Back on the bike

Today’s guest picture is of a showy bed of tulips in Regents Park, London where my daughter Annie was taking a walk.

regent's park

We are almost beginning to forget the five months of gloomy weather that have just passed as the present dry and sunny spell continues, bringing joy to the hearts of the townspeople of Langholm.

I was very pleased myself when I woke up this morning with no aches and pains of any sort after my gentle tumble off my bike yesterday.  As a result when Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a cycling outing, I was only too pleased to join her and we set out on a ride up the Esk valley, crossing the river four times as we made a figure of eight loop through Bentpath and Westerhall.

This ride starts with a stiff climb and I was able to catch Mrs Tootlepedal as she stormed over the summit at Peden’s View.

over the summit

We kept our eye out for roadside wild flowers as we went.  There were a lot of celandine about but I wasn’t allowed to photograph them as Mrs Tootlepedal hates them as only a gardener can hate a persistent weed.  Luckily there were plenty of other candidates.

wild flowers
Gorse, bluebell, violet, cowslip, ladies’ smock and anemone

We stopped at Georgefield to admire the llamas….


…or alpacas. I can’t tell the difference.

We crossed the Esk at Bentpath and went up the east side of the river to Enzieholm.  We crossed the river at Enzieholm and went back down the west side of the river until we got to Bentpath where we crossed the river again and continued south through the Westerhall estate.

We crossed an impressive bridge soon after we entered the park.

Westerhall bridge

….admired some early rhododendrons…


…and passed through the south gates and bumped our way along a farm track until we crossed the river for the last time at Burnfoot and regained the road to Langholm.  The trip was fifteen miles of pure pleasure.

We had had an early light lunch before we set out and we had a late light lunch when we got home again.

We were just about to have a cup of tea when Sandy appeared with camera in hand.  He joined us for a cup of tea and then I changed out of my cycling clothes and while Mrs Tootlepedal went back to gardening, Sandy and I went for a walk.  Once again the Esk was crossed as we walked  along the Murtholm down to Skippers Bridge and walked back on the town side.

More wild flowers were to be seen.

wild flowers
An anemone (we think), Ladies’ smock again, golden saxifrage and oxalis.

The river is quite low and so we clambered down onto the rocks at Skippers Bridge.

Looking downstream
Looking through the bridge at the old distillery.

There were birds to be seen as well.

grey wagtail
Sandy spotted this grey wagtail near the bridge.
A familiar sight
heron flying
A stately flypast

There was interest on every side.

The river bank near the Dyehouse was lined with willows
willow with bee
One of them had proved very attractive to a number of bees.

More sinister plants were to be found.

Japanese knotweed
Japanese knotweed, a pest that is costing millions in an attempt to control it nationally.

Sandy went off on an extended walk and I collected our car from the garage where it is going to have a new track rod bearing fitted tomorrow.  When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was involved in an extensive task of clearing ivy and cutting back a berberis.  I noticed a couple of newcomers in the garden flower department.

A new fritillary and a dog tooth violet
A new fritillary and a dog tooth violet

Old established flowers had asked to be taken too and I couldn’t resist their charms.

Pretty as a picture as they say.

Just as I was going in to cook the tea, we were treated to another stately flypast. This time it was a bird of a distinctly different feather.

low flying aircraft

It missed our chimney but not by much.  There have been a lot of these planes flying low over the surrounding hills and many helicopters too.  We imagine that they are practising for the invasion after Scotland votes for independence in September.  Perhaps not though.

In the evening, we went off to a choir practice for Langholm Sings.  We are in the last stages of preparing for our concert on Sunday week and I got the opportunity to take half the practice and enjoyed myself immensely, leaping around like a demented marionette.  The choir is sounding very good for a small open access community group and we are keeping our fingers crossed that singing with the local orchestra will go well and that we can do ourselves justice.

Either the heron or the aeroplane might have been flying bird of the day but, in the end, I decided that a chaffinch should have that honour.  I hope that you agree.

flying chaffinch





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “Back on the bike

  1. So pleased there’s no soreness after yesterday’s tumble. Phew! A lovely batch of photos today of my favourite valley in the region. In ‘More flowers’ the first photo I’d say is a stitchwort, but hard to be sure looking down on the head. Alpacas at Georgefield! Also rhea in the same field, or they were! Quite a menagerie there now. Happy singing, to drown out the military manoeuvres.

    1. I was hoping to see the rheas but they didn’t seem to be there. Another correspondent has told me that it was a stitchwort too. I have rapped Mrs Tootlepedal’s knuckles.

  2. Ooosh, so glad to hear you are well and not even bruised. I’ve been lax in my blog reading (and writing) recently, pulled this way and that with other things. So now I will go backwards in your posts, to learn what happened.

    I particularly like the way you sometimes make grids of smaller photo images, interspersed with the larger sizes. Haven’t seen that before and some day may need to steal the idea, it’s a good one.

  3. Excellent photos one and all! In the photo of the daffodils, it looks as if they were arranged, yet at the same time, it looks like each individual flower is competing the the rest to get its picture taken. And the flying chaffinch is one of your all time best.

  4. Fall, oh no, I’m reading this in reverse order; I’m going to have to catch up! Spring flowers and growth are so uplifting.Where have all the coltsfoot flowers gone? they seem to have disappeared around here.

  5. A wealth of lovely photographs – especially liked the wild flowers. Glad to hear the choir practice went well and that you were none the worse for your fall.,

  6. The shot looking downstream makes me want to canoe around the corner – and I don’t even have a canoe!

  7. I am confused – haven’t you had a lot of rain for quite awhile? Yet the river is low? I especially like the heron and the bee. It’s a bit like seeing old friends and being glad they’re out and about.

    I’m glad you had a really good ride. That must . . . soften? . . . the memory of the fall.

  8. I agree with ravenhare and think the flower is a stitchwort and most probably a lesser rather than a greater stitchwort though without seeing the rest of the plant it’s difficult to say. The lesser stitchwort has much more deeply lobed petals than the greater.

  9. The flying heron was well caught indeed and I was beginning to get dizzy with the number of times you crossed the river. Who’s going to be invading who once Scotland is independent? Should I be building a bunker and stocking up on food?

  10. What a lovely lot of photos in this post! My favorites are the flying heron and the gorgeous white daffodils. Sorry to read the wind set them awry. So many lovely flowers, always a great cheer-me-up.

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