Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who went back to the low countries after our visit to Marseille. He was surprised to find a local pipe band in Ghent. They are wearing McKenzie tartan kilts, our mother’s clan.
The forecast was for a calm and often sunny day. I made a plan to pedal based on the forecast. The forecast turned out to be correct and my plan came to fulfilment. Two unusual things on the same day.
Before I left, I printed out a copy of yesterday’s guest picture of the day for our neighbour Liz. She is entering it in an informal competition so I hope it does well….
…and then I had a quick look round the garden.
The internally lit dahlia is still giving its best…
…and it has a little competition.
The insects were out in force again today.
This was the destination of choice.
Not quite as many as yesterday but still impressive.
I finally ran out of cycle avoidance excuses and set off with a plan to see how my legs were doing after a very light cycling month. I chose a route that started out over the hills and then headed down towards England and the coast.
It was sunny but hazy….
…and there were signs of autumn both in Scotland…
Regular readers will know that I like a tree tunnel…..
…and this one, near Rockliffe, is one of my favourites.
The wind was light but persistent and I found it quite hard work cycling into it so I was happy to stop after 30 miles to visit a pub for a half pint of draught beer (very good) and a plate of egg and chips (absolutely excellent) at the Drover’s Rest in Monkshill.
The road that the pub is on was closed, though I was able to pedal through the works quite easily, so I was the only customer. In a sign of the times, cooking the egg and chips, which were not on the menu, was no problem but finding out how to record the sale on a computerised till, which didn’t have egg and chips on it, caused a lot of head scratching.
The Drover’s Rest had an interesting notice in the bar.
I hadn’t realised that the state management of brewery and pubs had stretched out of Carlisle.
I pedalled on down to the Solway shore. I had the intention of showing readers a lovely scene of the Solway sparkling under a blue sky but this scheme didn’t go well for two reasons.
- The sun went in
- The tide was out
I settled for some marsh cattle grazing peacefully.
You can see the Scottish shore in the background but no sign of the Solway in between. Drovers who knew what they were doing were able to walk across to Scotland in the old days.
The cattle were finding the marsh grass very much to their taste…
…but I could definitely have done with a bit more water than the trickle that was available.
Further along the coast, when I had passed through Bowness on Solway, a flash of white caught my eye.
It was at the limit of the Lumix’s capabilities but I stopped because I don’t think that a little egret has appeared on the blog before.
It had friends close by.
The bird in the left is a lapwing. We used to see lots of them in the fields round Langholm when we first came to the area forty years ago but we hardly ever see one now. I don’t know what sort the gull is.
Out on the mudflats far beyond the egret, a group of curlews was calling and scratching…
…and a heron flew lazily past.
A good pair of binoculars and a long lens would have been useful.
After a last look at the little egret….
….I pedalled on round the radio station at Anthorn and came into the estuary of the Whampool where a large flock of lapwings was sitting in the shallows.
I do know this gull. It is a black headed gull like the ones on our Kilngreen.
The skies had clouded over a lot and the River Whampool was looking mean, moody but not quite magnificent.
I had done 50 miles by this time and the issue of getting home before dark was raising its head so I gave up thoughts of 100 miles, which would have required an earlier start to the day, and settled for a fairly direct route home. Unfortunately this required cycling straight into the light wind for the first part and then some steady uphill work for the last part so the camera stayed in my pocket as I concentrated on getting home.
I was feeling a bit feeble and I stopped at Springfield for a delicious ice cream and then battled my way back by Milltown of Sark and over the Bloch.
I was unusually tired when I got home and a visit to the scales showed that I had lost 2kg on the trip which means that I had not managed to get a balanced food and liquid intake on the ride (the first time this year on the longer rides) and that would explain the fatigue.
I did have the energy to take a picture of the Virginia Creeper on the fence at the end of the drive, which is very striking….
…and I went to check on the bees’ favourite poppies.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy too, helping at the Buccleuch Centre when I got home but she soon returned and made me a nourishing evening meal for which I was extremely grateful.
When I had helped her out with her accounts yesterday, she assured me that she would love me for ever but a remark or two today after certain humorous efforts of mine indicated that there might be a conditional element in this.
She has been considering major improvements to the flower beds round the middle lawn and I want to put it on record that I regard any such plans as being a really good thing.
Anyone interested in details of the ride can click on the map below.