Today’s picture, in the absence of any correspondents’ contributions, is a convolvulus flower. They are peeking out of many a hedgerow just now.
I had an opportunity to go round the morning run with Dropscone today but a combination of forecast bad weather and things to do over the next three days persuaded me to turn it down and to go for a longer, gentler pedal by myself while the weather was still good.
In fact, just after I had set off after a leisurely breakfast, I met Dropscone whizzing down the manse brae at great speed having almost completed his 21 miles. I carried on at a gentle speed and not being able to continue along the Wauchope road because of the missing bridge, I went over the hill past the Kerr and down onto the Annan road. I followed this as far as the outskirts of Annan and then returned along it with a diversionary loop past Chapelcross at the start of the return journey and another loop down to the A7 at the end. This gave me just under 42 miles of generally flat riding.
I might have been able to show you many interesting and novel photos of the route if I had remembered to put my camera into my back pocket but as I hadn’t, I can’t.
I had a light lunch and a walk round the garden when I got home.
After lunch Sandy came down to collect his share of the raspberry jam (it passed the taste test with flying colours) and we went off for a little photographic jaunt.
We drove to the old coal mining village of Rowanburn in the parish of Canonbie. The mine there closed in 1922 but the huge Canonbie coal field is back in the news these days as there are schemes both to extract methane gas and to mine coal again under consideration.
Needless to say, the locals are not very happy at the prospect of fracking.
We parked the car in the village next to a small memorial to the industrial past…
…and set off along the old railway spur to the colliery to join the Langholm to Riddings railway line and walk as far as Riddings Viaduct.
We couldn’t resist a shot of a little shed in passing.
It looked as though the track might be rather overgrown.
But it has obviously been well cared for and we were soon strolling through peaceful woods along a well kept path.
We passed the occasional fungus…
…and well attended wild flowers…
..before arriving at the barrier across the viaduct.
There was a big enough hole in the fence to get through but there was a barrier at the English end too and as I don’t like heights, I was happy to leave the line and scramble down the bank to the road below.
We walked though a field to the banks of the river Liddel (which at this point is the boundary between Scotland and England) and were able to admire the viaduct from below.
At first sight it seems conventional enough.
But closer examination reveals that it is far from straightforward.
It crosses the river in a gentle curve and the pillars are rhomboidal rather than rectangular.
Every line is offset and the track looks impossibly fragile from below.
The skill of the engineers who built it is remarkable.
The blocks in the pillars show the holes that are marks of the lifting process.
As well as being an engineering marvel, it is also very beautiful.
We left rather reluctantly and scrambled back up the hill onto the line and walked back to Rowanburn.
A broom in seed caught my eye on the way.
Once again, I was indebted to Sandy for suggesting an interesting walk. We both felt that our cups of tea and biscuits when we got home had been well earned.
Sandy left and I did a little work shredding yet more of the cuttings which Mrs Tootlepedal is producing in her tidying up process in the garden. I also turned a little more of the compost from bin A into bin B. This is quite heavy work now as in the bottom part of the bin the compost is already well rotted so I am taking it carefully, a bit at a time.
After the cycling, the walking, the snapping and the shredding, I was more than ready for a sit down and a nourishing curry for my tea.
In the midst of the activities, I did find time to catch a chaffinch in flight.