Acting my age

Today’s guest picture comes from our younger son Alistair. It shows a loaf made to their own ad hoc recipe by his wife and daughter, Clare and Matilda. He tells me that it tasted as good as it looks.

I also made a loaf of bread today, but as it required the use of our bread making machine, it doesn’t get quite as much credit as a hand baked number . . . or indeed, any credit.

Apart from the bread making, my chief and indeed my only business of the day was going for a bicycle ride. Regular readers may recall that is my intention each year, if at all possible, to bicycle on one day as many miles as I have years in my age. As it was a sunny day with a very good forecast and light winds, this seemed the perfect day to give it a go.

I got up early to give myself plenty of time for the task, but then had to wait for an hour until the temperature rose to a suitable level for an old man to go for a pedal. Even so, I had to have some extra layers on which I discarded on my way round when the temperature rose to very comfortable levels.

I stopped every 10 miles to make sure I didn’t do too much at one time, and tried to take a photograph to illustrate the places where I stopped. My first photograph was at Waterbeck where my great uncle was the minister for many years. It show a local racing stables training track with the village in the background.

My route took me down the old A74 and I was very happy to see quite a lot of blackthorn in blossom here.

After 20 miles, I found myself at Gretna Green, which was looking very sunny. No one was getting married today while I was watching.

After leaving Gretna, I went into England, first to Rockcliffe and then round the Carlisle bypass, using the excellent bike track beside the busy road. I left the bypass at the thirty mile mark, and enjoyed wild flowers in the verge, and green leaves on a newly planted hawthorn hedge.

Now I headed down towards the Solway shore. I had hoped to fill this post with beautiful images of blue skies and sea. Unfortunately, the sea was out in a big way, and the persistent haze covered the blue sky and hid and views. Today’s header shows what it was like. The best I could manage was this pond beside the road.

The shadow of the cross on the water is nothing more exciting than a signpost.

At the 40 mile mark, I stopped for a latte and an ice cream at a small cafe in Bowness. I fell into conversation with a fellow cyclist, and completely forgot to take a picture.

I more than made up for this omission by taking a lot of pictures of a little egret which was feeding nearby, quite close to the road.

After a while, it flew off and settled down further away from me.

The zoom on my little Lumix was up to the task though.

I don’t usually put so many pictures of one bird into the same post but looking at my records, I see that the last good egret shot appeared in September 2017, so seeing one this close is a rare experience for me.

I cycled on round the radio station at Anthorn which I had seen from the other side of the Solway last week.

The sun went in just as I approached it today . . .

. . . but it soon came out again, and I found myself pedalling through a waft of coconut smells as I passed the gorse in full flower beside the road round the station.

The radio station is on a peninsular between the sea and the River Wampool. Once i had gone round the peninsular, I stopped on the bridge over the river as this was at 50 miles and my next stop for rest and refreshment. The tide was still out.

Now I was headed for home, and I was very grateful to find that the wind, which had freshened a bit, was pushing me in the right direction. By my standards, I fairly flew along the road back to the Carlisle bypass. Just before I got to the bypass, I stopped at the 60 mile mark, and was very impressed by the lichen adorning a road sign with chevrons to mark a sharp corner.

The sign is very close to the road at a sharp bend, and I can only assume that the lichen is uncharacteristically growing on coated metal because the sign gets covered with mud from the road as cars swoosh by on wet days.

As I went to take the bike track beside the by-pass, I could see a large collection of police, fire and ambulance vehicles blocking my way. I was a bit stuck as there was a continuous stream of traffic in both direction squeezing past the emergency vehicles, but a helpful paramedic boldly stepped out into the road and stopped the traffic to let me get onto the main road and pass the incident. There didn’t seem to be much urgency, so I hope that if there had been an accident, no one was seriously hurt.

Rather than go back by the same route that I had come, I kept on right round the bypass and took back roads across country until I got to the Brampton to Longtown road. Here, I stopped on the bridge over the River Lyne as this brought up 70 miles for the trip.

I like the impressive lichen covered sandstone cliffs beside the bridge . . .

. . . and for some reason, the peaceful view up the river always appeals to me.

I pedalled on through Longtown, and then up the main road to Langholm, still helped by the wind. I did stop and take a picture at 80 miles, but I may have been a little tired because it was unusable. I took a starling in the garden when I got home after 84 miles to make amends.

