Slow progress

Santiago cathedral

Today’s guest picture from my brother Andrew’s visit to Spain shows the cathedral at Santiago.  It seems to defy the laws of gravity a bit but that might be lens distortion.

Santiago cathedral

We had the promised lovely day today, with light winds, gentle sunshine and genuine warmth, ten degrees C above the seasonal average.

I laid aside thoughts of the new bike and slight worries about a sore hand and got the slow bike out for the first time this month and went off for a pedal.

I waved good bye to the  poppies tulips in the garden as I left.

tulips

It really was a perfect day for cycling….

Skippers Bridge

…as I crossed the Skippers Bridge and headed for England.  As it was a bank holiday and lorries were few and far between, I cycled south on main roads until I got to Gretna.  Dandelions decorated the verges in great numbers.

dandelions

I didn’t see many other wild flowers as I went towards Carlisle’s northern by-pass which has a fine cycle path beside it but this ‘bluebell and pinkbell’ combination near Hespin Woods caught my eye.

bluebells

The day was so ideal for cycling and my hand was giving me so little bother that I continued along the southern shore of the Solway until I came to this splendid place…

Drovers Rest

…where I stopped for an early lunch of egg and chips, my staple cycling diet. Unfortunately I wasn’t in a position to sample their many fine cask ales and had a cup of coffee instead.

Leaving the pub, I turned inland on a road new to me and was very surprised to see this old windmill tower, now converted into a private house.

Monks hill windmill

The name of the road, Vallum Close, reminded me that I was cycling across the line of Hadrian’s Wall from Carlisle to the coast.

I head back round the by-pass and then meandered up the delightful back roads of North Cumbria…

Cumbrian back road

..until I came to a bike path, described by a local author as the narrowest bike path he had ever seen.  I hadn’t used this track for some time and didn’t think of it as narrow but when I got onto it, I saw what he meant.

Cycle track 7

The path runs along the route of the old Carlisle to Longtown railway for a miles or two and enables a cyclist to cross the river Lyne in peace and quiet.

River Lyne
The views from the bridge

A new bridge has been constructed on the piers of the old railway bridge.

River Lyne

In a perfect world, the whole of the old railway trackbed would have been preserved for cyclists but that would have required good sense and forethought, never qualities readily associated with the Ministry of Transport.

Still, leaving the railway took me past Arthuret Church…

Arthuret Church

…one of my favourite buildings so I shouldn’t complain.  The view across the road from the church could hardly offer more of a contrast  between the ancient and the modern.

Arthuret Church

There is a fine copper beech  opposite the church.

P1090760

During the ride, I made  regular stops to make sure that I was keeping my hydration well topped up and to take in a little snack or two and I enjoyed this pastoral scene not far north of Longtown.

Near Kirkandrews on Esk

Nearby two trees seemed rather oddly shaped.

P1090764

Had a blot of lightning passed between them, I wondered or perhaps they had been deliberately trimmed to provide a view for a local bigwig.

Although dandelions were the pervasive wild flower of the day, other flowers were available if I happened to be going slow enough to notice them.

wild flowers canonbie

I passed a good number of butterflies including orange tips and peacocks but they were too nippy for me to record them.

Trees were easier to catch.

These were beside the bike path as it meets the A7 just south of Langholm.

conifers A7

conifers A7

When I got home after 52 miles of unalloyed pleasure, I was welcomed by the tulips with open petals.

tulips

It is not often that I am grateful for a little wind that is not helping me from behind but the light cross wind on the way home kept me just cool enough to be comfortable.  On the few occasions when it was straight behind me, it was too hot for pleasant pedalling.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden the whole time that I was out  so I was moved to scarify  and mow the middle lawn to show willing…

scarified lawn
It turned out well.  It was just a light scarifying.

…before we sat down to a cup of tea on our new bench.  Mrs Tootlepedal brought the tea out on a seasonally correct tea tray.

Tea tray

While we were sipping and chatting, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that my new helmet was well co-ordinated as  far as colour went with the tulips  across the lawn.

tulips and helmet

She also remarked that she was pleased with combination of tall orange tulips with the small darker red ones on the end bed.

tulips

She wished that time would freeze so that she could enjoy the warmth, the colour and sense of order in the garden for many weeks.

On the other hand, I am pleased that time progresses, though I wouldn’t mind keeping the heat for a bit longer, otherwise I would never get to eat the apples that should follow from this first apple blossom of the year.

apple blossom

The day was rounded off by a little music when Luke came for his lesson, which went well.

Following our evening meal, we both felt inexplicably tired and we didn’t go back out into the garden.

In the midst of all this activity, very few birds came to the feeder today so there is no flying bird of the day  and I have had to make do with an indifferent shot of a pair of floating  ducks on the pond at Longtown.

ducks

Those interested can click on the map below for more details of the bike ride.

garmin route 7 may 2108

It was a lot hotter than that by the time that I finished and the wind was coming up the Solway Firth from the west not the south.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Slow progress

  1. I think the poppies are tulips, and what strange and wonderful ones they are.
    The bluebells would have been enough for me but seeing all the other flowers was the icing on the cake.
    I can’t think of anything natural that would have made those two trees behave that way. Certainly not wind.
    The lawn and garden are beautiful, as always. I don’t wonder that Mrs. T. would like to keep it looking just like that forever.

  2. Such a splendid day for your cycle through that beautiful countryside. I’d have wobbled off that narrow cycle track! Amazing number of calories burnt (?) off on your ride…more people should take up cycling to help the obesity problem! Love the tea tray!

  3. I hope that you don’t learn the hard way that it is the straight handlebars of the slow bike that are causing the pain in your hand.

    I think that the keyword for the day is beautiful, beautiful weather, beautiful scenery, beautiful flowers, I think that you get the idea. Despite the occasional dreary weather, you’re having a fine spring from what I see in your images, I hope that it continues for you.

    1. My hand seems to have survived a couple of bike rides so I am hoping for the best. We could do with more sunshine. As I take more pictures whenever the sun shines, our weather appears better on the blog than it does in real life.

  4. I just took a closer look at the photo with the tea tray, and have a question: is that milk jug Portmeirion Botanic Garden?

  5. Oh, the tulips are lovely! I remember (years ago) my mother sent me quite a collection of tulip bulbs. They came up the following spring and looked so gorgeous. I don’t think it took the deer more than a couple of days to nip off every last one. They never did come back. The only thing the deer didn’t eat was the daffies. Apparently they are toxic, or something.

    I DO love Mrs T’s seasonally correct tea tray.

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