It was Sunday, the weather was cold but reasonably fair so it was out with the bike after giving the morning an hour or so to warm up to 5º. Mrs Tootlepedal went off to plant some community daffodil bulbs as part of her contribution to the Big Society. She would like to point out that she was doing this before Dave C thought of it would be a good idea.
I had been getting some nasty noises from the drive train when I went out on Wednesday on the speedy(ish) bike so I had given everything a good clean and applied some severe weather lubricant to the chain. This had a wonderful effect and the drive was as smooth as butter today.
I went off up the Wauchope Road towards Lockerbie and at the top of Callister paused to take this shot of the power source of tomorrow. There is a lot of criticism of wind power as being inefficient but I see it as an outward and visible sign of the recognition that something must change in the way we live, even if windmills are not going to be an important part of the future. (As a side remark, I may say that if you are a cyclist, you find claims that the wind doesn’t blow enough to power windmills regularly to be obviously untrue, as it is always windy when you are out on your bike… Or at least it seems like that.)
I turned left at Falford and went down towards Waterbeck. Before I got to the village, I turned left and followed one of my favourite pieces of road through the tiny settlement at Gair. It’s my favourite because the road here had been extensively resurfaced and for about two to three miles has the finest surface to ride on in the whole district. I have been puzzling to think why this very quiet stretch should have had such good treatment and it occurred to me today, because I was thinking about windmills, that perhaps it has been done up because they are going to be putting in some more windmills round here soon and perhaps they are going to use this section of road to bring them in. We shall see.
This is Chapelcross nuclear power station and they are very slowly and, I hope, very carefully, demolishing it. It was built as part of the arms race to provide tritium for nuclear weapons. The power it provided was a side benefit. It never provided power at an economic price but it was a big local employer and is much missed. Bring on the wave and tide power machines.
After a pause at Chapelcross for a banana and half a Kit-Kat, I headed downhill to the coast road between Eastriggs and Gretna. I took this picture of a side road in Eastriggs. The road sign says Melbourne Avenue. I had already passed Ladysmith Road and I was soon to pass Ottawa Road, Calcutta Road, Delhi Road, Brisbane Road and Vancouver Road. This imperial nomenclature reflects an earlier arms crisis. During the first world war, the world’s biggest factory was built along the coast between Gretna and Annan to make cordite and Eastriggs was one of the villages built to house the workers.
I headed on through Gretna and the Gretna Green and took a back road from there into England. I try to take interesting pictures of my trips but I thought I ought to include a glimpse of the sort of quite dull back roads that I use a lot.
This is the road between Cubbyhill and Battenbush and is typical of the back roads to the south and west of Langholm. I joined the A7 for a short while until I got to the border where I stopped to take this picture of the toll house there. I include this because toll houses figure largely on my cycle rides. There is one at each end of Langholm, one eight miles north at Fiddleton and this one which is eight miles south.
I left the new A7 as soon as I crossed into Scotland and headed up to Langholm using the route of our usual morning ride in reverse. The journey worked out at 44 miles and I went at a steady 15.5 mph because my hip was a bit sore after playing golf yesterday.
In the evening, I put in a week of the E&L. Owing perhaps to the recent change of editorship in the paper, it was packed with stuff and it took me ages to type it in. I hope the new editor doesn’t keep this up or I shall be exhausted not to mention the poor archivists who have to write it all down in the first place..