In fact, because of the light winds, largely flat terrain, adopting a sensible pace, and many stops for a breather and food and drink, I was surprisingly untired after what was quite a long ride for me. I did about six and a half hours of pedalling, and added an hour of idling on the way. For those interested, I append a map of the route and a click on the map will bring up further details. You can see that it is a really flat route!

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to the Buccleuch Centre to be part of the front of house team for our local operatic society’s performance of Calamity Jane. As she has not returned, I take it that she is watching the performance. It is very good to see live theatre again in Langholm after a long gap.

I didn’t get a chance to look at the bird feeder in the garden today, so the almost flying bird of the day is that little egret.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “Acting my age

  1. Lots of great shots of the little egret..I’ve only ever seen them in south Devon,but I believe they’re becoming more widespread.
    What can I say about your great long distance bike ride,apart from absolutely epic.
    There can be very few if any who could manage anything near that distance at your age,your a force of nature if you don’t mind me saying. You must have a great sense of achievement.
    Regrettably I doubt I shall be cycling 73 miles in one day this year or any other year for that matter.
    Chapeau as I think they say in the cycling world.

    1. I count myself very fortunate to have the time and health to get in a good distance. I don’t necessarily think I could manage a similar distance with much climbing in it these days though. I might try if I get a good day later in the year. Thank you for your kind words.

  2. I enjoyed the photos from your day, especially the enterprising lichens growing on the coated metal sign. They are tough little fellows.

    The peninsula where the radio station sits looks like a nice area to find all kinds of things when the tide is out.

  3. You got some great photos on that ride along with a feather in your cap. I can’t imagine going that far on a bike.
    The shots of the egret were excellent. I’m glad the Lumix didn’t give out on you like you thought it might.
    I’m glad you had such beautiful weather for the ride. All of the sunny photos were a pleasure to see.

    1. It was lucky that I was able to make full use of the day. Fine days with light winds don’t come along often, and mostly when you have already organised some other activity. πŸ™‚

  4. I moan enough about doing pyramid sets of exercises that start low and get harder as you go, but you take that to a whole new level with your program of cycling your age. Well done, you!

    The Lumix is an impressive little camera to be able to zoom in like that on the egret. I think my favourite photos were the sandstone cliffs – very beautiful.

  5. What an absolutely fabulous day, pictures and post. I have been too busy to catch up with your blog, and I am almost a month behind reading your daily adventures, but I will back read slowly. I am glad to report I have been pedalling some, nothing to match your achievements though. At my mere 71, I have, finally, managed to start back part commuting to my signal box in Port Talbot with this new left knee. Sadly, not with my hoped for electric assist on the Swytch Bike conversion of my single speed, but using my trusty old Pioneer with my eccentric pedal fitted. I managed ten miles each way, and was fairly tired after the effort, mainly my shoulders were aching, and my new knee did swell up. My last medical revealed I have shrunk from a very tall five feet seven inches to a mere five foot six inches, I think that is the cause of the aching shoulders and forearms. Having to stretch to lean on my straight handlebars. So I have ordered a new handlebar set up and grips to try to alleviate the problem asap. That 84 miles is a long way, and a very long way from my current capabilities, so I offer my most heartiest congratulations to you on yet another tootlepedal milestone achievement. Why am I so busy? I will send you a message in messenger. Cheers.

    1. It is very good news to hear that you are back commuting on your bike. I hope that you get plenty of good weather to keep you smiling. Getting a good fit on a bike is key to comfort so I trust that your new handlebar set up will ease any aches and pains. Thank you for reading. It is a great honour that people read these posts and I appreciate it.

      1. It is most definitely my pleasure. Interestingly, my new handlebars are really designed for a mountain bank, but I agreed with the online advisor at Tredz that they should do the trick. So fingers crossed, all this bike maniac has to do, now is fit them. Easier said than done, hope to do the deed Saturday. Cheers, your pedalling encourages me more than I can say.

      2. I never was able to enjoy drops, straight bars for me every time. Especially now I’m shorter. We’ll see how I get on with them. Cheers.

  6. Congratulations! Such a brilliant achievement. A superb cycle ride with lovely photos along the way especially that little egret. Thank you for sharing!

  7. Absolutely astonishing! Congratulations on your mileage – and the well-earned Little Egret photos. The Starling is kaleidoscopic in the sunshine.

  8. Your little Lumix did a great job of taking those lovely shots of the egret and its reflection. Well worth the extra pictures in this instance. And the ‘almost flying bird’ was a delightful bonus! πŸ˜‰

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