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Posts Tagged ‘Beattock Church’

Today’s guest picture comes from Tom in South Africa and shows a fine collection of porcupine quills which he found when walking his dogs.  He was pleased that the original owner of the quills was not about as eager dogs and porcupines don’t mix well.

porcupine quills

Once again, with light winds and a pleasing but not excessive warmth, it was a good day for a pedal, and this time I took advantage of the conditions and went for a ride.  I didn’t get out quite as quickly as I would have liked as my tendency to faff about when faced with a cycle ride kicked in again.  One of the benefits of the time wasting was a call to the hospital that resulted in me getting a physio appointment for my feet in two weeks time.

As a result, I was in a very cheerful mood when I did finally set off, only two and a half hours after Mrs Tootlepedal had roused me from my bed.  That’s quite quick for me.

I had resolved to make the most of the day by going for a long ride if my legs were in a helpful mood and I started by going down the main roads to Gretna Green, where a piper reminded visitors that they were in Scotland.

piper at Gretna

The ride to Gretna is downhill and the wind was helping so I did the first fifteen miles of my ride in an hour and manged to keep this speed up for the second fifteen miles too, though I did stop of a couple more pictures.

It is good to see one of the old towers being incorporated into a modern residence…

tower house

The wires at the bottom of the picture are part of the mainline railway which shares the valley with a motorway and the old road that I was using.

….and I looked out over the farming country back towards Langholm.

Annandale

You couldn’t get a much nicer day for cycling.

As I approached Lockerbie, I was impressed by the lake of rosebay willowherb beside the road.

fireweed at Lockerbie

After having completed my first 30 miles at a crisp pace, things slowed down a bit as I continued the long but gentle climb towards Beattock.  Here I found that an enterprising lady had opened a fast food joint at a garage just north of the village, so I stopped for a bacon roll and a cup of coffee before embarking on the final six mils of my outward journey up the valley towards Beattock summit.

I didn’t go right to the top of the summit, thanks to my late start, and turned round at the bridge leading to the wonderfully named Greenhillstairs.  bridge over M74

I was now faced with 50 miles to get back home.  It is generally down hill for the 35 miles to Gretna, which is on the sea shore, and the assistance of gravity offset the hindrance of the light wind that I was now cycling into.

I stopped at Beattock to admire the church there, perhaps the church I like best of the ones that I have seen on my rides.

 

beattock church

I was cycling down Annandale, a broad valley full of cows.

cows in annandale

A large truck stop has been created north of Lockerbie and it has a shop and a cafe mostly for the benefit of the truck drives but open to passing cyclists as well, so I stopped there for coffee and cake to fuel me up for the final 35 miles home.  I ate outside under the eagle eye of this artwork…

carving at truck stop

…which made me wonder whether the artist had been paid by how many motifs he/she could cram into one carving.  It was very busy.

A few miles further on, I paused to take a picture of the mainline railway bridge over the Dryfe Water.  Mrs Tootlepedal and I sweep over this bridge in the train when we got to see Matilda.

railway brodge over dryfe water

I needed to stop fairly frequently over the last miles of my trip to take on more water as it was still quite a warm day and to stretch my limbs which were beginning to ask me when we would stop pedalling.

Some knapweed caught my eye on one of these stops…

knapweed by old A74

…and a couple getting a grand lift to their wedding at Gretna at the next one.

Carriage at Gretna

My last stop, about five miles from home, was to admire the fine show that the big daisies are making on the Canonbie by-pass

daisies on Canonbie by-pass

In the end, my legs decided to stop moaning and keep working so I arrived home in very good order after 102 miles.  The route was rather uninspired scenically but it avoided any steep hills and let me keep pedalling steadily all the way so I enjoyed myself a lot.

I had hoped to complete the ride in seven and a half hours and I managed that almost to the second.  The stops for the bacon roll and the coffee and cake, not to mention other immobile moments for eating the two egg rolls that I had bought from John’s shop before I left Langholm, and the stretching and hydrating breaks too, all added up to another hour and a quarter so the whole outing took 8¾ hours.

This was very convenient as it got me home in perfect time to sit down to a nourishing meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal, then have a shower and finally be ready to welcome Mike and Alison for their regular Friday evening visit.  Alison and I played a good selection of pieces while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike caught up on the news.

Considering that I had had quite a busy day, I played a very satisfactory number of right notes in the right places and it rounded off a good day very well.

The flying bird of the day is a zinnia.

zinnia

Those interested can click on the map for more details of the ride.

garmin route 2 Aug 2019

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Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s tour with Justin.  They visited Sizergh Castle near Kendal on their way to Langholm.

Sizergh Castle

The forecast had suggested that today would be calm, dry and occasionally sunny, a perfect day for mowing grass.

Mowing the grass was was tempting but the lack of wind, a very rare thing round here this year, made cycling even more tempting.  Mrs Tootlepedal got me up promptly and provided breakfast and for once I managed to avoid any footling around and got off at about nine o’clock.  The days are still long so I had plenty of time for pedalling.

It was quite cool when I set out but it got warmer as the day went on and it turned out to be, just as the forecast had predicted, a perfect day for cycling.

