Off to see the sea

Today’s guest picture is another from Mary Jo’s trip to New Zealand.  It shows South Taranaki Bight, a fierce place, Mary Jo says.  She is back in Canada and having to spend a fortnight ‘self isolating’ on her return to the country.

South Taranaki Bight

We were promised a dry day and we got one so that was a bonus and then a woodpecker appeared on the plum tree after breakfast, a very rare occurrence indeed…

woodpecker on plum tree

… so that was another bonus.  It was altogether a very good start to the day.

On the down side, it was only 6°C and with a brisk wind blowing, it felt pretty chilly for mid March.  I was determined to go for a cycle ride, but I wasted some time on doing the crossword and looking at goldfinches and redpolls on the feeder….

feeder picture

…while vainly hoping that it would get warmer.

After I had had a cup of coffee and it became apparent that it wasn’t going to get any warmer, I finally set off on my cycle ride.

I was hoping to go a reasonable distance and my plan, in the face of the brisk west wind, was to go as far west into the wind as my legs would stand, and then to get blown home again.

This plan took me past the Chapelcross Nuclear Power station near Annan.  It is being decommissioned very slowly.

This was it in 2010….

chapelcross1

…and this was it today.

chapelcross

When I got to Annan itself, I was intending to take a moody shot of the high water running under the bridge over the River Annan but I got distracted by rabbits and shot them instead.

rabbits at annan bridge

I left Annan and followed the coast road to Powfoot where I hoped to see the sea.  However, following Mary Jo’s example, the sea was self isolating.  Indeed, it was so far out that it looked as though it might be quite possible to walk to America.

sea at powfoot

I looked across the Nith Estuary towards Criffel…

criffel from powfoot

…noted a daisy and some salt marshes…

daisy and marsh powfoot

…ate a honey sandwich and headed for home.

Battling into the wind, which was gusting at 25mph, had kept my outward speed to a measly 11.2 mph.  Floating home with the wind behind was a much more sprightly affair and I was happy to stop to record my first sighting of blackthorn blossom this year…

 

blackthorn

…and a generous clump of lesser celandine beside the road.

celandine

I was even more happy to stop to admire the church at Kirkpatrick Fleming as it is halfway up a steep hill.

 

kpf church

I had two more convenient stops, the first with the barrier of this motorway bridge to rest my bike against…

motorway brodge kpf

…and the second with these steps set into the churchyard wall at Half Morton to rest my bottom on while I had my second honey sandwich.

wall at half morton

After that, it was a case of pressing on, though I did make one last stop to record an outbreak of lambs at the Hollows.  You don’t often see lambs in jackets but it has been cold and wet so perhaps it is a wise move from the farmer.

lambs at Hollows

I was able to up my average speed thanks to the kindly wind and I managed 14.1 mph on the way home.  This meant that I just squeezed under four hours of cycling time for my 50 miles journey by a few seconds.

It was still only 6°C when I got back.  I had hoped for a little warming sunshine on my trip but it remained cold and grey and I was pleased to have been well wrapped up.

The sun did come out after I got home.  Mrs Tootlepedal was out too and she had left me a note to say that she was up on the moor looking for hen harriers.  She got back soon afterwards but with no sightings of harriers at all.  She had done some useful gardening while I had been off cycling though.

I watched some more reliable birds.

warring birds

It was a pleasant evening so after I had had a shower, I went for a little three bridges walk.

I expected blossom and there was blossom beside the river….

blossom beside esk

…and I hoped for interesting waterside birds but there were only ducks.

They are paired up at the moment and I saw a hopeful third party getting short shrift when he tried to muscle in on a spoken for lady.

two pairs of ducks

As I crossed the sawmill Brig, I noticed that it hadn’t taken very long for lichen to start to colonise the new parapet stones which were installed in 2016..

lichen on sawmill brig

I liked this moss which looked as though it was gently snoozing on a more established wall a few yards further on..

moss on wall

It was still cold but the evening sunshine made it feel more cheerful than it actually was.

sunny castleholm march

When I got home, we had venison stew for our evening meal and we both felt that we had earned it.

Reducing our social interactions drastically has not been so bad for me because I have always got Mrs Tootlepedal to talk to.  Of course it is not so satisfactory for her as she has got me to talk to.  I managed to irritate her  so much at one time yesterday that she looked at me witheringly and summoned up the worst insult she could think of. “You’re just like Boris Johnson!”

I was chastened.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

For those interested, details of the ride can be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 18 march 2020

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Off to see the sea

      1. Quite the worst insult she could sling unless she had compared you to our orange man. I think the sequestering is going to lead to a lot of small relationship irritations for all!

  1. Nice to see the daisy and the tree blossoms. We have more flowers coming but slowly.
    Your lichens and mosses grow at incredible speed. I’ve seen stone walls I built 40 years ago without a single example of either one on them yet.
    At least Mrs. Tootlepedal didn’t say that you were just like Donald Trump.

    1. There is no one to match him! Mrs T is inclined to say that if you stand still in our garden, moss grows on your feet and the lichen is pretty quick too.

  2. 50mls @ 14mph.into winds and 6c.. what a determined effort ..and very well done sir.
    Your putting me to shame,but also inspiring,I must make an effort this week,but doubt I’ll manage a 50.
    Great woodpecker shot..you were just in the right place at the right time .

    1. To be fair the 14mph was on the leg with the wind behind but I was still pleased to have got a 50 mile ride in. The weather has not been kind this year so far. Mrs T spotted the woodpecker while she was talking on the phone!

  3. It is a pleasure to see a woodpecker out in the open. The one that visits my garden very now and then is usually either too high in a tree for me to photograph or hidded by foliage. My own fault for having planted a forest.

  4. Thanks for visual sanity to keep us going. It is good to have enough space to share space in even when irritations are running high. Mrs T is certainly not alone.

  5. Phew! Chastened, indeed. On the other hand, there were rabbits, sheep, moss, birds, water, and a honey sandwich, which by the way I have never had. Doesn’t sound bad.

  6. Congratulations on the woodpecker’s arrival! I enjoyed the photos from the outing, especially the flowering trees today. Now what did did you do to warrant being called a Boris Johnson? 🙂

    The celandines are beautiful. People tell me they are a bit invasive, but I have some areas I would like to cover with them. Are they drought resistant?

  7. A lovely cycle ride with lots of interesting things to see especially the rabbits, the blossom and the brooding seascape. Thanks for the map- I like seeing where you get to and am always amazed at distances achieved…the virus will never catch you if you keep pedalling hard!

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