Rising above it

Today’s guest picture is another from Simon’s Saturday walk in the northern English fells. His route took him to High Cup Nick, a well named and famous viewpoint.

There was no possibilities of any views in Langholm when we got up this morning, as the town was wreathed in mist. It was calm though, and warm for the time of year at 50°F (10°C) overnight and through the morning. As a result, I stirred my stumps and went out for a cycle ride at nine o’clock.

My legs felt that this was a bit early in the day to be larking about so I took things quietly and enjoyed the autumnal scenes as I went round Pool Corner.

I don’t have lights on my bike so I was a bit worried about how thick the mist might be when I got to the hill at Callister. I have a bright yellow jacket on so I am pretty visible in normal conditions, but I don’t cycle when there is fog.

It turned out that I didn’t need to worry as the road lifted me above the mist as I climbed the hill. I stopped and look back down Wauchopedale.

Another cyclist was coming up the road behind me and you can see how conspicuous a bright yellow jacket makes him.

I looked over at the wind farm and found that the mist still had business to do with the turbines…

…and I particularly liked this defiant blade poking through on the top of the hill.

It was a different world though on the other side of the hill, and the sun was shining as I pedalled up the road to Gair…

…although when I looked over, I could still see a bank of mist behind me….

…giving the scene an interesting lighting effect.

There was no hint of mist when I got round to the far side of the wind farm…

…and if my counting is correct, they have finally erected all fifteen turbines. It looked as though the big crane was being dismantled.

Now I am just waiting until they start to turn and produce useful electricity.

A little further down the road, I noticed that the power lines were a bit overloaded…

…with starlings.

With the light wind against me on the way home, it took me quite a long time to get back, but I was quite pleased to get back at all. On a very narrow section of road among the trees, a farmer driving a mini jeep didn’t slow down as he passed me, leaving me with about two foot of road to wobble along on.

I had just recovered my equilibrium, if not my temper, when his partner on a quad bike came tearing round a blind corner even faster. The quad bike is small and would have left me plenty of room if she hadn’t been on my side of the road and heading straight towards me. She saw me in the nick of time and veered away while I made use of the off road parking, or the ditch as it is usually known. Luckily, there was some soft ground before the ditch and I got my foot down in time to avoid a tumble.

There was a cry of, “Sorry!” as the quad bike disappeared at speed but no return to see that I hadn’t come to grief. On the other hand, she must have got a bigger shock than me, because I saw her coming quite a bit before she saw me.

No harm was done and the encounter added excitement to an otherwise humdrum ride.

I got back in time for coffee in agreeably warm sunshine with Margaret and Mrs Tootlepedal. We enjoyed the coffee and conversation and also the colourful leaves on the shrubs beside the old bench.

The garden was full of busy birds and a collared dove and a starling rested for a moment on the wires overhead.

It really was a lovely day for November and a little rose beside us was enjoying the sunshine too.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been shoogling gravel in the drive while I had been out cycling but there was no time to do any more once coffee was over as we had to go off to Dumfries straight after lunch. I stole a moment to check on the bird feeder before lunch…

…but there was no time for anything else.

The drive to Dumfries went smoothly and Mrs Tootlepedal was in good time for her appointment at the new infirmary (which appears in today’s header picture). While she was consulting with the consultant, I wandered around the extensively landscaped car park enjoying the young trees…

…and the good display of flowers still on show.

I was very taken by a notice board with attached bike tools and an available pump for the convenience of anyone who had cycled to the infirmary and then had a puncture or a breakdown.

It would be interesting to know if this facility has ever been used but it certainly shows the right spirit in my view.

The only flaw in the car park was an obvious failure of planning which had led impatient motorists to cut through the middle of a bed….

…rather than walking the few extra yards round the edge.

I picked Mrs Tootlepedal up after a successful consultation and we drove smoothly home. It is a sign of how soothing driving an electric car is that I was very happy to pootle along in a large queue of traffic for several miles.

The light was fading as we went along but the upside of this was a spectacular sunset as we passed through Gretna.

We got home to news that progress is being made on one the covid vaccines under development, and while this was not an instant cure by any means, it did provide some more cheerful hopes for the future.

We are promised another gentle day tomorrow, although it may well rain. I suppose that we can’t have everything.

