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Posts Tagged ‘cycle outings’

Today’s guest picture shows a flowery scene from Kew Gardens which caught my sister Mary’s eye.

Coming up to the Orangerie

Coming up to the Orangerie

The forecast was full of dire warnings of heavy rain, possible thunderstorms and general mayhem.  In the event, midsummer’s day was a quiet day with some very light rain now and again, hardly a breath of wind and just a hint of menace thanks to a very clammy humidity.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Moorland feeders after breakfast as I was acting as a fill in feeder filler for friends who had gone off to some mist covered mountains.  As usual, she sat in the car and kept an eye out for hen harriers while I filled the feeders and then sat under the grass roof of the hide….

Laverrock Hide

…in the hope of interesting visitors.

She got a glimpse of a harrier and I saw many more birds than on my last visit.  There were coal tits, great tits and siskins….

siskin, coal tit and great tit

…as well as blackbirds, chaffinches and a robin.

The inevitable pheasant pushed himself forward…..

pheasant

..and there were several visits from woodpeckers and a jay.

Jay and woodpecker

The jay kept too far down the glade for a good photo op but it was was entertaining watching it as it was clearly quite peckish…

jay

…and found food wherever it could.

That great Scottish pest, the midgie, was in evidence too so I didn’t hang about long as I was getting bitten a lot and we drove down to the banks of the Tarras Water to see if the wild irises were out.

There were some but it was not the great carpet that I had hoped for…

wild irises

…so I photographed a yellow rattle….

yellow rattle

I found another one with seed pods and they really do rattle if you shake them.

…and walked back to the road to see if I could find any of the horsetails which I seen growing on my last visit with Sandy a few weeks ago.

They were not hiding.

horsetails

I was impressed.

The midgies were on the go here too so we didn’t dally and went home for coffee.

It makes life difficult to plan when the forecast is not reliable.  At ten in the morning, the BBC weather map showed heavy rain covering Langholm and the surrounding area for some hours and although there was no sign of any such rain, the thought of it kept me off my bike and wasted what could have been a good cycling day.

I tested the strawberry jam  and found that it hadn’t turned out too badly at all so I tested it again.  It was still all right.

I wasted time doing the crossword and then, wondering if it was going to rain soon, I went for a wander round the garden.

The roses are gorgeous…

roses

…with new blooms coning out every day.  The first of the moss roses has joined in.

moss rose

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out poppies and protecting her vegetables from the depredations of the voracious sparrows so I had time for a look at a colourful corner….

colourful corner

…and my favourite colour combination of the day.

campanula and foxglove

Mrs Tootlepedal liked this subtle gradations on a peony.

campanula and foxglove

A few other things made the camera click.

campanula

lambs ear

wiegela

…but in spite of it being the longest day of the year, the light was very dull and I soon gave up and went in for lunch.

After lunch, the day brightened up a bit and even the weather forecast admitted that it wasn’t raining so I got my fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.

It was lucky that we had gone to see the roadside orchid yesterday because Genghis the grass cutter was out with his machine today and the verge where the orchid had been was totally flattened.

Luckily I found some more on an uncropped verge near Gair….

orchids

…but unluckily my Lumix chose this moment to stop working and I had to fall back on my phone camera for the rest of the trip.

It was a really good day for a leisurely cycle ride with a mixture of very occasional raindrops and some cheerful sunshine and I saw many interesting things which I failed to record as I find using the phone with my cycling glasses on quite tricky.   (If I take them off, I find it even trickier.)

I did see a lot of fields where the silage was being cut….

silage

…and I even noticed a fungus, the first that I have seen in a verge this year.

fungus

I pedalled here and there, keeping an eye on the weather and thinking of going a bit further while the going was good but some more persistent raindrops and a burst of slightly windier weather made me think that the promised storm might be finally on its way so I headed for home and managed  37 miles.

As you can see from the map below, it was quite warm so perhaps it was wise to stop before I got too cooked.

garmin route 21 June 2017

Those interested can click on the map for more details.

Mrs Tootlepedal had rescued a blackbird from the strawberry netting while I was out but there were still plenty of strawberries left to pick so I picked them.

I had time for a shower and a tea of baked eggs with spinach and a cheese sauce before I went out to our Common Riding choir practice.  I was pleased to see my cello playing friend Mike there as it would mean that I wasn’t going to be the only bass.  We had a good session in spite of very sultry conditions which were not very sympathetic to singing and it was still a fine day when I walked home.

I apologise for putting too many indifferent pictures into today’s post but it was the longest day so perhaps it needed a long post.

And I did get a rather indifferent flying bird of the day to round things off suitably.

flying jay

 

 

 

 

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The guest picture of the day comes from my daughter’s recent visit to Knightshayes garden where she encountered this interesting animal.

