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Posts Tagged ‘Brydekirk bridge’

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother’s northern tour.  He visited Newcastle-on-Tyne and sent me this picture of a castle.  He doesn’t say if it is the new one or not.

Newcastle castle

It was relatively cool and cloudy when I got up and although it had rained overnight, once again the amount had failed to register on my scientific rain gauge so I did a little watering and took a walk round the garden after breakfast.

The Crown Princess looked lovely surrounded by phlox.

crown princess among phlox

A new flower has appeared next to the front lawn but I cannot name it without Mrs Tootlepedal’s help.

mystery flower

I can recognise this astilbe which is looking charmingly  pretty in pink.

pink astilbe

The wind was still about but as it was rather calmer than recent days, I set out on my new bike with hope in my heart, aiming at 50 miles or more.

Unfortunately, it turned out that I might have had hope in my heart but I didn’t have much stuffing in my legs and my hopes gradually faded as I pedalled along.

I did enjoy myself all the same.

The ragwort is at its best…

ragwort

..but I have been unable to find any with the colourful caterpillars of the cinnabar moth on it yet.  These caterpillars love ragwort so there should be some about somewhere.

My route took me across country to Annandale.  There is no more water in the Annan than there is in the Esk….

Annan Water at Hoddom

…but I was still glad to have a handsome bridge to cross the river when I came to it.

Hoddom Bridge

There is a lot of Himalayan Balsam on the banks of the river and although it is very pretty…

himalayan balsam

…it is regarded as an invasive pest now that it has escaped from gardens.

I toiled up a hill after I had crossed the bridge at Hoddom and then scooted down the other side until I came to the Bridge at Brydekirk which crosses the same river a few miles downstream.

Brydekirk Bridge

Here I paused for an egg roll and a chocolate biscuit.  (My cycling nutrition is about as scientific as my rain gauge.)

I was sitting on a low wall which was covered in interesting lichen.

Brydekirk lichen

Leaving the river behind, I headed homewards, thinking that I might make a detour into England at Gretna to bring up my fifty mile target.  It was at this point that it became finally apparent that my legs weren’t really up to much more than forty miles and when I looked around and saw that recent rarity, a rain cloud…

rain clouds

…and felt a few spots of rain on my knees, any thoughts of England evaporated and I headed for home.  I had obviously been lucky to avoid being rained on as quite a bit of the road to Canonbie was wet.

I arrived home after 42 miles to find that it hadn’t rained in Langholm at all.  Boo.

It was the first day for weeks when the clouds were thick enough to make the day seem quite gloomy even though it was quite warm enough to cycle in shorts again.

I had some green soup for a late lunch, checked out the birds…

bee passing birds on feeder

…which were ignoring passing bees…

,..and then settled down to watch a thoroughly engrossing stage of the Tour de France.

After the stage ended, Mike Tinker came round and we had a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit.  Any day with ginger biscuits is a good day.

When Mike left, I saw that the birds had been busy while I was relaxing and the feeder was getting empty.

sparrows and greenfinch

I really liked the cool attitude of this greenfinch, looking for all the world like a regular customer leaning on the bar in a pub.

cool greenfinch

Filling the feeder led to more birds arriving in a rush…

sparrows on feeder

…and occasional regrettable outbreaks of sparrow stamping.

sparrow stamping on sparrow

I did some more watering and weeding and noted that Mrs Tootlepedal will have a few poppies to greet her when she comes home tomorrow.

poppies

And a lot of cheerful phlox.

phlox

The bed beside the front door is looking quite welcoming too.

front door bed

After a shower, some tidying up and a basic evening meal, I went off to the church for a practice with the choir.  It is the Common Riding service on Sunday so we will have to be at our best as there will be a large turn out of people who do not normally come to services.

I am not entirely sure that my new asthma treatment is as good as it should be and this might account for my soggy legs when bicycling and certain lapses of concentration when singing.  It is useful to have something to blame of course.

The flying bird of the day is a grenfinch.

flying greenfinch

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is one from a holiday that Mike Tinker took last year.  It shows a handsome bridge in Rhayader, Mid Wales.

Rhayader Mid Wales

I had requested a better day after our recent dreich spell and my plea was heard and we enjoyed a beautifully sunny day today.  As an added and unexpected bonus, the temperature was well above freezing from the very start and had I been better organised, I could have been out and about straight after breakfast.

However, at the moment I am not sleeping as well as I would like and it is taking me quite a bit of time to get up to speed in the mornings. I needed a cup of coffee and a roll and honey before I could even contemplate starting.

There were hardly any birds to distract me and the strong light made the re-appearance of Zorro the Chaffinch the high or perhaps the lowlight of the morning.

