Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and makes the point that we are not the only ones with buddleias and butterflies. The painted ladies did not stop at Langholm and have continued north.
As she went off to sing in the church choir this morning, Mrs Tootlepedal remarked that when seen from an upstairs window, the front lawn looked good. I checked.
I like to mow in a different direction every time.
We had another lovely day today and the butterflies were about bright and early.
We had a walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and I liked the delicate colours of a hosta flower and the salvias.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s new rose has settled in very well. It is a pretty flower and the only thing wrong with it is its name, Rosy Cheeks.
Although I did not go to church, I did have a religious moment during the morning (religion – definition: a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion) when I mowed the middle lawn for the first time after giving it a dose of the fertiliser with alleged magic moss eating properties. The fertiliser part certainly works well and I feel that the moss eating has worked too but we will see whether it has done lasting good when the winter comes.
I then edged the lawn to complete the effect.
We were having a cup of coffee after our walk round the garden when Mrs Tootlepedal surprised me by asking if I felt like a ten mile cycle ride on hilly roads with some rough tracks to negotiate on the way. This is not her usual choice of parcours.
There was a threat of a thunderstorm later in the afternoon but we had time to get round before it was due to arrive so I agreed, and we got our bikes out and set off, having fortified ourselves with a cheese toastie before we left.
It was warm and sunny and we went up the hill to the Moorland Feeders at the Laverock Hide in good order. We didn’t stop at the hide, even though Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a woodpecker as we cycled past, but continued on along the narrow but well surfaced road that took us down to the bridge across Tarras water.
There were things to see as we went along, including some of the first heather in flower, insects on ragwort and wild mint.
Once we had crossed the bridge (which we did when we came to it), we cycled along the flat beside the river for a bit and I kept an eye out for a patch of horsetail which I knew grew somewhere beside the road. When we got to it, it was hard to miss.
It was in very fine form.
When we got to the end of the short flat, we had a steep hill to climb to get up to Cronksbank but we were rewarded with good views of the Tarras Valley…
…and we could soon look down at the little farmhouse on the other side of the river.
Passing through Cronksbank and then Perterburn, we descended very carefully down a bumpy track to the Tarras Water. This time there was no bridge for us to cross and Mrs Tootlepedal fearlessly led the way across the ford.
Local readers may well realise that the picture above is slightly unsatisfactory as Mrs Tootlepedal is clearly cycling back towards Perterburn. This is true and the picture is staged as I missed the first crossing and Mrs Tootlepedal kindly agreed to cycle back and re-enact the crossing.
The road up from the ford has some fine pine trees beside it.
The track from Middlemoss up to the tarmac road across the moor was in much better condition than we expected, and we were able to cycle most of the way up it.
It is steep in places though, and I was happy to stop to take a picture of bee hives, probably put out in anticipation of the heather flowering soon.
The heather is looking quite healthy at the moment but when we stopped to talk to a local naturalist and his wife who were walking on the hill road, he showed me a clump of heather that had been affected by the dreaded heather beetle…and he showed me the larva of the beetle which he shook from a dying plant.
It was interesting to see something about which I had read a lot but which I had never seen before.
It looked as though the forecast rain might be on its way, so we didn’t stay chatting for long but pedalled on towards the White Yett…
…and the welcome sight of the road down the hill back home.
In fact, the forecast rain didn’t arrive until later on in the day and our ride was a great pleasure.
We were not on mountain bikes (Mrs Tootlepedal was on her shopping bike and I was on my road bike) so progress on the bumpy tracks was slow and cautious and the narrow roads on the downhill sections called for a careful approach too, so we took some time to make the circuit but we were still pleased with our progress and thought that we had certainly earned our cup of tea when we got home.
Luckily we were able to watch the Ride London pro cycling event on the telly when we had had our cup of tea and that gave us a good excuse to do very little for the rest of the day. They went a lot faster than we did.
A panorama of the Ewes Valley, taken from the White Yett is the metaphorical flying bird of the day.