We can’t quite match that amount of blossom but the weather continues to be very pleasant for March so I was able to get out on the bike for a quick trip up the A7 to the Mosspaul Hotel and back. Owing to the clocks leaping forward overnight but me not leaping out of bed in the morning in time with the clocks, it was quite late when I started out. There was a nice wind behind me on the way up and it was not so harsh on the way back as to spoil the fun of 10 miles gently downhill. I managed an average speed of 15.9 mph which is only just below the best that I can expect these days.
It was lunchtime when I got back and soon after that, Mrs Tootlepedal and I put our bikes in the car and drove to Hawick. We parked at the new bus station and set off on a 12 mile circle to Minto and back. The weather had stayed very nice and the wind once again was at our back so the first 6 miles of the trip flashed by as we followed the river to opposite Denholm. A mile or so after leaving Hawick, we found ourselves following the old railway to Melrose. I stopped on a bridge to see if there was a good path along it but it was overgrown and neglected. As a car driver who uses buses infrequently, I can’t complain about the closures of railways too loudly but I think that the failure to make use of these ready made lines of communication for pedestrians and cyclists is a major reproach to governments of all colours.
Mrs Tootlepedal patiently waits while I take this photo from the bridge.
I apologise for the rather varied quality of the photos or our day out that follow but the sun will not conveniently move round so that I can get a good shot of a view and the land owners grow big hedges along the roads we travelled.
You can just make the old railway line on the left of the picture. As we cycled along the river, we passed huge banks of bluebell plants on the verges and we resolved to come back in bluebell time.
Approaching Minto, the pedalling became much more arduous as we left the riverside and climbed towards Minto village.
I took advantage of a view to stop and take a photograph from halfway up the hill.
The hill ended at last and my soul was refreshed by this glimpse of Minto golf course. Considering it was Sunday and a beautiful day, the course was being very lightly used.
Minto village is very charming and Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye was caught by this lion fountain in a corner near the church.
Dropscone tells me that he married his first wife in the church at Minto which was near where she lived. The whole area is very well kept and has the air of a large estate. Even the gateposts to the fields are rather superior.
Leaving the village, we turned back towards Hawick and the wind was now in our face. The road runs along a ridge and offers splendid views to the south and west.
It’s a good thing that the views are fine because the going is very tough as the road snakes up and down constant small hills and round sharp corners. We found it hard. We met many cyclists going the other way during the last part of our ride and I think there must have been an event of some sort going on. They were all very cheerful but then they had the wind at their backs.
Just before we got to Hawick, we passed this fine tower house at Burnhead.
On our return to Hawick, we went into Morrisons as people had spoken well of its cafe. It turned out to be very pleasant for a supermarket cafe and I enjoyed a slice of Battenburg cake with my cappucino which I haven’t met for many years. All in all, it was a very good outing with very quiet roads, good surfaces and wonderful countryside.
On our return, I looked hopefully round the garden to see if there were any birds.
I took a couple of pictures of new flowers instead.
I rather like Mrs Tootlepedal’s colour combination which I see at out of the kitchen window when there are no birds to look at.
The day was so glorious that I took this shot out of my bedroom window just to show it. The weather is set to change but, to be fair, we need a bit of rain. I emphasise ‘a bit’.