Zorro the Chaffinch

I had a wander round the garden,  A crocus has appeared, snowdrops are actually coming properly out and the rhubarb is more fantastic than ever.

rhubarb, snowdrop and crocus

I did finally get going, armed with two bananas and a tuna roll with a side supply of apricots and dates.  The view at Wauchope School was a lot more inviting than the last time that I came up the road…

Wauchope School

…and I headed out into the country with a light heart.  Fairly heavy legs but a light heart.

I was headed west and once you get out of our local hills, the land turns to gently rolling fields…

Middlebie road

Looking back towards Waterbeck

I went through Middlebie and Ecclefechan and headed for Hoddom Castle.  The road towards the Castle is flat and straight and I found myself pedalling head on into a noticeable wind.  This was a bit of a trial so I tried the Donald J Trump method and declared loudly to anyone who might be able to hear me, “I am not pedalling into a headwind.  The wind is behind.  It’s fine.”

Strangely, it didn’t work.  Obviously the alternative truth is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I did get within sight of the castle in the end…

Hoodom Castle

…and  stopped on the bridge over the River Annan to enjoy the view.

View from the bridge at Hoddom

I crossed the bridge and cycled on towards the next crossing of the river at Brydekirk.  The powers that be have put a lot of thought into the naming of streets and buildings in the village.

Brydekirk

This is the cause of all this naming.

Brydekirk Bridge

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and had a banana and half a roll on the other side.  I was right beside a fine ivy plant.

ivy

And as you know, I am a sucker for a nice piece of moss on a bridge parapet.

moss at Brydekirk

By this time, I had turned enough to have the wind now across or behind me for the rest of the journey but this didn’t seem to speed my legs up very much.

From the top of the hill looking towards Eaglesfield after I left Brydekirk, I could see a fine crop of windmills, half at the old established windfarm at Minsca…

Minsca

…and the other half randomly scattered across the country at the new Ewe Hill wind farm.

Ewe Hill farm

I think there are still a few more to be added to this lot.

I cycled down to Gretna on back roads, hoping to see some of our migrating geese in the fields but on this occasion, all my geese were swans…

swans

…and there wasn’t a goose to be seen.

On my way to Gretna, I passed these trees…

trees

…whihc would be very helpful to the confused traveller as they clearly show the direction of the prevailing wind.  South west.

When I got to Gretna, I had thought of going back across country and clocking up fifty miles but time began to press on me a bit thanks to my late start and my legs weren’t exactly over enthusiastic about any more unnecessary hills so I headed back up the main road, taking the quieter bike route through Canonbie…

Canonbie Church

It was a golden winter afternoon

…and limiting my ride to 47 miles.

It did give me the opportunity to admire a set of fisherman’s steps leading to the river at Broomholm…

fishermans steps Broomholm

…and the extensive scaffolding now in place at Skippers Bridge.

skippers bridge scaffolding

They have taken it through the arch and round the other side where the damage is.

skippers bridge scaffolding

I had a cheerful chat to two of the engineers supervising the task and asked them to take care of our bridge and make sure not to knock it down.  They assured me that they would take care.  Indeed, one engineer, a charming lady, told me that they really liked and admired  the bridge.  This was good to hear.

I got home and had a cup of tea and a biscuit with Mike Tinker who had dropped in and then after a good soak in the bath and a light curry for my tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a Woody Allen film, ‘Café Society’.

It went at a gentle pace, was well acted, beautifully set and costumed and had some (not a lot) of good jokes.  The great man obviously couldn’t work out how to finish the film so he didn’t bother and just let it drift away but it was none the worse for that and I enjoyed it a lot.

My favourite joke went something like this:

A pedantic and rather upset character say, “Socrates says the unexamined life is not worth living,”  and after a slight pause adds, “The examined life is not up to much either.”

As it was our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, this was our anniversary treat.  We might do something a bit more flashy next year if spared.

The camera may not lie but it does often conceal quite a lot from the casual viewer.  Zorro the Chaffinch seen earlier in this post came straight from the camera.  Photoshop reveals that the camera knows who the masked intruder really is.

flying chaffinch

Herbert the Chaffinch unmasked

Details of the cycle ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin-route-25-jan-2017

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from Fiona, my Newcastle correspondent.  She is on a family meander around the Highlands and sent me this picture of the village of Penman where they are staying.  The village will be familiar to anyone who has seen the film ‘Local Hero’.

Penman

The forecast was quite right and we had a wonderfully sunny day today with the added bonus that it was not too hot for most of the time.  Perfect.