Knightshayes

It is the Muckletoon* Adventure Festival weekend and we were blessed with good weather today as I went off in the morning to help with one of the guided summit walks.  There was a set of walks taking in five, three or one of the summits round the town and fortunately, my walk was the ‘one summit’ effort.

It was a family affair and we stopped for a picture when we got to the McDiarmid memorial…

Summit walk MTAF

…and then Billy, our leader, gave a short historical talk appropriate to our location.

Summit walk MTAF

With gestures

Our next stop was at the summit of Whita Hill where we paused for refreshment….

Summit walk MTAF

…and another short talk.

We were often passed by mountain bikers as we walked up the track to the summit.

mountain bikers

Our final stop was at Whita Well on the way down the hill…

Summit walk MTAF

…where we could enjoy the view and another short talk….

MTAF summit walk

…and a refreshing drink of spring water from the well.

Fortunately, at least as far as I was concerned,  the sun continued to shine on the town…

Ewes valley

…and up the Ewes valley but the hill that we were on had its own cloud and as a result, we walked in a very comfortable warmth rather than a searing heat.

All around us, the hill was alive with mountain bikers enjoying, if that is the right word, the many trails across the hill as part of a thirty mile cross-country ride.

mountain bikers

The sections  of the cycle route were well signposted but not all of them were sympathetically titled.

MTAF

We finished our three mile walk in the centre of the town and I think that everyone enjoyed themselves.

Some of the walkers were going on to do a 5km run in the afternoon but I preferred to spend some time relaxing at home where the sunshine made everything in the garden look lovely.

garden flowers

That is a new clematis beside the front door on the right

The roses are thriving.

roses

Lilian Austin, Golden Syllabub and Special Grandma

New flowers had been encouraged by the sunshine.

lily

A very secret lily

delphinium

A conspicuous delphinium

The sun had encouraged the white peonies to open up…

white peony

…which made life easier for visitors.

There was colour everywhere.

geranium and rose

I mowed both the middle and front lawns and the combination of recent rain and a good day today has left them looking much more like  lawns and less like ploughed fields and marshes so I am very happy.

We went off in the car to do a little food shopping and then to buy some necessities at a DIY store (some paint, a petunia and some lawn feed. The petunia jumped into Mrs Tootlepedal’s hands without even being asked.  It was amazing.)

We finished out trip by a visit to a farm where the farmer, the  husband of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s ex work colleagues, had kindly bagged up some farmyard manure for our garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy.

Ryehills Farm

When we got back, I had another look round the garden….

lambs ear and a moth

There are always interesting things to see.

…and then went in to cook bacon and eggs for my tea.

After tea, the wind had dropped and so had the temperature so I got the fairly speedy bike out and gave it a through wash and brush up and then set off to do 23 miles in the cool of the evening.

I kept an eye for orchids but only saw this….

wild flower

…which was pretty but a disappointment.

The conditions were perfect for cycling so I enjoyed myself a lot more than I have recently when I have been battling strong winds and the 23 miles brought up 200 miles for the month so far.  Satisfactory all round.

We have to get up at 6 a.m. tomorrow morning to help with the Adventure Festival again so it is going to be an early night tonight.

Two flying birds for the price of one today.

oyster catchers

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited Kew Gardens yesterday with my sister Susan.  They went to the water lily house.

Inside the water lily house

I had had a look at the weather forecast last night and as a result I had thought that an early start would be best for cycling.  These sort of plans often turn out to be more theoretical than actual but today I managed to achieve my object and was off on my bicycle while Mrs Tootlepedal was still in the land of dreams.

I had an appointment with some coffee and treacle scones later on so I stuck to my standard 20 mile round trip to Canonbie and back.  The wind was brisk but in a helpful direction, the sun was shining and my legs were in a good mood so I stuck to pedalling and didn’t stop for any pictures.

This left me with time for a walk round the garden before Dropscone arrived for coffee.  It was a good morning to be out among the flowers, with plenty of gently sparkling colour….

geranium and potentillas

A geranium and two potentillas

…and some ‘in your face’ wow factor.

geranium

Hard to ignore

peony

Very hard to ignore

The peonies were at their best…

peonies

…and the Sweet Williams were dazzling.

sweet williams

The orange hawkweed was attracting insects….

orange hawkweed

…and the pond was rich in frogs.

frogs

I enjoyed the the effect of the surface tension of the water.

A young Rosa Goldfinch flower was almost perfect…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed the waterfall of tropaeolum down the side of the yew.

Rosa Goldfinch

I just had time to admire a white campanula….

campanula

…before Dropscone arrived for coffee.

He had been playing golf at Kelso yesterday but he had been afflicted by an appalling outbreak of shanking which had spoiled his day.  (Shanking would spoil any golfer’s day to be fair.)  As one who was been afflicted with the same disease in my playing days, I was able to offer a sympathetic ear to his troubles…..and enjoy his treacle scones at the same time.  This eased the pain.

