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Posts Tagged ‘Solway’

Today’s guest picture was taken by camera club member Mairi on our Beamish outing last weekend, and shows that there isn’t just light a the end of the tunnel, there is a Tootlepedal too.

beamish pipe dream

Our spell of excellent weather continued today.  We had a sunny day but it wasn’t too hot so that was the best of both worlds.

After breakfast, I wandered round the garden.

There are plenty more poppies to come.

poppy with followers

I took a few general shots of colourful corners as the garden is looking quite bright.

flower bed view july 1

flower bed view july 2

flower bed view July 3

Amongst all the colour, there is plenty of whiteness about.

white flowers

And a steady supply of red admiral butterflies.

red admiral butterfly

We had coffee and then we went down to Longtown to collect Mrs Tootlepedal’s shopping bike from the bike shop.  It has had its granny gear fixed so Mrs Tootlepedal can laugh at hills now.

While we were pottering around the garden when we got back, loud cries made us look up and a small flock of swifts could be seen circling above our heads.   They are very nippy so I was pleased to get this shot even though it is not of the highest quality.

swift in flight

As lunchtime approached, I ran out of excuses to justify any more dawdling, so I had a cheese and tomato sandwich and set out to do some pedalling.

There was enough wind in my face to make the first twenty odd miles hard work and I took care to give myself plenty of short breaks for a rest and a drink.  Although I wasn’t looking for wild flowers on my way round, sometimes my stops coincided with something interesting.

cycle wild flowers

This vivid buttercup meadow just out of Langholm was worth an unscheduled stop for itself.

buttercups bigholms

I came to the Hoddam Bridge across the River Annan at the twenty mile mark…

river Annan at Hoddom

…but I couldn’t get a good picture of the bridge as the sun was straight above it and both sides of the bridge were in shadow.

I crossed the river and headed uphill on the other side towards the Repentance Tower.

repentance tower

The tower, built in 1565, is perched on the very top of the hill but the climb was worth it for the splendid view down over the Solway.

solway view from repentance tower

The masts are the radio station at Anthorn on the English side.

Once I had dropped down the hill towards the coast, I could see the triangular peak of Skiddaw, one of the northern Lake District fells, across the neatly mowed fields.

skiddaw

It was a beautiful day to be out cycling and after the hard work of the first twenty miles followed by the climb up past the tower, a bit of downhill, some very flat roads and a following wind for the next twenty was very welcome.

I stopped for my 30 mile snack in Eastriggs, outside the Devil’s Porridge museum just next to Sir James, a ‘fireless’ engine.  The firelessness was necessary as it worked in an enormous explosive factory where a spark from a fire could have spelled disaster.

sir james devils porridge

(A fireless locomotive is a type of locomotive which uses reciprocating engines powered from a reservoir of compressed air or steam, which is filled at intervals from an external source.)

From Eastriggs I headed on to Gretna and crossed the river Sark by the (fairly) mighty border bridge between England and Scotland…

 

sark bridge

…and from there it was not far to get home.  Since I was now going uphill and the wind wasn’t helping so much, I was happy to stop to admire the orange hawkweed at the Hollows bus stop…

hollows bus stop

…and some very bright knapweed beside the bike route near Langholm.

knapweed

I had hoped to do 50 miles and I actually did 51 so I was very content as I had a cup of tea at home with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She had spent more time collecting signatures.

After my refreshing cup of tea, I had enough energy left to mow the middle lawn and set the sprinkler on the front lawn…

…and have a last look at the flowers.

There was a lot of yellow (and some dancing feet)  to see…

four yellow flowers

…and the Rozeira de L’Hay had a curiously wriggling centre which turned out to be a bee.

rozeira de l'hay

I can’t get over Mrs Tootlepedal’s new salvia.  It is the flower with everything.

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I retired indoors for a cool shower and and a nourishing meal of mince and tatties provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.  With Wimbledon and world cup football on the telly, finding an excuse for a quiet sit down after the meal was not hard.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch taking a good look to see of there was a spare perch about.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows a Nottingham Inn dating from 1493 which my brother Andrew passed on his way to the university there.

Nottingham 1493

It was calm and dry when I got up but it wasn’t warm.  John in the shop called it ‘fresh’ and my neighbour Liz called it ‘snell’ and at a miserly 6°C when I set off on my bicycle, I agreed with both of them and had to be well wrapped up.  I had remembered to pick up the key for the camera club meeting in the evening and this had given me an excuse to let the temperature rise a bit but it was still cold enough to make me glad of every layer that I was wearing.

