On the road

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was passing Tamworth castle the other day when the sun came out.

Tamworth Castle

We had another cool morning here but with added sunshine and the day soon became suitable for gardening and cycling.

I had a walk round the garden after breakfast and had to duck as a low flying aircraft passed by.  I got the camera out as quick as I could and caught it just as it got framed in electricity wires.


Looking at the picture above, you may think that I am exaggerating about having to duck but it really was low.



Sandy came round for coffee in the morning which gave me a good excuse to delay cycling until the things warmed up a bit.

After he left, I had another garden wander.  I was pleased to see crocuses looking perky…


…and surprised to see and early bee about.  The forecast is for chilly days ahead so it might well have to go back and hide.

bee on crocus

The first daffodil also appeared and it was unfortunate that it was growing in the middle of a bush so it was not easy to capture its full beauty!

first daffodil

However, the moss was looking wonderful in the sun.


I would never have believed that moss could look like this before I started this mossy chapter in my photographic journey.

Like the bee, the frogs in the pond may find that things are too chilly for them soon but this one seemed quite happy for now.


After the sunny garden stroll, I did think of trying to have both a walk and a pedal during the day but looking out of the window and seeing a brisk wind coming out of the north west and making the walnut branches wave about persuaded me that just cycling might well be enough.

I was right, as the windy was strong and cold enough to make sure that my average speed stayed quite low so it took me some time to get round a 31 mile circuit.

I got my fairly speedy bike to check whether it had been harmed by the accident.  It looked all right and I gave it a good wash and brush and oiled the chain before I set off. I wasn’t going to hurry though, just in case.   In addition, after the recent frosts and snow, the roads are beginning to crack up so I kept my eyes fairly firmly on the road ahead, not wanting a repeat of the unplanned flying dismount so soon after the last one.

As a result I decided to stop every 5 miles and take a picture both of the road I was cycling along and whatever was there.  I also hoped that this might give readers unfamiliar with our area, a picture of a typical cycle ride for me.

5 miles:

callister and buzzard
The road up Callister and a passing buzzard: a two lane minor road

10 miles:

Between the waters and gair road
The road to Gair and a local farm: single track road

14 miles:

I made an extra stop as i crossed it to show the M74, the main road between Carlisle and Glasgow.


While I was taking the picture, a car drew up and the lady inside asked me if I was Tootlepedal.  She had seen the blog and recognised the ski goggles that I was wearing.  She is a relative of our neighbour Liz and her son and our older son had met at the Lauder Common Riding last year so we had a good chat before going our separate ways.

15 miles:

I stopped a mile later on the old A74, once a dual carriageway but now returned to single carriageway and used as a service road for the motorway and very handy for cyclists.

Old A74

This was an interesting place to stop as there was history all around.

(Clockwise from top left) The old road which replaced the original coaching road, Robgill Tower, Burnswark, a site of both Roman and iron age forts and, coming bang up to date, a wind farm in the distance.  And I had the motorway on one side of me and the mainline railway on the other.  People have been passing this spot for thousands of years,

20 miles:

Glenzier road
In farming country near Chapelknowe.  Still a minor road but a slightly more busy one.

25 miles:

Broadmeadows road
The back road to Canonbie.  I am in the Esk valley now…..with a nice gate.

30 miles:

A7 bike track
The end of the bike path where it joins the A7, the road from Carlisle to Edinburgh and the A7 itself just before Skippers Bridge.

And to complete the picture, here is the route itself.

garmin route 20 Feb 2018
Click to see the route details

Because I am supposed to avoid big hills with my new knee, these quiet unadventurous routes are just my cup of tea.

As you can see , it was a sunny ride so I enjoyed it in spite of an unhelpful breeze.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden, making the most of the warmer weather.

The frogs had gone but there was a colourful bunch of crocuses to catch the eye.


I hadn’t had any time to watch birds earlier in the day so I took a moment when I got in to stare out of the kitchen window but the light was a bit too far gone to be ideal….


