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Posts Tagged ‘Scaleby Church’

Today’s guest picture is another NZ bird from Mike and Alison’s recent antipodean expedition.  This one is a pied shag.

pied shag

We had a dull and cloudy morning but with men re-pointing our external wall under the kitchen window, there was no chance of seeing any birds so I retired to the computer and put in some practice on Sunday’s hymns.

When the men left so did the clouds and it turned into a another very good day, though a little cooler than yesterday.  Mrs Tootlepedal went out into the garden and did gardening things while I sieved a little compost.  The results soon found their way onto a flower  bed….

compost and blackbird

…although a blackbird found Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure more alluring.

I had a walk round and was happy to find new tulips out…

tulips

…a thriving dicentra…

dicentra

…and the daffodil of the day.

daffodil

In spite of the sunshine, we are very short of bees, with only one or two bumble bees about.

I had an early lunch and then gave Mrs Tootlepedal a little help with the third of the new veg beds before I packed some supplies in to my bike bag and set off to enjoy as much of the sunshine as I could (with as little hill climbing as possible).  As a result my route took me over the hill out of Langholm….

low plane

…where I was buzzed by another very low flying aircraft…

…and down to the shores of the Solway…

View over solway…where the men who put pylons in the middle of every view had been busy again.

On my way down I passed some early hawthorn leaves (with added lichen)…

hawthorn leaf and lichen

… and this fine show of celandines beside the road from Chapleknowe to Gretna…

celandine beside road

… and then a blast of the modern world seen from the railway bridge at Quintinshill…

railway at Gretna

…and wild flowers both modest and showy.

wild flowers

Having got down to the flat lands, I stayed on them.  The wind was stronger than I expected and pushing the slow bike into a breeze is quite hard enough without having hills to contend with too.

I headed south from Gretna into England, where there were flowering shrubs to be seen…

blackthorn and gorse

…and made my way down to the banks of the River Eden near Rockcliffe.

River Eden at Rockliffe

I was hoping to see some waterfowl but two swans and some unidentifiable ducks were too far away to be interesting…

P1090130

…so I found a pleasant spot under some early leaves…

P1090132

…and ate a blackcurrant jelly sandwich and half a banana.

Refreshed by this feast, I went back up to the top of the bank above the river…

P1090134

…and headed on southwards.  Before I got to Carlisle, I turned eastwards, following the line of this colourful gorse hedge…

gorse hedge

…where the men with pylons and telegraph poles had once again got there before me, and cycled inland across the A7.

The road in the picture below may look undistinguished…

Road near Scaleby

…but it represents cycling heaven for me.  It is flat, well surfaced, sunny, traffic free and (although you can’t see this) the wind is behind me and all is well with the world.

It took me through Scaleby, past the church ( probably early 13th century with tower of early 14th century and restorations of 1827-28 and 1860-62. Large blocks of dressed red sandstone, probably from the nearby Roman Wall)

Scaleby church

…and onto the main road to Longtown.

Now I was heading north again, with a bit of a crosswind.  Once I got to Longtown however, the wind was mostly behind me  and the 12 miles home, up the gentle hill to Langholm were very undemanding.

I had stopped at the border for another blackcurrant sandwich and the last half of my stock of bananas to give me some strength for the final push, when my eye was caught by some movement in the field on the opposite side of the road.  A small group of lapwings were flying low across the stubble and one landed and walked past me.

lapwing at border

Lapwings have become very rare round here in recent years so it was good to see some today.

As I got near to Langholm, time was drawing on and I liked the shadows cast by the trees on the near bank onto the far bank, making it look as though the trees on the far bank had ‘reverse’ shadows rising out of the water to meet them.

Esk in evening

I got home, having cycled 50 miles in five hours, including all my stops.  I managed an average moving speed of eleven and a half miles an hour.  This is a tribute to my skill in finding a really flat route.  The slow bike with its relatively upright riding position and its solid back tyre was surprisingly comfortable but I was still pretty pleased to get off.  Straight handlebars put a lot of pressure on your hands and wrists.

