Today’s guest picture, sent to me by her father, shows Matilda in a discussion on parenting showing a very fair minded effort to see both sides of the question.
It was a warm and windless day and in spite of some disagreement from certain recalcitrant joints, I decided to make the best of it and go for a more adventurous pedal than usual.
My creaky knees meant that I wasn’t in any hurry to get going and I put off the moment of departure by looking round the garden before I left.
A scruffy blackbird was doing some much needed grooming.
The white peonies look more gorgeous every day at the moment.
It is not Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite flower (she calls it a thug) but I like our cornflowers.
I finally girded my loins and got going. My route took me north from the town up the Esk valley and I stopped after about ten miles to admire this view….
…and to walk down to the side of the river….
…where I would find the Girdle Stanes, a prehistoric stone circle.
My phone is not great at picking detail out of a crowded background but here is an impression of the circle (or rather half circle as the rest has been swept away by the river).
This is one of seven sites that make up the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.
Leaving the stones, I crossed the White Esk at Eskdalemuir…
…but only when a party of sheep had made way for me….
…and headed over the hill out of the White Esk valley and down into the Black Esk valley and then up again out of that and down into Dryfesdale.
This part of the journey was going across the grain of the land but on a fine, calm day like today, it was a joy to follow the undulations of the road.
On the way over the hills, I had been listening to a lot of complaints from my left knee so I stopped and adjusted the height of my saddle by about 1 cm and this made a terrific difference to my comfort. It is amazing how much a tiny difference in saddle height can add to or subtract from the pleasure of riding a bicycle.
The Dryfe Water took me into the market town of Lockerbie, where I hired a couple of sheep to look after my bike….
… while I went to purchase some of the famed Lockerbie chips for a much needed snack. I had done about 26 miles by this time and this had included a good many hills so I was glad of the rest.
The second half of my journey was a lot flatter but to make up for this, the sun was at its height and the day got very hot and heavy so I found the flat going even harder than the hills had been in the fresher air of the morning.
Still, I battled on down to Gretna and then back through Glenzier and Canonbie to Langholm. I passed a hive of activity at one of the drilling sites near Canonbie.
There are currently two schemes afoot, one to extract gas and the other to dig coal from the large coal field that lies beneath the green fields in this area. I think that this rig belongs to the gas seekers.
The pictures of the ride make it look much more cloudy than it actually was and I have got quite sunburned knees after the fifty mile circuit.
Those interested may find details of the ride here.
Owing to a rather late start and the need for extensive rehydration and recovery when I got back, this effort took up most of my day but I did have some time to walk round the garden again before tea.
Frogs and blackbirds were to the fore again.
Their majesties were in good form too.
I found a more decorative tiny creature on an Iris. I would be pleased of any reader can tell me what it is. It was very small, about 1cm long.
It is rare that Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like the look of a flower but for some reason, this St John’s Wort isn’t to her taste at all.
I know what I like and this is it.
Two new clematis plants have come into flower.
And the Rosa Goldfinch is really doing well.
I rounded the day off with a visit to Carlisle with Susan to play with our recorder group. All six of us were there and sometimes that is a bit overpowering in a small room but tonight we were on very good form and played sweetly and the hour and a half flashed by. This was also a tribute to the fine selection of music from Bassano through Haydn to Fauré which our librarian Roy pulled out of his seemingly inexhaustible well of recorder part music.
There was no time to catch a flying sparrow today so a non flying complicated rose is the flower of the day.