By the time that he left, the sun had gone too but it was still dry so I mowed the middle lawn, thinned out the abundant gooseberries on the gooseberry bush with Mrs Tootlepedal’s help and had another look at the flowers.

Even without the sun, they were still looking good.

The clematis at the back door is over but fortunately the climbing hydrangea is stepping to fill the gap.

Hydrangea

I saw a little stem of Rosa Goldfinch which. showed neatly how the flowers turn from yellow to white as they mature.

Rosa Goldfinch

A cotoneaster in the back bed was buzzing with bees but they were rushing around in such an excited fashion that I couldn’t get a picture of them so I settled for the flowers themselves.

cotoneaster

An overview with bee

cotoneaster

A close up

I looked at three old friends….

iris, clematis and peony

…checked out the blue lupin which has reached the opening up stage…

lupin

…and went in to stew the gooseberries and make some soup for lunch.

And that was that.

I arranged to go for a walk with Sandy in the afternoon but shortly after lunch it began to rain and didn’t let up for ages so I did the crossword, put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised being a bass and in this way, managed to fill in the rest of the afternoon.

Without the sunshine, it turned into a rather cold and miserable day and Mrs Tootlepedal, who would have liked to be out in the garden doing useful things, got rather gloomy too.  It didn’t feel like June at all.

Earlier in the morning, we had thought of going on an outing but it was just as well that we couldn’t think of anywhere to go.

On the plus side, the rock hard gooseberry thinnings turned out to be quite eatable when stewed…..and with a good splash of sugar added.

The forecast is for a much better day tomorrow and I hope that they have got that right as I am helping out on a guided walk and it won’t be much fun if it is raining.

The flying bird of the day is a single cotoneaster flower taken in the morning sunshine.

cotoneaster

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.

cat

She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.

goosander

Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….

goosander

…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

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Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Devon where they make walls in their own particular way.

Devon wall

I was expecting to retire to bed at my usual time last night and to get up in the morning to be greeted by what would be, from my point of view at least, a rather depressing election result but we turned on the the telly late in the evening to get the exit poll result and it was so unexpected that I found myself still sitting glued to the telly seven hours later at 5.30 in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cracked and gone off at 3.30 but I stayed up until the final result was almost certain.  For those interested in this sort of thing, I chiefly watched the ITV election coverage and it was excellent; calm, with no gimmicks, with excellent guests and with a pleasingly light and un-portentous touch….and much to my surprise for a commercial channel, with no interruptions for advertisements all night.

As far as the results went, my feelings were mixed.  On the whole though, I am quite pleased that the results both in Scotland and the UK in general look as though they might force politicians to pay a little more attention to the voters and a little less to their own MPs, financial backers and media barons so that should be a good thing.  Readers of the blog from abroad can have no notion of how truly terrible much of the British press is, with no commitment to balance, truth, fairness or even the well being of its readers. If this election has knocked a little bit off the influence of the press barons, that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, getting up after only three hours sleep meant that I have been a bit tired and emotional today and I even turned down the chance of treacle scones as I was still in my dressing gown at coffee time and, in the end, only got dressed after lunch.

When I did get dressed, it was into my cycling clothes though and I went out for a 27 mile gentle spin up and down the road to Cleuchfoot in a brisk wind, stopping for photo opportunities.

There was still plenty of water in the Wauchope……

bessie bell's cascade wauchope water

My favourite cascade

…and in the Bigholms Burn too.

Bigholms Burn and Logan Water

Bigholms Burn joining Logan Water

When I went down to see the cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I passed a small group of friends hobnobbing.

flower with flies

A popular meeting spot

The wind  wasn’t quite as strong as two days ago and I got a better shot of a wild iris as a result.

wild iris

This little ride took me over 2000 miles for the year and in spite of a very light cycling month in June so far, I am on schedule for my annual target.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden and I took a walk round to look at the results of her work.

The pale peonies are just getting going.

peony

peony

And there are more still to come.

I had fun looking at irises.

iris

iris

And the weigela.

weigela

The honeysuckle is looking good this year….

honeysuckle

…and it is a good place to look for bees.

honeysuckle with bee

…of which there were a lot more to be heard and seen in the garden today.

bee on lupin

This one was on the lupins by the front lawn.

lupins

They have really enjoyed the weather this year

A combination of roses and philadelphus in a corner makes not just for a pretty picture but a good smell too.

rose and philadelphus

In spite of the heavy rain yesterday, the flowers seemed undaunted today and everything was looking strong and healthy.

astrantia, clovery thing and sweet william

A little yellow allium has arrived on the edge of the front lawn.

allium

I popped in and out of the house to check on the progress, or lack of it, of Andy Murray in the  French Open tennis and was sad but not surprised to see him fade away in the fifth set against the excellent Stan Wawrinka.

