On track

Today’s guest picture is a glorious view of Arran sent by Bruce who is/was on holiday there.

Arran

The forecast was good and the wall calendar indicated a day with no engagements so Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off on an excursion.  A good excursion should have a scenic drive, an agreeable destination, a gentle cycle circuit, a place to obtain a cup of tea and cake and, if possible, a garden centre.    Today’s excursion was indeed a good one.

The only problem with day from my point of view was that there were far too  many photo opportunities and if we had stopped for every one, we wouldn’t have got to our destination at all.

We were aiming for Peebles as our friend Gavin had told us that there is new cycle route along a railway track there.  Cycle routes along railway tracks are just what Mrs Tootlepedal likes.  Our drive was slightly protracted as after thirty miles and with twenty still to go, a sign at a junction in the middle of nowhere informed us that the road we wanted to take was closed.  This meant that we had to make a fifteen mile diversion through Selkirk and lovely as the Ettrick valley  is, this was quite a long way.

Still, the weather was wonderful and the hills beautiful so we arrived in Peebles in good heart and parked beside the River Tweed.  Peebles on a sunny summer day is a good place to be…

Peebles

…especially for a bridge lover like me.  There was an old bridge over the Tweed at one end of the car park….

Tweed bridge at peebles

…and a new one at the other end.

Tweed bridge at peebles

We crossed the new bridge and cycled through the town until we picked up the old railway to Innerleithen.  After some twists and turns and a short tunnel, we were soon out in the country.  We passed an old castle…

peebles railway cycle route

…a new golf course…

Cardrona
I put this in especially for Dropscone.

…and cycled through woods….

peebles railway cycle track

….over a brand new bridge…

peebles railway cycle track

…and along the banks of the Tweed….

peebles railway cycle track

…passing beautiful hedge roses….

peebles railway cycle track

…until we arrived at Innerleithen, nestling among the hills.

Innerleithen

We had certainly had a lot to look at in the seven miles since we left the car.  We didn’t go into Innerleithen as it was the day of a ride out as part of the Beltane Festival at Peebles and we didn’t want to get caught up in the horses if we were late getting back.  Instead of returning up the railway track, we crossed the Tweed yet again and went back by quiet back roads….

near cardrona

…on the south side of the river.  We passed Traquair House….

Traquair House

…which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland.  It has been lived in for 900 years.  The distant view of the house in the photograph above was taken through the Bear Gates.

Lion Gates

These gates were closed in 1745 after a visit by Bonnie Prince Charlie and will not be opened again until there is a Stewart on the throne of Scotland.  Don’t hold your breath.

Rather reluctantly we passed a fine garden open to the public (with tearoom) and resolved to come and do this circuit again and make time to visit the interesting places on the way round.

After fifteen miles of excellent cycling, we arrived back at the car and drove out of Peebles well before any Beltane excitement started.  We went home past another notable open garden,  the source of the Tweed, the Devil’s Beef Tub and Moffat.  Once again the drive alone would have been worth an outing just for itself as the day remained sunny and the hills looked beautiful.

It hurt to pass so many views without stopping to get the camera out but they will stay in my mind so I at least can still enjoy them.

After leaving my bike under the  care of some sheep in Lockerbie yesterday, we left the car under the stern gaze of the Moffat ram today…

Moffat Ram

…while we went to revive the inner man and woman with a cup of tea and a cake.  Then I walked down the street to sample one of Moffat’s celebrated home made ice creams while Mrs Tootlepedal wandered through a handy garden centre.

The drive back to Langholm down the old A74 was the only dull spot of the day as it is not a very scenic route but the road was empty and our progress was swift so we didn’t repine.

The driving added up to 132 miles so it was a bit of a long way to go for a 15 mile cycle ride but it was a glorious day for a drive and the back roads were both beautiful and very quiet so we enjoyed the whole day a lot.   Mrs Tootlepedal declared that it had been a grand day out and there can be no higher praise than that.

We are singing with the Langholm Choir very early tomorrow morning as the Queen’s Baton Relay comes to Langholm as part of the preparation for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games and we had a final practice tonight.  This left us with no time for relaxation when we got home and I got busy with the lawn mower while Mrs Tootlepedal got busy with her watering can.

I had a moment to look at the flowers which are flourishing after the recent good weather.

lupin and geranium
lupin and geranium
clematis
A new clematis has appeared.
Lilian Austin
Lilian Austin challenges our royal roses for beauty

After several not very successful years growing tomatoes myself, I have left them to the gardener to grow this year and things are looking good as a result.

tomato

I was able to pick enough strawberries for a dish with my tea but I ate them before I could photograph them.

The garden is full of families of sparrows at the moment.

sparrow feeding young

The choir practice went well and we even practised singing in the open air.  The arrangements for tomorrow seem a little vague and singing at half past seven in the morning is certainly going to tax my vocal chords but we can only hope for the best.  It will certainly be an unusual occasion.

The non flying flower of the day is a new Iris.  Spot the bee.

Yellow Iris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “On track

  1. What a fabulous excursion. Wonderful photos. Thanks for news of the diversion as the Highland Show starts tomorrow so my brother needs to be aware. I always thought they were ‘The Bear Gates’ of Traquair? Happy singing in the morn.

    1. Of course they are Bear Gates, I have edited the post to reflect this. Thank you for the correction. I plead old age in my defence. I hope that your brother enjoys the show, At least the weather is going to be better than usual this year.

  2. I am seriously envious of your most excellent biking paths! A good surface, lovely surroundings, and a road that leads somewhere you want to go. A grand day, indeed.

  3. The photos from your excursion were wonderful, but I do hope that you make a return trip, as your descriptions of the places that you didn’t have time to photograph sounded equally great! Good luck tomorrow!

  4. As you said, a grand day out indeed, lovely views, splendid guest picture and pretty flowers to look at when you got home, hope the singing went well.

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