Today’s picture shows the good effect that closing a bridge has on the traffic on a main road from a cyclist’s point of view.
Dropscone was off rating a golf course and Mrs Tootlepedal had gone to work again so I had the day to myself from a cycling point of view. The forecast had promised a fine, warm day and a fine, warm day was what we got. The only fly in the ointment was the non arrival from France of my speedy bike’s new wheel so once again, I had to get out the slow bike for a longish ride. There is nothing wrong with the slow bike. It is very comfortable and reliable but it is heavy and has thick tyres so it takes a great deal of energy to push it along. It just doesn’t seem to get that lovely rolling momentum you get from a lightweight bike with thin tyres. You have to pedal every inch of the way.
The inches I was pedalling were in the direction of Longtown so I stopped at the bike shop there to ask about my wheel. They said it was promised for the middle of the week but it hadn’t arrived yet. They would ring France and let me know later on in the day what was happening.
I pedalled on down the A6071 in glorious peace. They have closed a bridge at the far end and the lack of traffic made it a treat to cycle along. I turned off before the closed bridge and went to Irthington. There is a handsome church in the village and it was my intention to stop and eat a snack in the churchyard there. Unfortunately the whole village was full of cars attending the funeral of what was obviously a very well known person. I took a quick picture and pedalled off.
After leaving the village, I made a short diversion to look at Carlisle Airport. There is an air museum there and this is one of the exhibits.
I waited a moment to see if there was any flying activity going on but there was none so I returned to my route. I crossed the main road and headed for Newby East, looking for somewhere to have my snack. I found this bench in the village. It didn’t quite have the charm of an old church yard but beggars can’t be choosers.
I had done 25 pretty flat miles by this time and a couple of tuna rolls were very welcome. I crossed the River Eden and headed for the only hilly section of the ride. This runs through some lovely country with many small ups and downs and a background of the Pennines behind.
I was heading for Castle Carrock, which would be my turning point. There are some very nice houses in the area and the sunny day certainly made this one stand out.
I was not much further south of the border than Langholm is north but this is a different world.
From Castle Carrock, the road was downhill and the wind was behind so all was well.
The scenery here is very pretty with small fields and abundant woodland in the rolling country. It is not easy to capture the character of the place in a single photo but here is an effort.
I paused at Talkin Tarn to get a sausage roll and a cup of coffee. The wind was rippling the waters of the tarn.
It looked like a great day for sailing but the boats were all parked.
There was a good number of visitors to this popular spot and the picnic tables were surrounded by large plastic water containers on the ground indicating that dog walking must figure largely in the activities here.
I pedalled on through Brampton and took the A6071 again. As the second bridge that I would come to was closed, I was going to cross the first of two bridges and then take a diversion to miss the closed bridge. The diversion would not only take me on roads I hadn’t cycled on before but would offer some good photo opportunities. What I didn’t know, as I cycled down to the river from Brampton, was that both bridges were closed and my diversion was unattainable. I was soon turned round by a helpful official and had to pedal back up the hill into Brampton. A route reshuffle saw me cycle back to Carlisle Airport again. This time there was plenty of air traffic with planes landing and taking off at frequent intervals. It was only after a while that I realised that it was the same plane going round in circles, practising landing and taking off without stopping.
I took a new route from the airfield through Laversdale and even if I hadn’t got my original route, I did have two miles of road that I hadn’t been up before as a consolation. When I rejoined the A6071, I found that my diversion had given me exactly the same distance as my original choice so nothing was gained or lost except a photo op. I called in at the cycle shop on my way back through Longtown and by coincidence a van delivered my wheel while I was talking to the owner. I agreed to pick it up later that afternoon and pedalled off home with a song in my heart.
The round trip was 63 miles and with the flat nature of most of the route, I managed to squeeze the average just above 14 mph.
When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal up a ladder.
She was trimming a climbing hydrangea which has a tendency to swamp the gutter above it. She had planted her new bed while I was out pedalling.
This is the concept of the mini greenhouse in action. The plants are ornamental grasses which need protection from very cold weather. I took a moment to look round the garden. The hot day had brought out the insects in force.
And it had encouraged another Lilian Austin rose to bloom.
After I had had a shower and a cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to Longtown in the car to pick up my new wheel. It looks very shiny. When we got home, we went for a short pedal round the Castleholm to enjoy this beautiful weather while it lasted.
The trees are turning very early indeed.
Although our journey was only two and half miles long, we were able to enjoy a fine variety of views.
I may possibly have taken pictures here before but it is so lovely that I think they stand a second or even third viewing.
I had a grand fry up for my tea which rounded off another excellent day. After I finish this post, I will put a week of the E & L into the database as I have been a bit behindhand with this task lately.
I finish with another look at the gerbera which our son Tony gave Mrs Tootlepedal on Mothering Sunday, April 3rd. It looks as though they may last for ever.