Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce. He came across this fine view on the hill road to Roberton near Hawick a week or so ago.
After a rather slack period for cycling recently, a dry and calm day today was an excellent opportunity to get the fairly speedy bike out and put in a few miles. The tyres needed pumping up and the chain needed cleaning but I was soon ready to go.
My intention was to see how my legs felt and adjust the distance accordingly but I got a bit overcome by taking pictures as I pedalled along and lost a few potential miles on the way. Still, I did 64 miles and took 50 pictures so that seems like a good balance. Readers will be pleased to know that not all the pics made it into the post!
I started with a big surprise only a mile or so from the house when I saw the hillside above Bessie Bell’s covered in bluebells.
Another visit on foot is on my to do list.
The verges were full of wild flowers and the first three that I met were these.
I started my ride among the hills and I hoped to get some good pictures of the 22 windmills on the new Ewe Hill windfarm by going up the hill towards Corrie Common. I could see the windmills (just) but in the rather poor light, my camera couldn’t so i will have to try again on a brighter day.
I did get a splendid view down into the valley on the far side of Corrie Common though and even on a gloomy day, it is a very pleasing prospect.
The only fly in the ointment is that very poor road surface takes the fun out of going down the hill into the valley.
The little stream at the bottom is very picturesque…
…and the bridge has the usual gate to stop any sheep making a break for freedom by swimming.
I pedalled on over the hill to Boreland, a very pretty road even on a rather grey day…
…and then turned west and descended into Annandale. On the way down, I was stopped several times by wild flowers crying out to be photographed.
Sometimes I couldn’t fail to notice them.
When I got to Lochmaben, I had a stop for a banana and a little rest beside the Mill Loch, a very peaceful place for a sit down…
…and then I pedalled on down the valley to Dalton and Hoddom.
I passed several flourishing horse chestnut trees. I was not the only one interested in the flowers.
I like this rather Hansel and Gretel like lodge at Hoddom Castle…
…and I looked up at the Repentance Tower on the hill above the road.
I couldn’t cross my favourite bridge over the River Annan at Hoddom without taking a picture…
…and I noticed some more wild flowers beside the river bank path while I was there.
From Hoddom, I headed to Ecclefechan and then went down the old main road to Gretna where I fortified the inner man with an excellent plate of egg and chips.
From Gretna, I took a direct route home as all my photo stops (and the egg and chips) had added a lot of time to my trip.
I did stop for a few more pictures.
My three favourite trees on the old A7 were looking well in the spring garb….
…and there were two rather delicately shaded flowers beside Canonbie Bridge…
…as well full spring clothing at Hollows Bridge…
…and a great number of Pyrenean Valerian flowers once I got within thee miles of Langholm.
Here is a map of the trip and those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map as usual to get further details of the ride.
You can see that the route was well chosen for an old man with all the climbing at the start and the wind mostly behind on the way home.
The hilly start into the wind meant that my average speed was pretty low but it was a most enjoyable outing. I mean to get as much pleasure as I can from the scenery and the surroundings and be less bothered by average speeds now that the better weather has arrived.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and had completed her pea fortress.
Our garden was full of flowers too….
…and it is always interesting to see the different ways that flowers set out to attract customers.
There are some very colourful aquilegias against the back wall of the house.
After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be Front-of-House at the Buccleuch Centre for a very peppy jazz concert from the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra while I went to a Langholm Sings choir practice. We both enjoyed ourselves.
It was a very cheerful day for one that had little or no actual sunshine in it.
The flower of the day is a tulip which is not showing any signs of being a shrinking violet.