Today’s guest picture shows the sunny shore at East Wemyss this afternoon, with another example of the sort of weather that our older son Tony has to put up with all the time.
We had a sunny day in Langholm too, but as it came with sub zero temperatures at breakfast time, we had to wait for a while before we could do any basking. At least it gets warmer a little quicker now that we are into March, so I didn’t have to wait too long before cycling round to the shop for supplies.
The birds were out in force as soon as I had filled the feeder.
Chaffinches tried to find a perch from one side . . .
. . . and the other.
I had a cup of coffee, made a couple of marmalade sandwiches, packed them and two bananas with some dates into my pannier, and set off down the road to Canonbie and Gretna on my bicycle to see how far my legs would take me along the Solway shore.
There was a light wind in my face, so I was happy to stop after 12 miles to admire the Longtown pond . . .
. . . which was in a very peaceful mood. There were a couple of Canada geese paddling quietly about . . .
. . . and a good bunch of celandine flowers on the verge beside the road.
The back road from Gretna to Annan has the merit of being very flat, but it is not a scenic treat, so my next stop was at the bridge over the River Annan, just outside the town of Annan . . .
. . . where the water was low enough for me to walk under the bridge and enjoy the peaceful scene on the upriver side.
Motorists often complain of being held up by cyclists on country roads, but they never apologise for themselves holding up cyclists in towns. My average speed was severely affected by the queues of traffic in Annan, not to mention the great number of cars just dumped by the side of the road and abandoned by their owners. They call it parking, I call it indefensible obstruction to cycling flow.
My good humour was restored by the quiet road that leads from Annan to Powfoot, where I came down to the sea shore.
For once the tide was in, but the day was hazy and the view across to the English side was not very exciting.
An interesting (to me) article on the radio station which you can see on the left of the picture above, can be found here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthorn_Radio_Station.
As I pedalled along the sea shore towards the caravan site and golf course, I could see Criffel, a prominent 1,870 ft granite hill formed by a volcanic plug, on the far side of the Nith Estuary.
I cycled through the caravan site, resisting the temptation to stop for a coffee at their swish new cafe, and came out onto the very flat roads on the sea marsh leading to Ruthwell.
I saw my first lambs of the year here . . .
. . . and some fine gorse hedges.
I didn’t go to Ruthwell but joined the main road back to Annan. A memorial lych gate at the church at Cummertrees provided me with a place to sit and eat my marmalade sandwiches.
I am not sure that I was supposed to sit there as I see that the church itself is now a private house and has been used for a holiday home.
Still, I enjoyed the brief rest, and set off back to Annan in good spirits, not least because the gentle wind was now behind me. The traffic in Annan was much lighter than on my outward journey, and it didn’t take me too long to find myself back in Gretna. Here I paused on the bridge across the River Sark, the border between England and Scotland, to eat some dates and be amazed by the blossoming tree beside the river.
My legs kept turning in a very satisfactory way, and I arrived home after sixty one miles and four and a half hours pedalling (with 45 minutes of snacking and snapping on the way).
In spite of the continuous sunshine, it never felt very warm, but I was able to shed some layers as I went along, a welcome treat after some rather chilly rides lately.
Mrs Tootlepedal had felt well enough to do a little weeding in the garden while I was out but she is still not clear of the symptoms of the cold that has been plaguing her for two weeks. She was happy to sit inside in the afternoon and cheer Raschel Blackmore on to a superb win in the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
Thanks to Covid, colds and endlessly depressing international news, we had a rather subdued Zoom meeting with my siblings in the evening, and we didn’t feel up to our regular Friday night music and conversation with Mike and Alison.
After our evening meal, I kept an eye out for the worm moon.
I reckoned that it should rise just above Whita Hill if I looked at the right moment. I had hoped that it might come up behind the monument but it was a bit further along. It moved through the sky at a good speed, and it only took 5 minutes from my first sighting to clear the ridge.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch in a hurry.