I had had reports that there had been a landslip along the road to Lockerbie and indeed, I passed a sign saying ‘road closed ahead’ as I left the town.  I went to have a look.

Lockerbie road landslip

Not a pretty sight!

One of our other local roads has been closed for years after a landslip so everyone will hope that there is a bit more action in this case as it is a well used road.

I didn’t go any further along the road but turned back and went over the hill past the Bloch.  I was anxious to see whether there were signs that the sun would come out later in the day so I looked at the clouds ahead of me…

cloudscape

…and behind me…

cloudscape 2

…and wondered if I was going in the right direction.

When I got to the top of the hill, I could look down on the Solway which was the intended destination of my ride.

mist over solway

That wasn’t water that I was looking at, it was a blanket of mist…

mist over solway 2

…shrouding the English shore.

Still, mist rises in my experience so I pedalled on down to Gretna Green where a piper in full rig….

Gretna piper

…was cheerfully waiting to have his picture taken with a happy couple who had been just married at the Old Blacksmith’s Shop and were posing under a handy sculpture nearby.

happy couple

By the time that I got to the English side of the Solway, the mist had disappeared…

Solway moss at Burgh

…but sadly the sea had gone too.

I was puzzled once more by a roadside sign which says: When the water reaches this point maximum depth is 2 feet.

Solway moss at Burgh 2

I have never been able to work out quite what it means but as the tide always seems to be out when I cycle here, it hasn’t mattered.

In the absence of any sea to photograph, I turned inland and circled round to make my way home.  Although I was now heading into the wind, it was so light that I was able to keep my average speed up all the way back to Langholm.

I stopped for a picture or two on the way.  This road near Rockcliffe turns sharply right just ahead so I suppose this qualifies as a colourful corner…

colourful corner rockcliffe

…and although I hadn’t seen any geese in the fields on my way down to the Solway, I saw plenty in the pond at Longtown on my way back.

geese at Lontwon pondgeese at Lontwon pond 2

I took an autumn colour shot at Irvine House…

irvine house

…but resisted the urge to take yet another Skippers Bridge shot and got home after 62 miles feeling tired but happy.

I had time for a quick walk round the garden in the sun…

garden flowers Oct 15

Cheerful survivors

little white flower

A very pretty little white flower in thee back border

BENCH SUBMERGED BY NASTURTIUM

There’s a bench under there somewhere

…and a look at the birds…

CHAFFINCHES ON FEEDER

It was mainly a chaffinch day at the feeder

open and shut chaffinches

They came in open and shut versions.

…before I had to sit down and choose 15 pictures to show at the camera club meeting in the evening.

Then Luke came for his flute lesson and I passed on some of the insights into breathing that I had got from my singing lesson.  They apply to flute playing too.

The camera club meeting went well, with 10 members turning up and some very interesting images to look at.  We are going to try some portrait photography at our next meeting.  I hope to learn a lot as portraits are not my strong point, to say the least.

Mrs Tootlepedal returns tomorrow so whatever the weather holds, it will be a bright, bright day.

The flying chaffinches of the day are once again gender balanced.

FLYING FEMALE CHAFFINCH

flying male chaffinch

 

 

 

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No words can do justice to the greatest guest picture of the day ever.  It comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona who is in the Netherlands and it is a view that just can not be surpassed.

IMG_2249

I’d like a bit of that piquant Jersey cheese.

It was cloudless and chilly when we got up but the sun warmed things up and Mrs Tootlepedal was soon out in the garden trimming hedges for all she was worth.

I went to look for butterflies.  They too were up and about early in the day.

P1130679

A painted lady posed for me on the buddleia.

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As the forecast was good, my plan was to go cycling but after I had waited for the temperature to get into double figures and then joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the hedge trimming frenzy, it was later than I had planned before I got under way.

As it was a Saturday, I set off south down the main road, letting gravity and a mildly helpful wind speed me through the first fifteen miles in an hour.  I nearly managed to keep that speed up for thirty miles but after that, things slowed down.

My first stop was for the level crossing on the way to Rockcliffe.  I was not the only cyclist held up.

P1130684

The fellows on the far side were cycling from Penrith to Dumfries, a distance of 61 miles by the national Cycle Route 7 and their intention was to go back to Penrith tomorrow, a very pleasant way to spend a holiday weekend.

I went round the Carlisle by-pass and found myself on the south side of the Solway, riding along the flat ground between the sea and the Lake District Hills.

P1130685

My target was to go round the vast radio station at Anthorn….

P1130686

…which is on a promontory with the River Whampool’s estuary on one side…

P1130687

..and the Solway itself, looking towards the Nith estuary on the Scottish side.