The flying bird of the day is a starling soaring over our garden.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Rising above it

  1. Great sunset shot.
    Sounds like you had a lucky escape on the bike today…for regular cyclists the law of averages says your going to hav e an incident at sometime,what’s important is the seriousness,anyhow glad you came through it shaken but not stirred.
    Just as an aside I always have daytime lights on the bike,the rechargeable ones are cheap and last 2-3hrs..these days.not having my lights would for me be like going out without a crash helmet.
    Some cyclists are dead set against lights but I don’t get their reasoning.
    Better safe than sorry I think 😩
    Tomorrow’s forecast isn’t too bad here.

    1. I am not set against lights but the handlebars on my road bike are so cluttered with extra brakes for old hands that there is no room to attach a light. I have no excuse for not using a rear light which is probably more important.

  2. I’m glad you didn’t get run down. That happens to me regularly but it’s usually bicycles that I have to jump out of the way of. It’s amazing what rough trails they ride.
    I see lots of paths through shrub beds like the one you show. They have a name; they’re called “desire lines”, and if you have some time to while away the subject is kind of fascinating to read about.
    That’s a great shot of the flying starling. It’s a bird I don’t see much of.

    1. The ones in the hospital car park are entirely the fault of the site designers who put in an incomprehensible diversion to the direct route at that point.

  3. Simon\s photo from High Cup Nick is quite the beautiful view. There must be a story behind the name?

    I enjoyed the photos from your day, especially the dark misty background with unusual lighting, and your molten sunset. Flowers, autumn colors and birds are always a treat. The starlings are handsome birds. We have many in my area, and although they are not native and considered invasive, I still appreciate their iridescent beauty.

  4. I’m glad the bike incidents weren’t more serious. Like Paul, I believe very strongly in the value of lights on both cyclists and their bikes . . . but then we’ve already discussed that, have we not? (select one: argh/tsk/tut) It would be much cheaper for you to just go get a light than for me to send one all the way from MB, you know!

    1. I have several bike lights which I use when cycling round the town in the winter months. I don’t cycle when the visibility is bad out on the roads.

  5. Close passes by vehicles are bottom of my list when it comes to excitement while pedalling. That’s the reason I try to stick to dedicated cycle paths, it happens too often around here. Really fascinating shot of High Cup Nick, and the starlings congregating on the power lines, perhaps they are some of the population that migrate at this time of year. I’d get some lights on that bike of yours, it all helps. Having said that I wear a hi vis railway gillet over my rain jacket plus lights, but one idiot driver still didn’t see me until the last second, and still cut across me, last evening, to park! Of all things. I was determined to pedal in for my night shift yesterday evening, it hadn’t rained all day, until I was taking my Pioneer off my car bike carrier in Neath. By the time I’d ridden to the first set of lights it was pouring down. I arrived at work I completely soaked through. I had to create a kind of washing line with an electric heater below it to dry my gear. Pleased to say it worked very well, and I was able to cycle home this morning in dry kit, plus it didn’t rain, fabulous. My next shifts are days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and despite the gloomy forecast I will be pedalling on not so quiet roads now the fire break has ended down hear. There is so much traffic back on the roads, when it returns all of a sudden, it’s then one realises this can’t go on. Cheers.

    1. I understand that more people are driving now rather than taking public transport which is very disappointing. I do have lights and I use them on my shopping bike around the town in the winter months. My policy is not to cycle if the visibility is bad and i would have turned round and gone home if it had been misty on top of the hill.

      1. Sadly, more drivers less patience, it will remain a major and dangerous problem on the roads, until we can be separated. Bus drivers are not the best wrt patience either, but then again it must be very frustrating trying to stick to a timetable while you are stuck behind a fat bloke (me) on a bike. Cycle paths have to be the answer. Cheers.

      2. The trouble with cycle paths would come if they were well made and popular. Then there would be cycle jams instead of car and lorry jams and you would risk being injured by impatient lycra louts. There is no good answer until motor traffic is drastically reduced.

  6. A stunning view in your guest photo followed by lovely views through the mist in your neck of the woods. Sorry to read about your close call with quad bike and jeep- it could all have turned out rather nastily for you. The beautiful sunset ended another interesting day for you both.

  7. So good to learn your close encounter turned out as well as it did. But I’m happy for the misty scenes, the defiant blade and the glorious sunset!

  8. What a sunset! I am so pleased Mrs T’s appointment went well, as I was worried about her awhile back. Oh that trampled public garden, what a familiar sight.

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