When things on court were going badly, I consoled myself with the promise of treats to come…

strawberry

…and the sight of flying floral tadpoles.

tropaeolum

My view is that I shall sleep well tonight as I am getting too old for late nights now and I am feeling distinctly tired as I type this.

The flying bird of the day are two oyster catchers on the Logan Water trying to see the political situation from both sides.

oyster catchers

Note: I know that they are not flying birds but we are living in a post truth world these days.  They are however probably more strong and stable than some people I know.

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The guest picture of the day comes courtesy of Mary Jo from Manitoba who asked her friend Lucie to send me this really stunning picture of a bison, with which Lucie had a close encounter in Riding Mountain National Park.

bison

The forecast shows a lot of rain showers coming our way over the next week so it seemed like a really good idea to make the most of a very pleasant sunny day today by getting up early, putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database before breakfast and hitting the road on the fairly speedy bike while the morning was still young.

No one was more surprised than me when this splendid idea came to fruition.

There was a light wind in my face on the way out and at my back on the way home and nothing occurred during the stately pedalling along a mainly flat route that was worthy of recording so I will just say that I managed 80 miles and enjoyed all of it.  I did stop  quite a lot to take pictures.

There were many almost idyllic moments.  Here are cows beside the Kirtle Water near Gretna…

Cows beside the Kirtle Water

…and here is the bank of the newly built M6 extension beside the service road which I use.

M6 at Gretna

It is rich in daisies and the first Rosa Complicata are just coming out

I passed many of the sort of umbellifers that always seem to have insects on them when you look.  These four pictures are of the same plant.

umbellifers

My route took me down the bike path beside the northern Carlisle by-pass.  The roundabouts as it crosses the railway line are a treat.

by pass roundabout

The bike path also had the first ragged robin that I have seen this year.

ragged robin

I left the by-pass and headed along the Solway shore.  I was hoping to see the sea but sadly, the sea was not at home.

Solway tide out

The only water showing was the outflow of the River Eden

It looked as though it would be easy to walk across the the Scottish shore where I was doing a similar pedal last week.  (It wouldn’t be)

Criffel

Even if I couldn’t see the sea, there was plenty to please the eye as I travelled the coast road.

Drumburgh verge

But I couldn’t spend all my time looking at the views while I went along the salt marsh as I had to keep my eye out for traffic too.

Cows on road at Drumburgh

The cattle graze freely over the unfenced marsh.

I also passed a cute kid.

cute kid

It was rather too hazy for good long shots but I took one anyway.  This shows the Lake District hills, seen over the estuary of the River Whampool.

Skiddaw

My ride took me round the very large masts of the radio transmitter at Anthorn which you can see in the background, behind a sturdy bull and a neat wooden bridge,

Anthorn and bridge

I didn’t come back along the shore since the sea was out and chose an inland route that was well surfaced and basically flat so I rolled along very cheerily but was stopped in my tracks by this very fine house in one of the villages that I passed through.

P1130031

This is good farming country and there are a lot of well built fortified farmhouses around as well more modern country houses.

I went right round the by-pass on my way back and stopped at Gretna for a coffee and cake to fuel me up for the last few miles.  Needless to say I met a couple from Langholm in the cafe as it is a popular destination for a short drive for many Langholmites.

I had a last look at a large English country house before I crossed the border back into Scotland.

Netherby Hall

This is Netherby Hall which features in the well known poem, Young Lochinvar. by Sir Walter Scott.

Unlike Young Lochinvar, I did no racing and chasing on Canonbie Lea but continued at a steady pace until I arrived home quite ready for a cup of tea.

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

garmin route 31 May 2017

I would observe that although the chart says that the temperature was a cool 54°F, and it was probably quite right when I set out, it was a great deal warmer in the sunshine.  A young lad to whom I talked while having a refreshment break said that his bike computer was claiming that it was 25° in the sun by mid morning.  He was planning a 130 mile ride but had had to curtail as he had got up late.  He had settled for 110 miles. Ah to be young again.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden to pick some spinach for our tea.

spinach

She is working on the usual ‘cut and come’ again principle with the spinach.  It was delicious.

The garden is moving from the age of azaleas to the era of irises…

irises

…which I enjoy because they are a challenge to photograph well as they tend to sway about in the wind.

I also found a new plant beside the pond which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is musk.

musk

After tea, I went off to the last ‘Langholm Sings’ practice of the season.  We have a second concert this Friday and our conductor was busy tidying up one or two things which could have been done better in the first concert last Friday.  As this took two hours, you can tell that we should be better this week than we were last week….though people who were at the concert In Newcastleton say that they enjoyed it thoroughly.

No time for any bird pictures today.

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