Today’s guest picture is from one of my sister Mary’s walks. She was impressed by the disciplined formation of these gulls.
After a couple of tumultuous days of wind and rain, we were blessed with a day of peace today. The wind dropped away to almost nothing and the sun shone and all was right with the world. The temperature even played its part by keeping above 3° C and leaving the roads frost free.
It was still pretty chilly after breakfast so I had time before the thermometer crept up to a heady 4.7°C to look out of the window….
….but in the end, I pulled myself together and set about getting the speedy bike out, pumping up the tyres, putting on several layers and arming myself with two bananas and a Kitkat chocolate biscuit. I had had a route in mind but very fortunately Joyce, who works in the shop where I bought my bananas, told me that she had driven along part of it on her way to work and the farmer had been cutting the hedges so my chosen road was covered in thorns.
I changed my plan and after a quick stop to admire the larch trees at Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mine…
….I headed over the hill and onto the road to Kirkpatrick Fleming. I saw two interesting sights. The first was Dropscone whizzing along past me in the opposite direction too quickly for me to get the camera out and the second was a large bunch of starlings in a tree.
Dropscone told me later that he had done a thirty mile trip starting when it was still very chilly. He had not wanted to come with me as he is suffering from saddle sores and thirty miles was his limit.
I pedalled on peering into the strong low sunshine and in the end turned down to Gretna and then crossed over into England. My knee is a bit delicate and I was anxious not to put it under too much stress so I kept to flat roads. I crossed the main line railway a couple of times and was impressed by the length of this goods train which was creeping up the slow lane near Todhills to let an express flash past.
North Cumbria has many fine lone pine trees in its hedges. This one was near Blackdyke.
…and then popped into our local bike shop to get an opinion on a rather loud and somewhat alarming bicycle noise. The verdict was ‘nothing fatal’ so I pedalled on, passing this wonderfully bright gorse bush in a hedge on the way to Chapelknowe.
From Chapelknowe, I took the direct route home and racked up 55 miles just as I came near the house. Thanks to the light wind and the flat roads, I managed to keep up a respectable speed (for me) and anyone with time hanging heavily on their hands can see the route by clicking on the map below.
…I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a trip to Gretna (by car this time) might let us see some interesting starling flocks. I was quite wrong about interesting starling viewing although the trip was quite good fun in itself.
The evening light was lovely.
We did see a few small bunches of starlings but there was nothing to write home about. The views were wonderful as we drove over and the Lake District hills looked striking in the dusk on the far side of the Solway when we got there.
There was quite a good sunset going on too….
…and to add to the excitement, there was a terrific traffic jam on the motorway which had been completely shut because of a lorry fire further south so the normally quiet road through Gretna was awash with lorries that had been diverted. As we drove home, I took another sunset with the outline of stranded motorway traffic in front of it.
The moon was out in a light haze by the time that we got home.
Believe it or not the rather grainy flying bird of the day is not a chaffinch.