Today’s blog is rather picture heavy but not too many birds from the garden. Bruce, a great railway enthusiast read yesterday’s blog and sent me two pictures from years gone by to match the places that Mrs Tootlepedal and I visited on our bike ride from Hawick. The first shows the bridge I was standing on moaning about the overgrown trackbed.
..and the second shows the line stretching towards Minto Hill.
Judging by the hills Mrs Tootlepedal and I cycled up yesterday, this line must have taken quite a few cuttings and embankments to complete it.
The other photo I was sent to today shows the new sprinklers at work on Langholm golf course. I think you will agree that they are quite spectacular. I don’t think Chatsworth can offer much better. Thanks to Dougie Irving for providing me with this.
Because I haven’t yet got adjusted to BST, I was woken up at 8.30 when the phone went. It was Chuck asking if I was going for a morning pedal. I scrambled into my cycling gear, wolfed a plate of porridge and off we went. It was only 3º when we set out and I was well wrapped up but Chuck, who is made of sterner stuff, was wearing shorts. Maybe the need to keep warm drove him on because we set off at a very good speed and since he is more than willing to do the bulk of the leading, we kept this up the whole way round and finished with an average speed of 16.4 mph which is as good as I can expect. It was altogether a most enjoyable start to the day.
Dropscone was not available for pedalling as he had a doctor’s appointment but he came round after it to tell us that he has got shingles again. He was not very happy as you can well understand. However the doctor told him that there is nothing to stop him cycling so it isn’t total gloom…..and he brought some drop scones with him. These were shared by a man from Harelaw who has built a yurt in his garden and was seeking advice on accommodating cyclists in it. He is actually right on one of the CTC end-to-end routes so he might attract quite a bit of business if he gets his pricing right.
In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went to work and I went out on my slow bike with the camera. Before I left the garden, my eye was caught by an unexpected flash of colour.
I hope this heralds a much better year for butterflies than last year.
I went up the Wauchope Road and stopped to take a picture of the devastation at the start of Gaskells Walk.
It will take some time to recover. On the opposite side of the road were some black and white cows (belted Galloways).
On my way back I saw some cows in colour too.
No vast monoculture round here.
I stopped at the Bigholms to see if I could capture a lapwing that was flying around calling.
It was probably trying to distract predators from its young. This buzzard was flapping lazily overhead.
As I was hanging around there, waiting for a photo opportunity, I was passed by Bill Dalgliesh on his way home. He is a living example of the beauty of bicycling. He has had one knee operation and is waiting in great pain, unable to walk at all, for the other knee to be done. In spite of these handicaps, he was cycling an eleven mile circuit involving steep climbs up timber extraction roads. He cycles round the town with his crutches at his side like a mediaeval knight with two lances.
I had been intending to just ride up the road and back again but I was inspired by his example and did the same circuit in the opposite direction. It is a stiff climb up the hill but you are rewarded with fine views from the top.
On my way out I had noticed some smoke rising from the hillside and thought it was just heather burning but on my way home I saw that it it had been quite a blaze of the grass on the hillside after a very dry month. I am not certain that this was the result of the smoke I saw because there was suspiciously little smell by the time I came past.
My arrival at the house was greatly brightened by meeting another serious cyclist who was proceeding up the road by means of crashing off any available building.
I had been given a catalogue by Jean with some very fancy bird feeders in it. It said that you shouldn’t use netting for holding the suet balls for the birds because they risk getting their claws caught. I have two peanut feeders which are not much used and so I filled one with the suet balls and within moments a chaffinch had turned up to give it a go.
The old arrangements were attracting sparrows so I think I will leave them in place too.
I end today with a small selection of daffodil shots.
And just in case you are missing some bird pictures, we were visited today by some greenfinches.