Today’s guest picture shows a curious calm on the sea when seen from East Wemyss today. Our son Tony took the shot.
It was fairly calm here today too, but not quite as calm as that. It hadn’t been frosty overnight so we got out into the garden before coffee and I sieved some compost for the first time this year. I found this an exciting event but Mrs Tootlepedal managed to retain her calm without much difficulty. She did use some of the sieved compost later on in the day.
We had coffee in the garden with Liz and Margaret, and afterwards I went on a tulip hunt. They had opened up quite well today.
(One of the tulips may be a daffodil The sixth tulip picture did not come out well.)
The magnolia has suffered from the many frosts….
…but all is not lost.
We are hoping that this year, the plum blossom will eventually provide us with plums.
Last year the plum blossom was magnificent, and then almost every potential plum got nipped in the bud by a severe late frost.
The bumble bee was back buzzing about among the pulmonaria…
…and the trout lilies were talking among themselves.
I didn’t have long to look at the birds today, but I did capture a moment of tension in the chaffinch community.
I made some soup for lunch with lentils, bacon, celery, some aged carrots and an onion, i.e. everything that I could lay my hands on. It came out well though and gave me enough pep to go out for a pedal.
It wasn’t sunny on the whole, but it was warmer again (17°C by the afternoon) so it was good to get out and not have to be wrapped up like a Christmas present. The wind was light which made it feel even better as I pedalled out of the town up the A7 as far as Fiddleton Toll.
Here I turned off and took the road across the hills to Liddesdale. This involves a steep climb up to Carewoodrigg so I was happy to stop for a photo of the bridge at the bottom of the hill…
…before puffing up the hill to the beginning of the ridge. It seems as though you have done all the work when you look ahead…
…but this is a snare and a delusion. It is one of those roads where the top of the hill is always just round the next corner, and when you look back from the far end of the ridge…
…you can see why your legs are complaining.
Still, you are rewarded with a good swish down the hill into the valley of the Hermitage Water…
…with an enjoyable run down to the junction of the Hermitage Water and the Liddel Water which gives Liddesdale its name.
There is a compulsory stop to admire Hermitage Castle.
The huge arch makes the castle look quite small, but a view from the road…
…gives a better idea of its scale when you look at the size of the front door in the wall. It is an impressively grim building, meant to make visitors feel small.
At the junction with the road to Newcastleton, I found a handily placed bench to give my bike a rest while I looked at the bridge over the Hermitage Water from both sides, and enjoyed a large clump of hairy bittercress with an added dandelion.
I stopped for another bridge over the Hermitage Water near Steele Road.
A sign advises traffic that this is a weak bridge and you can see that they have tried to strengthen it. I went across it very carefully.
While I was there, I took a picture of one of the slightly conical hills characteristic of this area.
Further down the road, I met some farm goats and a llama which had turned its back on me. A discreet cough brought its head round to see who I was.
The Waverley Line, the railway between Carlisle and Edinburgh, used to run up this valley and there are plans to re-open it. In the meantime, it is a footpath and I took pictures of the trackbed, a bridge which lets the Black Burn run under it, the Black Burn itself, and a bridge which carries a farm track over the railway.
It will be a great thing if the whole railway is re-opened because at the moment it stops halfway between Edinburgh and Carlisle, but we are not holding our breath. It will take many years for the plan to come to fruition, even if it is approved.
I stopped in the village of Newcastleton for a snack and then set off down the very undulating road to Canonbie. The undulations took all my concentration and I only stopped twice more before getting back to Langholm, once for blackthorns near Archerbeck…
…and once for the ‘mile of daffodils’ between Rowanburn and Canonbie.
When I got back to the town, I was cheerful enough to add a couple of miles to my trip to bring up a round 40 miles. I like a neat number.
I haven’t been able to do this particular ride lately as it takes me out of Dumfries and Galloway and into the Borders Region but restrictions have been eased so we can visit other regions now. Next week, I will be legally able to go for a pedal in England.
I had a quiet evening in when I got home.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch at full stretch.