Today’s guest picture is a glorious view of Arran sent by Bruce who is/was on holiday there.
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…
…especially for a bridge lover like me. There was an old bridge over the Tweed at one end of the car park….
…and a new one at the other end.
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…
…a new golf course…
…and cycled through woods….
….over a brand new bridge…
…and along the banks of the Tweed….
…passing beautiful hedge roses….
…until we arrived at Innerleithen, nestling among the hills.
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….
…on the south side of the river. We passed 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.
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…
…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.
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.
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.
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.