I had big plans for the day which would begin with a visit to fill the Moorland feeders as the regular Wednesday feeder fillers were off to Edinburgh, followed by an interesting time in the bird hide getting great woodpecker pictures.

This part of the plan didn’t go so well.  I got up in nice time to fill the feeders but found that two bird watchers had already filled up the hide with themselves and their equipment.  Two’s company and three’s a crowd so I filled the feeders and came home a bit grumpily.

A butterfly on the buddleia cheered me up.

peacock butterfly

…and I spotted a dunnock on the plum tree from my own bird hide (the kitchen window).

_DSC6123.jpg

In spite of the sunshine it was pleasantly cool but some birds seemed to be feeling the heat all the same.

blackbird

The second part of my grand plan was to leap on my fairly speedy bike and bicycle miles and miles.  I secretly had 100 miles in my mind but once again a certain disinclination to get myself organised was manifest and by the time that I got going (after a crossword, some coffee and a bit of toast, it was nearly eleven o’clock so I changed my ambitions from imperial to metrical and settled for trying to do more than 100 kilometres.

This went well.

Although I used mostly familiar roads, I managed to pick out a route that I hadn’t been round before and even included a few miles on a completely new road.

As I went along, there were always interested spectators…

sheep at Eaglesfield

…and fine bridges.

River Annan at Brydekirk

The River Annan at Brydekirk

As I was snapping the bridge, I noticed a luscious crop of unpicked blackberries…

brambles

…but sadly their survival was down to the fact that they were out of reach down the river bank.

Brydekirk is a typical village with a pub at one end of the street and a church at the other.   This was just one of the many churches which I passed on my journey.

church at Brydekirk, Dalston and Mousewald

These are churches at Dalston, Brydekirk and Mousewald

There were some big skies when I got out of the hills.

big sky at dalston

This one was taken at the spot where the vapour trails show that airliners turn left for America.

My new stretch of road involved climbing a stiff hill out of Dalston.  When I got to the top I came to an unexpected junction and stopped to consult Google Maps on my phone.  As it happened, I stopped opposite a patch of wild flowers which was playing host to about twenty butterflies.  Trying to take pictures of very small fluttering objects with bright sun shining onto the viewing screen, wearing dark glasses and just having cycled up a steep hill may explain my inability to bring you this wonderful sight in all its beauty.

butterflies near dalston

This was the best that I could do

The ridge gave me some good views while I was up there.

Views of Nith valley

Google maps came up trumps and I soon swooped down the other side of the hill and crossed the very busy A75 at a suitable crossroads.  I was not following a very well used road…

road near Mousewald

…but it took me safely down to Mousewald and thence on to Powfoot on the Solway shore.

I passed a field of alpacas near Powfoot and noticed that there were a couple of donkeys in with them.

alpacas and donkey at Powfoot

When I got to the sea shore at Powfoot, the sea was a long way off…

Powfoot view

…but I could see the English side very well.

Out on the sand banks, there was a family vainly trying to get a paddle…

Powfoot view

…and beside me was a very colourful lichen.

lichen at powfoot

The light wind was behind me now as I pedalled through Annan and on to Gretna where I stopped at the Old Toll Bar for a cup of tea and a teacake.  To my surprise, I met another Langholm cyclist who had also stopped there on his ride.   We sat and chatted for a while and discovered that we were doing roughly the same distance but in completely different directions, his route having taken him south of Carlisle.  He was going quite a lot faster than me too.

I polished off my teacake and set off to add an eight mile loop to my route to Longtown which took me through this woody tunnel near Justicetown.

Justicetown road

Once I got to Longtown, I took the straight way up the main road back to Langholm, stopping only to note some fine daisies on the Canonbie bypass…

daisies

…and a daddy long legs on a bollard beside the road.

daddy long legs

It had got quite hot for the last few miles of the trip and I was glad to  get home and sit down in the cool of the kitchen and have another cup of tea.  Although I had eaten well, two bananas, a filled roll and a teacake and drunk well too, three water bottles and a cup of tea, I had managed to lose a kilogram on the ride so it must have been a bit warmer than it felt.

Those interested in the details of the ride can click on the map as usual.

Garmin Route 24 Aug 2016

On a rough calculation, 71 miles translates into 113 kilometres so I did achieve Plan B at least.

It was still a beautiful evening after I had had my shower so a brief walk round the garden was in order.  There were more butterflies there.

butterfly

It is wonderful what a bit of sunshine will do.

Strangely enough, I didn’t really feel like going on a flying bird walk for some reason so a Golden Syllabub rose, held up by my lovely assistant, will have to do as flower of the day instead.

Golden Syllabub rose

 

 

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