A day out

Pontcysyllte aqueduct

Today’s guest picture comes from my visitors of yesterday, Nancy and Phil.  Before they came to Langholm they had spent some time on the Langollen canal and this picture shows the famous Pontcysyllte aqueduct.

Pontcysyllte aqueduct

It was a lovely day with the forecast set fair when I finally dragged myself out of bed for a late breakfast.  Mrs Tootlepedal was already hard at work in the garden but I took my time, eating a little toast, doing the crossword and generally idling about until it was time for a cup of coffee.  Only then did I get the fairly speedy bike out, pump up the tyres and set out into the wider world.

I chose a route that would avoid newly spread gravel and which would take me down into England and along the southern shore of the Solway for a bit.  A nice flat ride.

The verges are really coming into their own and if I had stopped to capture every good moment, I wouldn’t have got very far.

Springfield road

Springfield road

When I got down to the main road into Gretna, I pointed the Lumix zoom at the Lake District hills, 24 miles away.

Skiddaw
This is Skiddaw, the highest of the northern fells at 3054ft

I had stopped at a field gate to take that picture and took off my cycling glasses and looked around at the wild flowers beside the gate.

plantain dandelion and wild flower

A little further down the road. the brilliant yellow of fresh broom flowers made the fading gorse nearby look quite subdued.

broom
You can see the gorse in the background

I was pedalling happily along, deeper into England, when a tear in my eye made it obvious that although I had taken my cycling glasses off to look at the wild flowers, I had omitted to put them back on.  This omission added three miles to my trip but luckily the glasses were still sitting on the gatepost where I had left them.

The return journey gave me the chance to stop for two more bursts of blossom which I had missed on the first pass, both large….

hawthorn

…and small.

umbellifera

I used the excellent bike path which runs alongside the new northern Carlisle bypass to get myself onto the southern Solway shore and after thirty miles of sublime downwind cycling on a sunny day in May, I stopped for lunch in a pub near Burgh by Sands.  It was proudly displaying a ‘Pub of the Year 2015’ award from the Campaign for Real Ale and the beer I got with my brunch was indeed delicious…

beer
It was a pint of dark mild (not made by Jennings incidentally), sweet and very refreshing

…and it disappeared in short order.  Although the pub may have won awards for its beer, it probably hasn’t won any for hospitality as neither the pub staff or either of the two  customers exchanged a word with me while I ate my food and drank my beer, other than to ask for my order.   That is not the treatment that a wayfaring stranger should get.  Still, the beer was so good that I might go back the next time I pass.

I might have gone further along the coast but I was very aware that the pleasure of the first thirty miles had been greatly enhanced by a favourable breeze and every mile that I went on made for another mile back into the wind. With that in mind,  I made a little loop through Burgh by Sands, stopping to take a picture of St Michael’s Church in the village…

St Michael's Church
A 12th century church with a fortified tower

…and going through Great Orton, where I stopped for another church.

The church of St Giles at Great Orton
The church of St Giles at Great Orton was built in 1098
The church of St Giles at Great Orton
A couple of details. The porch looks a bit more recent.

I used the bypass bike path again on my return journey (it has a superb surface) and then passed  under a splendid collection of overhead power cables near the Harker substation, a major meeting point for cross country power lines.

power cables
Anyone for noughts and crosses?

My way took in  Longtown…

Longtown Bridge

…where I paused to make an eye appointment at the opticians and to eat the last of my food beside the river Esk while enjoying the view of one of my favourite bridges.

I needed the food because I was finding the going quite tough against the wind.  It had strengthened a bit since the outward journey.

I was happy to stop at the Hollows Bridge again with five miles to go for a breather and a photo op.

Hollows Bridge
The trees were at their spring best

As I got near Canonbie, I was checked out by a curious cow.

Canonbie cow

And my last picture on the trip was a Pyrenean Valerian beside the old A7.

Pyrenean Valerian
This is a recent arrival from Spain and is doing very well around Langholm. It likes a cool damp climate!

I had clocked up 63 miles by the time that I arrived home.  Mrs Tootlepedal was still working hard in the garden.

Those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map for details of the outing.

garmin 24 May 16

I bookended my cycling tour with a visit to the garden in the morning and another when I got back.

Azalea and poppy
A brilliant azalea and the first Icelandic poppy of the season in the morning sunshine
pink strawberry and aquilegia
A pink ornamental strawberry and an aquilegia, both newly out in the evening

What with starting late, stopping for lunch, taking pictures and battling the breeze, the ride had taken most of the day and I was very happy to spend a quiet evening recovering.

Although there is still no flying bird, I did catch a fleeing bird today.

blackbird

 

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A day out

  1. The photos of the countryside are beautiful. A long ride, complete with a stop at a pub! Too bad they weren’t more sociable, but at least the beer was good.

    Your garden flowers look beautiful. We are in a transition time here, unusually early. My last iris bloomed today, but roses and other flowers are coming into their own.

  2. I didn’t think anything could out yellow the gorse but the broom has done it.
    I’m glad to see the cemeteries so well kept. I’ve seen photos of some in England that looked like hayfields.
    I wonder if the Spanish Valerian will become invasive. You could do worse. It’s a pretty bunch of flowers.
    The shot overlooking the river is excellent.

  3. Beautiful flowers, from both at home and along the road! The scenery that you see while riding is always a treat to see,as are the churches. A cycle ride that long would kill me, I don’t know how you can drink a beer and still stay on your bike after, as physical work always makes a beer affect me much more.

  4. Just gorgeous, and what a day you had! Comparing it to mine sitting at work, staring at drab contracts would be depressing, so I won’t. But, I will allow my mind to wander off tomorrow while at work and wonder what adventures you’ll show us on the blog!

  5. I just had a funny thought: I bet Mrs T enjoys her days of solitary gardening as much as I do when Allan goes boating. :-D. It was fun to see the Phil and Nancy guest photo. Am still having twinges of envy about their visit to Langholme (mixed with vicarious delight). Glad you made the wise decision to turn back into the wind when you did.

  6. well done on your ride and thank you for the info on the cycle track north of Carlisle. I liked the aqueduct photo as I have walked , cycled and kayaked over it – not all on the same day though.

  7. I enjoyed all the sights from your cycle ride. Everything looks so bright and cheerful in the sunshine. We hope to get some sunshine tomorrow afternoon and perhaps a rise in temperature from the 10 C it has been for the past few days. Skiddaw looks very impressive and I always enjoy a photo of a cow.

  8. A fine day and a fine ride, I’m very jealous.
    A small correction to the caption on your guest picture though if I may.
    It actually shows Chirk Aquaduct on the Llangollen canal, rather than Pontcysyllte. Both the work of Thomas Telford of course.

  9. Your flower photos are good. I was thinking of taking the bike down on the X74 to Dumfries and cycling around the Solway Firth. My friend is not so keen as she is afraid we don’t get a seat on the way back and are stranded in Dumfries.. You cannot book on the X74 bus..

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