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.
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.
It really was a perfect day for cycling….
…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.
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.
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…
…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.
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…
..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.
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.
A new bridge has been constructed on the piers of the old railway bridge.
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…
…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.
There is a fine copper beech opposite the church.
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.
Nearby two trees seemed rather oddly shaped.
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.
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.
When I got home after 52 miles of unalloyed pleasure, I was welcomed by the tulips with open petals.
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…
…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.
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.
She also remarked that she was pleased with combination of tall orange tulips with the small darker red ones on the end bed.
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.
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.
Those interested can click on the map below for more details of the bike ride.
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.