A shady friend

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He found some Egyptian geese in the grounds of Nottingham University today. He thought that they looked as though they were pining for a bit of Egyptian warmth on a day of biting wind.

We had a dry morning here but it was quite chilly too at 4°C when we got up. The temperature did rise to a heady 8°C as the morning went on, and as there were no birds visiting the feeder to distract me, I had an early lunch and got my bicycle out. The forecast talked of winds gusting up to 25 mph so I didn’t plan an expansive outing. To make matters worse, as soon as I got outside, it started to rain. I went back in.

However, the rain turned out to be just a little joke by the weather gods, and it soon stopped when they had had their fun. I set off.

In the event, the wind was quite noticeable but the forecast gusts were very few and far between, so I got on much better than I had expected, and (relatively) soon found myself cycling up Callister hill in bright sunshine . . .

. . . with a shadowy friend to keep me company

As it had turned out to be a sensible day for a cycle ride, I turned left at Falford Bridge and went round the 21 mile Solwaybank loop via Gair. This was a good route choice and having battled along for the first seven miles, the rest of the route was more wind friendly.

Talking of battling, I have a little bike computer to tell me how slowly I am going. Today it decided off its own bat to compare my speed while I was going up Callister Hill into the wind with several previous efforts. It definitely doesn’t help to have your bicycle telling you, “Ooh, you’re going very slowly, aren’t you,” as you plod up a hill.

Having crossed the Kirtle Water at Falford, I crossed the Hotts Burn at the school a mile or so further on. It winds its way gently down a little valley beside the road . . .

. . . though when I looked more closely at the picture above on my computer, I could see that it might find its way blocked in the not too distant future.

The two streams that I had crossed meet as they pass under a bridge at the aptly named Between the Waters Farm.

It has a couple of fine trees standing in its fields.

With the wind behind me once I had passed through Gair, I cruised up the hill and passed the windfarm at Solwaybank. If all goes to plan, it is due to be greatly extended, and then almost all my way home will be among turbines. The road past Solwaybank House will be still be sheltered by its trees though . . .

. . . but my favourite view of the last section . . .

. . . will be interrupted.

I thought that I could see a faint rainbow ahead of me here, and Mrs Tootlepedal told me later that they had had a very sharp shower in Langholm while I was out pedalling. I was lucky today and although the sun went in as I went over Callister, the rain stayed away and the sun shone on the hills as I came back down into the Wauchope Valley.

As with my walk yesterday, I crossed a great number of bridges on my outing today.

I went from the catchment area of the Wauchope Water over Callister and into the Kirtle Water valley, then up past the windfarm and into the head waters of the River Sark, soon to become the border between England and Scotland, and finally, back into Wauchopedale again. I have made a gallery of some of the bridges. I would have put more in if I had remembered to stop and take pictures of them.

I don’t know what has happened to our small birds at the feeder. They just didn’t turn up at all today. I had to go our into the garden after I got back from my cycle ride to find a job lot of bigger birds hanging about on the walnut tree and the electric wires.

It wasn’t nearly as windy today as it was yesterday so I don’t think that I can blame the wind. Perhaps there is a sparrowhawk around and that is putting our birdseed visitors off. It was very odd. We shall see what tomorrow brings.

After a cup of tea and a slice of toast, we went to the Co-op to do a bit of shopping for the store cupboard and then Mrs Tootlepedal made a new dish for our evening meal. She had found an unusually straightforward recipe in a newspaper food supplement. As it didn’t require the purchase of exotic ingredients only available in the specialist shops of major cities, she was able to follow the recipe as it was. It was a chickpea, potato and spinach concoction and I enjoyed the result a lot.

Today was only my second bike ride of the year and as we are heading back to sub zero nights, I don’t see myself adding much to my mileage total for quite a while. Bring on the walking boots. It is easier to go walking on wet and windy days as putting on a coat and boots is less trouble than putting on all the gear required for comfortable cycling in bad conditions. People mock MAMILs (Middle Aged Men in Lycra) but good cycling gear is important. I am an example of a VOMIT (Very Old Man In Tights) and I don’t care who laughs at me.

The flying bird of the day is a fleeting jackdaw.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “A shady friend

  1. Oh those witty computers . . .
    I once had trouble with one that said “Only one at a time please.”. I hate technology.
    The Victorians managed very well with tweed. If Lycra were necessary I’m sure they would have invented it.

      1. It was one of those automated public toilets. It refused to shut the door as the floor was linked to a set of scales. Not my finest moment! 🙂

  2. That was very clever of you to take a picture of your shadowy companion.
    I know what you mean about exotic ingredients in a national newspaper’s recipes. But I have been surprised to find that some of them are available in my local Sainsbury delivery!

      1. My nearest Sainsbury is 2 miles away. But for reasons best known to the company my delivery is ‘picked’ at and delivered from Taunton, 25 miles away.

  3. The freedom that comes with not worrying about what other people think is one of the best parts of getting older – I enjoy it mightily 🙂

    A lovely selection of bridges.

  4. It does look like that embankment will fall into the stream one day, trees and all.
    I liked the shot of the road past Solwaybank House. It looks like a great road for cycling on.
    You have an amazing number of bridges there, and they all look quite old.

    1. It is a good road because it is very quiet, very scenic, and has recently been resurfaced so it is one of the few roads round here with no potholes.

    1. Simple but tasty. A little curry powder was involved too. I shall be interested to see of the bike computer does that again. It has never done it before.

  5. I never tire of seeing your bridges and I enjoy the trees, the skeletal roots of which cling tenaciously to the bared soil underneath them.

  6. Same here with the absence of birds from the feeder, I blame it on the weather too, but as I changed a cople of days ago the feeder with a different set of roosts it may also be the cause. Weather here is as dreich as you can guess. Thanks for the nice shots of the bare trees and your shady companion.

  7. More bridges to enjoy! I’m sure the last letter ‘T’ in the acronym stands for training! Love the view down the beech sided road.

  8. The views from your ride always inspire! My favorite is the one with angled sun on tall grass along the road. Something about angled sun on vegetation is very peaceful to gaze upon.

  9. The Callister hill photo is dramatic with all that sunshine. And your shadowy friend.
    I can only imagine mixed feelings in anticipation of the downside of wind turbines destroying a landscape.
    The bridges are wonderful – I especially like the natural one.

    1. I don’t mind the turbines in the place where they are going to be. They are a good source of energy and they provide quite a bit of funding for the areas around them. There are places where I wouldn’t like to see them.

      1. That’s good. And you are likely used to them by now. I anticipate wind turbines eventually off the lakefront in Chicago which is our only horizon so to speak. As with every new skyscraper, I suppose we will get used to them too.

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