Today’s guest picture comes from ex Archive Group member Ken. He visited Cragside and found a splendid Archimedes screw. The Archimedes screw is a 17m long galvanised turbine weighing several tonnes. Last year, it produced 21,000kwh, providing Cragside with around 4% of its electricity.
I intended to go cycling today, starting as early as possible. Sub zero temperatures and a reluctance of the thermometer to get on with climbing up the scale meant that it was after coffee time when I finally got going. And it was still quite chilly then, in spite of some cheerful sunshine in the garden.
I had time to watch a chaffinch and a redpoll approach the feeder with caution . . .
. . . and check out the results of the enthusiastic moss scarifying activities of the jackdaws.
My cycling route took me due south to Longtown . . .
. . . and through the little town of Brampton . . .
. . .up and over the Carlisle-Newcastle railway line . . .
. . . and into mellow farming country above the Eden valley . . .
. . . along the side of the fells.
The sun had been doing its best to shine, but the sky was getting hazier all the time and the light was beginning to go when I looked towards the west.
The road that I was on, wound along the side of the hill . . .
. . . continuing to climb gently upwards. I was happy to make a small diversion into the village of Cumrew where I found that they had very surprising lampposts, a fine monkey puzzle tree . . .
. . . and a stocky church, still in the business of providing religion to the people.
I wish that the light had been a bit better, as there were expansive views over the fields towards the Lake District hills . . .
. . . but by the time that I came near to my point of return after 32 miles, the haze had taken over half the sky . . .
. . . and ten minutes later, when I had eaten a snack, the sun had gone entirely for the rest of of my ride. I might have gone a little bit further but a sign indicating a descent at 11% suggested that I had gone far enough. I had been climbing steadily for the 10 miles since Brampton, and I didn’t want to start my return with another stiff climb.
The way back to Brampton was a different business. I not only had the light wind behind me but I had Sir Isaac Newton’s gravity on my side as well. I knocked off the next fifteen miles in an hour.
I stopped at Newtown on the Roman wall with twenty miles to go, and gave myself a much needed ten minute break and another snack as I sat on my favourite bench and admired the old pump surrounded by daffodils.
The fairly flat miles back to Langholm were undemanding, and with the light wind still behind me, I made my way home in good order.
The program on my computer which records my ride promises to reward me with a digital smile if I do at least one ride of 100 km each month. As this ride was 104km, I got my smile. It is a bit absurd to use a meaningless collection of 0s and 1s to motivate yourself, but to be fair, Mrs Tootlepedal gave me a smile when I got back too.
Less amusing was the fact that we had to give the car a wash and brush up as it is going into the garage in Carlisle for an MOT tomorrow.
I noticed that the jackdaw lawn scarifying team were in action again . . .
. . . and doing a little strutting too.
We had a nutritous meal of slow cooked lamb stew for our evening meal for which I had worked up quite a good appetite.
The flying bird of the day is a redpoll.
Footnote: I was able to do this enjoyable ride on a Sunday when the roads are quiet because neither the church choir nor our Carlisle choir had a meeting today.