Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce and shows people having a row in Lossiemouth Harbour in the north east of Scotland.
The optimistic forecast for better weather today proved to be quite correct, and we woke up to blue skies and bright sunshine. Life is rarely quite perfect though, and a temperature of three degrees Celsius was a bit of a shock when I went out to test the air. It meant that I had to wait for a while until the thermometer crept up to 6 degrees before I set out for my projected bicycle ride. A nice slice of toast and an enjoyable crossword helped me pass the time.
All the same, I was pretty wellwrapped up in spite of the sunshine when I set off down the main road south.
Just before I got to Longtown, I turned off and headed to cross country towards Gretna Green, stopping on the way when I came to the Black Sark.
Although there was plenty of water in the river, things were a lot calmer than they were when we went for our wet walk a couple of days ago. A van was parked on the bridge, and it turned out that a countryside ranger was installing new steps for the footpath which runs along the river bank.
Although the steps were not finished the Ranger kindly let me try them out . He told me that he’d seen a couple of otters just below the bridge when he arrived in the morning . Sadly there were no otters by the time that I arrived .
I headed onwards towards Gretna Green and found that a wedding was in progress beside the curious sculpture at the visitor centre.
I imagine that it is supposed to represent enduring love, but it always looks to me much more like the bungled burial of an unfortunate partner after a serious domestic dispute.
It was warm enough by now for me to take a top layer off before I cycled down to the shore of the Solway Firth and looked across at the Lake District hills.
The recent rain seemed to have cleared the air and the view was much better than usual.
Cycling on through Gretna, I passed one of the churches built for the enormous workforce that arrived in the area to work in the cordite factory during the First World war.
The shadow cast by the clock face took me aback, and I needed some time to work out that the clock stands out from the wall by quite a distance.
Leaving Gretna, I cycled along the Solway shore until I came to Annan, where I stopped for a bite to eat and a chance to admire the fine bridge there.
The tide was in so the river above the bridge was full but very calm.
From Annan, I took a quiet back road . . .
. . . to Brydekirk. Then I joined a busier road down to another bridge across the River Annan, this time at Hoddom.
The was a benchmark on the bridge and lots of the invasive Himalayan balsam beside the river.
Looking up at the sky as I had a second honey sandwich to keep me fuelled up, I was struck by the clouds above.
Leaving the River Annan behind me, I now turned for home by way of the burnt out church at Hoddom Cross . . .
. . . which has some fine trees near it . . .
. . . and then I passed through Ecclefechan, Middlebie and Waterbeck. The road from Ecclefechan to Waterbeck is very undulating, and I was so busy pedalling that there was no time to take pictures.
I took a last look at the flat farming country near Falford before starting the climb up Callister and the return to our local hills.
I was going to arrive at Langholm a couple of miles short of my intended distance, so I took a diversion up to Cleuchfoot, which let me enjoy the light and shade as the Glencorf Burn comes down to the road.
This diversion was just enough, and the cycle computer ticked over to 50 miles as I came through the garden gate.
I had a walk round the garden before going in and saw that flowers had survived the heavy rain . . .
. . . and there were even a couple of butterflies to be seen.
Mrs Tootlepedal kindly made me a cup of tea and then I went for a shower. Looking out of an upstairs window, I was once again impressed by the late Michaelmas daisies.
I didn’t have much time to look at the bird feeder today but I found a moment to spot two sparrows . . .
. . . and a rather casual dude landing on one foot.
Down below, a dunnock was picking up fallen seed.
A sibling Zoom and some more apple fritters finished off a very satisfactory day, though the cold morning was an unwelcome reminder that summer is well and truly in the past.
There is no flying bird today so its place is taken by a goosander swimming in the River Annan.
Footnote: I append a map of my bike ride. Those interested can get more details by clicking on the map.