunch and I went out on the Rohloff hub bike which I had finally managed to get functioning on all 14 gears. This was in the nature of a test ride to see if the hub really was working well and it came through with flying colours.
Because I was on the slow bike which has a bag on the back, I took my camera and paused from time to time to take a few pictures which, I hope, will add a bit of interest to the description of the journey. The map on the left shows where the pictures were taken and gives a rough guide to the route. I chose the route to take in two short sections of road which I have never cycled along before. They are the sections with photos 2 and 3 along them. Indeed until I looked at a map recently, I never realised that one of the roads even existed though I had passed each end of it many times.
I set off up the Wauchope road and took the first picture after 4 miles looking back towards the monument. Mrs Tootlepedal had remarked at the weekend that the country was taking an an autumnal feel and the brownish grass in this shot exemplifies this.
The second shot is of Crowdieknowe graveyard, the subject of an excellent and accessible poem by Hugh McDiarmid. This was along a short section of road I had never cycled before because basically it doesn’t go in a direction I have ever wanted to go. So today’s journey was a bit of a zigzag to start with.
This shot was taken on the second of my new roads and shows a stand of willow trees being grown for fuel at our local wood burning power station. This sight is becoming more common round us and I passed another big plantation near Gretna on my way back.
This shot was taken looking north west across the valley to Burnswark Hill in the far distance. This was the site of both prehistoric and Roman fortifications. Although the view is beautiful and the appearance is peaceful,all the while I was taking the picture, I could hear the roar of the traffic going up and down the M74 which is just behind the buildings.
I crossed the motorway and went up the oldest of the old versions of the A74 into Kirtlebridge. There are now three parallel roads, this one through the village, the bypass to the right and the motorway bypassing the bypass. It all makes for a lot of quiet cycling routes so I am not complaining. This was the far western extent of my journey and now the wind was more helpful on the way home.
After the rather confined valleys of the first part of the trip, I began to descend gently onto the Solway plain and, as always, I was rewarded by great views Here I am looking 25 miles to the Pennine hills behind Brampton and if I looked on the other side of the road I could see Skiddaw summit which is also about 25 miles away. The camera can’t do justice to the splendour of these views or, to be fair, I can’t do them justice with the camera.
I rolled down some very quiet roads to the west of the motorway until I got close to the Solway shore where I turned East and went to Gretna Green, recently voted top coach tour operators attraction in the country. Mrs Tootlepedal and I think that this doesn’t say much for the other attractions. Here I had a revivifying snack of dates and prunes and a nibble of an energy bar to fortify me for the last 16 miles.
From Gretna I went inland, avoiding the main roads for as long as possible. I strayed for a mile or two into England and on crossing the River Sark, I stopped to take this picture of the Scot’s Dyke which marks the boundary between England and Scotland between the rivers Esk and Sark. At the other end of this dyke you will find the March Bank Hotel where Mrs Tootlepedal and I have had many fine meals with various family members over the years.
Finally I joined the A7 for the last few miles into Langholm and met this, the shortest cycle lane you can imagine. It totally baffled two of our end to end visitors recently. Its purpose is to get you to cross the road safely to a cycle path on the other side but as the cycle path on the other side has no sign to tell you that it is there, I am not surprised that our visitors were baffled. I took it, joined the cycle path and was soon back home after a varied and leisurely 40 miles.
On the wormery front, the news is that I have put a second section on top of the first and I am now waiting to see if any worms migrate to this new level. It is very exciting in a very slow sort of way.