Over the hill

Chelsea Flower Show

Today’s guest picture is another from my daughter’s visit to the Chelsea Flower Show.  Heaven knows what the wonderful flowers are.

Chelsea Flower Show

We are enjoying a spell of warm, dry weather which is extremely welcome.  It is letting Mrs Tootlepedal get some really useful gardening done and it is letting me get some good cycling miles in.

It was sunny from the start of the day and I took a moment before getting the fairly speedy bike out to have a look round the garden.

As always, I was happy to see a bee.  They love the Dicentras.

bee on Dicentra

I would be even happier if there were a lot more bees about but in spite of the good weather, they are still very scarce.

Our neighbour Gavin took a break on his customary morning walk to give two of his friends a guided tour of the garden.  They were impressed that Mrs Tootlepedal does all the work herself.  I am impressed by that too.

There are a lot of birds in the garden at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t regard house sparrows in a very friendly light as they eat her young plants if she doesn’t protect them well but I am very happy if they pose nicely for me.

male sparrows
Males on the fence…
female sparrow
…and a female on the feeder

Hedge sparrows or dunnocks are often to be seen creeping about under plants in the borders.  I caught a young one under the feeders today.

dunnock

Siskins are still the most frequent feeder visitors…

siskins

…but they have to fend off the occasional incursion by sparrows….

sparrow and siskin

…and everybody gives a starling a wide berth.

starling

I didn’t have a moment to look at the flowers today because I had only a limited time to complete my cycle ride.  I set off up the A7 to the north with two plans in mind – either go straight up the road against the wind for twenty miles and enjoy a whizz back down with the wind behind or else take a more circular and hilly route and avoid having to pedal into the wind for too long.

The forecast had promised a reasonably light wind but after eight miles butting into it, it seemed quite strong to me and after a pause to look at Ewes Church…

Ewes Church

…I turned right at Fiddleton and headed for the hills.

There is a stiff climb out of the Ewes valley….

Ewes valley

…and on to the ridge at the top…

Carrotrig

…but it is well worth it, both for the views when you are up there and the steady descent down to Hermitage Water and the Castle on its bank.

Hermitage castle

The run back down the road to Newcastleton with the breeze now behind me was most enjoyable after the slow progress over the first sixteen miles.

I passed several bridges of various sizes on my way from Fiddleton to Newcastleton and stopped for two of them.

bridges

The water in the rivers is very low.  The fisherman are crying out for some rain.

I stopped in Newcastleton to buy a strawberry tart from a handy cafe as I needed a bit of fuel for the last leg of my trip, 10 miles over the moor with a thousand foot summit between me and Langholm.

I had designed my route in the hope that the brisk breeze would help me over the hill and my hopes were realised in full and the ten miles passed without any trouble.  If I had had more time to spare, I could happily have spent an hour or two just snapping away at all the wild flowers.  But time pressed and I settled for a view of Tinnis Hill…

Tinnis Hill
Its characteristic shape and position make it a familiar landmark from many miles away to the south and west.

…and an impression of the quiet road that I followed.

Langholm Moor
Getting near the summit

There was so much bog cotton about that at times it looked as though it had been snowing.

Bog cotton

The sting in the tail of the road across the moor is the valley of the Tarras.  It gives an extra up and down when you are almost home.

Tarras
One more river….

The bog cotton and and some very colourful moss gave me an excuse for a breather…

bog cotton and moss

..and more wild flowers gave me another.

wild flowers

The climbing and the wind made for a pretty slow average speed for my outing but it had been such a pleasant trip that I wasn’t too sad about this……but all the same, I scurried down the last hill and just managed to creep up to exactly 12 mph for the circuit which gave me some respectability (but not much).

Those interested can see more about the route by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 29 May 16

I should add that the weather information that Garmin have added to the route map was wrong in every respect except the wind direction and even that was a bit more from the north than they show.

I just had time for a shower, a change of clothes and lunch before we set off to Carlisle for a combination of shopping and singing.  The shopping went very well.  The singing was not quite so good as our usual conductor and accompanist were missing, as was quite a good proportion of the choir.

With our concert coming up next week, it left us a little under prepared but those present gave of their best for the substitute conductor and it also gave us a chance to meet the young lady who is going to be our new accompanist from September onwards.  She did amazingly well considering that she was sight reading everything today.

After a heavy eight days of cycling, singing and gardening, we were very pleased to have a sit down when we got home.

The flying bird of the day is another siskin.

flying siskin

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Over the hill

  1. We too are in absolute awe of Mrs Tootlepedal’s gardening prowess. What a gorgeous day for a cycle ride but what a pain you had to hurry past all those wildflowers!

  2. Parts of your countryside there looks much like eastern Oregon and Washington with their wide vistas and rolling hills. That was a beautiful ride.

    Bog Cotton is a new one for me. I have learned about another plant today.

    The ones at the Chelsea Flower Show look like they might be chrysanthemums that have been well-shaped by pruning and forced to bloom early. They are beautiful, and colorful, whatever they are.

  3. I agree with Lavinia. I thought the flowers in your daughter’s photo were chrysanthemums too. I can’t think of any other that would mound up in that way.
    I wish you had more bees. I suppose the fruiting will tell if you have enough.
    The landscapes are beautiful and the castle is amazing. I’d have a hard time staying out of it.
    I wish I knew a place where bog cotton grew.

  4. Amazing picture from Chelsea F.S.
    Well done bicycling all that way, up and down, and managing a choir pracice.

  5. Once again, I love the landscape photos that you shot while out for your ride! I have to ask though, I thought that you were on the metric system, is there a reason that you still record your cycling in miles?

    1. The government chickened out when the great switch over was supposed to happen and left us with miles and pints to go with our metres, litres and kilograms. The result is a mess. I had to teach the children to use kilometres at school although every British signpost is in miles.

  6. Great photos from your cycle ride – I loved the snowy bog cotton. The starling looks quite menacing and could be a model for a gargoyle. No wonder the other birds avoid them!

  7. I’m always impressed by the great variety of interesting things you have to look at as you walk or cycle about. I would be distracted so often that I would never manage 52 miles. (I have to fix my mind firmly on measurements whenever I wander into Canada, where they are fully metric as far as I can tell – but they drive on the same side of the road as I do, so that keeps me from coming home with a fistful of traffic tickets.)

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