I do like to be beside the seaside


Today’s guest picture shows a popular pair of pelicans in St James Park.   My sister Mary enjoyed their company.


We had another in our very welcome spell of dry days today.  We didn’t go as far as getting any sunshine but the wind was reasonably calm so mustn’t grumble.  You can’t have everything.

After a warm day at the weekend, the temperature has dropped back again and I was well wrapped up when I went out on the fairly speedy bike after serial procrastinating with the aid of a cup of coffee and a slice of toast.

My aim was to get going and see what sort of a mood my legs were in.  As it turned out, they were quite perky and I ended up doing 50 miles.  This was quite satisfactory.  I wasn’t in a hurry and stopped for many photo opportunities as I went along.

The sky above me was generally cloudy….

Sky from the Kerr

…so the light wasn’t all that it might have been from a photographic point of view.  Annoyingly, there was constant blue sky to my west and occasional stray sunbeams to make me all to aware of what I was missing.

As a result of the light, I left landscapes alone and looked at bridges instead.  There are three within a hundred yards as the Kirtle Water gets near the Solway shore.

Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg
This one takes the Dumfries railway across the water and the road beside it, one arch for each.
Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg
This one takes the new Annan road over the water and the road in one fell swoop.
Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg
And the last one takes the old Annan road across the water in an understated fashion.

Since I was near the Solway shore, I went down to Brow Houses…

Brow Houses

…to see where the tide was today.

It was out.


This was the furthest west that I got on my ride and I turned south and then east for the next section.

I found a more modest railway bridge near Rigg.

Rigg railway bridge

At 10ft 9in this really is a low bridge.

My next bridge was the undistinguished one that constitutes the border between Scotland and England as it crosses the Sark river at Gretna.

Sark bridge Gretna

I pottered around on the flat lands of the Solway plain and stopped at Blackford church…

Blackford church
It has a handy low wall where an old man may rest his weary bones.

…for a banana and a healthy energy bar.

Buoyed up by this energy intake, I left the flat lands and wound up into the low hills above Easton for a more interesting route home.   There is quite a bit of gorse showing in the hedges now…

gorse near Easton

…and there is no doubt that spring is on the go.

I saw this lamb in a field near Penton

The lambs were luckier than me because the milk bar was open for them…


…but the Bridge Inn at Penton was shut for me.

Still, I wasn’t that far from home so I had my last banana and shot down the hill to the bridge over the Liddle water which marked my return from England into Scotland.  The bridge is one of my favourites.

Penton Bridge

So much so that I took two pictures of it…

Penton Bridge

…and couldn’t decide which I liked best so I have put them both in.

The downside of stopping to take a picture (or two) of the bridge is that I had to face the steep hill up to Harlaw from a standing start.  My legs were very calm about this and I got to the top in good order.  I could have chosen more hills to go home over at this point but I didn’t want to spoil my enjoyment of the day so I took the easy way out and went home by way of Canonbie and the old A7.

There was a north easterly wind so I was expecting a hard ride on the way home from the southern extent of my journey but in the event, the wind didn’t seem very strong and the route was often well sheltered and the whole thing was a lot easier than I had feared. It is not often that the breeze eases off when you want it too so it was all the more welcome for that.

Those interested may click on the map for more details of the ride.

garmin 16 March 2016

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her painting when I got home and we had a nice cup of tea together.

The garden was once again full of birds at the feeder…

busy feeder siskin

…but a few quick visits from a sparrowhawk tended to clear the birds off.  I don’t think it caught anything today.

Empty clawed

I am glad that it didn’t get this charming robin.


There are definite signs that the plants are waking up in the garden at last.

spring growth

I had to wake up after a shower and a nourishing plate of fish cakes because it was our Langholm choir night.  We are getting plenty of new songs to sing at the moment so it was an evening of hard work…but fun.

The flying bird(s) of the day are an immense flock of gulls which I saw rising from a farmer’s field at Harlaw on my ride.




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “I do like to be beside the seaside

  1. I liked the pelicans in their nurse stockings very much. Do you know what that tufty sort of vegetation is in the landscape that follows the pelicans? The whole effect was arresting. Lots to look at and I get distracted by weeds. Ah well.

  2. A very fine collection of bridges today, it’s easy to see why the one over the Liddle water is one of your favorites. I also liked the church and the sparrow hawk as well.

  3. Well done for achieving such a great number of miles. loved all those bridges, great and small. That final picture of all those gulls was amazing.

  4. Very impressed by your long ride and that you managed to get a fine collection of bridges along the way.

  5. What a lot of lovely old bridges you have. I really enjoyed the collection of shots, especially the last two with the reflections. They certainly contrast with the long straight concrete one. I’m extremely fond of pelicans and was surprised to see how different these look to ours. Is the all white colour unusual or common? Ours are black and white. The robin on the coconut is delightful! Many younger cyclists would describe 50 miles as a challenging ride here.

    1. The 50 miles wasn’t challenging at the speed I went. If you go slow enough, any amount of mileage is possible on a bike. I think all the pelicans I know are white.

  6. You’re being awfully hard on the bridge that constitutes the border: it’s a stone bridge and that, in itself, is far more attractive than any around here. Not that you’d see a bridge clearly today anyway, as we went from bare and dry to at least 3″ of snow overnight. Grumble . . .

  7. I think your 50 miles were not satisfactory, but in fact quite excellent. And the views were worth stopping for. Greetings from Geneva on the other side of the pond.

  8. Love both of your bridge captures, very nice. Awwww for the little lambs! And your sister’s photos of the pelicans are wonderful! After just commenting about your impressive 45 mile cycle trek, you’re outdoing every time since. Very cool, Mr Tootlepedal! Keep on pedaling!

  9. The sparrow hawk seems to put a chill on the birds’ garden parties. Handsome fellow. I still have not been able to get a good look at our small native raptor. I usually am lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a ball of feathers landing in the lemon balm, and the hawk peeling away at the last minute before crash landing into the side of the garage.

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