Today’s guest picture shows Matilda enjoying a little sunshine but warmly clad in the hat and shawl which her granny knitted for her.
Mrs Tootlepedal was in adventurous mood again today and since the wind was light and the weather was fair, she suggested lunch at Newcastleton.
Newcastleton is only ten miles away but between it and Langholm lies the Langholm Moor rising to over 1000 ft and starting with a one and a half mile climb, an instant descent and then another lengthy uphill haul. It seemed like a good idea on a day that was too good to waste so after a big plate of porridge and some coffee we set off. I was riding my belt drive bike.
We were very pleased to arrive at the White Yett, at the top of the first hill, without having had to stop for a breather on the way.
I took a picture or two as we went over the moor.
We stopped to eat a nourishing banana beside three lovely clumps of cowslips in a passing place. This was one of them.
There was no time for taking pictures once we were over the top, as there is a splendidly uninterrupted descent down into Liddesdale and the little town of Newcastleton.
We had a good lunch in the Olive Tree cafe there. I nibbled on a lightly toasted goats cheese panini with coleslaw while Mrs Tootlepedal got her laughing gear round a substantial all day breakfast.
Before we left Newcastleton, we paid a visit to the newly erected bridge across the Liddel Water which, when it is officially opened, will take cyclists and pedestrians directly to the mountain biking centre at Dykecrofts. It was rather ugly and somewhat larger than we expected.
Instead of battling back across the moor, we chose the longer 16 mile route home via Canonbie. Although this route must be downhill as it follows the Liddel downstream through the valley, it has some stiff climbs on the way and feels surprisingly like hard work. Still, we managed it and then took the bike route up the Esk from Canonbie back to Langholm.
There were bluebells to be seen beside the way here.
The ride is not very long but it is quite taxing with 1500ft of climbing so we were pleased to get a sit down with a cup of tea when we got home. We had taken our time going round but had thoroughly enjoyed the beautiful weather and the lovely views on the way.
Details of the ride can be found here for those with time to kill.
I was a little worried that the 27 miles of our circuit wouldn’t quite get me to a nice round 500 miles for the month so after I had finished my cup of tea (we were joined by Mike Tinker), I got out the (fairly) speedy bike and nipped out for a quick 10 mile dash to the bottom of Callister and back. The benefit of a good warm up was demonstrated by my best time of the year for this ride.
When I got home again, I was much struck by the evening sunlight playing on the tulips.
The anemone looked good too…
…and the aubretia dangling from the chimney pot under the feeder caught my eye as well.
At odd times during the day, when I had a moment, I looked out for an exciting bird shot but my timing was off and I missed any excitement there was and had to settle for two perching birds. The cute…
…and the striking.
An already excellent day was rounded off by a bowl of slow cooked venison stew for my tea and a trip to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group. Roy, our librarian, produced an eclectic programme of music from dances of King Henry VIII’s time to a rag by Scott Joplin by way of Mozart and Gounod among others. Most enjoyable and stimulating.
I did catch a rather fuzzy siskin to be the flying bird of the day.
Final note: when I checked my cycling stats, I found that the 500 mile target had in fact been exactly reached after our lunch circuit but as I enjoyed the dash to Callister, I didn’t mind.