Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin. He was walking from Brampton to Lanercost when he passed through this fine wood.
We woke to a dry and sunny morning. The inevitable downside at this time of year was that the temperature was low, above freezing, but chilly at 4°C.
The wind was light, so I was keen to get out cycling, but not keen enough to set out before the temperature and the sun had risen a little higher. In the good old days, I would have been out like a shot at 4°, but I like my comforts now. Once again, I filled in the time by watching blue and coal tits for a while . . .
. . . doing the crossword, and having coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret.
It was a mellow 8°C when I started up the road to the north, having stocked up with a couple of bananas and a snack bar at the corner shop on my way.
There was a lot of climbing on my route today, so there were quite a lot of stops for views as well. In fact there were so many stops that I have had to put most of the views in galleries which the impatient reader can skip past gaily. I think that some of the views are worth a click though.
The route today was a rough square in four parts, first up the road to Fiddleton Toll . . .
. . . then turning right and going across to Hermitage, over Carewoodrigg.
This section starts reasonably calmly . . .
. . . but there is a stiff climb up to the ridge. The reward is some splendid views on all sides before you get to the county boundary (and a good excuse to stop for a breather every now and again). I like the geometry of our hills.
The plunge from the county boundary down to the Hermitage valley is too steep to be fun, but after the first drop, the road to the castle is a delight, gently downhill (with one hiccup) all the way.
The third section starts with a right turn at Hermitage Hall and runs gently downhill to Newcastleton. I was cycling into low sun at this point and didn’t stop to take any pictures.
At Newcastleton, I had a choice. I could continue on down to Canonbie or make another right angled turn and go back to Langholm over the moor. Going over the moor entails another short but steep climb, followed by a long drag up to the county boundary. That seemed tempting, so I chose it for the fourth and final section of my tour of the hills.
Unfortunately, the steep climb was not rewarded by lovely views this time, as the sun had disappeared behind some clouds.
I settled for using some of the little bridges that the single track road crosses on its way to the county boundary to give me excuses for a breather.
I got a view of Tinnis from one of the little bridges . . .
. . . and the parapets of the bridges were full of interest.
At the county boundary, I was over 1000ft for the second time on my ride and the swoop down to the bridge over the Tarras Water was very welcome . . .
. . . although of course, it meant another climb back up to the White Yett and the final descent to Langholm.
The sun came out as I climbed away from the bridge and I could look back up Tarras towards the part of the moor that is subject to the second community buy out effort which is just starting.
I was very happy to see the MacDarmid memorial, as the road home is all downhill from there to the rugby club . . .
. . . and flat for the last mile home.
Because of the two stiff climbs, the ride felt like quite an adventure, but it was only 32 miles and it took me almost three hours to complete it. I had had it in my mind when I set out that 32 miles would take me up to my B target of 4000 miles for the year, so I was a bit disappointed when I looked at my records and found that I still have 8 miles to go. However, that is not an insurmountable barrier. Looking at the forecast, I may have to wait until Saturday before knocking the eight miles off.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent a good part of her day putting the new buy out information sheet through letterboxes in the town.
Later on, I had a sibling Zoom, and then after our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a practice with the augmented Parish Church choir. There was another good turnout, and progress was made towards a short concert in December.
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.