Tea and cake at the abbey

Today’s guest picture is an intriguing notice spotted by my Lancashire correspondent Paul while he was in the Lake District.

We had a very pleasant day here today, warm but not too hot, cloudy at the start but sunnier as the day went on, and with a very light wind. It was a day made for cycling, so I cycled. My target was to get my cycling mileage for August up to 400 miles and at the same time to do more miles on my push bike than those done on my electric bike.

To help me with this scheme, I chose the flattest route possible and headed off down the main road south. On long rides, I make sure to stop regularly to ease my back and knees and take on regular drinks of water. My first stop beside the Esk after ten miles was enlivened by the sight of the Canonbie Vintage Tractor Society having a ploughing match.

This is along standing tradition as the first report on a ploughing match in Canonbie appeared in our local newspaper in 1854.

My 20 mile stop was at the Carlisle bypass bike path. I have mentioned this before, but I continue to be pleased by how many wild flowers get planted these days when new roads are constructed. I could see four varieties from where I was standing eating my first banana of the day.

The next flowers of note that I came across were far from wild. An enterprising Cumbrian farmer had put a long row of stunning dahlias beside his barn along the road side. I couldn’t do them justice with a single shot. This is less than half the row.

I was pedalling along the rolling country between the Solway Firth and the Lake District hills at this point. Looking north across the Solway, I could see the familiar shape of Burnswark Hill on the Scottish side.

The little stream was crossed by a fine bridge . . .

. . . which had a useful low fence where I could rest my derriere and eat a honey sandwich. This was my thirty mile stop.

I found myself on some unfamiliar roads after a while, and passed an alpaca who was as surprised to see me as I was to see it.

The roads were so unfamiliar and the signposting so erratic that I had to stop and ask a local for directions. She said that if I went down there and then turned left, I should end up where I wanted to be. I took her word, went down there, turned left, and ended up at Abbeytown, the home of Holm Cultram Abbey, which was indeed where I wanted to be.

I took a picture of the front of the Abbey. It always looks a bit odd in my view . . .

. . . and when two passing ladies assured me that it was open to visitors, I went in and had a look around.

The roof burned down not long ago but it has been replaced by a fine new construction. The reason for the rather odd facade of the building is explained by a model in the little exhibition inside.

While I was looking around, I was waylaid by another lady who pointed out that if I was in need of a cup of tea and cake, I had come to the right place as the abbey has a small cafe attached. I was struck by how much a cup of tea and a cake was just what I wanted, and while I ate and drank, I had a good conversation about the church and ended up making a contribution to its restoration fund before I left.

This was my 40 mile stop.

Refreshed both bodily and spiritually, I headed down to the Solway shore and the road home.

I was to pass several more churches on my way.

I crossed the tidal river Whampool on my way to the shore and thought that it was very low . . .

. . . so I was very pleased to find that the tide was well in when I got to Bowness-on-Solway and the coast road.

I stopped once or twice along the shore, looking at the Gretna turbines on the far shore. I had passed these on my way out.

And I found a convenient bench at my 50 mile mark, ideal for a sit down and a second sandwich, and a look around.

Behind me, I could see the Lake District hills which had been covered in cloud earlier in the day.

With the light wind now behind me, I soon found myself back on the Carlisle by-pass and after that I followed a well used route home which didn’t call for any photos. I couldn’t resist a favourite view of the River Lyne though, taken at the 70 mile stop for a final banana.

It had been my hope to keep up a speed of 13.3 mph for the outing. This gives a neat three hours for forty miles, and I managed it for 75 miles. The final ten miles, with two modest hills to climb, proved too much for my knees, and I faded away to 13.1 mph by the time that I got home. Still, anything over 13 mph is good for me these days so I wasn’t complaining. I also achieved both targets, getting to 402 miles for the month, with comfortably over 200 of them done on my push bike. (And incidentally cycled 5 more miles than I have had birthdays which is always a minor triumph now that age has caught up with me.)

Mrs Tootlepedal told me that she had seen many butterflies in the garden, so after a cup of tea, I went out for a look. Alas, I was too late and only saw one. I took some flower pictures to make up for the lack of butterflies.

Mrs Tootlepedal had made a delicious cheese flan for our evening meal, and that rounded off a satisfying day. I didn’t take any flying birds today but I might have taken some good sea shore birds if I had been paying more attention. I only saw these two when I looked on my computer after I had got home.

Footnote one: For those interested, I append a map of today’s route. A click on the map should bring further details.

Footnote two: I have been having a lot of trouble with WP lately when trying to make comments on blogs. If I haven’t commented on your blog, it is not for want of trying. They have become obsessed with logging in when I am already logged in. I seem to be able to comment on my phone app, but not always when I am on my computer.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Tea and cake at the abbey

  1. Great distance sir,and your avg speed was excellent,you have every reason to be pleased with yourself, well done.đź‘Ť

  2. I am experiencing similar problems with WP when trying to comment on some posts (not yours, thankfully!). I have marvelled at the views and enjoyed the flowers seen along your route.

  3. What a wonderful ride. Well done. Enjoyed the pictures of Holm Cultram Abbey – and how convenient that there was a cafe!

  4. That is a good set of photographs inside the Abbey. Have you tried clicking on the reader snippet rather than on Visit which is underneath it? A tip from Sue which saves the rigmarole and much time

  5. That was a nice ride with lots of good views and lots of ancient churches.
    It’s nice of the farmer to plant so many dahlias for people to see. He must have quite a large storage area if he keeps them over winter.
    The difference in width of the tidal river was amazing. I’ve never been near one for any length of time.

    1. I hadn’t thought about the storage for the dahlias. The whole thing must take an enormous amount of work. They say that the tide in the Solway comes in faster than a galloping horse.

  6. Chapeau to your cycling. As I am your age I regret not to be able to do any cycling or other outdoor activities.

  7. What an amazingly long and wonderfully diverse day. Sadly, the picture that most sticks in my mind is that poor alpaca – I hope it looks like that because it has been shorn recently and not for any other reason.

  8. I enjoyed the scenes from your ride, and the commentary. Thank you for the view inside the abbey, too.

    I have had similar problems with WP regarding commenting, and find I can only comment through the reader on many blogs.

  9. A wonderful tour. I liked the abbey and am fond of the alpaca, however shorn. I haven’t had any problem making comments – yet – but I may not even know what I’m doing if there’s another way.

  10. I am gobsmacked by the length of your bike ride on the push bike.

    I also find that I have to access some blogs via Reader in order to comment. I have yours saved to my Home Screen (iPad) and for some reason the commenting ability has not failed me here, but I have to access Laurie Graves’ blog through Reader in order to comment. As for blogs on blogger/blogspot…commenting is such a hassle that I mostly don’t bother.

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