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.
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….
…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…
…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.
I circled round the quiet lanes of North Cumbria and my second stop was at Scaleby. It has impressive bull rushes…
…a church with a tower….
…and some very fine lichen on the churchyard wall.
My next stop was at a church with a spire at Blackdyke.
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…
…which made for a very pretty stretch of road.
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…
…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.
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.
It has to be said that if you go round to the front of the church, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.
It is certainly not as wide as it is long.
Across the road from the church, the corn was high…
…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.
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…
…whichever way you look at it.
The flying bird of the day is a little squirrel which held me up as it decided which way to go this afternoon.
Those interested can find details of the bike ride by clicking on the map below. You can see how flat the route was.