Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent Paul. He has been on a trip to the Lake District, and kindly sent me this view taken from Borwick Fold, looking towards the Kentmere hills.
We had a dry and pleasant day here, not sunny but not too windy either. I walked up to have coffee with Sandy, and found him in a much more cheerful mood than last week. He is recovering well from his operation, and when I left, he was able to walk along the road with me for a few hundred yards. Real progress.
I had filled the feeder before breakfast, but it was almost empty by the time that I got home. I re-filled it and entertained myself for quarter of an hour by watching the birds trying to empty it again.
Chaffinches and goldfinches were the flavour of the day for the first two minutes, and the occasional siskin got a hard time..
Eventually siskins got a foothold, and you can see one reason why the seed in the feeder goes down so quickly. The birds are messy eaters and a lot of seed goes flying.
Luckily, there is always a good gang of birds on the ground picking up the fallen seed and keeping the ground reasonably clean.
Ten minutes later, siskins and goldfinches were in charge when I looked, with occasional incursions from chaffinches.
Mrs Tootlepedal was up and about, but not in the mood for an excursion. Leaving her to watch the racing from Cheltenham, I had an early lunch, armed myself with some dates and two oatmeal biscuits, and went off for a cycle ride.
I haven’t been out for over 30 miles since the middle of January, so after a raft of short rides on very familiar territory, I resolved to stretch my legs a bit today, and go as far as Gretna by a roundabout route.
I stopped after ten miles or so to admire the gorse and the lichen on a wall, and have a look back down the road.
There were moments on the ride when it was almost sunny.
I stopped again, ten miles later, when I was going through Kirkpatrick Fleming, to see if I could see the Lake District hills. They were just visible across the Solway.
This is the view from the bench in today’s header picture. I wouldn’t have been tempted to sit on the bench for long today, as it had got a bit grey and chillier by this time.
As I cycled down the road to Gretna, a strong whiff in the air indicated that a farmer had been spreading muck on the fields. Gulls were attracted by the possibilities . . .
. . . and when they flew down to the bottom of the field, I got a double photo opportunity.
Gretna Green was very quiet with no one getting married as I passed, so I pressed on and stopped at the bridge over the Black Sark.
I was quite surprised to find that the fallen tree across the stream has not been removed . . .
. . . but pleased to find signs of life in the little tree beside the bridge.
I had done a lot of pedalling into the wind in the first half of my outing, so I was very happy to get blown along by a now helpful wind on my way back to Langholm. In fact the wind was so helpful, that when I got back to Langholm after 38 miles, my legs were very happy to pop through the town and out of the other side to add the final two miles to round my trip up to a satisfying forty miles.
I took a view looking back towards Warbla from above the High Mill Bridge.
The oatmeal biscuits and dates proved to be a very good nutritional choice for my ride, and I not only managed a reasonable speed of just over 13 mph, but got home feeling quite perky too.
Strangely though, I am feeling a bit tired as I write this post in the evening.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.
Footnote: I append a map of today’s ride. Yo ou can see that it was a pretty gentle route. Those interested can click on the map for more details.