P1130688

The road is extremely flat but a noticeable wind made the going quite hard until I had rounded the tip of the promontory and was heading back towards Carlisle.

Once I had got to Bowness on Solway, I stopped for a snack on a handy bench beneath this helpful road sign.

P1130696

Although the sign is part of the tourist business surrounding Hadrian’s Wall (an early effort to keep the English out of Scotland), it does make the point of how far the Roman influence stretched from the seat of government.

As I cycled on, I could look straight across the Solway to the Scottish shore and it was good to see some water between the land on both sides.

P1130691

The tide wasn’t fully in though and there were a great number of birds on the shore.  It would have been good to have had the time and the camera and lenses to look at them more closely.

The long black line of birds on the picture below…

P1130698

…turned out to be oyster catchers, hundreds of them…

P1130692

…and the indistinct white blob in the foreground looks like an egret to me.

P1130697

The zoom lens on the Lumix could see more birds on the Scottish side and some rough water in between.

P1130700

I think that the rough water may have been caused by the incoming tide meeting the outflowing rivers Esk and Eden.

I noticed a group of people looking at the shore further along.  There were a lot more birds there but I made such a bad job of photographing them ….

P1130703

…that I am not sure what they are.  They may well be sandpipers.   Kindly readers point out that they are probably dunlin.

P1130705

I know that these are swans and you can see the wind turbines at Gretna in the background…

P1130707

…about 7 miles away as the seagull flies but 16 miles for me on my bicycle to get there.

I had to negotiate a bit of traffic on the road across the marsh on my way.

P1130709

All went well though and I returned by pretty much the same route as I went out, stopping to note this view of Netherby Hall through the trees just before I got back into Scotland.

P1130711

My trip came to a neat 75 miles and it would have been a bit further if my legs hadn’t objected.  Perhaps I went a bit too fast at the start of the ride or perhaps they were still feeling the walk up Warbla yesterday but for whatever reason, after about 45 miles they made it very plain that straight home was the only way to go.

garmin route 25 Aug 2018

You can see how flat the Solway plain is.  Click on the map to view details of the ride.

It was lucky that the sun was out for most of the time because when it went behind the clouds, it was a bit chilly.  With only a month to go to the autumn equinox, we may have to come to terms with the winding down of this year’s splendid summer warmth.

Mrs Tootlepedal arrived at home at about the same time as me.  She had spent the afternoon visiting a walled garden at Artkleton, a few miles up the road from Langholm.  It has been opening on a Saturday for visitors and she went up with our neighbour Liz and two other friends and they had a very good time admiring the garden and its flowers with the added bonus of having a cup of tea with cakes as well.

As I sat in the kitchen recovering from the ride, I saw a nuthatch outside the window but once again, I was in the right place but without the right camera and it had flown off before I could catch it.

I had to make do with some sparrows.

_DSC6722

Mrs Tootlepedal made a tasty cheese flan for our tea and that rounded off a good day all round.

You can find a flying sparrow of the day if you look hard enough among the flock.

_DSC6720

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He was driving past the Silk Mill in Derby and thought that it might be the sort of picture that I would enjoy.  On reflection, I think that he was right.

silk mill Derby

We were promised a cooler, cloudier day today but when we got up, it was as sunny as ever.

I was intending to go for a bike ride and once again found it hard to get going so I was happy to enjoy a stroll round the garden and admire the sunlit garden flowers after breakfast.

garden flowers

The strong light took some of the darkness away from the ‘black’ iris.

The sun didn’t last for long and by the time that I had had an early cup of coffee, the skies had clouded over.  It was still pleasantly warm though and with a light wind, it looked like a perfect day for pedalling.

In the end, I ran out of excuses and got my new bike out and set off, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal toiling in the garden.

It was a perfect day for pedalling.

For some reason which is obscure to me the road verges seem to attract different wild plants in different spots even though the growing conditions look very similar.  There is a section of the road just before the top of Callister that is perennially home to a very fine collection of curly dock (as always my naming of plants is open  to correction).

curly docks

It grows elsewhere of course, but this section of about fifty yards has the best collection by far.

I thought that you would be interested to know that.

Once over Callister, I set my course for the flatter lands of the Solway coast as my tin knee has been a bit creaky lately and I wanted to give it kindly treatment today.

I crossed the Kirtle Water for the third time as I got near Eaglesfield.

Eaglesfield bridge

My route then took me past Chapelcross, a retired nuclear power station which is being (very) gradually dismantled.  Each time that I pass it, a little more of it has disappeared.

