Today’s guest picture is a splendid collection of bridges over the River Wear at Durham taken by my brother Andrew.
The weather lived up to the forecast and was quite a lot less gloomy than recently. From time to time there was even a glimpse of the sun. Owing to the Olympic Games I didn’t go to bed last night until two in the morning today if you see what I mean so I wasn’t in the perfect condition to make the most of the day.
Although I got up into my cycling gear there was so much dawdling about and coffee and crosswords that I didn’t actually get out on the fairly speedy bike until after twelve o’clock. The penalty for this was the fact the wind had got up quite a bit after a quiet morning.
However, I did finally get going and decided to see how far the improved road surface past Solwaybank extended because I had joined it half way along on my last ride on that road.
The country is beginning to take on its Autumn colouring in the rough pastures round us…
…but here and there, bright patches of heather are showing.
I was very happy to find that after a un-repaired mile at the start of the road, the Solwaybank road is now in good condition right up to Gair and I pedalled along in good heart in spite of a lively wind doing its best to discourage me.
Having started the journey on a road that I hadn’t used for a year or two, I decided to continue on roads that I have never cycled on in the direction that I did today, making a new 33 mile circle for me and adding quite a lot of interest to familiar country. It is surprising how different hills and views are when approached from an unusual direction.
I have shown this bridge over the Mein Water near Eaglesfield before….
…but I don’t think the railway viaduct a few hundred yards downstream has figured in previous posts.
I would have walked down for a closer view but there were some dark clouds about so I didn’t want to push my luck.
I rode through Middlebie and up the long hill towards Bankshill. As I was going uphill, it was no problem to stop and admire the things that I saw.
I continued up the three mile long hill past Burnswark….
…but when I am coming down the hill the other way, I am so busy trying not to fall off that I have never noticed the fine prospects offered at the top of the hill.
I wasn’t looking forward to the climb as it seems quite steep when you come down it but it turned out to be quite gentle and with the sort of steady gradient that makes hills a pleasure to pedal up.
Once over the top after twenty miles of strenuous pedalling with the wind in my face or across, I was able to thoroughly enjoy the thirteen miles home along the Lockerbie road with the wind helping.
Those interested can find the route details by clicking on the map below.
I got home to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden with her loppers again and we are getting a huge mountain of stuff to put through the shredder next week.
I had a quick look round the garden and was pleased to see a butterfly on the buddleia. This looks like one of our previous visitors from the damage to its left wing.
Some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s lettuces have shot but they make a pretty picture even if we can’t eat them.
The lure of the Olympics pinned me to the sofa for a while but after a shower and a change of clothes, I went out on the slow bike to visit the Esk and the Ewes in search of birds.
It was easy to spot a black headed gull on a rock in the Esk and Mr Grumpy on a rock in the Ewes.
. For a brief moment the sun came out and it felt quite like summer.
The were plenty of gulls in the air above the Kilngreen.
The sun disappeared and I pedalled quietly home over the Jubilee Bridge and mowed the middle lawn. It is looking greener after its dose of buck-u-uppo but of course I have encouraged the weeds in it to grow as well. Nothing is simple.
Then it was time for tea and some serious cycle racing watching. Once again our boys and girls were among the medals but the highlight for me was the post race interview given by Katie Archibald. (You can find it here on You Tube if you start at 2 mins 28 into the clip.)
The flower of the day is a beautiful dahlia from Mrs Tootlepedal’s mixed packet of seeds….
…and the flying bird is a languid gull dipping a wing as it passed me.