Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He found a really lovely patch of bluebells on his walk today.
We had anther chilly night here which only just stayed above freezing, and it stayed pretty cold in the morning. The forecast suggested changeable weather all day but offered a dry spell after breakfast for a while. Encouraged by this, Mrs Tootlepedal set out, with me in tow, to cycle up the top of Callister, round the Westwater forest tracks, and then back down the road again in time for lunch.
We don’t have mountain bikes so we just took the bikes we use for shopping which meant walking up a few of the steeper hills. Although we have walked round these forest tracks, we hadn’t cycled round them before and it was open to question as to whether this was entirely a good idea.
More questions arose soon after we set out from Langholm when it started to rain, and indeed there was a hint of snow too. We persevered though, and by the time that we had got to the top of Callister, the bad weather was behind us…
…and as we left the road and took to the forest track…
…prospects looked not too bad.
As we went on, if we looked over to the south, it appeared that several nasty looking showers had passed us by…
…but our way ahead looked dry….
…and finally we got to a bit of downhill which was most welcome.
The forest is still quite young so we could see our track through the trees round the head of the valley in front of us.
We stopped there for a while to enjoy a banana and a date to give us the strength for the return journey along the other side of the valley. The cycling conditions varied a bit but the bikes coped very well…
…and there were always some ominous looking dark clouds about to make sure that we didn’t take too long about the trip. I didn’t stop to take many pictures but the moss caught my eye and the many self seeded spruce trees on at the side of the track showed that spring is springing.
Before our final (cautious) descent back to the road, we got two fine views, first into the valley ahead of us…
…and then into the neighbouring valley of Cleuchfoot.
Although the pedal along the forest roads had been fun, it had been bumpy and hilly so it was with some relief that we hit smooth tarmac and found the wind helping us back down the road to Langholm.
At just under sixteen miles, it was the longest ride that Mrs Tootlepedal had done for some time, and she was very pleased to have suggested the trip. I thoroughly enjoyed it too and it is a tribute to the solid back tyre (no pneumatic tube inside it at all) on my shopping bike that it got me round quite comfortably.
After lunch, we did some gardening, and some quiet sitting in the warmth of the greenhouse listening to the blackbird singing above our heads.
I sieved some more compost, catalogued the tulips…
…checked two of the espalier apples for apple blossom and the cow parsley for promising buds.
Then I went in and looked at the birds for a while.
I really like the look of the new willows round the feeder….
…and the birds seem quite happy with them too.
I made a lamb stew for a casserole, and then I got a bit restless. After fidgetting about for a bit, I went off for a walk out along the Murtholm and the road to Broomholmshiels and back to Langholm through the woods.
Once again, there were black clouds in the offing…
…but once again, I was lucky and the showers passed me by.
In the sunshine, I saw colour in the trees on the other side of the river…
…sparkling wood anemones beside the track…
…a very surprising row of daffodil survivors against a background of young birches at Broomholm…
…as well as flower heads on the wild garlic in the riverside wood, wood rush beside the road and any amount of primroses on banks.
The sun went in for a lot of my return journey home but it shone on the gorse. It is too early for leaves on the oaks, and the mature birches were not as green as I had hoped. There are some very old oaks there.
When I got back to the river in the town, the cherry trees on the bank made for a cheerful sight.
I made Mrs Tootlepedal and myself a cup of tea when I got back, and then it was time for the regular sibling Zoom, followed by lamb stew for the evening meal.
After a final chilly night tonight, the weather is supposed to get considerably warmer, so I hope that there will be a lot of new growth everywhere to photograph in the coming week. It would be nice to get out without having three layers of clothing on.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.