Rubbing shoulders with greatness

Today’s picture comes from Monterey, CA and was sent to me by Dropscone’s niece, Hilary,  who was on a visit.  I’m not going swimming there.


The first thing to say about today’s post is that there really are too many pictures in it but my defence is that it is my diary and I had a very picturesque day.

It was a grey and drizzly day and Dropscone had to go off cycling without me as Mrs Tootlepedal and I were on a mission.  I had time to fill the feeder and catch a chaffinch looking sad that we were leaving…


…before we left.  Our destination was the old A6 south of Carlisle and we were looking for a longish hill.

hill on A6

We parked at the top and walked down to join this group of people at the half way point.  It was wet.  Nevertheless the people waiting were in good humour.

wet but happy
Wet but happy

The reason for standing around half way up a hill in the middle of nowhere in the pouring rain was the imminent arrival of the Tour of Britain cycle race.  Its coming was heralded by waves of police motorcyclists.

To avoid closing the roads for longer than necessary, they act as rolling road blocks in ever overtaking waves. They come from all over the UK.

It really was very wet.

Finally, a sight of something that wasn’t a police motorcycle….

A breakaway
Even this early in the race, a small breakaway had formed.
Breakaway group
You can see the hill was steep enough to make them work hard.

At the back of the break, one fellow was pushing the rules a bit.

Not right
Notice the brave cameraman kneeling on the back of the motorbike on the right.

A few minutes later, there was a stir at the bottom of the hill where the route joined it from a small side road.

First there was a trickle
Then a flood

And soon the whole road was full of cyclists as the peleton whizzed up the hill towards us.


The black and blue jerseys of the Sky team were well to the fore as usual but Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out for the rainbow jersey of world champion Mark Cavendish.

And there he was, right at the front and on our side of the road.

Opera buffs sing the praises of Cav and Pag but we were there to see Cav and Brad…

Wiggo with the famous sideburns.

They were looking so cheerful in the awful weather because the team car had just told them that they were going to appear in Tootlepedal’s blog.  Actually, for the few seconds that they were going past us, the rain stopped and let me get the camera out safely.

Just behind, urgent repairs were being made.


They were done so quickly that the rider had rejoined the pack almost as soon as it was past us.

back of the pack

A couple of stragglers were pushing hard to get back in contact.


And then the whole cortège swept away over the top of the hill…

goodbye to the tour

…and disappeared into even worse rain that before.  We followed on sedately in the car as far as a handy garden centre (called the Garden of Eden as it is near the River Eden) which has a nice tea room where we had our morning coffee and a toasted tea cake.

What could make the day better after that?  One thing was the glorious sunshine that greeted us when we got back to Langholm.

glorious sunshine
And it stayed like this for the rest of the day.

We got back in time for a bite of lunch and then there was more fun as Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Hoddom and I went off to the dentist.  My dentist is a keen cyclist and was sad that he couldn’t have got a day off to follow the tour.  I am sure that many of his patients were equally sad but I had a good visit and left smiling.

Mr Buddy, cyclist and dentist.

One of the consolations of waiting for your appointment to start is the good stock of up to date cycling magazines in the waiting room.

I had had to fill the feeder again when I got back from the cycling and there was the usual traffic moments later.

all action at the feeder

The contrast with the morning’s weather couldn’t have been greater.  The sun was so bright that in the next picture, the camera is able to freeze all motion out of a busy scene.

still life
Still life

But even the quickness of the camera couldn’t take the action out of the the next scene.

bird peleton
The peleton arrives

When I got back from the dentist, I had a quick wander round the garden.

Japanese anemones
Mrs Tootlepedal intends to plant a new bunch of these Japanese anemones in the hole left by moving the rhododendron
The little bramble patch by the drying green is being quite fruitful

And I was very pleased to see a pair of starlings.  We haven’t seen many this summer.


The white potentilla asked politely to be put in as a complement to yesterday’s array of yellow potentillas.

white potentilla

Then, since it was so sunny, I went in to get changed for a bike ride.  I did take a moment to be amazed by the birds.

siskin queue
A full house of siskins

I got the fairly speedy bike out and cycled the 21 miles to Waterbeck and back.  There was a brisk wind from the north west and in spite of the sun, I was glad that I had a good layer of warm clothes on.  I pedalled gently and stopped to take a few pictures.  This is one of my favourite views.  It shows the road to Winterhope.


Perhaps one of the reasons that I like this view is that it gives me an excuse to stop half way up the hill and take a quick breather while I get the camera out.

Col de Callister
Col de Callister (223m)

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned and kindly made me a cup of tea.  While I waited for it to cool down, I sat for a moment in the garden and admired the enormous number of circulating insects.

None of them bit me.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a meeting about our choir.  The bloke who has been taking it had looked a bit too good to be true and sadly so it turned out and we are looking for a new leader.  It’s a pity because he was very good at making us enjoy our singing.

No flying bird today as there have been quite enough pictures.












Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “Rubbing shoulders with greatness

      1. I need to keep him in order at the moment!
        Tom, I am excited about the possibility of my niece visiting you and Mrs Tootlepedal – she and her fiancee are in Ed. I will let you know!

  1. Well that certainly was an exciting day! You took a great amount of pictures for such a short duration and congratulations on some excellent photos of the more prestigious riders. I probably would have managed a pedal shot of a domestique. Perhaps you could be one of those cameramen on the back of a motorcycle!

    1. Standing halfway up a steep hill on a straight road is the secret. Even then the ones you want to see have to be on your side of the road. Once again, luck was with me.

      I don’t think I am quite the man for the back of the motorbike though.

  2. You squeeze more energy into one day than I can muster for a year! My goodness … I suppose the wonderland you live in gives your that get-up-and go … so glad you share your adventures.

  3. What a thrill to see all those famous cyclists so close to home, your photographs were amazing. Glad you managed a 21 mile cycle, hope your legs were OK next day. Sorry about the choir leader, still you had a good time while he was in Langholm.

  4. Great Tour of Britain shots – we watched some of it live on TV yesterday afternoon. Your close-up shots are fantastic – well done – mine would have been “fuzzy”

  5. Fantastic Tour of Britain Cycle Race pictures – well done indeed. Glad you managed a bicycle ride yourself. Hope you find a new leader for your choir.

  6. The race is quite the spectacle! How lucky to have the route pass close enough to go watch. Great photos, as always. A speed-walking race once passed by my house and I assure you it was not nearly as interesting.

    1. I once thought of taking up speed walking as I turned out to be a rather slow runner but I turned out to be a rather slow speed walker too so I went back to slow running.

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