Helping Andy win

Today’s picture was sent to me by my brother who was visiting the David Austin rose collection with his wife.

David Austin roses

There were a tremendous number of young birds in the garden in the morning making a terrific racket as they demanded to be fed.  A starling tried desperately to get into the fat ball feeder to get some food for a squalling youngster perched on our neighbour’s roof.

It succeeded in the end and the youngster was fed.

A family of sparrows went on a grubbing outing at the far end of the front lawn.

I like the leaping one in the background.

A demanding young blackbird kept its mother busy.

blackbird feeding

It was the Wimbledon final today and I find that generally Andy Murray does better when I am not watching so I decided to go and check out the new bit of road surface near Canonbie which Dropscone had told me about.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I set off to go to Canonbie but by a fairly circuitous route in order not to be back in time to disturb Andy at his playing.

Young birds weren’t the only thing making a noise.  This bull at Wauchope schoolhouse was serenading a cow in a field across the road with a wonderful collection of roars, grunts and heart rending groans.

lonely bullI pedalled on over Callister and through Eaglesfield and Brydekirk before getting to Annan.  From there I headed west along the Solway shore, stopping at Powfoot….


…for a banana and shortly afterwards to admire a nest of alpacas in a field,

Or possibly llamas. I never know which is which.

The sun was out by this time and with flat roads in front of me and only a very light wind in my face, cycling was a great pleasure.

My next stop was for a bite of lunch in the café at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust.  I was entertained while munching on my bacon butty by both an osprey cam (two chicks on a nest nearby) and a barn owl cam (three chicks on a nest in the same building).

nest cams

I put my Garmin into my back pocket here while I was eating my lunch and through inexperience forgot to turn it off and it sneakily added 21 minutes to my journey time behind my back while I was eating.

I didn’t stop to admire any wildfowl as I only had sandycam in my back pocket and birds need a longer lens.  I pedalled on past Caerlaverock Castle and along the shore of the estuary of the River Nith where I stopped at Glencaple.  We had visited Glencaple earlier in the year on an outing with Sandy and on that occasion, the tide had been out.  It was well in today.

River Nith at Glencaple

I had considered trying to ride 100 miles today but good sense took over and I turned for home at Glencaple which was on the 40 mile mark.  Once again, I came to Caerlaverock Castle but this time I stopped there, paid the entrance fee and behaved like a tourist with a camera.

Caerlaverocck castle
The moat goes right round the castle which was originally built in 1270
Caerlaverock castle
The back wall has disappeared showing the apartments within the castle
Caerlaverock castle
There are many yards, turrets and stairs to explore.
Caerlaverock castle
They didn’t hold back when it came to adding chimneys
Caerlaverock castle
This fine building, The Nithsdale Lodging was added in 1630
Caerlaverock castle
Old and new building. The old hall looks shabby beside the new apartments opposite.

As well as enjoying looking at the castle, the views from inside the castle looking out were very good too.

Caerlaverock Castle

There is some restoration inside and some fine displays of lichen as well.

spiral stair

old doorway

I had a good look round and enjoyed the sight of a busy swallow feeding young at the top of a tower, too far up for me to get a picture.

As well as the castle, there is a visitor centre with an all important tea room….

Caerlaverock tea room

…where I enjoyed a pot of tea, a slice of lemon drizzle cake and and an ice cream.

Suitably refreshed, I headed back to Annan.  The wind had got up a bit but was now mostly behind or across so I made good time.  I stopped in the little village of Ruthwell, hoping to visit the Savings Bank Museum there but it was shut on a Sunday.

Ruthwell Savings bank
This was the first savings bank in Scotland. The notice on the wall is shown below the main picture.

Langholm opened its own savings bank in 1849 and this eventually became a branch of the Trustee Savings Bank.  This branch was eventually closed during our time on Langholm.

I pedalled happily on through Annan to Gretna and then along the main roads until I got to the turn off to Canonbie.  Dropscone was right.  A section of the road had been resurfaced….

Canonbie road

…and very smooth it was too but not before time as it has been terrible for years.

I rolled back into town seven hours after I had started having covered 82 miles.  Just under five and half hours of that had been spent pedalling and I was very pleased with my average moving speed of 15.3 mph.  I can’t pedal very fast but if the route is not hilly, I can keep up a steady pace for quite a long time.  100 miles here we come.

With my assistance in not putting more pressure on him by watching,  Murray had three set points for the match by the time I came in but as he promptly lost all three, I went out into the garden until he had won the match.  I must say that I had harboured doubts about his ability to win and I certainly never expected him him to do it in three straight sets so I was all the more pleased for him. Some of the English sports writers are going to have to look back on things they have written about him in the past and eat their words.

Talking about eating your words, many pundits and ex players who laid into Warren Gatland for dropping Brian O’ Driscoll and ruining the British Lions’ chances against Australia are going to have to eat very large portions of humble pie too.  What fun it all is.

While I was out in the garden not making Andy lose points, I took a few flower shots.

Martagon lily
The martagon lilies seem to have survived some falling buds and are doing well.
The alliums are almost ready for the final chop
Campanulas both tall and short are thriving
I don’t know whether both these are bees

No flying bird today as there are too many pictures already.

My card from Sandycam took a fit when I put it into the computer and claimed that it wasn’t formatted.  I was very cross as I had stopped at Caerlaverock just to take some pictures and I thought that they were all lost.  However, a little internet research and some expenditure provided me with a very nice programme which dug them out again.  That’s why this post is rather late.














Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Helping Andy win

  1. 82 miles, huh? I find that quite remarkable. The castle too. We have none of that old sort of stuff around here, of course, so I spent quite a lot of time gawking at your photos in this post.

    1. The mileage was quite comfortable as the route was flat. Cycling is after all only sitting down for long periods while wiggling your legs. It is only strenuous of you want it to be. I hope the time spent gawking was worthwhile.

  2. As Murray finished off his man, I turned to my wife and said, “Somewhere in Langholm, there is a man very interested in this match busily not watching it. He will be pleased when I finally finds out who won.”

    Thank you very much for the castle pics and congratulations on a very nice ride. 82 miles at 15+ mph is quite impressive!

  3. The castle photos are amazing. Yet another reason why I want to visit Scotland so much. What a lovely day you had and what a wonderful accomplishment with your miles!

  4. I helped Andy win by not watching a single second of Wimbledon this year. I like the castle, it’s about the same age as our old walls here. Do you save seed from your allium? I’m Hoping to save some from mine this year and get some new ones going. 🙂

  5. The castle looks ripe for exploring and what a day to do it. Your distances scare me but as long as they are pleasurable for you I salute you. We stayed in to watch that match and couldn’t believe our eyes.

  6. Well done for helping Andy Murray to win by that tremendous cycle ride, you must be encouraged. Lovely pictures as you cycled along too.

  7. A long bike ride AND a castle exploration. Very nice. Thank you for the the photographic tour. I like the contrast of the different construction periods represented. Following the link you provided I was interested to read that the south wall was deliberately demolished after the last siege to prevent the castle from being a useful defensive structure.

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