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.
I wondered if they had started to gather in large flocks at Gretna in the evening yet.
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.
It makes the heart glad as a cyclist to see how many lorries a train like this keeps off the roads.
North Cumbria has many fine lone pine trees in its hedges. This one was near Blackdyke.
I worked my way back to Longtown where I ate my second banana just downstream of the fine bridge over the Esk there….
…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.
After a late lunch, a relaxing bath and a quick look out of the kitchen window…..
…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 traffic jam was so severe that the party of singers in our Langholm choir who come from Longtown were delayed on their way to the choir two hours later.
The moon was out in a light haze by the time that we got home.
We had time for our tea before going to the choir. We had a very well organised and useful practice tonight. As we have two concerts coming up in early December this was definitely a good thing.
Believe it or not the rather grainy flying bird of the day is not a chaffinch.
25 thoughts on “Never a dull moment”
A wonderful collection of photographs today. I especially liked the view over the Solway.
It was one of those that was a even deal better in real life than in the picture. It needed a tripod and a long exposure to do it justice. It was breathtaking when I first saw it.
Am amazing journey!
Wanted to tell you about a blog that features readers gardens from all around the world. It’s through Fine Gardening magazine. I think you should submit photos of your wife’s garden!
I don’t know how she would feel about that but I will certainly ask her. Thank you for thinking of us.
The poor wee robin looks quite forlorn. Still dang cute though!
I think that it was probably feeling the cold a bit as this was the first cold day for some time.
The landscapes are beautiful and so are the larches,
I’ve got to find out if gorse will grow here.
It is a spectacular plant when in full flower and very common so I would expect it to grow almost anywhere reasonably temperate.
Great pictures Tom! Lot’s of birds to see! 🙂 Here is all the opposite, most birds are on the move to southern places with warmer weather.
Still, you have had a good run this summer.
Exquisite photographs. As usual there are always two or three that I fall in love with but in this case there are at least 10 more. The Greenfinch is splendid. I hope you do get to see a murmuration of starling soon. It must be incredible to witness.
It is. I have my spies out to tell me when to try again.
Another fine collection of photos of varied subjects! I really liked the lardhes, the bridge over the Esk, and the landscape/sunset shots.
At least it was a better day to take the camera out.
Well done for such a long cycle ride avoiding thorns too. I loved the landscapes, sunsets and the moon at the end of a post full of good pictures.
Wonderful pictures from Gretna. Very glad you were able to manage such a long ride in the morning, in spite of your bad knee.
You took advantage of the good weather and some great photos too. The sunsets were especially nice.
you are so lucky to live in such a lovely part of Scotland. When the new railway line opens it will allow some exciting new cycle routes.
We are all looking forward to the new railway.
Yes. Can get the XCountry train from Motherwell to Edinburgh then get the train to Galashiels. Plenty of day rides especially in the summer when the days are long.
When I have gone down there in the past with the bikes we had to cycle long distances to arrive at the border towns and stay overnight. From next year we can arrange day rides to the area instead.
Sounds very well organised.
Yes. I always do the travel plans for all my friends. Holiday travel, birdwatching trips etc.
Such beautiful autumn shots in this post and I especially liked the greenfinch in the light. Lovely sunset, too.
Thank you for your kind words Amy.