Circular tour

Andrew's local park

Today’s guest picture, taken by my sister Mary,  comes from Derby where she spent Christmas visiting our brother and his family.  She managed to find a fine pond in a local park.

Andrew's local park

We have been kindly treated by storms Barbara and Conor, whihc gave us no more than a glancing blow as they whisked up to the north of us but it was still good to wake up to a bright and pretty calm day today.  The downside was that it was much colder than it has been, with the thermometer showing just 3°C when we got up.

This is the minimum level that I consider safe for cycling so I got up into my cycling clothes ready for a prompt start. For some strange reason, possibly connected to the 3°C, I didn’t go out straight after breakfast but waited to see if the thermometer would rise a degree or two.

In the meantime, I stared out of the window in the hope of seeing some long tailed tits.  Only short tailed ones were available though.

blue tits

I had taken the fat balls out of the protective cage to see what might be attracted to them and unsurprisingly, a few jackdaws turned up….


…although they didn’t look very grateful.

A blackbird did a little dance on the edge of the lawn…


…and while I was looking at it, I noticed two robins pecking away on opposite sides of the lawn.  They didn’t seem upset by each other so I can’t tell if the subsequent robin pictures that I took are of the same or different birds.


I was destined not to see any long tailed tits today so another short tailed one will have to do.

coal tit

The thermometer didn’t rise appreciably no matter how often that I checked it so in the end, I had to get very well wrapped up and go our regardless.

I was aiming for a circular route of between thirty and forty miles and as I ended up doing 35 miles, I was quite happy.  I could have done a bit more but even at two o’clock, it was beginning to get decidedly gloomy so I came back while it was still light.

The ride itself was quietly enjoyable and I stopped to take a picture or two as I went.  I hadn’t realised that the camera was set to take black and white pictures and as a result I can’t show you the welcome sunshine that I enjoyed for the first part of the ride.

This is Waterbeck Church taken as I approached the village.

Waterbeck church

And this is Burnswark Hill, recently in the news as archaeologists have found an enormous trove of Roman bullets there, indicating that there may have been a training camp or perhaps even a siege of the native fort there.


For those wondering, the bullets were for slings.

I pedalled on down to Gretna where I looked at the new windmills…..

gretna windmills

I took a second shot a few yards further down the road.

gretna windmills

When I looked at the result on my computer, I was puzzled.  Judging by the relative heights, the pylon must be further away than the windmills and if you look back at the previous picture, that seems to be the case.  In this picture though, the wires seem to run in front of the windmill towers.  Perhaps the pylon really is in front of the windmills but I wonder if the camera has been guessing and making things up.  I will have to go back for another look.

For some reason I seem to have reset the camera mode before the last picture that I took. It was taken to show how the sun had gone in and the colour had gone out of the countryside….


….which was, under the circumstances, a bit ironic.

I have done very little cycling in December, partly due some cold mornings and to the wind but mostly due to my persistent cold so although I adopted a stately pace and enjoyed the ride, I was still quite tired when I got home and the rest of the day passed in a very relaxed manner.

I am rather conscious that the blog may have been a bit dull recently but with dull weather, short days and a bad cough, I have been living a rather dull life lately so I thank loyal readers for their forbearance and hope for more exciting times to come.

No plant of the day today but I did find a chaffinch to be flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Circular tour

  1. I hadn’t heard about the Burnswark Hill archaeological dig. It sounds interesting and I’ll have to look it up.
    The pylon / windmill mystery is one that I can’t solve. A camera that adds things that aren’t really there is something that I’m not sure I’d want.
    I like the dancing blackbird.

  2. Great pictures of the jackdaw glowering and the blackbird dancing.
    Glad you managed rather a long ride in spite of low temperatures.

  3. Lovely to see Derby’s Alvaston Park featured on your blog – an oasis surrounded by Rolls Royce factories. I am sorry to hear of your persistent bad cold. Even the Duke of Edinburgh has succumbed this winter! I hope you shake it off and feel better soon.

  4. Love the black and white photos- very 1930s looking except for the turbines! I wasn’t around then…just for information! Hope the cold goes soon.

    1. Time will tell. The windmills are on the site of a large peat excavation so there has been no growth of any sort there for a number of years so it won’t be a place that birds have been used to visiting.

      1. There is always this tension of doing something for one part of creation that is good and balancing that with the harm it might cause. We have a lot of windmill and solar farms here.

  5. The church does look impressive in black & white.

    You seem to have a lot of windmill farms. Most of ours are up north along the Columbia River Gorge.

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