Over the hills, but not far away

Mauri

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny.  It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old.  We are going to her birthday party next week.

Mauri

It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.

Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.

This entailed a hilly route…

garmin route elevation26 July 2016

…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover.  Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.

All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.

flowers by the road
There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road

I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.

Penton Bridge
The ramp on the right of the bridge is a natural rock formation

I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.

Kershope Bridge
Riparian owners should be prevented by law from letting scrubby trees spoil photographers’ views of bridges.

In between, there was never a dull moment.

Tunnel of trees
I like this tunnel of trees near Catlowdy

I was often up on a ridge with good views.

Lyne valley

Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland.  I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.

Bewcastle Reform church

It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.

Past the church, I got into some high moorland…

Bewcastle fells

…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.

Bewcastle fells

I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged.   As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.

As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.

I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time.  Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.

orchids

The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….

Newcastleton Golf Course

..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there.  I never played well on it.

I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…

orchid and pipit

…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post.  It may have been hopping mad.

I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….

Hill road
Looking back

…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit.  The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.

yellow flowers on Langholm Moor

I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.

Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…

Tarras valley
The valley is marked by the line of trees.

 

..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.

Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.

Cronksbank

Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph.  This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.

It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.

Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.

phlox
The phlox is really beginning to cut loose

dahlia and knapweed

Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries.  I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant.  When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).

ragwort with cinnabar moth caterpillar

A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.

In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking.  Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it.  The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.

There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.

crocosmia

Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride.  It is a lovely route.

garmin route 26 July 2016

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Over the hills, but not far away

  1. I think the yellow flowers could be bog asphodel but I’m not sure.
    The orchids are beautiful, and so are the landscapes.
    Congratulations to Mrs. T.s mother on 100 years. I’d love to hear the stories she could tell about the way things used to be.

  2. I second Allan’s suggestion of Bog Asphodel. Happy Birthday to your mother-in-law for next week – she doesn’t look her age. Loved the views taken on your hilly cycle ride.

  3. My question is how many of the current riders in the Tour de France will be able to match your times and distances when they are your age? Like many of the others, I like it when you slow down to shoot more photos, of both the flowers and the landscapes, not to mention the bridges.

    A Happy Birthday to Granny T from me, also.

  4. Please add to the list our best wishes for a happy birthday party.
    A lovely post today, and a new word for me: riparian…I shall now use it at every opportunity.

  5. Lovely picture of Mauri, looking very much younger than her years.
    Well done climbing all those hills.

  6. Congratulations to the Birthday Girl. And thank you from the one who spent many happy childhood years holidaying with grandparents at Cronksbank.

  7. A nice looking pedal! I got excited because I thought you might have been able visit Bewcastle Roman Fort but I see Bewcastle is one of those very spread out places. Amazing caterpillars too.

  8. Will Mauri be getting her telegram from the Queen?

    My friend who passed through Langholm (and missed seeing you at the information booth) said that she has a new respect for your cycling after driving up and down all the hills in the area. They must have driven a route similar to your cycle! Lovely churche and bridges – even the bridge you say is not that attractive is much more pleasant to look at than anything we have on offer here.

  9. My grandma is 100 but Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother looks in far better health. At first glance I thought she was in her 60s! What a lovely photo. Does Mrs T inherit her youthfulness and energy from her mother?

  10. Upcoming birthday wishes to Mauri! She looks bright-eyed, happy and much younger than 100.

    Beautiful photos of your rides, and of the gardens. That is a striking caterpillar. We have both the cinnabar moth and ragwort here, but I have never seen the caterpillars, not yet.

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