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…
…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.
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…
…but the view from the bridge wasn’t up to much because the tide was so far out.
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…
…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.
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.
Cornet Simon Tweddle and left hand man Dale Irving gave me a friendly wave as he passed the school where I used to teach.
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.
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.
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.
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.