Today’s picture is yet another look at a peony. This time from quite close.
I put this picture here as a symbol of the sunny weather which greeted me as I got up. I had planned to go out for a decent ride if the weather was good so I got ready to go. Somehow, this took me until half past ten but I finally got organised and set out on the speedy bike, stopping only to buy a couple of tuna rolls and two bananas from John’s shop on the way.
In spite of the better weather, it was still pretty cold for the time of year (13ºc) so I had left my shorts at home and was fairly well wrapped up. It stayed cool for the whole ride and I was very comfortable which is always a relief on a longish day. The wind was from the west and it was more or less across from one side or the other for most of the ride. Fortunately, it was fractionally behind me so the ride down to Longtown through Canonbie was easy enough. At Longtown, I took the Brampton road and with a helpful wind, I got there at well over 16mph which is good for me. I went through Brampton and out along the road past Talkin Tarn towards Lazonby. I stopped for a snack at the Talkin Tarn gate and found that the climb out of Brampton had already reduced my average to 16.1mph.
I have often thought that my enjoyment of golf, a game at which I am a very indifferent player, is largely based on my affection for well mowed grass. The Brampton golf course, which lay opposite my stopping place, showed some very nicely groomed grass.
From Brampton, the road to Lazonby undulates freely and provides what a gentlemen cyclist I met while admiring the view called a ‘good leg stretcher’. I am not at my cycling best when I don’t get a decent chance to recover my breathing before I meet the next hill but the road provided many pleasant distractions. I liked this sign at Castle Carrock.
I was cycling along the eastern side of the Eden valley and this view looks over the valley to the west.
The road sides were sprinkled with hedge roses.
To the east of the road, I was cycling close to edge of the foothills of the most northerly part of the Pennines.
As I went further up the valley, the views became better and better. This was the one that the gentleman I met was admiring.
When you get near to Lazonby, the road leaves the high ground and plunges down towards the River Eden. There are some steep downhill sections here but two of them are through the middle of villages which rules out making good speed down them. I was also heading due west at this time and was therefore heading straight into a stiff breeze. The hills to the east of Eden came into view. I have cycled over these a couple of times in past years on my way to Alston.
Having crossed the river at Lazonby, I had a very stiff climb into the wind on the other side as I climbed out of the Eden valley and dropped down to the A6 and then the M6. This was the hardest part of the day and the combination of climbs and headwind had knocked my average down to 14.9mph by the the time that I arrived at the Pot Place at old Plumpton Station. Before any excitable readers get ready to visit the Pot Place, here is a picture of what it sells.
But it also has a nice cafe where I had a light lunch of mushroom soup and a cheese and tomato toastie.
The road home from this point, which runs parallel to the the M6, was much less scenically interesting but also much flatter and I got the average back up to 15.3mph by the time I got to Carlisle. My route through Carlisle is excellent and I was out the other side in no time.
Rather than ride up the A7 to Longtown, I took a diversion through back roads to Longtown and then took the old A7 through Canonbie which meant a very traffic free section of the trip. I stopped just before Canonbie village to admire these foxgloves.
The wind from Canonbie to Langholm both strengthened and took an unfriendly turn so the last few miles were a bit of a slog but I kept the average up to 15.3mph for the round trip of 82 miles. It was a most enjoyable day out and a map of the route can be found here for anyone interested.
I was home by half past four, just in time for a nice cup of tea and a fancy cake which Mrs Tootlepedal happened to have about her.
I had a quick walk round the garden before I had a post ride bath.
In the evening, we were visited by Mike and Alsion Tinker and Alison and I played sonatas by Handel, Vivaldi and Loeillet and a very nice division on a ground called Paul’s Steeple. It would be hard to find a nicer way to end the day. A glass of wine afterwards was the icing on the cake.
We’re back to the rain gain tomorrow so I just had to take this picture of a product of TLM® to cheer myself up.