Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin. He found a lovely display of wild roses in the hedge on one of his recent walks.
We had another fine day here today. We seem rather unusually to be getting the best of the weather in the whole of the country at the moment, not too hot, not often wet and with reasonably calm winds. Under the circumstances, it seemed like a good day for a pedal and that was the only thing that I did all day.
I started by cycling the ten miles down to Longtown, and here beside the Esk at 39 feet above sea level . . .
. . . I was at my lowest point of the day.
From Longtown, I cycled across to Gretna Green and then followed the old main road north, going gently uphill for forty miles until I reached my high point of the day at 719 feet above sea level.
The traffic on the old road was light, the temperature was perfect and there was a gentle following breeze. Everything conspired to make cycling uphill for forty miles an absolute delight.
All the same, I stopped every ten miles to drink some water, nibble on a snack and take a photograph.
At twenty miles I saw an old tower with a newer house attached.
At thirty miles, I could look across Upper Annandale . . .
. . . and note the abundant vetch in the verge.
I cheated a bit and took my next picture a little after the forty mile marker. I hope that you will agree that the deviation was worthwhile. The church at Beattock has appeared on the blog before and if I pass it again, it will appear again.
From Beattock village, I took the minor road that runs between the motorway and the railway up the valley towards Beattock summit. it climbs continuously but with such a steady gradient that it is a genuine pleasure to cycle up it . . .
. . . though the alleged cycleway beside the carriageway is often not as good as it should be.
This signpost . . .
. . . marked my turning point at 50 miles and I stopped for twenty minutes to eat my lunch (and have a rest).
I stood on the bridge that carries the road to Greenhillstairs over the Evan Water and the motorway and looked back down the valley up which I had just cycled..
After my lunch of two filled rolls and a banana, I spotted a dragonfly like creature on a daisy . . .
. . . and then set off back down the hill.
Since I was now descending from 719 feet back to 39 feet above sea level, this should have been an unalloyed pleasure. However, that gentle breeze that had wafted me up the hill had strengthened a bit and I had to pedal much harder to get back down than I had to get up.
In truth,I was getting a bit discouraged after twenty miles of this when I found that I was actually going slower than on the outward journey. And the traffic was heavier too. Luckily for me though, the road takes a little turn to the east after Lockerbie, and this was just enough for wind to start to help rather than hinder, and my spirits to rise again.
The sun had considerately gone behind some clouds at the hottest part of the day, but it came out again to light my way home.
I didn’t stop for many more pictures as I had taken enough on the way out, but I thought that the pond at Longtown looked good enough to warrant a place in the post.
This was not taken at a ten mile point, but when I did stop with ten miles left on my trip, I noticed some fine lichen on the road sign on which my bike was resting.
When I was cycling up the hill on the Canonbie by-pass, I was going slowly enough to keep my eye out for orchids, and I was very pleased to see one or two.
I was motivated to keep pedalling seriously over the last few miles by the wish to keep my average speed at 13 mph. It did drop to 12.9 as I went up the final hill before Langholm, but I rushed down the other side at sufficient pace to get my final average up to 13.1 mph. As I did more or less the same ride last year at 13.2 mph, I was quite content with that.
Mrs Tootlepedal greeted me on my return with the promise of a cup of tea and a treat. I had a quick check on all the flowers in the garden that I had missed while cycling . . .
. . . and went in to enjoy my cup of tea, and the treat.
I managed to eat four of the drop scones with some home made raspberry jam.
A shower and our evening meal followed.
I did have another quick excursion to the garden after the meal as it was still a lovely day . . .
. . . and I saw my only garden bird of the day while I was out.
For some reason I was beginning to feel a bit tired, so I went back in, admired the sun on the walnut tree through the window . . .
. . . and that ended what was the longest day of the year in more than one way.
The flying birds of the day are two swans a-swimming in the Longtown pond.
Those interested can click on the map below for further details of the ride.