Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He enjoyed a beautiful day by the river in Derby today.
We had a lovely day here too, with the mist clearing off the hills in the morning sunshine as we got up.
Mrs Tootlepedal got busy in the garden, and I set off on my bike as soon as possible. This proved to be a harder task than I had thought, but I did finally get going about half past ten, having taken time out to photograph butterflies on the big buddleia. I was spoiled for choice.
It was such a good day, sunny but not too hot, and with light winds, that I decided to follow a scenic route and take in some hills on the way. I took the road to Eskdalemuir out of town. That got my hill legs working with two short but sharp climbs in the first mile and a half.
I wasn’t looking to stop for wild flowers but some good looking field mushrooms in the verge at Bentpath made me pause for a moment . . .
I took too many pictures as I went along so they will appear in galleries today If you want the bigger picture, click on it.
The upper Esk valley round Eskdalemuir on a day like today can give off a definite note of Shangri-La and the sunlit uplands, and passing a Buddhist temple merely confirms the impression.
At the head of the valley, one of my favourite roads takes you up the steady climb to the county boundary. I was distracted by more fungi. They are realistic about house names in this area.
The county boundary, which is also on the watershed dividing east and west of the country, is an unassuming cattle grid which disguises the fact that it is at 1100ft above sea level.
As it is followed by five miles gently downhill in lovely scenery, it a better spot to be than it may look at first sight,
After the descent to the village of Ettrick, I followed the Ettrick Water for a few miles until I came to the junction at the Tushielaw Inn where I intended to take the road to Hawick. This was where a moment of shock and horror bid fair to spoil my day.
A large notice across the road declared, “Road Closed”. There had been no indication anywhere along the road so far that this might be the case. I was upset, and was contemplating turning round and going home by the way that I had come when a wise man leaned out of the window of his van and suggested that an enterprising fellow on a bike might be able to sneak past the roadworks. I decided to put this suggestion to the test.
I headed along the valley of the Rankle Burn, a beautiful spot, and was greatly heartened when a man in van placed to turn motorists back told me that he had seen several cyclist come through from the opposite direction. He saw no reason why I shouldn’t head onwards. I stopped for a homey sandwich and a drink of water beside the Rankle Burn . . .
. . . and then found that the workers at the roadworks were most helpful. One even held my bike while I took a picture of the view back down the valley and another of the lorry which I would have to negotiate to go further.
I had to wheel and occasionally carry my bike for a few hundred yards along the verge to avoid the hot tar which had just been laid, but I was soon back in the saddle on and on my way again. Having dropped down to 700 feet at Tushielaw, I had to climb back to just under 1100 feet again before I could descend to the River Teviot at 400 feet and take the main A7 road back to Langholm.
Fortunately the road surface was excellent, the moorland very scenic and a reservoir was on hand to add variety. There were some well matched lambs too.
The road crosses the middle of the reservoir on a bridge, and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to admire the lichen on the parapet.
After passing the reservoir and the sheep, the drop of 700 feet in five miles that took me to the main road was most enjoyable and I sped along, but I still stopped to take in the splendid view that appears in today’s header picture and the little church in Roberton on the way.
Before I could join the main road, I had to cross the River Teviot. I took the opportunity to give my bike a rest on the bridge parapet while I had a second honey sandwich and another banana. Martins Bridge is quite an impressive structure for such a small side road . . .
. . . but there was not a lot of water in the river for it to cross today.
Once I was on the A7, the gradients were all gentle and I managed to maintain a good speed over the last 21 miles back to Langholm, though I did have one more pause to take on a final banana and a drink of water.
My aim had been to do 100km on my ride and as I managed 102km, I felt that my route choice had been good. The average speed of just over 20 kph was slow but satisfactory considering that I had climbed about 3000 feet on my way. I would say that that had been my most enjoyable ride of the year.
I was a bit tired when I got back, but this was explained when I weighed myself before my shower and found that I had lost three or four pounds. I had not taken in enough food and water on the way for such a warm day. Not being a bike racer, I usually manage to come back from long rides weighing the same as when I set off. I had been careless today.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the garden while I was out and she reported that a diseased branch of the plum tree had fallen off during the day.
If we had known that it was in such poor condition, we would have thinned the plums out a lot.
I had a look at the dahlias, almost all of which came from just two packets of seed. These were my favourites today.
There were still a lot of butterflies about.
After our regular sibling zoom, I recharged my batteries with an evening meal of fried cabbage, bacon, mushrooms and potatoes. The fresh field mushrooms were a present from our neighbour Margaret.
I didn’t have a chance to catch a flying bird of the day, so a flying hoverfly takes pride of place today.