Acting my age

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who extended her permitted walk as far as Regents Park where she enjoyed the rose garden.

Rose garden regents park

We had a warm and sunny day today with light winds.  Days like this are to be treasured.

The star in the garden was the first peony, beating the tree peony easily.

first peony

A lot of our ferns suffered badly in the frost but some of them have shrugged it off and are doing very well.

ferns after frost

I saw an orange tip buttefly in the garden but it flew off leaving me to watch this white butterfly on the sweet rocket instead.

butterfly on sweet rocket

After the rain, the garden is looking quite healthy but there is a notable gap in the far corner which should be glowing with rhododendron flowers.

no azaleas

All the same, there is colour to be found, so we are not crying too much.

four garden pictures

You have to look hard to spot this camassia though as it has got itself hidden behind taller plants.

camassia

The final remaining set of tulips looks set to last for ever.

tulips

The garage clematis is getting more flowers out every day and will soon be in full bloom.

garage clematis

Partly because I thought that it was Thursday (a lockdown category error that is quite common) and partly through natural indolence, I didn’t get my bike out to make full use of the good day until after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone out to her street coffee morning.

However, once I got going, I enjoyed myself a lot.

It was a perfect day for a pedal…

road at enzieholm

…and instead of my usual little circle starting up the Wauchope valley, I headed up Eskdale today, crossed the Black Esk by this bridge…

tanlawhill brodge

…which is one of my favourites, not because of the beauty of the structure but because of its placing in the surrounding landscape.

Once over the bridge, I followed the White Esk through Castle O’er and up to Eskdalemuir.

Like the bridge, this little road is one of my favourites too with interesting verges (the butterfly would not give me a side view….

butterfly head on

…and some lovely woods.

wood at tanlawhill

When  I got to Eskdalemuir, I climbed a stiff hill out of the valley of the White Esk towards the valley of the Black Esk.

The climb lasts for a mile and goes up just under 300 feet.  You get good views back as you climb out of the valley, but the camera does not do justice to the amount of puffing I had to put in to get the view in my opinion.

hill out of E'muir

T was heading towards Lockerbie and passing through timber country.  The forests here grow, get cut down and grow again at a dizzying pace.  I was passed by a dozen timber wagons going to and fro.  It is a highly organised and mechanised business these days.

cut timber

Having crossed the Black Esk, I got a welcome spell of downhill as I descended into the  valley of the Dryfe Water which is cattle country.

old hedge

I expect that many if not all the loaded timber lorries were heading for the huge timber yards at Steven’s Croft where I passed the country’s biggest wood burning stove.

stevens croft

Once I hit the old main road at the power station, I turned south and headed for Gretna, passing this fine lake of buttercups outside Lockerbie on my way…

pool of buttecups lockerbie

…and stopping to admire the motorway bridge over the Water Of Milk from the bridge on the old road.

motorway bridge

Peering into the shadows under the bridge, I could see extensive works, designed perhaps to let fish go up stream over a weir.  Today there was hardly enough water coming down to cater for a tadpole.

under the motorway bridge

The cycling was now pretty flat, which was a relief to my knees and I stopped from time to time to admire flowers by the road.  The red tree on the right of the panel is a red horse chestnut, I think.

rhodie, umbellifer and red chestnut

I had an interesting route mapped out in my mind for the English section of my trip when I had passed through Gretna going south, but it dawned on me as I pedalled along that the bridge at Longtown (my proposed homeward route) was shut to all traffic as it is undergoing repairs.  I wondered if it would be open to a pedestrian pushing his bike but decided not risk it, and rather tamely circled round and cycled back up to Gretna again before approaching Longtown on the north side of the bridge.

The old gravel pond there, with a fine hawthorn on its bank, looked positively Mediterranean today.

hawthorn Longtown pond

By this time, my knees were getting slightly mutinous and home and a nice sit down came into their conversation quite a lot, so I stopped taking pictures and concentrated on knocking off the final fifteen miles of route with as smooth a pedalling style as I could muster.

It has been my ambition in recent years to have at least one cycle outing each year that covers as many miles as I have had birthday.  I was born in November 1941 and my route covered exactly 80 miles today, leaving me with a couple of bonus miles in hand.

I got home in time to enjoy an evening meal of liver cooked with carrots and spinach from the garden, provided by the industrious Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had been busy in the garden while I was out.

It was a warm day today but one of the joys of cycling is that you provide your own cooling breeze as you go along and I found it very comfortable.  All the same, I lost four pounds on the jaunt in spite of eating three bananas, a satsuma, a small honey sandwich, several dates and some guava jelly.  I drank about 900ml of water too.   In normal circumstances, I would have organised a stop half way round to enjoy egg and chips at a cafe or pub on a ride of that length.

I didn’t have much time to watch the birds but a very obliging sparrow flew into shot as I was going for my shower.  It is the flying bird of the day.

flying sparrow

I append the map of the ride.  I carefully organised all the climbing at the start of the route!

garmin route 20 May 2020

Those interested can click on the pic for more details.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Acting my age

  1. Tremendous effort Tom..to paraphrase Donald trump.
    Hopefully you’ll still be doing it at 90..possibly with the help of an ebike
    which should have come down to a more realistic price by then.
    Particularly like your shot of the trees at Dryfe water.

    1. Those trees must have been the remains of an old hedge by the look of them. I hope that I am still going at ninety but i wouldn’t put any money on it….though the e-bike will almost certainly figure if I make it.

  2. The peony has great color and the camassia blossom reminds me of a native shrub we have here called rhodora.
    The garage clematis is fantastic. I don’t see many with that many blossoms on them.
    Glad you had a good bike ride. It looks like it was the perfect day for one.

  3. Congratulations on your impressive bike ride. That is hard to fantom. Hope you can receive this belated photo of my Garibaldi….they are definitely all gone now, very good.

    Lisa Dziuban

    >

  4. The hillside near Dryfe Water is very pretty, and the garage clematis is a wonder. Your Garmin certainly gives you a lot of details – quite the speed demon you were at times today. Re. the liver – you are aware that there is such a thing as an iron tablet? 🙂

  5. A beautiful day for a bike ride there! It was cool, drizzly and the wind had a bite to it here today. I like that old fish ladder. Does your area have any salmon runs?

  6. What a fabulous day. I’ve read of riding the mileage equal to ones age to celebrate ones birthday and the fact one can still pedal, before. I’ve never done a 40 miler in one go, let alone mileage to equal my age. It’s getting very daunting now as I hit 70 next February. Ouch!! Yesterday I actually took a picture of a flyover as well, the M4 over Briton Ferry, hopefully I will get it into a blog post soon. Not that it is as scenic as yours with a river flowing (well almost) under it. Cheers and thank you for sharing your day.

  7. What a great achievement – a long and interesting bike ride in glorious weather and great views. Love the trees in the field when you entered the valley of the Dryfe Water- the hedge is missing which makes it unusual. Thanks for the Garmin map..so interesting looking at all your speedy vitals!

  8. Your forests (or stump farms as I call them) are so much neater than ours. All those tidy rows look far better than what’s left behind here. Your bike ride made me tired just reading about it!

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