Today’s guest picture comes from Tony in East Wemyss and shows that he has been putting all that sunshine to good use in his vegetable garden.
We had a perfect summer day here today. The wind was light, the sky was blue and temperatures were warm but tolerable.
In the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with her hen harrier meeting. She had made a banner and prepared a hen harrier themed cake for the occasion. Our friend Gavin took this picture of Mrs Tootlepedal cutting her cake on the moor.
The cake must have been good because there wasn’t a slice left for me when the harrier fans came back down from the hill.
I had only one thing to do all day but it took me all day to do it. My plan was to get up early, take advantage of the fine weather by cycling 50 miles away from Langholm, and then to continue to take advantage of the fine weather by cycling the fifty miles back home again.
As a plan, it had the merit of simplicity and it worked out very well. The 102 miles took me just under eight hours to complete but when I added in the many stops for refreshment (and rest), nine hours passed between leaving home and arriving back again.
I took pictures at some of the stops. It was quite cool when I set off and the windmills at Gretna were still covered in mist when I first saw them….
…but the mist had cleared by the time that I got to Gretna Green, and as a bonus, the wind was so light that the blades were not turning.
My next stop at around twenty miles was just across the valley from this fine house.
Then I paused at Lockerbie where I walked up on to the fine pedestrian and cycle bridge that reaches across the motorway.
I thought that it gave a good impression of what an excellent summer day it was.
At around the forty mile marker, I couldn’t go past the little church at Beattock without stopping for a look…
I often stop for a quick bite of lunch and a half pint of beer in the hotel in Beattock when I am bicycling this way, but the virus put paid to that today. All the same I was quite excited by the possibility of a bacon bap and a cup of coffee from the snack shed a bit farther up the road. The shed was well signposted but sadly it wasn’t open. It was just as well that I had brought a good supply of food with me.
Cycling up towards Beattock summit after passing through the village is my favourite part of the ride. The cycle track is well surfaced and the gradients are very gentle and very steady so that it is possible to find the right gear and cycle up the valley while enjoying the views. The road runs right beside the railway, and today I noticed a modern conduit in an old setting carrying water under the line…
…and a little further on, a neat bridge letting a side road go under the railway.
The most surprising things that I saw was a bunch of bright yellow wild flowers by the roadside.
Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are common or yellow toadflax. They may be called common but they are a pretty rare sight when I am cycling around.
Almost as surprising was this strange set of trails in the sky.
If anyone can work out what the aircraft were doing up there, they are a better person than me.
Just after the toadflax, I came to the extensive bridge that carries the road to Greenhillstairs across the new motorway.
And then I came to the end of my ride north, not going as far as the summit today.
I had a snack and turned for home. Although I was pretty well in the middle of nowhere, there was plenty of kit about to show what is needed these day when a main motorway and a main railway line run up a narrow valley.
My chief interest was that the road was downhill.
Because I was riding on the same road on my way back, I didn’t take many pictures and concentrated my mind on keeping a steady pace that would get me home without annoying my legs.
I was cycling into alight breeze which had got up and it kept me reasonably cool but all the same, I was very pleased to arrive at the village shop at Springfield, near Gretna Green just as the lady was closing. She was kind enough to keep the door open long enough to sell me a large chocolate ice cream. As this was in the hottest part of the day, the ice cream was very welcome and I might have struggled a bit without it.
After my ice cream, I took the old main road back towards Longtown, crossing a new bridge beside the former national boundary bridge as I entered England for a while.
Fortunately the wind came round just enough to help me back up the road from Longtown to Langholm and with six miles to go, I was caught up by our neighbour Ken, who was on his way back from an 85 mile ride on the Solway coast. This gave some added interest to the final miles of our journeys.
I found Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz drinking cider in the garden in the shade of the walnut tree when I got home.
I wandered round the garden before going in for a shower.
There were three firsts on show, a fuchsia in the garden as opposed to the ones on the back wall of the house….
…a Japanese anemone…
….and a Michaelmas Daisy, perhaps not quite so welcome, as it is a definite sign of the coming of autumn.
Two other cheery plants caught me eye, an astilbe…
…and a plump calendula.
And there was a butterfly even though it was getting late.
It must have been quite warm while I was pedalling, because in spite of consuming four honey sandwiches, three small bananas, an apple, several dates and some guava jelly, along with two bottles of water on my way, I had still lost five pounds on the ride, I started filling the hole with a bottle of cider with my tea.
I had forgotten to fill the feeder before I left, so I filled it now and hoped that birds might come.
The usual suspects arrived on the feeder…
…and a young blackbird came to see what was going on.
I see that I have already written ten words for every mile that I cycled today so that is quite enough for now. The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, which looks as though it might have been in the wars.
Footnote: My legs were perfectly happy with the bike ride but my shoulders and neck found it hard going at the finish. I will have to improve my riding position.