I had chosen a relatively dull route, a simple out and back mostly up the old Glasgow road from Gretna and so I was a bit dashed when I got to Gretna to find a “Road Closed ” sign across the Glasgow road.  They were applying gravel top dressing.  I was joined by another cyclist and we enquired whether two cyclists might sneak through and were relieved when we were given the all clear.

The other cyclist turned out to be a Norwegian, who was doing the Land’s End to John  o’ Groats route with the excellent scheme of pedalling for the morning and early afternoon and then finding a TV screen where he could watch the Tour de France.  I was able to tell him that a Norwegian cyclist, Edvald Boasson Hagen, had won a stage of the Tour of Britain a few years ago by riding at terrific speed down the very road that we were cycling up.  He was impressed.

We cycled together as far as Lockerbie, where he stopped for coffee and I pressed on.  His company had been invaluable as it kept me to a sensible speed over a hilly section of the ride and it provided a pleasant diversion during one of the duller bits of my route.

I stopped for a snack at 40 miles.  The route follows the main railway line and motorway up the Annan valley but the motorway was pretty quiet as I ate my roll.

Motorway

To be fair it was mostly a bit busier than this!

The views of Upper Annandale as I went along were very enjoyable.

Annandale

My next stop was at Beattock, home of a very pretty church….

Beattock Church

…where I visited a pub and enjoyed a half pint of good beer and my cycling staple, a plate of egg and chips.

With fuel on board, I set off to pedal up the ten mile climb to Beattock Summit.  I think that it is my favourite piece of cycling road.  The verges were filled with wild flowers (which my phone refused to photograph properly), the surface is mostly reasonable and very good in places and the gradient is so steady that once the correct gear has been selected, progress is regular and painless.

In this way I arrived at the 1000 ft summit very smoothly and took a moment to look around.  This is a world of massive windmills…

Clyde Farm windmills

…and large amounts of them too.

Clyde valley windmills

The wind was so light that most of them were stationary, a very unusual occurrence, but there was a light breeze just beginning to persuade a few to get started.  By the time that I came back on the return journey, most of them were turning.

I had come so far, that I was now in the upper Clyde valley….

Clyde

…and the River Clyde, which starts not far off, will flow through Glasgow before it gets to the sea.

My turning point at 60 miles was marked by a fine hedge of roses beside the road.

Crawford rose

I was a bit worried by the fledgling breeze but it proved more of a  help than a hindrance on my way back down to Gretna and I rattled along very comfortably.  I stopped at 80 miles to eat my second roll and my phone camera worked well enough to spot a hoverfly…

hoverfly

…on a striking ragwort plant beside my resting place.

ragwort

I had failed to pack a couple of bananas which I had bought specially for the trip so I stopped in Lockerbie to buy a large ice cream, a bottle of juice and a bar of chocolate to help get me home.  Together with regular nibbles of a guava energy bar, they did the trick and at no stage of the journey did I run out of steam.

To avoid the new top dressing on the road to Gretna, I turned off at the church in Kirkpatrick Fleming…

KPF Church

…and took a back road down to Gretna.  My satisfaction with this cunning plan was slightly dented when I ran into some newly laid top dressing at Glenzier.  I had seen the warning sign when I passed in the morning but didn’t think that they would get there when they had been busy at Gretna.  I was wrong…but it was only a short stretch and there had been sufficient car traffic to flatten the gravel  out enough to make it safe for an elderly cyclist.

The wind was not so helpful now and I was happy to see this sign…

Kerr road sign

…which showed that I was nearly home.

It didn’t tell the whole truth though as I had had a mathematical revelation as I pedalled along.  Without thinking too hard, I had roughly calculated that 120 miles would give me a distance of 200km.  This seemed like a nice round number and that was why I had turned at 60 miles.  However, a little more thought revealed that I would need 125 miles to hit the 200km mark  (125×8/5=200) so I had to cycle through the town and out of the other side to make up the missing five miles.

This was no problem though and I pleased and surprised myself in equal measure by finding that I was fit enough to do this distance, the furthest that I have ever cycled in a day, with no great trouble at all.  I felt that I could have gone quite a few miles further if needed.  The secret was taking things slowly and steadily.  That is not to say that my knees are not complaining quite a lot as I sit and write these words though.

Once again, I took sufficient care of my eating and drinking that I weighed exactly the same at the end of the ride as I did at the start.

I had enough energy to walk round the garden in delightful evening sunshine when I got home.

ligularia

There is a new knautia out…

knautia

…and pink phlox have come to join the white.

phlox

What I call marigolds but what I should call calendula I am told are popping up all over the place.

calendula

The rambler roses are doing wonderfully well…

rambler rose

…but they have probably bloomed too early to be any use to the maker of the crown of roses which is carried round the town on Common Riding day on the last Friday of this month.

I retired for a meal of sardines, garnished with new potatoes, turnips and broad beans from the garden and this drew a very satisfactory day to a close.  The grass looked as though it needed cutting badly though.

For those interested, further details of the ride can be gleaned by clicking on the map below.

Garmin route 11 July 2017

A thousand foot climb doesn’t look much when it is spread over forty miles!

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