Today’s guest picture is another from my siblings recent visit to the Lake District. Mary managed to capture this lovely shot of Ullswater out of the car window.
One of my little plans is to have at least one cycle ride every year in which the number of miles equals or exceeds my age (and to keep doing this for as long as possible). The mathematically minded among you will realise that this will become a greater challenge as the years go by but as I am a mere 74 at the moment, it is not a great problem.
Today seemed like a good day to get it out of the way for this year as the forecast promised dry conditions with occasional sunshine and a light wind in my face on the way to my outward destination. In addition, the wind was to get up a bit about the time that I would turn for home and blow me back so everything looked ideal.
Often reality does not meet with expectation but today it did.
I set out with the intention of reaching the cafe at the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Caerlaverock in nice time for lunch and I arrived just after one o’clock. Even a lightish wind makes for hard going on the exposed road along the Solway shore so I was quite ready for soup and a hot pie when I got there.
I had stopped on my way to catch an unexpected outburst of blackthorn blossom among some gorse near Gretna…
…and the bridge at Bankend.
There was a very pretty view upstream from the bridge and the sharp eyed will notice a ruined peel tower in the distance.
My last stop, just before lunch, was to admire some very hefty birch polypores beside the road.
I didn’t linger long after my lunch and was soon on my way home. The road from the WWT was lined with wild flowers.
I made good progress with a more friendly wind and was a bit reluctant to stop for photo ops but the scene at the Brow Well was too good to miss.
The Brow Well is a stop on the Burns trail, as he came here to bathe in the waters shortly before his death. (Some experts feel that the waters may have helped to kill him.)
The last time that I went past it looked like this
Today, it looked a bit different.
I think that it is fair to say that there was a very high tide. It was nearly up to the road.
I have passed this spot many times both on a bike and in a car and have never seen the tide this high before.
It was still quite high when I crossed the River Annan as I came into the town some time later.
My last stop was for a banana on the international bridge over the Sark at Gretna. I looked over the seaward parapet and was delighted to see an unexpected blackthorn in full blossom beside the river.
From then on, it was full steam ahead for home and I just managed to squeeze the average speed up to 14 mph for the 78 mile ride, thanks to the kindly wind. My distance calculations were a bit out but the extra four miles didn’t hurt too much at all.
As an additional bonus, the ride took me over 1000 miles for the year. I should have hot this target on 31 March but being only eight days late is not too bad considering the terrible weather in January.
Those interested may click on the map below for more details
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I arrived home so I joined her for a stroll round the policies.
More flowers are growing every day.
And old friends are looking better all the time.
But mostly, Mrs Tootlepedal is saying it with daffodils.
I did have time for a sit and look out of the window where I saw a wood pigeon auditioning for the role of Mr Grumpy should it become vacant.
Some loud quacking drew me back out of the house and I saw our resident pair of ducks beside the dam.
Feeling unaccountably tired, I went for a bath while Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cooked my tea and I was recovered enough to play some enjoyable music with Alison Tinker when she and Mike came round for their customary Friday visit.
Mrs Tootlepedal was feeling very cheerful today as not only had she framed some very nice Matilda pictures and hung them on the wall but she had also been granted access to a very fine manure mine. It is on hard standing and she can back the car right up to the heap which avoids any double handling. She can hardly wait to visit it.
In all the excitement of the day, I didn’t have much time to look for a flying bird so I was grateful to a chaffinch for turning back and doing its best to get into the shot.