Good route choice

Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Matilda’s father, shows the great lengths that he and Clare go to in order to keep Matilda entertained.

Matilda and washing machine

We were blessed with another dry day today with occasional sunshine and light winds. After the success of the gentle pedal and walk yesterday, I thought I might be able to venture on a longer ride today so I girded my loins and set out on the (fairly) speedy bike after breakfast.

garmin route 20 Aug 2014I was interested to see whether I was able to add a few hilly sections to my cycling and by chance, I had agreed to fill the Moorland feeders for Sandy as he is going on holiday.  To get to the feeders requires a stiff climb up the road to Claygate and then another climb when you turn off onto the little road to the feeders themselves.

I was pleased to have managed these two climbs without much difficulty but less pleased when I found that someone had been there before me and filled all the feeders up.  I went back to the Claygate road and continued my ride which took me up and down hill and then down and up again into England over the bridge at Penton.

From there my route was less hard work.  It took me down into Longtown where I visited the bike shop and was able to get a annoying problem sorted out in a couple of minutes as it came from a loose cassette which was soon tightened.  I continued home in a much happier frame of mind without any more worrying creaks and groans from the bike.

Although the first part of ride had been quite challenging, the start of the second part was largely flat as I was now down on the Solway plain.

near Longtown
The view towards the sea
near Longtown
An inviting cycling prospect with good surface and no traffic

The whole circle was just over thirty miles and I made sure that I took it at a sensible speed with the result that I was able to walk quite freely when I got off the bike…not with grace and dignity maybe but with discernible forward motion in a straight line.  This was very welcome.

Those with time hanging heavy on their hands may see the route by clicking on the little map above.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got home, cleaning out sections of borders and putting in manure and a top mulch to improve the soil condition.  I am looking forward to seeing the results of all this hard work next year.

While I was talking to her, I noticed a flash of colour on a phlox.

peacock butterfly
A peacock butterfly

I went in and made and ate some potato soup for lunch and then went off to the Health Centre for my annual asthma check.  Possibly owing to singing in two choirs and playing the flute, my breathing has been better recently and I have been able to reduce my use of preventive puffers.  The nurse checked my peak flow and gave me a very handy little leaflet with a set of actions in it.

It has four pages.  If my peak flow  stays within 75% of target, I keep doing what I am doing.  If it gets down to about 50%, I should arrange an appointment at the health centre.  If it gets down to 25%, I should go straight to the health centre without an appointment and if it goes to less than 25%, I can stop worrying about anything.

I asked her what I should do if my peak flow improved.  She checked my age and said I didn’t need to bother about that.

It was all very reassuring.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was still slaving away over a hot spade so I suggested a drive in the car to give her a break and to take advantage of the pleasant weather.  She agreed and we set off to drive a short circular tour over the hills between the Ewes Valley and the Liddle Valley and back again.

This took us over Carewoodrigg which offers lovely views of rolling hills and sinuous valleys…

Carewoodrigg….down past Hermitage Castle….

hermitage castle….through Newcastleton and up onto the Langholm Moor.

Copshaw Road
Looking back into Liddesdale

We paused from time to time to do a little bird watching but there only the occasional distant bird to be watched though we did see a mother and one or two young partridges crossing the road as we came down into Tarras.

grouseWe stopped near the harrier nesting site but all the birds have long left the nest.  Some of the harriers are still about and we did catch a glimpse of one but again it was only fleeting so I took a picture of a fine pack of heather on the hillside instead.

Heather on the hill
The tracks relate to the hen harrier management as well as heather management

We stopped on the Kilngreen just before we got home.  Mr Grumpy was crouching again and I wondered whether he was poorly….

heronbut when he saw me, he got up and walked away.  Maybe his hips hurt too.

Among the usual black headed gulls there was a larger herring gull standing on the river bank.

herring gullThe gulls weren’t in a flying mood today and the ducks were all snoozing…

snoozing duck…so we didn’t stay long.

Back in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal was soon at work again while I had a wander around, camera in hand.

Several clematis are going really well in spite of the relatively low temperatures.
rudbeckia and nicotiana
Rudbeckia and nicotiana
Virginia creeper
Virginia creeper

And one of the cheerful sunflowers.

We put out some seeds we saved from last year’s sunflowers and the birds ate them all up.

I saw a cute young blackbird in the plum tree and rushed to get a shot.  I was less enamoured of it when I found it was eating one of my plums.  Still, there are plenty to share.
blackbird eating plumsThen I cycled down to the Co-op to get some stuff for a bacon and chick pea casserole which Mrs Tootlepedal was making for our tea and by this time that I got back, the activity of the day had caught up with me and my hip was reminding me that it was there so I descended into a comatose state for the rest of the evening.

As a result of keeping busy, there was no time to catch a flying bird today.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Good route choice

      1. Thanks, Tom. It’s pouring with rain today, so I went on a tour of Ben and Jerry & Jerry’s ice cream factory.

  1. The photo of Matilda is hilarious but that’s just the kind of thing that will keep them occupied. At least for a short while.
    You’ve outdone yourself with these landscape shots. They’re really beautiful, especially the castle and rolling hills.
    I’ve never seen a great blue heron crouch like that. I wonder if he’s just feeling his age.

  2. Poor old Mr. Grumpy looks quite odd when crouching. I got a kick out of your conversation with the nurse!

  3. You’ve taken me on a wonderful,beautiful journey today, and also brought back memories from when my son had asthma problems in his youth. Oh the charts I used to keep for all his medicines and inhalers and such. Glad you had a good report! Keep up the singing! PS: love that picture of Matilda!

  4. What a very busy day, no wonder your hip gets tired. Glad the asthma is improving though. Glad Matilda enjoys the washing machine, we didn’t have such treat when we were her age!

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