Plain sailing

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony, who took this view of the old and the new Forth road bridges.  The new one, in the background, opens at the end of this month.

Forth bridges

Thanks to our visitors we had a untypical breakfast today as the vote went for bacon and egg baps instead of our normal porridge.  It was a good decision and our visitors, after an inspection of the garden with the gardener….

sara janet and ally
A completely spontaneous unposed shot

…went on their way in good spirits.  They had two more gardens to visit on their schedule and it was fortunate that the weather forecast was better than it has been lately.

After they left, we had a cup of coffee and a look round the garden…

the moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower
The moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

…and then I got the fairly speedy bike out, armed myself with a couple of bananas and some raisins and set off to see where my legs would go.

After some pretty breezy days, it was good to find that the winds were much lighter today but I still took the precaution of heading down to the flat lands of the Solway plain to give myself an easy ride.

To make sure that I was eating and drinking properly (refuelling as the real athletes say), I stopped every ten miles for a minute or two to take on half a banana, some raisins, a morsel of guava jelly and a drink of water.  I also took a picture.

The Esk at Longtown
This is the Esk near Longtown

I circled round the quiet lanes of North Cumbria and my second stop was at Scaleby.  It has impressive bull rushes…

bull rushes

…a church with a tower….

Scaleby Church

…and some very fine lichen on the churchyard wall.

lichen

My next stop was at a church with a spire at Blackdyke.

Blackdyke church
It is a very small spire, I agree.

Keeping to the flat lands, I headed across to Rockliffe and as I left the village, there was willowherb on my left and Himalayan balsam on my right…

willowherb and balsam

…which made for a very pretty stretch of road.

Rockcliffe

The forecast had said that there might be some rain at three o’clock and it was bang on.  As three o’clock arrived so did a sharp rain shower.  Luckily I was protected by nature…

tree tunnel

…and by the fact that I had prudently packed a rain jacket for the trip.  The rain didn’t last for long and after a few miles, I was able to pack the rain jacket away again.  While I was doing this this, I noticed a small bridge nearby.

old railway bridge

This is an old railway bridge on the abandoned line between Longtown and Carlisle and in a better ordered world, I might have been cycling under it on a well constructed bike track rather than over it on a narrow road.

Still, the narrow road took me to my third church of the trip, the fine building of the parish church at Arthuret.

Arthuret Church

It has to be said that if you go round to the front of the church, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.

Arthuret Church

It is certainly not as wide as it is long.

Across the road from the church,  the corn was high…

corn
It is grown for animal feed.

…though perhaps not as high as an elephant’s eye.

As I pedalled back up the hill towards Langholm, I left the cereal fields behind and found myself among the heather on the hills.

cereal and heather

Thanks to the benign conditions and the flat route, I managed to keep my average speed up to 15 mph for the first 45 miles and only just slipped back to 14.8 mph in the last eight miles, where I was heading into what wind there was.

My knees were feeling a bit creaky when I stopped so before going in for a cup of tea, I walked round the garden to ease them off and enjoyed the first stargazer lily of the season which has come out to brighten things up. It’s a very handsome flower…

stargazer lily

…whichever way you look at it.

stargazer lily

The flying bird of the day is a little squirrel which held me up as it decided which way to go this afternoon.

squirrel

Those interested can find details of the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see how flat the route was.

garrmin route 8 Aug 2017

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Plain sailing

  1. The lichen reminds me of bitter wart lichen (Pertusaria amara) but I’m not sure that’s it.
    The view of the road with flowers along it is very pretty and so is the tunnel under the trees.
    I wish I could smell that stargazer lily. it’s a wonderful scent.

  2. I’d like to bike through a tunnel of trees like the ones in your photo. How do you pack “a morsel of guava jelly” for a bike ride?

  3. I love the Stargazer lily, what beautiful colors!

    All three of the churches were impressive as was the tunnel of trees. You were lucky to reach the tunnel at the right time as far as the rain.

  4. You continue to be an inspiration to us! I so agree about the old railway bridge. We do the same thing in Maine. Sigh.

  5. I wonder if there’s a collective noun for a group of fine churches? That’s a proper ‘fairy’ tunnel and a suitably small bridge to go with it. Lovely clouds over the Esk. I read recently that you can spray WD40 on creaky knees!

  6. The stargazer lily is very beautiful. We have them here too, but they have come and gone already.

    The Esk looks rather peaceful and placid in that photo. My favorite photo from your ride is the inviting green tunnel! There were more roads like that around when I was young, and I cherish the memories.

    Baps and bacon with coffee all sound good.

  7. I enjoyed the longer than wide church. Very sorry about your sense of smell. I hope your sense of taste is still good. I read a book called Season to Taste about the struggles of an aspiring chef who lost her sense of smell completely in an accident. It had some fascinating information on the topic.

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