Today’s picture shows our visiting wood pigeon pulling itself up to its full height.
It wasn’t freezing and it wasn’t raining this morning and the wind was less than gale force. All in all, it was a pretty good day and I naturally got the slow bike out after breakfast and set out on a old favourite circlular tour.
The map of the route can be seen here.
I started by going up the B709 to Bentpath. On the way I stopped above the Craig to show the mixed winter colours of spruce and larch up the Douglen Cleuch. You can see a glimpse of James Ewart’s racing stables’ workout track in the bottom left corner of the photo.
As you can see, it was a lovely morning. The wind was a bit stronger than I had hoped but it was coming from the north west so I was partly sheltered by the hills on my left. At Bentpath, I crossed the river and went past Georgefield, before crossing the river again at Enzieholm Bridge and heading uphill past Lyneholm for Bailliehill.
At this point, I had turned more into the wind which was gusting heavily and at one stage, I looked at the speedometer to find that I was making all of 3 miles an hour in a particularly heavy gust. Luckily I got a bit of shelter from a passing hill and made it to the top, albeit very slowly.
At the top of the hill, I stopped to take a picture of a small man made pond and building.
Is it a summerhouse? Or a scientific research project? Or a carp pond? Why is it stuck out here in the middle of nowhere in a very exposed spot? Can anyone tell me?
At the top of the hill, I turned left for Paddockhole and now, I was at the mercy of a stiff cross wind. I was pleased at this stage to be on the slow bike because its wider handlebars let me keep the bike steadier in these conditions. At times I had to keep my wits about me to avoid being blown off the road.
I got safely off the top of the hill and into the head of the valley of the Water of Milk. There I was able to stop to take a picture or two to show why this is one of my favourite rides when the sun is out.
From Paddockhole, it was an easy 10 miles home with the brisk wind now behind me. I got back to Langholm just as a fine drizzle started to fall so in every way, except for the strength of the wind, it was a good morning out. Once again the trip was about a marathon in distance but because of the hills and the wind, I would have probably been beaten by Paula Radcliffe and only managed a meagre 11 mph. On this occasion speed wasn’t important and I cycled purely for the pleasure of it after so many days of indifferent weather.
I just had time to snap a pigeon…
…and have a couple of marmalade sandwiches for lunch before the sound of savage shouting alerted me to the fact that a football match (soccer) was being played on the Scholars’ Field. I had been wanting to try my camera out at a sports event so I scuttled round to the field. Just to show that I am not alone in being affected by the weather, a supporter told me that this was the first time the team had been able to play since November. They certainly looked a bit rusty and their fitness faded badly towards the end of the game. Football is not an easy game to photograph as the players are well spread out and the pitch is large. I did my best to give a flavour of the action. Langholm (black and yellow) were playing Selkirk (blue) in a cup game.
(There are quite a few of these pictures which I took for my own interest and if you are bored, skip to the end of the blog where there is another tasty marmalade photo.)
At one stage it looked as though Langholm had forced the ball across the goal line but the referee waved play on and anxious spectators asked me if I had captured the moment to prove him wrong. Of course I hadn’t. They were very disappointed and made remarks.
In spite of Langholm pressing hard, Selkirk broke away and scored and with the score at 3-1 to them with not long to go, I made an excuse and left the field. I was frozen.
When I got home, I warmed myself up by making another batch of fine cut marmalade. It ended up between the first two lots in colour so we have now got a good variety for the coming year.
We have made 34 pots so far, leaving us to make another 18 to reach our target.