Flat calm

Today’s guest picture comes from my walking friend Mark. His dog Henry took him up to the top of Warbla in yesterday’s strong winds. Mark reckons that judging by how flat Henry’s ears were, the wind must have been blowing at 50 mph. Henry thought that it was fun.

After two days of continuous strong winds, we were very pleased to wake up to a calm and pleasant morning today. The temperature was 54°F/12°C at breakfast which was unusually warm for the time of year. Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day in store writing up the minutes from yesterday’s Initiative meeting so there was nothing to stop me from going out for a bicycle ride. However, I hadn’t slept well and I had a few aches and pains so I did a tremendous amount of moaning rather than getting started. Then I fiddled about reading newspapers and drinking early cups of coffee, did some more moaning, pumped up my tyres, and finally got going at about 11 o’clock.

The moaning had worked wonders though, because as soon as I had got my road bike out, hopped into the saddle and started pedalling, everything was perfect. My legs were in harmony with my ambitions for a good distance, the breeze was against me as I went down the hill to Longtown but gentle enough not to be a nuisance, it was warm and dry, and there were things to look at as I went along.

Muted autumn colours are still attractive.

The flags beside Hollows Tower showed how light the wind was.

When I got to Longtown, I stopped to buy a couple of bananas before heading down the Brampton road to Smithfield. To make a good day better, the sun came out.

At Smithfield, I turned off the main road and headed across country on very quiet back roads passing through Barclose, Whamtown, West Linton, Justicetown and Todhills before arriving at Rockcliffe. where I turned for home.

It was very peaceful, and as I had chosen a generally flat route, it was easy cycling too. I stopped on my way across to note a cheerful hedge . . .

. . . and a fine tree and some turbines . .

. . . and was pleased to see that those clouds in the background were going away from me and were not going to interrupt my sunny ride.

A well clipped hedge gave me a view of a grand house which I don’t usually see.

. . . and yet another hedge caught my eye.

I crossed the motorway at Todhills. I had done 25 miles by this time, so I paused to eat a couple of jeely pieces that I had made before leaving home. The motorway wasn’t busy, but the steady run of traffic was still a contrast to my peaceful progress.

Once I had got to Rockcliffe and turned north, the light wind was more or less behind me all the way home. I took the service road to Gretna, crossing the Esk as it sweeps under the railway and out to sea.

As you can see, the sun was already getting quite low so I rather boringly went home by way of main roads from Gretna. I had a last snack of dates and half a banana outside Longtown and exchanged views with a calf.

Like the motorway, the main roads weren’t too busy and I had leisure to stop and admire some colours, like these dogwoods on the Canonbie bypass.

. . . and the growing trees beside the new road at Auchenrivock.

I plunged into shadow as I went down the hill towards the Esk . . .

When I arrived at Langholm, I found that I had done 46 miles. I like a good round number so I cycled on through the town for a couple of miles until I could look up the Ewes Valley. It was lying under a cloud.

The sun was still shining on the Langholm hills . . .

. . . and I had to shade my eyes from the dazzle as I cycled back into town.

I got home feeling amazingly cheerful after being in an unpromising mood at the start of the day. There is no doubt that not battling into strong winds makes cycling a much more pleasurable experience. To underline that, I had gone the same distance today as I had on my electric bike on a windy day earlier in the week but I had done it five minutes quicker without any electrical assistance. Mind you, I had chosen my route well and done only half the climbing this time. It does go to show though that worries that buying an e-bike might spoil your enjoyment of ordinary cycling are unfounded. They can co-exist very well. The e-bike just lets me get out on days and up hills when otherwise I might not bicycle at all.

I took a walk round the garden but colour is hard to find now. Shrubs can help if they catch the late sun.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a very tasty cauliflower cheese for our evening meal and then we enjoyed watching Strictly Come Dancing. It has reached the stage where nearly everyone left in can dance pretty well.

I didn’t look at the bird feeder before I left, and it was too dark by the time that I had had a cup of tea when I got home, so there is no flying bird of the day today, or indeed, any kind of bird at all. Special Grandma, still flowering, is filling the gap.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Flat calm

  1. Yes it was much calmer today and you took full advantage with a great 50 ml ride,well done.
    I take your point about cycling with and without battery assistance.. your living proof it can be done. I must try it soon.
    Some great autumnal colours in the leafy lanes today.
    Nice to see not just one but three dunnocks in your garden the other day,quite an unusual occurrence I think.

    1. We can go for a long time without seeing a dunnock at all so it was a real treat to see thee. Mrs Tootlepedal always claimed that she didn’t want an electric bike because she wouldn’t get proper exercise. Now she has one, she has changed her tune, amd she wishes that she had got one earlier.

  2. Is there such a thing as “road envy”? If so, I suffer from it when I look at your well-maintained routes. I’m sure there are pothole-filled horrors that you avoid, but still . . . sigh.

    I like that sturdy looking calf, and also Henry, the canine anemometer. He always looks like he’s having a great time.

    1. Henry is a great character. The north Cumbrian roads are generally better maintained than our local roads, but the main roads are well looked after.

  3. 54 degrees is a warm morning, and the weather was good for your ride. I enjoyed your photo selection from your day. The angled light at this time of year adds such a soft, colorful dimension to turning leaves and landscape.

  4. Good that you can interchange your bikes in such a satisfying way.
    Enjoyed those autumn colours along your ride. I’ll have to look up jeely piece!

  5. A lovely cycle ride with great views of autumn colour in hedges and hills. The main roads looked quite empty and safe for a cyclist to zoom down those hills. Henry seems to be smiling as he is blown with rain and wind- brave dog!

    1. Henry is unfazed by moor or mountain whatever the weather. The traffic was generally quite light but there were some moments when it felt like the rush hour. I didn’t photograph those moments though.

  6. I’m glad your legs held up, and I’m glad you had such a fine day. Maybe the rivers will go down a bit.
    I liked the hedges that are planted between trees. That took a bit of thought.
    My favorite shot was of the dogwoods on the Canonbie bypass. It’s a beautiful scene.

    1. I agree about the dogwoods. They really brighten up the dark months. As far as that hedge goes, the hedge planters must have had a good measuring tape.

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