Today’s guest picture is another of Tony’s seals among the seaweed. That looks like an eider duck in the background.
Apology: There are far too many pictures in today’s post. If you like garden pictures of flowers, birds, bees and butterflies scroll rapidly through to the end and if you like views start at the beginning and miss the finish. For some inexplicable reason I was a bit tired when it came to sorting the photos out and I couldn’t summon up the energy to throw many away.
After another rainy night (2cms), the morning was grey but dry and importantly from my point of view, the wind was a great deal calmer than of late.
The church choir is still on holiday and I am resting my rather ragged voice so while Mrs Tootlepedal cycled off to sing, I got my bike out. The forecast rather improbably suggested that if I set off cycling north, I would find the wind behind me but by the time that I had got to Hawick, 23 miles away, it would have come round and would blow me back south again.
I set off northwards with hope in my heart but a considerable degree of scepticism in my mind.
The ride started well with a view of a large family of goosanders just above the Langholm Bridge.
The wind did indeed help me up the hill to Mosspaul and crossing the watershed there improved the weather too.
The helpful wind didn’t quite last all the way to Hawick and it was evidently doing what the forecasters had suggested and coming round to the north so I had to push a bit harder for the last five miles. The recent rains have got the rivers flowing now, and there was plenty of water rushing down the Slitrig Burn in the middle of the town.
The nearby sculpture….
…looks strangely out of place in a borders town but celebrates the moment when the Turnbull family got its name. (By turning a bull!)
The ride up to Hawick had been very enjoyable and the changing of the wind was very encouraging so instead of just turning round myself and going back by the same road, I decided to follow the Slitrig Burn and come home by the scenic route.
The journey back by Whitrope summit and Liddesdale has much the same shape as the journey up over Mosspaul but as you can see from the elevation profile above, it is slightly longer and the the hill is bigger, topping out at about 1100 feet. However both parts of the journey have very steady gradients and very little gratuitous loss of height so with the wind behind, as it was both ways today, they offer no great challenge to the elderly cyclist.
I saw some things as I cycled along the valley bottom beside the Slitrig burn.
Once up in the hills, there are extensive views…
..with added viaduct.
If the campaign to extend the Borders railway is successful, we might once again see train crossing the Shankend Viaduct.
Further on, I looked back northwards. An information board told me that I was looking at the Catrail, a large and very long ditch. Wikipedia tells me that: It is not known when or by whom the Catrail was made, or for what purpose. However, since it is not substantial enough to be an effective military barrier, it seems likely to have been a territorial boundary marker, possibly dating from the Early Middle Ages.
Since I couldn’t actually see the ditch, I enjoyed the splendid view instead.
From the same spot, I could see an excellent example of the modern land use….
…and a faint reminder of its former use.
A cycle sportive based in Hawick was taking place today and as I was going up the hill to the summit, I passed many cyclists going in the opposite direction to me. As they were cycling into the wind and I wasn’t, I didn’t mind. I had my wind assisted downhill still to come.
A small group of enthusiasts have preserved a mile or two of the old railway at the summit and I passed several parked items of rolling stock
Although the stock is a fine sight, it is nothing compared to the beauty of the road south.
It is my favourite piece of road, especially on a day like today, sunny and with a light following wind and the knowledge of ten miles of gentle and continuous descent ahead.
The road and stream go down the hill together…
And at this point the road crosses the stream by this fine bridge…
…at the same time as the stream rushes across a small cascade.
As an added bonus, the bridge carries both moss and lichen for the delight of the discerning passer by..
It became obvious that I was cycling a bit too fast down towards the village of Newcastleton as there were ominous black clouds ahead and the roads were getting progressively wetter so it was clear that I was catching up with a rain shower.
With this in mind, I sensibly stopped in a cafe in the village to have a cup of coffee and a toastie. I would have had a rock bun too, which I had paid for, if they had given it to me but I got fed up with waiting and left unbunned. I didn’t make a fuss because by the time that I realised that it wasn’t coming, I had spent too long sitting down and needed to get my legs working again.
The ten miles down to Canonbie, along the valley of the Liddle Water were the most undulating of the whole trip but the views are often delightful…
…and the general trend is downhill so with the wind still behind me, I kept up a reasonable speed.
I was expecting that the last six miles back to Langholm would be hard work into the wind but the road is well sheltered and it was easy enough.
I stopped at the Hollows Bridge to admire the rush of water coming down the Esk..
…and pedalled home very happily.
Full details of the ride can be found by clicking here.
I did more climbing today than I have done in any ride this year but thanks to the gentle gradients and the excellent selection of low gears on my new bike, I managed to keep my tin knee turning over very sweetly and the whole ride was unalloyed pleasure. With only one or two short rough sections, the road surfaces were pretty smooth and pothole free which makes cycling so much more enjoyable than when you have to keep your eyes stuck to the road surface ahead.
