Another day of sitting about

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother, who found some gorgeous heather when he was walking on the Cleveland Way.  Langholmites looking for heather for their heather besoms will be very jealous.


It was a cool, grey morning with light winds so perfect for an early start and some long distance cycling.  Encouraged by some loud cries from Mrs Tootlepedal, I actually got up quite early, kept any footering about to the minimum and was out of the house by half past eight.  No one was more surprised than me.

I got home eight hours later having spent seven of those hours on my bicycle.

In order to keep weight down, I didn’t take any cameras with me so my phone was conscripted into use to take a few pictures as I went round.

I tried to keep stops to the minimum but I had to stop at that level crossing yet again…

level crossing

…and to make matters worse, I was stuck behind a very smelly muck spreading tractor.

I stopped again at Bowness for a jam sandwich after forty miles.  I was seated on a recycled plastic bench and looking out over the Solway from the English shore towards Scotland.

Solway shore Bowness

Unfortunately, the tide was so far out that the view consisted almost entirely of mud flats.

From Bowness, I cycled right round the coast, making a circuit of a very large radio station…


As you can see, the poles are well braced against the winds which on many days will howl off the Solway and through the site.  It was quite calm today but there was still enough breeze to make me glad when I rounded the point and finally had the wind behind me after fifty miles.

Although the radio station looks rather bleak it is an interesting place.

My route took me across the bridge over the River Whampool…

whampool bridge

…but the view from the bridge wasn’t up to much because the tide was so far out.

river whampool

I turned after 53 miles and headed back to a pub at Port Carlisle where they served me a half pint of excellent beer and a plate of egg and chips with far too many chips.  I must have looked hungry.

The ride home was made very bearable by the wind behind me.  I stopped for one more picture…

motorway banking

…because I like the way that the powers that be have planted this new motorway banking with such a good range of wild flowers.

I was hoping to complete my 100 miles in under seven hours but rather annoyingly, I was two minutes over time.  Details of the route can be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 23 July 2016

There was a large crowd out on the street when I cycled back into Langholm but they weren’t waiting to cheer me home.  The cornet had led his mounted followers over the hill to the Castle Craigs and Cronksbank earlier in the afternoon and they crowd was waiting to welcome the cavalcade on its return.  The mounted procession rides through the town preceded by the pipe band and I was able to park the bike and catch them as they came along Thomas Telford Road.

Castle Craigs ride out

Castle Craigs ride out

Cornet Simon Tweddle and left hand man Dale Irving gave me a friendly wave as he passed the school where I used to teach.

Cornet Simon Tweddle

And last year’s cornet, Jamie Fletcher, the right hand man to Simon this year, followed with a cheerful smile.


They riders go up to Holmwood and then come back down the brae onto Eskdaill Street where I saw them again.

Castle Craigs ride out

The pipe band struck up and they marched off into the evening while I went home and cooked a sausage stew for my tea.

I sneaked a moment while the stew was cooking to walk round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of mixed dahlia seeds continue to produce delights.

Small but perfectly formed.

The yew bush is getting covered with little nasturtium berries.


And the peony poppies, which should be a sensation, continue to disappoint.  They are flowering well but mostly just look grubby.

peony poppy

There was no time to hang about as Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to a screening of a concert at the Buccleuch Centre straight after tea.

The event was a screening of André Rieu’s annual  Maastricht concert.  It is not perhaps an occasion for the musical purist but it was a riot of fun from start to finish and included cheerful music, tuneful singing and an excellent Brexit joke which went down very well.

No flying bird but a welcome appearance of the sun is the flower of the day.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Another day of sitting about

  1. If I did 100 miles on a bike I wouldn’t be able to walk for a week!

    Very nice flowers other than the peony, they can be like that some years and I don’t know why, other than the weather.

  2. Congratulations on your (just over) 100 mile cycle ride.Thank-you for the interesting link and the photos during your ride. My favourites though are of the Cornet and his followers and those dear nasturtium berries!

  3. A hundred miles on a bike is impressive, no matter the age of the rider. I can’t imagine going half that on mine.
    I can almost smell those mudflats and I’d like to drive the 2 hours to our seashore to smell them for real, but I probably won’t.
    I like that purple dahlia. Maybe an orange butterfly will land on it.
    The radio station is indeed interesting.

    1. Now that you mention it, the seaside was fairly smell free. The sea was too far out to be a factor and the mudflats didn’t produce much at all. Mind you, my sense of smell is pretty poor.

    1. Not too bad at all. I got a new saddle last autumn and it seems to be pretty comfortable as long as I don’t do too much climbing. I had an hour’s worth of breaks during the ride which always helps.

  4. Beautiful heather. Really impressed with your bike ride and the fact you still went out in the evening. Dahlias and sunflower are looking pretty.

  5. What an amazing ride. You have been watching too much Tour de France.
    Glad you got back in time for the pipe band.

  6. Wonderful to have shared your amazing ride – but without the aches! The dahlias are quite perfectly shaped, aren’t they?

  7. Your title nearly fooled me! A great and interesting ride and so helpful to have the map to see where your legs take you- hope you had lots of sausage stew to make up those calories! Wonderful to see those smartly dressed riders and pipers carrying on an ancient tradition- long may it last!

  8. Seven hours of cycling! Tom, you have more stamina and endurance than a lot of much younger men! That purple heather is indeed, gorgeous. I do miss the pink and white flowering heather bushes from when we lived in outback areas. 🙂

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