Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. Although he had to work all day, he had time to enjoy the sunrise in East Wemyss as he walked his dogs.
Having tried an electric bike yesterday, it was my plan to leap up early and go for a run on my normal road bike today, just to show that I hadn’t forgotten how to do it. The plan worked quite well except for the leaping up early bit, and it was eleven o’clock when I packed up three bananas and a marmalade sandwich and finally set out.
It was a calm and reasonably warm day, so I was in no hurry as I went over Callister, past Paddockhole and along the side of the valley of the Water of Milk. The road is undulating to say the least.
I didn’t go as far as Lockerbie, but turned off the main road and followed a side road along the Water of Milk until I got to Castlemilk itself.
I passed through the village of Kettleholm, where St Mungo’s School and Church live in the metaphorical shadow of the big house . . .
. . . and came to a bridge over the Water of Milk where I saw lambs and a grey wagtail.
Rather than go straight along the road the village and down to Hoddom, I had taken a side road that I hadn’t ridden on before. It took me to two small and undistinguished bridges, the first over the Water of Milk where I saw the wagtail, and the second over the River Annan. There were vivid chestnut leaves beside the water of Milk, and a stiff climb followed by a quick descent between the two rivers.
Two steep valleys, and a single track road with lots of sharp corners probably mean that it will be some time before I take this particular road again.
All the same, I enjoyed the new experience. I was ready for a light lunch of a marmalade sandwiches and some dates by the time that I got to Hoddom and the big bridge over the River Annan.
There was wild garlic and a small crop of bluebells to be seen beside the bridge . . .
. . . and I liked the look of the bridge so much, that I crossed the road and looked at it from the other side.
Refreshed by my lunch, I headed on to Ecclefechan and then down the old main road to Kirkpatrick Fleming. Dandelions and cowslips gave me excuses to stop.
By now the sun had come out, and it was a really good day to be out on a bike, especially as I had finally got the light wind behind me.
Apart from the sheer pleasure of cycling, one of the chief motivations for the route I chose was the chance to inspect the Korean pines at half Morton churchyard. The church is now a private dwelling . . .
. . . but the graveyard is still in use and is well looked after. There is a line of Korean pines between the newest part of the graveyard and the house. At first sight, although there were plenty of male and female flowers, I feared that I had come too early to see them at their best. However, as I walked down the line of pines, I found that the ones at the far end were looking lovely.
I cycled cheerfully home after that, and found that my route was just over the 50 miles that I had aimed for.
Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the afternoon planting potatoes, and was ready for a cup of tea when I got back. We were joined by our neighbour Liz, and the day was so good by this time that we were able to sit out in the garden and enjoy the sunshine, while the bees buzzed round the plum blossoms.
After we had finished our tea, I had a quick walk round the garden . . .
. . . filled the bird feeder and had a quick look at the birds . . .
. . . and then went for a five mile ride round Potholm with Mrs Tootlepedal on our new electric bikes. We faced two steep climbs in the direction that we chose to go, and we set our bikes to maximum assistance and fairly flew up them. Otherwise we used as little help as we could and pottered along enjoying the beautiful evening.
A near perfect day was rounded off by rhubarb and custard for afters at our evening meal. There is no doubt that the rhubarb tastes at its best at this time of year when it is young and fresh.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.
Those with time on their hands can click on the map below to get a fuller picture of today’s route.