Winding about

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He came across a tree full of waxwings in East Wemyss yesterday.

It was grey and chilly when we got up here this morning, but it was above freezing so that was welcome. After a leisurely breakfast and an enjoyable crossword, I roused myself enough to have a look at the birds.

It was drizzling gently and Margaret was a bit gloomy about the weather when she came round to join us at coffee time. Rather surprisingly, considering how grey and damp the morning had been, the skies cleared as we chatted and she left us in a cheerful mood and a blaze of sunshine.

I put together a vegetable soup of onion, carrot, celery, red pepper, and potato with chicken stock and our new soup maker made a good job of cooking it for our lunch. I went for the lumpy option but it would probably have been better if it had been blended. We live and learn. As it was, it wasn’t at all bad, and fired up by the soup and some bread and cheese, I got my electric bicycle out and went off for a pedal.

As it was a pleasant day by now, Mrs Tootlepedal got her tape measure and clip board out and went off to record a couple of the ancient trees on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve.

It stayed fine as I cycled up the road to Bentpath, enjoying the views as I went. You can’t go past the Gates of Eden on a day like this without stopping to take a picture.

The roads were quiet and reasonably dry, and on the whole there were not too many potholes on my route today.

The views never stay the same for long, and there is always another little side valley to add interest.

I went through the village of Bentpath with the sun still shining.

There was a change in the weather though as I got up to the Crossdykes windfarm at the top of the hill before I went over the col and down into the valley of the Water of Milk.

I began to wonder if I would manage to get home without getting rained on.

The road down the Water of Milk sweeps up and down the steep sides of the valley, resolutely avoiding the convenient flat areas beside the river, making the run down to Paddockhole more strenuous than it might be.

Still, flat ground for farmers is at a premium round here, so it is not surprising that the roads should be stuck up the hill away from good pastures.

Rather than going straight home from the bridge at Paddockhole, I made a diversion at Dunnabie and headed for the road to Solwaybank. There were signs that it was raining a few miles away . . .

. . . but I was lucky, and the road past the windfarm and beyond was bathed in sunshine. Clouds threatened from time to time but came to nothing.

At the end of the Solwaybank road, I took the longer route back to Langholm by way of the Canonbie by-pass. A low drift of thick cloud to my right . . .

. . . made me disinclined to linger, and I pressed on back to Langholm without stopping for any more pictures. I got home after a thoroughly enjoyable 35 miles of electrically assisted cycling to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had measured her trees and returned as well. We were both pretty pleased with our outings.

There are those who turn up their nose at electrically assisted cycling, but on a cold day in winter when I am wearing many layers of clothes and there is a nippy crosswind, my e-bike makes me feel at least 10 years younger as I speed along much more quickly than I could manage on my push bike. I don’t turn up my nose at that, and as I am still fully intending to go for many long rides on my push bike when the weather gets warmer, I thus get the best of both worlds.

Venison burgers and chips, cooked in the air fryer, rounded off a day that was much better than it had looked as though it would be when we got up.

The flying birds of the day are a siskin and goldfinch in dispute.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Winding about

  1. The views from your bike ride are always enjoyable, and I agree the Gates of Eden should not be passed without taking a photo. The sideways sunlit autumnal colored tree tunnel was quite intriguing. I like that view! The bird portraits and labels brought a smile.

  2. Often difficult to choose between lumpy and smooth soup. Sometimes I whizz for just a few seconds, the compromise result of which I find quite pleasing.

  3. What a view at the Gated of Eden! I enjoyed all the photos, what a beautiful part of the world you live in.
    Paul’s brother is a retired physiotherapist and lecturer, and he absolutely swears by his electric bike. Recently he and his wife and friends had a very happy holiday in New Zealand, mostly on their hired electric bikes.

  4. You certainly had a beautiful day to see the gates of Eden.
    I liked the tunnel through the trees and the sunny view next to it.
    I don’t think I’d worry much about what people thought of riding electric bikes. If I enjoyed it I’d do it.

  5. I always enjoy your word-play, when I catch it. English is a tricky language – “sparrows sparring”, vs “sparrow staring”. What’s the rule for deciding how that letter “a” is supposed to sound?

    1. I’m glad you picked up on the sparrow sounds as I meant to create a little effect. I am sorry to say that I have no idea about the rules for pronunciation in these cases. As far as I know sparrow and sparring should sound the same according to the rules but as they don’t I obviously don’t know the rules properly. Sparrow and staring do seem to follow the rules in relation to the double and single consonants after the a. It is all a mystery to me and I hope not to offend too many people with mistakes in my posts.

  6. No reason at all to be ashamed by electrical assistance. I for one who has to walk on crutches would be overjoyed if I could ride a bike at all. At our age we should take all the help we can get. The Gates of Eden really look as the entrance to paradise – especially when the sun shines (a rare sight here for weeks)

    1. It feels as though we have had a lot of cloudy days here lately and it has been a very bad month for cycling so I am pleased to get out any way that I can.

  7. Let the bike snobs pedal into the sunset. I think electric bikes are a great idea. Perhaps some day Clif and I will have one. Beautiful views on your bike ride. Glad you weren’t rained on.

  8. Wonderful views across the valleys with all their ups and downs. I think I know why Bentpath came by its name! Fine photo of the pigeon and all the other little birds. Your header photo looks like an army marching stopping all invaders!

  9. Bentpath, Crossdykes, Water of Milk, Paddockhole–not only are they wonderfully descriptive names, but they roll off the tongue like geographic poetry.

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