Acting my age (again)

Evening light, Ullswater

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.

Evening light, Ullswater

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…

blackthorn and gorse

…and the bridge at Bankend.

Bankend Bridge

There was a very pretty view upstream from the bridge and the sharp eyed will notice a ruined peel tower in the distance.

Bankend Bridge

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

Brow Well
The paving is modern!

Today, it looked a bit different.

brow well

I think that it is fair to say that there was a very high tide.  It was nearly up to the road.

brow well

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.

River Annan

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.

blackthorn at Gretna

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

garmin route 8 April 2016
The website is wrong about the rain and the wind

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I arrived home so I joined her for a stroll round the policies.

Tulip anticipation is at fever pitch.

More flowers are growing every day.

These primulas will soon be fully out

And old friends are looking better all the time.

primula, hyacinth and fritillary

But mostly, Mrs Tootlepedal is saying it with daffodils.

On a big scale
In small bunches
And sometimes so discreetly hidden between box ball and hedge that only the privileged few can glimpse them.

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.

wood pigeon

Some loud quacking drew me back out of the house and I saw our resident pair of ducks beside the dam.

dam ducks

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.

flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

48 thoughts on “Acting my age (again)

  1. That’s a lot of water. That set me off on a quest to make sense of the hydrology of rivers flowing into seas and tides pushing back and I have discovered great holes in my education.

    Beautiful flowers, both wild and in the garden. And congratulations on the 78 miles for the day and the 1000 accumulated so far this year. I am beyond impressed.

  2. It sounds as though both you and Mrs. T. had very successful days. Perhaps you can celebrate by going to load some manure?! (I, too, am “unaccountably tired”, but in my case it’s due to merely thinking about where I would have to ride around here just to equal your distance . . .)

  3. I can’t imagine cycling that far in a week, let alone a day. You serve as an inspiration to all of us who think that getting older means giving up the things we love.

    The difference in the depth of the water at Brow Well is amazing, as are all the photos that show how high the tides were. I wonder what caused them, since you said that the wind was light, it couldn’t have been pushing the water onshore.

    I’m happy that Mrs. T found another manure mine, now we can look forward to another year of your comments about it. 😉

  4. The view of the ruined peel tower is beautiful and if I remember correctly was featured in an oil painting that you had last year.
    The garden is looking great with all the daffodils in bloom.
    Congratulations on all the miles you’ve put on your bike!

  5. Tom congratulations! a real inspiration, 1942 was a good year indeed. More power to all your joints.

  6. Congratulations on completing your age cycling challenge. Very impressive! I also enjoyed all the gorgeous flowers shots and hearing the good news about Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure find. A very satisfying day for both of you. 🙂

  7. Congratulations on your ride- a great achievement for the day and the year! Beautiful flower shots of the daffodils, tulips and other spring flowers in the garden – the blackthorn blossom looked stunning too.

  8. I am amazed you can cycle so far and take such great pictures on your way. Even your clouds look better than ours, your view of the sky being unobstructed by buildings. Spring flowers inspire hope.

    1. There is plenty of space for taking pictures on the Solway shore. Perhaps local people looking for employment would welcome a few more buildings.

  9. That is an impressive ride!

    The flowers are lovely. Our daffodils are now fading, having had a few days in the high 70s and low 80s. I did find another tulip that the gophers missed! A total of 3 survivors out of an original 100 bulbs planted.

  10. Congratulations on acting your age! What a nice ride. And it looks like spring is well underway and many more nice days may be expected.

  11. Congratulations on the annual ride – I would be happy if I could manage such a trick over the years in kilometers, never mind miles.

    I had to google peel tower which led to some more interesting reading, so thank you for that.

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