Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew, who was at the sea side in Morecambe yesterday. He was lucky enough to find the sea at home.
The forecasters promised us a coolish day with light winds and no rain and they got it exactly right. There was a light frost when we woke up which caused the tulips to hang their heads in distress but didn’t appear to actually finish any plants off completely.
The chill meant that I was in no hurry to get out on my bicycle and in the end, I waited until eleven o’clock before the temperature crept up to 7.5°C and then I went out.
The sun was out and it shone on the siskins…
…who were in a rather factious mood…
…but for all its cheerful brightness, it wasn’t doing much to heat the day up.
For a change, I decided to leave the town following the road up the Esk rather than my usual route up the Wauchope. This does involve a couple of quite sharp but short climbs as soon as you leave the town and as I am not supposed to cycle up too many steep hills with my new tin knee, I use this route sparingly.
I took it very gently though and arrived at Eskdalemuir in good order.
I could hardly hear myself think because of the insistent baa-ing of sheep and lambs in the field beside the river.
The thrifty people who built the church at Eskdalemuir in the early nineteenth century didn’t waste any money on frivolous ornamentation.
I was in expansive mood though and popped into the cafe at the Eskdalemuir Hub in the old school for a cup of coffee and a slice of lemon drizzle cake. This gave me enough strength to head out over the hills to Lockerbie. The route elevation….
…shows that the first part of my journey was quite hilly and annoyingly having climbed up a long hill to get to 900 feet before Eskdalemuir, it immediately drops sharply before leaving me with another climb of 400 feet or more to get back to 950 feet, the highest point of the trip. These are not like Tour de France climbs but then I am not like a Tour de France climber and they were quite steep enough for me.
Once over the undulating plateau between Eskdalemuir and Boreland, there is some welcome down hill and the rest of the journey bobbed up and down over very gentle country.
Not all of our handsome stone bridges have survived modern traffic and this one over the Dryfe Water…
…was so battered by a passing lorry that they gave up and put in a metal trough.
Once I was through Lockerbie, I was on the old main road south, now bypassed by a new motorway. This is quite a dull road but it was brightened up a lot in places by a fringe of dandelions.
It has a useful cycle lane on each side of the road.
I stopped to eat an egg roll near Eaglesfield and was reminded that this has been a busy place for many years. In the foreground is a bridge over the Carlisle to Glasgow motorway and the flat topped hill in the background….
…..was home not just to a Roman camp but an Iron Age fort as well.
I didn’t stop for many pictures as the day had become quite dull and I needed to keep my mind on my cycling rather than looking for wild flowers in the verge.
In the end, I needed to go through the town for a mile and then back again to ring up exactly 60 miles on the computer as I swung into our drive.
I had enough energy left to walk round the garden and check that the frost hadn’t done too much damage.
One of the Euphorbias deserved a picture all to itself I thought.
There is no frost in the forecast for the next few days so perhaps we have escaped very lightly.
I filled up the feeders and in no time the siskins were back, taking every perch at both of the feeders but behaving very sedately this time.
It was the goldfinches that had taken on the role of hooligans…
…though the siskins were not going quietly into the night.
I was pleased to see a couple of redpolls keeping calm amongst the mayhem.
I had time for a shower and then we welcomed my younger brother and oldest sister to the house. They are spending a few days in the Lake District and came up to have a meal with us in the Douglas Hotel. The meal and the conversation were both very good value and the evening was a great delight.
We arranged to see them again in the south in July and September.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.
Those interested can find details of my cycle ride by clicking on the map below.
It was a pity that the sun didn’t last for very long.