Slowing up

Today’s guest picture is another from my Somerset correspondent Venetia’s trip to Lochaber in the Scottish Highlands. She was very taken by the beautiful countryside she found on her visit.

We had another fine day here, occasionally cloudy, occasionally sunny, but always dry. A cool north wind reminded us that summer has perhaps permanently slipped past now.

I haven’t been keeping up to my resolve to do some Archive Group database work after breakfast every week day, so I did a good session today and finished a week off. Nancy brought some more of the data miners’ work round the other day, so the backlog has increased again. I must try to stick to my plan.

I had time to get out into the garden before coffee and found dahlias looking delightful in the sunshine.

There are still roses to be seen but I needed a foxglove to complete a panel of four.

There were several drone flies on a yellow flower. I liked the delicate wings in this picture.

Margaret came round for coffee, and she and Mrs Tootlepedal exchanged notes on the many interesting things they had seen while watching the royal coverage on TV. I kept quiet and ate ginger biscuits.

After coffee, we went out into the garden and did some much needed dead heading and tidying up. There were lots of butterflies about again, mostly red admirals, but with one or two peacocks and whites as well.

Lots of starlings live in our neighbour Irving’s holly tree and there is often one standing on the very top of the tree.

I don’t know if it is always the same starling that stands there, or whether they take turns. This one flew off before I could ask it.

Although I haven’t dead headed the little red poppies at all this year, they keep on flowering. The salvias have spread and flourished too.

I filled the feeder in the morning and while we were having our lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed that goldfinches were taking an interest.

Sparrows and greenfinches soon took over.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did more gardening and I took the electric bike out for a ride. The rather chilly wind persuaded me to put on an extra layer and I was glad that I did. In spite of occasional sunshine, it was far from warm when I was cycling into the wind, and I did exactly that for the first ten miles.

I headed north up the road towards Eskdalemuir, passing through the village of Bentpath on my way.

I noticed a flourishing ragwort and a crab apple tree loaded with little apples.

I didn’t go as far as Eskdalemuir but turned off at Enzieholm Bridge and headed up the valley . . .

. . . to Bailliehill. Here I turned left again and passed the Crossdykes wind farm. Looking back towards the Esk valley there was a fine cloudscape behind me.

. . . and ahead of me was a sign telling me that the road might be closed at any time during the present week for road surfacing works. This wasn’t very helpful but I pressed on and was happy to find that the resurfacing work had already been done . . .

. . . and I had a smooth, if slightly sticky, brand new surface to pedal along.

I stopped to take in the valley views, including a modest bridge across the Water of Milk . . .

. . . and a good stand of trees which had just a hint of autumn about them.

The road most unkindly leaves the river here and heads back up the hill as you can see in the picture above. The wind was being more helpful by now though, and with the aid of a little electrical power, I floated up the hill and down the other side to Paddockhole without much difficulty.

In contrast with recent e-bike rides, I wasn’t trying to go as fast as possible today. Instead, I tried to pedal as much of the route under my own steam as was compatible with a hilly ride and the pressures of cycling into the wind. The e-bike is much heavier than my road bike and doesn’t roll nearly so well so it is far from easy to get it up even quite undemanding hills without a bit of help.

From Paddockhole, I made my way across to the Solwaybank wind farm road where I was delayed by some heavy traffic.

After the traffic cleared, I cycled on, finding some more freshly resurfaced road. At Solwaybank farm, I turned down the road towards Chapelknowe, passing an outstandingly red display of haws in the hedge.

Bypassing Chapelknowe, I whizzed along the road through Glenzier to the Hollows. Gulls were very interested in a farmer ploughing his field.

When I got to the Hollows on the A7, I might have gone up the main road back to Langholm but I made good use of the e-bike by crossing the Esk by the Hollows Bridge, climbing up the steep hill to Gilnockie, and taking the much quieter back road home.

I got home after 34 miles, feeling that I had done quite a lot of work in spite of the assisted pedalling.

After a cup of tea, I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal to see what she had been up to while I was out. The garden was much tidier.

The star of the late afternoon sunshine was the latest flower on the Crown Princess Margareta . .

. . . though it was run close by a small tortoiseshell butterfly.

We picked some spinach leaves and a large turnip from the vegetable garden and went in to prepare our evening meal.

In the absence of a convincing flying bird of the day, a white butterfly steps in to fill the gap.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “Slowing up

  1. I like your version of heavy traffic! The sheep don’t appear to be fenced – does anyone ever hit one with their car as we do deer?

  2. That’s a nice shot of the fly on the yellow flower.
    It doesn’t look like you had much room to get out of the way of the cows on the road.
    The butterfly in flight looks like it might have been a hard shot. I have trouble getting them to be still long enough for a try.

  3. I enjoy these beautiful, peaceful views of the countryside and gardens. Venetia’s photo of her trip to Lochaber is particularly beautiful, too.

    The cows blocking the narrow road reminds me of some places in northern California I have visited.

  4. Lovely photos from your cycle ride with those beautiful views and cloudscapes, Love the composition of white butterfly photo..simple yet perfect…bit like your ginger biscuits!

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