While I was out, Mrs Tootlepedal had settled in the third veg bed very neatly…

new veg bed

…and I couldn’t resist an evening lawn shot….

lawn at dusk

…before I went in.

There was enough light left to take a bird feeder shot…

busy feeder

…before it was time for a shower and an excellent meal of Mrs Tootlepedal’s fish pie to round the day off.

The new bench to go in Mrs Tootlepedal’s paved area is arriving tomorrow.  We are excited.

The flying bird of the day is an evening chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Sorry about too many pictures again.  Don’t blame it on the boogie, blame it on the sunshine.

For those interested, details of the ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 20 April 2018

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony, who took this view of the old and the new Forth road bridges.  The new one, in the background, opens at the end of this month.

Forth bridges

Thanks to our visitors we had a untypical breakfast today as the vote went for bacon and egg baps instead of our normal porridge.  It was a good decision and our visitors, after an inspection of the garden with the gardener….

sara janet and ally

A completely spontaneous unposed shot

…went on their way in good spirits.  They had two more gardens to visit on their schedule and it was fortunate that the weather forecast was better than it has been lately.

After they left, we had a cup of coffee and a look round the garden…

the moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

The moss roses are the last of our roses still in flower

…and then I got the fairly speedy bike out, armed myself with a couple of bananas and some raisins and set off to see where my legs would go.

After some pretty breezy days, it was good to find that the winds were much lighter today but I still took the precaution of heading down to the flat lands of the Solway plain to give myself an easy ride.

To make sure that I was eating and drinking properly (refuelling as the real athletes say), I stopped every ten miles for a minute or two to take on half a banana, some raisins, a morsel of guava jelly and a drink of water.  I also took a picture.

The Esk at Longtown

This is the Esk near Longtown

I circled round the quiet lanes of North Cumbria and my second stop was at Scaleby.  It has impressive bull rushes…

bull rushes

…a church with a tower….

Scaleby Church

…and some very fine lichen on the churchyard wall.

lichen

My next stop was at a church with a spire at Blackdyke.

Blackdyke church

It is a very small spire, I agree.

Keeping to the flat lands, I headed across to Rockliffe and as I left the village, there was willowherb on my left and Himalayan balsam on my right…

willowherb and balsam

…which made for a very pretty stretch of road.

Rockcliffe

The forecast had said that there might be some rain at three o’clock and it was bang on.  As three o’clock arrived so did a sharp rain shower.  Luckily I was protected by nature…

tree tunnel

…and by the fact that I had prudently packed a rain jacket for the trip.  The rain didn’t last for long and after a few miles, I was able to pack the rain jacket away again.  While I was doing this this, I noticed a small bridge nearby.

old railway bridge

This is an old railway bridge on the abandoned line between Longtown and Carlisle and in a better ordered world, I might have been cycling under it on a well constructed bike track rather than over it on a narrow road.

Still, the narrow road took me to my third church of the trip, the fine building of the parish church at Arthuret.

Arthuret Church

It has to be said that if you go round to the front of the church, it doesn’t look quite so impressive.

Arthuret Church

It is certainly not as wide as it is long.

Across the road from the church,  the corn was high…

corn

It is grown for animal feed.

…though perhaps not as high as an elephant’s eye.

As I pedalled back up the hill towards Langholm, I left the cereal fields behind and found myself among the heather on the hills.

cereal and heather

Thanks to the benign conditions and the flat route, I managed to keep my average speed up to 15 mph for the first 45 miles and only just slipped back to 14.8 mph in the last eight miles, where I was heading into what wind there was.

My knees were feeling a bit creaky when I stopped so before going in for a cup of tea, I walked round the garden to ease them off and enjoyed the first stargazer lily of the season which has come out to brighten things up. It’s a very handsome flower…

stargazer lily

…whichever way you look at it.

stargazer lily

The flying bird of the day is a little squirrel which held me up as it decided which way to go this afternoon.

squirrel

Those interested can find details of the bike ride by clicking on the map below.  You can see how flat the route was.

garrmin route 8 Aug 2017

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