…so I was pleased to see a robin in posing mood.


I was ready for a cup of tea and a quiet sit down by this time.

Later in the day, I made the mistake of ringing up a software company to sort out a problem and when the lady had asked several times for me to produce an email confirmation of sale for a product which I bought in 2012 and I had replied patiently each time that I didn’t keep emails for 5 years, she then asked me if there was any one else in the house she could speak to who might be able to understand what she was talking about.  I was mildly offended to say the least but we didn’t get anywhere with our conversation after that.

In the absence of a flying bird of the day, I can only put up a bird that was very nearly flying.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “On the road

  1. My goodness! I’d be offended by that woman’s remarks! I don’t think many people keep e-mails that long!
    I enjoyed your bike ride and the photos you took every five miles. You have such a varied landscape and so many interesting buildings and ancient landmarks where you live. Nice Robin photos!

  2. That plane looks a bit too big to be flying that low! I remember one day I was driving and saw a military plane flying very low over a field. It flew over the road I was driving on; I ducked and I was in the car!

    Thank you for all the beautiful photos. The crocuses look so cheerful and the frog looks as though it’s smiling! 🙂

    Thanks for stopping to take the photos. It was interesting to see the different sights, especially the castles. You helped add to my geography knowledge too; I didn’t realize you are so close to England–not that it matters.

  3. Your pictures on the 5 mile stops were most interesting, a very good idea. What a maddening woman you spoke to, how could any human being on a help line be so obtuse. Loved the frog and the posing robin.

  4. I would have thought it would be sufficient to have a serial number, phoning software companies for advice on their products never ends well. It is good to see an overview of your surroundings. Once again you are to be commended on your lovely photos of the landscape and the delightful mosses that inhabit it. The robin at the end looks as though it is revving up for takeoff. The RAF do like to fly low, they used to go over the garden when I was a kid and you would instinctively duck!

  5. I have really enjoyed this post with the five mile photos identifying the places you see. When dealing with snippy millennials I always ask if I might speak to a grown up.

  6. Enjoyed the pictures of your bicycling trip – glad you were able to go so far in good weather – and be recognized too!
    What a rude woman at the software company.

  7. Who keeps emails for that long? She should have known better. Wonderful photos of your bike ride. Ditto for the spring flowers. And love those fluttering wings on the last picture.

      1. Yes, indeed! Never would have thought of it. Like you, I’m not that organized. 😉

  8. I’m glad that you ducked when the plane flew over so low. While your face may have healed from your “unplanned flying dismount”, I’m sure that it isn’t ready for the close shave that a propeller would provide.

    What a great idea, stopping at set distances to add context to your cycling, and why you love it so much.

    While it has warmed up here quite a bit the past few days, there are still no flowers blooming, so it’s a treat to see the early flowers from your garden.

    I created a folder in my email system to hold emails from companies like software companies that contain purchase confirmations and things like the codes used to activate the software once installed. You never know when you may have to reinstall software again, and I prefer not to call customer service for anything computer related. The company in question should have that information stored in their system, you should have asked the rude woman on the phone why she couldn’t find it.

  9. Every cycling blogger’s dream has to be being recognized at the roadside, and you’ve done it. I am truly in awe. Being out there roadside and actually blogging would help this layabout achieve such a status. Cheers.

    1. welshcyclist, suggest you get yourself a pair of natty ski goggles…then you’ll stand out and be recognized 🙂

  10. Oh the fame! Are you going to have to get yourself a minder? Perhaps he/she could deal with the software lady.

  11. Splendid idea showing photos of your ride at set mileage – I like order! Maybe the pilot was checking to see if it really was you…hope you waved!

  12. A good solid brick sounds like a great idea. I hate rude people who are supposed to be helping you! Very, very tacky indeed. But wouldn’t asking to speak to a grown up put her in her place?

      1. So true. I feel sorry for the folks who have nasty jobs like that and often haven’t put up with abuse from those who they encounter, but when all is said and done, they often miss the mark in doing what they’re supposed to do.

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