Today’s garden picture of a holly bush with plenty of berries is a bit of a cheat in two ways. Firstly it was taken yesterday and secondly it is in a neighbour’s garden. We can see it though so I stuck it in anyway.
The forecast had been for a frosty morning with fog but the day dawned brilliantly sunny for the second day running. It was cold but not frosty. The temperature was still at 4ºC at 10 o’clock so I wrapped well and set off on the bike. I had thought of going north up into the hills but with the temperature so low that didn’t seem to be very wise and I set off, like last week, down to Longtown. I went along our morning ride cycle route avoiding the A7 after a couple of miles and going through Canonbie on the old road.
The tower on the left is called Hollows or Gilnockie Tower and some people claim it is the tower of Johnny Armstrong whose grave I visited two or three weeks ago. It isn’t but it is a very fine example of a peel tower.
Looking across the fields behind the tower, you can see the bank of trees on the far side of the River Esk. They always look very fine in spring and autumn.
After Canonbie I rejoined the A7 and headed down to Longtown. This was one of the first planned towns in England but like Newcastleton across the border, it only came into being when a landlord decided to shift all his tenants into a town whether they liked it or not. It was built in squares with an allotment for every house in the centre of the each square and you can still see the archways on the High Street which allowed cart access to these areas.
From Longtown I headed straight down the A7 towards Carlisle. There had been big floods here on Friday but there was little sign of them today apart from some pools in the fields. At the Motorway junction, I took the road to Brampton and went through Low Crosby and then turned off to circle round Carlisle Airport.
It is more of a field than a port but it was busy today because the army had a set of helicopters parked there while they are doing exercises at Spadeadam nearby.
They weren’t flying today but three little planes took off while I munched a sandwich and a banana.
The planes look absolutely tiny when they are on the ground and they don’t look much bigger when they are in the air.
There is a car transporter firm near the airfield and at the beginning of the financial crash a couple of years ago, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove round here and there were what looked like hundreds of empty car transporters parked in every available space. Things must be better now because there were only a few in the yard waiting to go out.
There is an air museum at the airport with a selection of aircraft on display. It is one of the many places I mean to visit sometime.
After passing the airfield, I avoided going back onto the main road by turning left through the pretty village of Irthington.
This led to going up the first hill of the day where i saw this striking tree. The hill out of Irthington is one of those annoying ones where no sooner have you got to the top than you have to go down the other side. When I got to the A6071 I then had to go up the same escarpment again.
When I got to the top of this hill, I was in Newtown where I had stopped and turned round on last week’s ride. It has a pretty green with a convenient seat for tired cyclists.
The day had been almost windless up to this point but from now on a light following wind helped to speed me on my way home so I was soon back in Longtown and on the A7 again. I stopped for another banana at the border and turned off to go back home through Canonbie and the old A7. On my way down I had decided to leave a pretty view at Gilnockie Bridge for the return journey.
Of course by the time I got there, the sunhad gone in. Not only that but it turned out that I had managed to put an oily thumb on the lens of the camera. (A very easy thing to do as the lens is right at the top left corner of the body).
The resulting pictures are not quite the tour de force I had hoped that they would be but I have put them in anyway.
I finished the trip with a little detour up the A7 north of Langholm to take a picture which I will use on the heritage DVD. It is a cottage that, like Wauchope cottage, is all that is left from a sizeable mill for which is was the office. The traffic lights you can see are at a bridge across the Ewes Water that is still called the High Mill bridge today.
The whole trip worked out at an even 50 miles which is mathematically very satisfying. There is an exciting new tree trunk on Mrs Tootlepedal’s page from her walk yesterday.