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.
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.
When I got down to the main road into Gretna, I pointed the Lumix zoom at the Lake District hills, 24 miles away.
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.
A little further down the road. the brilliant yellow of fresh broom flowers made the fading gorse nearby look quite subdued.
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….
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…
…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…
…and going through Great Orton, where I stopped for another church.
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.
My way took in Longtown…
…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.
As I got near Canonbie, I was checked out by a curious cow.
And my last picture on the trip was a Pyrenean Valerian beside the old A7.
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.
I bookended my cycling tour with a visit to the garden in the morning and another when I got back.
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.