Out and back

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s Highland holiday. He was looking across at Skye from the mainland when he took this shot.

We were offered a fine morning with light winds so the sensible thing to do would be for me to get going as soon after breakfast as possible if I wanted a good bike ride. To the amazement of both Mrs Tootlepedal and myself, I was out of the house and cycling up the road towards Hawick by ten o’clock.

The downside was that in spite of the sun, it was still pretty chilly at the time, but I was wrapped up well, and even the sight of the moon still in the sky above Potholm Hill…

…didn’t cast a damper over my enthusiasm. A little autumn colour along the way kept me cheerful too….

…and I got to the head of the Ewes valley in good order to enjoy one of my favourite views.

It was a lovely day….

…and I pedalled on up to Mosspaul and then down the other side of the hill, following the course of the River Teviot towards Hawick.

The rather curious monument to Henry Scott Riddell, the bard of Teviothead, stood out prominently on the hill to my left on the far side of the river.

And below me, a shiny new bridge crossed the river.

My target for the day was Branxholme, twenty miles north of Langholm and when I got there, I stopped for a banana and a view of the river.

When I looked down, I found that I was surrounded by dandelion-like flowers and I had to look hard to find one that didn’t have insects or bees on.

At Branxholme, I was at 125m, roughly 50m higher above sea level than I had been when I started out from Langholm, so although I had to climb back over the hill at Mosspaul at 262m, I had more downhill than up on my way home. This is always welcome.

As I had already looked at the scenery on my way out, I put my mind to cycling on the way back and only stopped for one more autumn colour picture on the way, and that was in sight of the sign welcoming me to Langholm.

Although it was a working day and there was a fair amount of traffic on the road, there were enough gaps between the busy moments to make the ride seem quite calm and the gentle gradients made for steady pedalling so I thoroughly enjoyed the outing.

And I got home in perfect time for lunch. The weather in October has been kind to cycling so far. I hope that this continues.

I took a walk round the garden when I got back before I ate my soup with bread and cheese.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cut down the tall sunflowers outside the front door because they were over, but there was still plenty of floral sunshine to be had.

And finally, a coloured cosmos has produced a flower very late in the year when all hope had gone.

Its stands near a hosta producing new flowers long after its leaves have turned yellow. It has been a funny year, as I may have remarked before. There is no frost in the immediate forecast, so we hope that more of those cosmos buds might still come out.

The Japanese anemones are bursting with health…

…the cornflowers are standing up to be counted…

…and what I think are privet berries (Mrs T says that they are honeysuckle) have come out to join more berberis berries above the new bench.

All the same, my favourite shot today was of a dead flower…

…though a red admiral butterfly on the new daisy ran it close.

After lunch and a shower, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal who was watching the Giro d’Italia. There is an endless fascination for us in watching bike stage races and this particular stage was as watchable as ever.

After the stage was over, we went out into the garden where Attila the Gardener continued tidying up after the massacre of the tall sunflowers, and I rather pointlessly swept walnut leaves off the lawn. More leaves fell even as I was disposing of the ones that I had collected.

I gave the potential mini meadow on the drying green some more rough treatment and then went inside to have a cup of tea and watch the birds.

At first the lone seed customer was a chirpy chaffinch…

…but it didn’t take long for other birds to arrive. A goldfinch was quite calm when another goldfinch arrived but stood up straight when a strange bird joined the company.

A sparrow loomed over a sparrow…

…a greenfinch enjoyed a little sunshine….

…and as we had several visits from a great tit and a blue tit…

…I had a good variety of birds to look at in a short spell at the window.

Mrs Tootlepedal had bought me a ready made steak pie from a local butcher for my tea and that went down very well with turnips and potatoes from the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Out and back

  1. Since I’ve never heard of Henry Scott Riddell I had to look him up. His life story, including time spent as a shepherd and time spent in an asylum, is fascinating to read.
    Those Japanese anemones are beautiful things. They must have good strong stems.
    That’s a nice shot of the butterfly.

  2. Re. the wildflowers on the drying green: won’t they just get stomped when you peg out your clothes? Or are there various areas to the drying green?

  3. Thank you for posting another one of Tony’s photos of the Isle of Skye. It is on my own bucket list now. 🙂

    The moon is in last quarter now, and I enjoyed seeing it in that photo. It looks like you had a perfect day for a bike ride.

    Those flowers do look like dandelions Taraxacum officinale. Here, both the dandelion and the similar looking coast dandelion hypochaeris radicata are usually among he few things left for bees at this time of year here. Along with wasps, the bees will also feed on grapes and fallen fruit in an attempt to get liquid and calories of any kind.

  4. A lovely autumn day for your cycle ride in beautiful scenery…looks like lots of ups and downs to me! Good to see the variety of birds visiting your feeders…we seem to have a resident sparrow hawk in the garden picking off the goldfinches at will!

  5. Those lovely blue skies, autumn splashes, flowers, birds galore, the Giro, plus a spin of your pedals. You are living the dream. Cheers

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