Cool cycling

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She paid a visit to the Tate Modern art gallery on the banks of the River Thames at the end of last month, and got this splendid view across the river from an upper window.

We woke to a beautifully sunny but frosty morning here. Our local weather station says that it sank to -1°C in the early hours.

I had to defrost the car before I could drive up to the town after breakfast. My key card for the car needed a new battery, and as I couldn’t find a part number on the used battery, the garage in Carlisle where we bought the car suggested that I should try our local garage for help. They were very helpful, and with the aid of a strong magnifying glass, the receptionist was able to find a number on the old battery and sell me an appropriate new battery. Usually replacement parts for cars cost a fortune, but as this only cost me £2.50, I felt that life was good.

It was still not far above zero when I got home and went for a look around in the garden. Anything in the shade was still frost covered. The left hand frame below is the arm of our garden bench.

The frost hadn’t been hard enough to freeze the ground though, and there were still a few flowers about . . .

. . . though the lily has definitely seen better days.

We had coffee with Margaret, and followed that with an early lunch as we wanted to make use of the fine weather. Mrs Tootlepedal opted for a walk and I chose a cycle ride. Although the thermometer had crept up to 10°C by one o’clock, this was a very brief peak, and it was back down to 6° a couple of hours later.

I sneaked a look at the birds before we left. In spite of the cold weather, there hadn’t been a lot of demand for seed, but there were one or two visitors.

The sun creates its own problems when I try to catch flying birds. They are very good at getting in the shadow of the feeder or casting their own shadow as they fly in. I often have to wait until they have landed to get a sunny shot.

Mrs Tootlepedal set out to walk to Broomholmshiels with the option to continue round the back of Whita if things went well. With a noticeable north west wind blowing, I wrapped up very warmly, and set off up the Wauchope road.

The best of the autumn colour may be over, but the larches are showing well and the sunshine cheered everything up as I went along.

The road was mainly dry and quite free of icy patches so I had time to look around as I pedalled.

Only the fields are still green. The hills are brown now . . .

. . . except where they are covered in spruce trees. I liked this varied view of Westwater and the forested hills behind the house.

I took the road over Callister, then down the other side, through the tiny settlement at Gair, and up to Kennedy’s Corner. Turning right here left me on the edge of the hills above the Solway Plain, and I could look over the Solway Firth to the Lake District hills with their own private clouds. It was an unusually clear day.

Less clear is the relationship between the Gretna wind turbines and the pylons nearby. The effect of my zoom lens is very confusing.

In real life, the power lines are quite far away from the turbines.

As I often do, I stopped at the Half Morton graveyard where there is a handy wall to lean my bike against. This time I didn’t go to look at the Korean pines, but admired the large tree at the gate instead.

I stopped again, just before I dropped down to the River Esk at the Hollows . . .

. . . and my final picture of the 26 mile trip was the welcome sight of Whita, showing me that I was nearly home.

By this time, Mrs Tootlepedal was well round the back of that hill on her walk.

I found a text message on my phone when I got home indicating that she wouldn’t be too unhappy if I was to come and collect her in the car when she got to the road leading up to the White Yett. The timing worked very well, and I was able to drive up the hill, stopping to take a couple of shots of my favourite view up the Ewes valley on my way. . .

. . .and arrive at the Middlemoss track end at more or less the same time as she did. She had walked six strenuous miles by this time.

I looked around . . .

. . . and then we drove home to a refreshing cup of tea and a slice of toast.

I didn’t get an opportunity to use my big lens on any passing raptors or wild goats. Mrs Tootlepedal got a glimpse of an interesting bird, but it had gone before I could stop the car and get my camera out.

There were some good pictures of the northern lights taken from Whita Hill last night. You can see them on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve page on Facebook. This is a rare sighting in our area. We were quite tempted to go and have a look ourselves tonight but old age and zero degree temperatures persuaded us to let others do the looking for us.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch which actually managed to keep in the sun as it approached the feeder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Cool cycling

  1. I think the Lumix did as well as the long lens. I miss that one I had.
    That was a nice shot of the Lake District hills. Hard to get if I remember correctly.
    Those are good shots of the northern lights. I’ve always wanted to see them but the closest I’ve come was a cute little 6 year old girl I met walking with her mother on a trail. Her name was Aurora but she called herself Aurora Borealis.

    1. We nearly went up to the moor last night to see if they were visible again but I am glad that we didn’t because it was very cold and I don’t think that they were to be seen.

      I like your Aurora.

  2. Good ride,especially considering the low temperature. Some lovely autumnal colours,I can see why the Ewes valley is one of your favourites,superb landscape.
    I must be getting soft in my old age but breathing in cold air while cycling doesn’t agree with my lungs,so it’s the static bike for now..our young grandson keeps bringing colds home from school,which don’t seem to affect him,but aren’t good for us folks.
    Excellent header picture 👍

    1. I don’t think that I will be going out when it is below 6 degrees any more. My legs don’t like the cold, nor do my lungs.

      I am sorry about your grandchild. Ours are being kept well away from us on the whole.

  3. A beautiful and cold day for a ride or a walk. I agree the Lumix does a fine job. Those wide views are always a pleasure to see. The frosty ground and greenery makes a nice panel, and I enjoyed seeing the feeder activity. Do you still have jackdaws about?

    We are in a warm and rainy period here, in the mid to low 50s. So far November has been off to a mild start, and we have not seen anything below 40. The grass has gone green again even as the leaves fall.

    1. We do have jackdaws around but they have not been visiting the garden very much lately. If we put some bread out, they would be round in a flash.

  4. A very beautiful day. Managed to persuade my mother in law to buy an electric Zoe after hearing how well yours has suited you. She was thoroughly delighted by it when fuel prices shot up but it has been a bit of a learning curve 😉

  5. The frosty shot(s) of the bench and blossom are very pretty. Your camera is good at capturing what your eye sees.

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