Acting my age again

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother Andrew paid to the Spanish port of Santander last month.

There is a little outcrop with lighthouse at the harbour entrance

The weather was good and, importantly, the wind was light so in the absence of Dropscone who golfs on a Wednesday, it seemed like a good day to test out the legs.  I had had a sound night’s sleep and my hip is always improved by a little cycling so I set out to cycle a decent distance, decent being however far I could go before I found that I had gone too far.  In the end an age related 72 miles without any big hills to climb turned out to be just what the doctor ordered.

I cycled to Gair first, passing this pretty bluebell wood just outside Waterbeck.

bluebell wood

The scenery got less attractive as I joined the old A74 for the bulk of the ride.  I went north as far as Johnstonebridge where I sat on the parapet of the bridge and ate my lunch.

The view from the bridge was very pretty.

river annan

This is the handsome bridge seen from below.

Johnstonebridge
The old A74 bridge across the River Annan

The old A74 is suitable for cyclists to potter along now as it has been superseded by the new M74and a few yards away from the old bridge where I was eating my egg roll and banana, I could see the constant stream of traffic sweeping across the new bridge.

M74
I found a quiet moment for the picture.

After a short stop, I went back down the road as far as Gretna, where I had another egg roll and a second banana, and then cut across country on narrow lanes…

Near Gretna

..until I arrived home, having enjoyed the last few miles with a helpful wind.

It was not an exciting route choice scenically but it had the benefit of providing long spells of steady pedalling without junctions or steep hills and as this was just what I needed, I was very happy with it.  I was also pleased that I was able to set a tempo that I was able to keep up the whole way round.  I won’t be able to do our local 60 mile hilly sportive on Sunday so this was a satisfactory substitute.

For anyone who is wanting an excuse to delay doing the washing up, the details of the route can be found here.

When I got back, I had a quick walk round the garden before having a shower.

Two new blue flowers have come to join the fun.

Jacob's ladder and Geranium
Jacob’s Ladder and Geranium

And the late yellow tulip has developed a delicate red outline to its petals.

yellow tulip

A reader recently remarked that the Lily of the Valley is her favourite flower and I thought it was looking well today so here it is.

Lily of the valley

The dark pink prunus against the back hedge (possibly a Prunus cerasifera ‘Atropurpurea’ but we are still struggling to pin it down) is producing some lovely blossom.

prunus

In spite of this garden colour,  I felt that I had had a rather dull day with my camera so I rang up Sandy and suggested a short excursion to the nuthatch nest by way of the Kilngreen.

Sandy is getting steadily better but is far from being as well as he should be at the moment and he thought a little walk might do him good. Mrs Tootlepedal was too busy in the garden to come with us.

A visit to the Kilngreen showed that the heron has had enough dancing for the time being and is now practising his singing.

heron

We moved on to the nuthatch nest and didn’t have long to wait before one of the pair appeared.

nuthatch

We think that the female must be sitting on the nest as there wasn’t enough activity to suggest that they were feeding youngsters.

We walked back to the car round the new path and enjoyed the fruits of spring as we went.

coniferous tree

coniferous tree

coniferous tree

We were stopped in our tracks by a bunch of threatening sheep….

sheep on castleholm

…but after some negotiation, they let us through.

Just as we got back to the car, a dog entertained us by taking a brisk path in a large puddle.

wet dog

I didn’t have any luck with birds on the feeder today in the short time that I had and this blackbird, looking to see off any rivals, was my only shot of a bird on the feeder…

blackbird

…but I did catch a shy blue tit in a willow bush.

blue tit in willow

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a choir session with Langholm Sings.  For a variety of reasons there was a thin turnout but we had an enjoyable sing with a couple of old favourites from our back catalogue, the song for the Commonwealth Games  Baton Relay and the Chorus of Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco.    A good mixture.

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull.

black headed gull

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Acting my age again

  1. That gull looks pretty cool Tom! You’re right about acting your age again! It’s good to be 30! 🙂

  2. I pedaled my way down a rail trail this afternoon that turned out to be mostly soft sand. My legs are still aching.
    It’s hard to imagine anything prettier than those drifts of bluebells.
    It must be close to shearing time for those sheep.

    1. I feel your pain as far as your legs go. Pedalling through soft surfaces is tremendously hard work. I hope that you got some good pictures to make it worthwhile.

  3. Glad the cycling ŵent so well, well done for choosing a sensible route too. Loved the heron practising his singing and the old bridge over the A74. Pleased to hear that Sandy’s health is improving.

  4. That sheep stand-off was bravely dealt with! You never know with sheep what they’ll do next. I liked the gull photo. Those birds seem to be all controlled muscle – no softness.

  5. Congratulations on your long ride. Good to see the heron singing instead of grumping. Best wishes to Sandy for better health soon.

  6. Thank you for the Lily of the Valley photo! Mine have opened up so I will need to bring a few inside to enjoy their lovely scent. If it would only stop raining here. We have standing water everywhere!

    You have such lovely bridges, they make great photo subjects! I guess we can’t call the heron Mr. Grumpy today as he looks quite happy singing his song. Your negotiations with the threatening sheep gave me quite a good chuckle and your flying bird of the day left me speechless!

  7. Honestly don’t know how you manage to cycle so many miles! After just a few, my hand starts going tingly from holding the handlebars. I suppose I could try without holding on, but I’m guessing I’m too clumsy for that.

    1. This is probably unwanted advice but I would suggest looking at your riding position so that you are not weighing down on you r wrists too heavily. Also, if you have straight handlebars, consider getting ones that curl towards you at the ends so that you can vary your hand position frequently. Cycling should be stress free if everything is set up right.

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