I continue with sunny family pictures for the guest picture of the day. Our son Tony saw this striking sunset in East Wemyss while walking his dogs today.
Once again, we didn’t have a visible sunrise or sunset here today, just a gradual lightening and darkening of the general cloudy situation.
It was a little warmer, and it was dry and calm so we weren’t complaining too much, especially as there had been some quite brisk winds overnight. It was 3°C at breakfast and I was more than happy to wait for Sandy to come down for a coffee before I thought of going out on my bike.
Sandy was in good form and we enjoyed a cheerful chat. My sociability was extended when as Sandy left, our neighbour Margaret arrive. However, I managed to get organised enough to go to the shop for a couple of bananas, make myself a honey sandwich, and pump up my tyres.
The temperature had crept up to 6°C by the time that I finally got going, and there was even a hint of a weak sun behind thin clouds as I pedalled along to Waterbeck. I stopped there to take a picture of the church where my great uncle was minister for a number of years. It was partially hidden behind some very whiskery trees.
This was just about ten miles from home, so I stopped at the top of the village to have my first banana and a look at a schooling hurdle and fence of the local racehorse trainer.
I didn’t hang about too long as it felt pretty raw, and I soon headed on through Eaglesfield. It was a reasonably clear day and I could look across the fields towards Burnswark, the site of both iron age and Roman forts. You can see why they chose this conveniently flat topped hill with a good view of advancing threats.
As I took that photograph, a main line train sped down the track in front of me. It is not often that I find myself with a camera in hand as a train passes.
I crossed the motorway and found myself not far from the council dump which Mrs Tootlepedal and I visited recently. It sits beside the old nuclear power station at Chapelcross which they are decommissioning very, very slowly.
This was it ten years ago on a sunnier day.
Nearby, three trees showed the direction of the prevailing wind. This suited me as I was about to turn left at the bottom of the hill, and the wind, which was in the prevailing direction, would blow me gently home.
When we came down here in the car after visiting the dump, Mrs Tootlepedal had noticed a peel tower, and I chose this route today, partly so that I could take a picture of it for her.
A look on the map tells me that it is Stapleton Tower, a 16th century tower house built for Edward Irving of Bonshaw. It was formerly incorporated into a 19th century mansion but this was later demolished. Now privately owned, the tower is currently a roofless shell.
Although it was a good day for winter cycling, it was a rather cheerless day from the point of view of photography . . .
. . . so I set my mind to getting home before it got dark, and only stopped a couple more times to take pictures.
I took advantage of the lack of leaves to get a better view of the bridge over the Kirtle Water just before Kirkpatrick Fleming . . .
. . . and took a welcome breather at the top of the hill from the bridge to the church.
I looked up the church, which originally dates from 1733, and found that it was closed as a place of worship earlier this year.
I didn’t stop for photo,graphic reasons again, but I had a stop to eat my honey sandwich after 20 miles and another to polish off my second banana after 30 miles before I got back to Langholm. I was rather cold when I got home after 36 miles and was very glad that Mrs Tootlepedal provided me with a warming cup of tea.
I was pleased to find that when I entered my ride into my cycling spreadsheet, it showed that I had reached my target of 4200 miles for the year. Even more pleasing was the fact that I had exceeded last year’s total distance by one whole magnificent mile.
Now I have the problem when the next good cycling day comes along of deciding whether I should extend my lead over last year further, or rest on my laurels and avoid making it harder to beat this year’s total next year.
Birds are still scarce in the garden and the light had gone by the time that I had had my cup of tea, so there is no flying bird of the day today. Any reader needing counselling to deal with this loss has my sympathy.