The guest picture of the day comes courtesy of Mary Jo from Manitoba who asked her friend Lucie to send me this really stunning picture of a bison, with which Lucie had a close encounter in Riding Mountain National Park.
The forecast shows a lot of rain showers coming our way over the next week so it seemed like a really good idea to make the most of a very pleasant sunny day today by getting up early, putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast and hitting the road on the fairly speedy bike while the morning was still young.
No one was more surprised than me when this splendid idea came to fruition.
There was a light wind in my face on the way out and at my back on the way home and nothing occurred during the stately pedalling along a mainly flat route that was worthy of recording so I will just say that I managed 80 miles and enjoyed all of it. I did stop quite a lot to take pictures.
There were many almost idyllic moments. Here are cows beside the Kirtle Water near Gretna…
…and here is the bank of the newly built M6 extension beside the service road which I use.
I passed many of the sort of umbellifers that always seem to have insects on them when you look. These four pictures are of the same plant.
My route took me down the bike path beside the northern Carlisle by-pass. The roundabouts as it crosses the railway line are a treat.
The bike path also had the first ragged robin that I have seen this year.
I left the by-pass and headed along the Solway shore. I was hoping to see the sea but sadly, the sea was not at home.
It looked as though it would be easy to walk across the the Scottish shore where I was doing a similar pedal last week. (It wouldn’t be)
Even if I couldn’t see the sea, there was plenty to please the eye as I travelled the coast road.
But I couldn’t spend all my time looking at the views while I went along the salt marsh as I had to keep my eye out for traffic too.
The cattle graze freely over the unfenced marsh.
I also passed a cute kid.
It was rather too hazy for good long shots but I took one anyway. This shows the Lake District hills, seen over the estuary of the River Whampool.
My ride took me round the very large masts of the radio transmitter at Anthorn which you can see in the background, behind a sturdy bull and a neat wooden bridge,
I didn’t come back along the shore since the sea was out and chose an inland route that was well surfaced and basically flat so I rolled along very cheerily but was stopped in my tracks by this very fine house in one of the villages that I passed through.
This is good farming country and there are a lot of well built fortified farmhouses around as well more modern country houses.
I went right round the by-pass on my way back and stopped at Gretna for a coffee and cake to fuel me up for the last few miles. Needless to say I met a couple from Langholm in the cafe as it is a popular destination for a short drive for many Langholmites.
I had a last look at a large English country house before I crossed the border back into Scotland.
This is Netherby Hall which features in the well known poem, Young Lochinvar. by Sir Walter Scott.
Unlike Young Lochinvar, I did no racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea but continued at a steady pace until I arrived home quite ready for a cup of tea.
Those interested in the details of the ride can click on the map below.
I would observe that although the chart says that the temperature was a cool 54°F, and it was probably quite right when I set out, it was a great deal warmer in the sunshine. A young lad to whom I talked while having a refreshment break said that his bike computer was claiming that it was 25° in the sun by mid morning. He was planning a 130 mile ride but had had to curtail as he had got up late. He had settled for 110 miles. Ah to be young again.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden to pick some spinach for our tea.
She is working on the usual ‘cut and come’ again principle with the spinach. It was delicious.
The garden is moving from the age of azaleas to the era of irises…
…which I enjoy because they are a challenge to photograph well as they tend to sway about in the wind.
I also found a new plant beside the pond which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is musk.
After tea, I went off to the last ‘Langholm Sings’ practice of the season. We have a second concert this Friday and our conductor was busy tidying up one or two things which could have been done better in the first concert last Friday. As this took two hours, you can tell that we should be better this week than we were last week….though people who were at the concert In Newcastleton say that they enjoyed it thoroughly.
No time for any bird pictures today.