Mrs Tootlepedal was out volunteering at the Buccleuch Centre when I got back so I had gentle potter round the garden doing some dead heading and flower watching.
The theme was pink.
These are pink Japanese anemones, new in the garden last year.
You might think at first sight that I was in the vegetable garden but these are dicentra seeds with Lords and Ladies in the background.
And this is the dahlia of the day with added bee.
Mrs Tootlepedal had lifted the onions while I was out cycling and I found them hanging on the greenhouse to dry out.
Just as I got over Skippers Bridge on my way back into town on my bicycle, I had passed a lady looking at a big buddleia. “Any butterflies?” I asked. “Masses,” she replied. So I looked at our big buddleia. There were a lot of butterflies on it too.
Some even posed for the camera.
And among the peacocks, there was a lone red admiral…
…which wouldn’t pose properly for me.
The Michaelmas daisies beside the buddleia had lots of bees
I went in to have a cup of tea and set the bird watching camera up. The calmer weather had brought them back into the garden.
There were several blue tits about.
And the usual sparring sparrows.
The very white sparrow is getting some colour…
..and there was a white feathered jackdaw about too.
The jackdaws take a good portrait.
Mrs Tootlepedal finally got back from a long screening at the Buccleuch Centre where she had been helping with front of house duties and we rounded off the day with a tasty liver casserole followed by nectarines and cream on a meringue base. (The meringue bases come in packets of eight so we get four treats from a packet.)
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow getting close up and personal.
Sorry about the over length post but it was such a treat getting a good day after all the drizzle that I couldn’t help myself.
33 thoughts on “Carried away”
Not too many pictures! I loved all of them. Your tree farms and clear cuts look much like here.
Tony’s seals look fat and happy. 🙂
They do look well, don’t they. I hope to go and see them in the not too distant future.
I didn’t think the post was too long. The views were excellent. It isn’t every day I get to see a waterwheel and a viaduct.
I’ve never seen a dicentra form seed pods like those. I’ll have to pay closer attention.
You’re so lucky to have the peacock butterflies. I’ve never seen one of them either.
I don’t think that I have seen those seeds pods either so I wonder if our unusually dry and hot summer spell is responsible.
Maybe, or it could just be that variety.
Great shots all! 🙂
Thank you HJ.
Wonderful views along your bicycle route – glad you had such a fine day.
Something for absolutely everyone. Do hope to see a train coming over the viaduct once more.
Preferably while I am still about to see it (but that is problematic).
Enjoyed all your photographs especially the bridge and the butterflies. Glad you had such an enjoyable ride.
There is no “Too long” for a Tootlepedal-post as the pictures are always interesting and beautiful and the text is intelligent and often witty. A visit to this blog is a must every day as soon as I turn on my PC, So thank you for it.
Thank you for being such a constant reader.
Hi Tom – I have been reading your posts today, mostly silently (impossible to catch up of course as you are so prolific!) As I have said before, but will say again, your posts give me great comfort – almost like meditation which I am not good at. As the first anniversary of the death of my husband approached, your posts are both a balm and an incentive to get back on my bicycle! I cannot thank you enough x
It is really good to think that these ramblings (literal and metaphorical) might be actually useful. If they give you any comfort, I am happy for both you and me.
Beautiful views, thanks for the tour. Butterflies and buzzing characters all looking healthy because of the generous flowering plantings.
A spell of good sunshine helps any garden and we got a good spell this summer.
I am with Lavinia! And, of course, I was thrilled to see a couple of photos of those peacock butterflies. How beautiful they are.
They give us great pleasure every time we see them.
I understand. Just like the hummingbirds give us great pleasure.
The bee picture is amazing, Tom! Such great detail!
I would like to have a steadier hand. I need to think how to get bees and my tripod to work together.
It would be difficult to better the pictures that you take, Tom. They’re fantastic!
You are very kind.
I have some friends who will be cycling up the A7 to Hawick on the way to John O’Groats. They have the most delightful 4 and 5 year old girls on Tagalongs. My son is driving with the camping gear. Say hello if you see them.
I thought that the landscape photos from during your cycle ride were excellent, and they are, but the butterflies and bee are superb!
The bees were very obliging and stayed quite still for me.
I really liked the Turnbull statue. I also loved every photo in this post, but by the time I scroll down here to comment, I forget what I might have commented on. I started back at the top, came down here to comment on the statue before I forgot it and then was much too lazy to repeat the process. This is not to say you posted too many photos, but that my memory is lacking a bit and it’s been a very lazy sort of day.
After a pause, I did remember that disgruntled looking pig and the butterflies are a constant delight! Thanks for exercising my brain!
I tried to get some charming piglets but they scuttled away before I could catch them.
Nice pics. My hubby just got an electric bike so that when the wind is oppositional, you can switch on the motor for a break. 🙂
Every photo was well worth including. I do hope you get to see the train someday n