Chapelcross

August last year

Chapelcross 2018

Today

The power station sits on a hill looking over the Solway and looking down, I thought that for once the sea might be on duty…

Solway view

….and I was pleased to find when I got to Brow Houses, that I was right.

Brow houses

I paused and had my lunch and a little walk among the wild flowers on the grassy slope down to the water’s edge.  There were plenty to enjoy.

Brow houses wild flowers

This was my favourite.

Brow houses flower

The farms are cultivated as near to the edge of the Firth as possible and the cows were interested in what I was doing.

 

Brow houses cow

Refreshed by an egg roll and a banana, I pressed on to Gretna and then into England.

I had to stop and let a train go up the main line….

TP Express

…before I could cross the level crossing and head down to Rockliffe and then by way of the new Carlisle by-pass start heading home through the lanes of North Cumbria.

One of the lanes had a wonderful hedge of roses….

roses beside road

…which were a delicate shade of pink.

hedge roses

As I was going up the main road from Longtown to Langholm, I took a break from the traffic and visited Kirkandrews-on_Esk, where there is a neat church and an old tower, still lived in as a family home today.

Kirkandrews on Esk

The church, as its names implies, sits on the bank of the River Esk and there is a bridge to allow the churchgoers on the other side of the river to get to the services and a sundial to tell them if they are on time.

bridge and sundial Kirkandrews

I took the picture of the sundial at just about 3 o’clock BST which is two o’clock GMT so the sundial is still keeping pretty good time after 100 years.

It is a picturesque spot….

Kirkandrews on Esk (2)

…and the river was looking beautiful in the little bit of sunshine which had come out to brighten the day.

Kirkandrews on Esk (3)

The bridge is a delicate construction and sways alarmingly when you cross it.

Kirkandrews on Esk bridge

It didn’t take me long to get home and by dint of sprinting through the town as fast as I could pedal, I just managed to keep my average speed for the 61 miles to 14 mph, a tribute to the warmth of the day, the flatness of the route and the kindness of the light winds.

Mike Tinker was taking a cup of tea in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal when I arrived home and he remarked that he and his wife had seen plenty of lightning yesterday.  This was very odd as Mrs Tootlepedal and I had looked hard and seen none and he only lives about 100 yards away.   Maybe we just weren’t looking in the right direction.

I had another look round the garden when Mike went and was able to admire the very neat lawn edging which Mrs Tootlepedal had done while I was out.  She had done quite a lot of other things too.

I had my camera in my hand of course and was spoilt for choice.

garden flowers in afternoon

in the garden

When we went inside, we could watch a small flock of wood pigeons being disagreeable.

pigeons

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and added weight to my suspicion that he has been secretly practising.  We did a lot of good work.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s vegetable garden is looking very healthy and she was able to pick more spinach to go with a second helping of the slow cooked sausage stew for our tea.  Considering how much I disliked spinach when I was a child, it is amazing how much I like it now.

The flower of the day is the first look at my favourite peony, taken in the early evening.

peony

Note: I received a message from our health centre while I was out cycling and I rang the doctor when I got home and was very happy to hear that my chest x-ray had come back clear of any problems.

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He is visiting Hull and met these Roman bakers.

roman bakers

We had another sunny day today although it was markedly cooler in the morning, thanks perhaps to the north wind.

The fine weather persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a cycle outing would be a good idea and after some early work in the greenhouse before breakfast and a quick look round after breakfast she left the garden to look after itself for a day and we set out.

I had a quick look round  before we left and saw a frog in the pond…

frog in pond

…was happy to see the lupins standing up straight as they had wilted in the heat a few days ago…

lupins

…and was impressed by the great show of poached eggs plants beside the pond.

poached egg flowers

We put our two bikes in the back of the Kangoo, a great car for transporting bikes as you can get two in the back standing up side by side with the wheels on, and drove down to the English shore of the Solway Firth.

We parked at Port Carlisle and had a coffee in the pub there before getting the bikes out and setting off to round round the coast.

garmin route 5 June 2018

If the tide is in, the sea fills the Firth and comes right to the edge of the green bit on the map.  Today, the sea was not at home….

solway firth tide out

…and the gap between England and Scotland was almost all filled with sand.  I have been very unfortunate with my timing lately and every time that I visit the Solway shore, on either side of the firth, the tide seems to be out.

Still, you can see from the elevation profile on the map that our route was extremely flat and with the wind behind us, it was unalloyed pleasure to cycle along the shore in beautiful sunshine, past ruminative cattle…

near bowness

…and sand wandering sheep….

sheep on solway sands

…round the great radio transmitter at Anthorn….

anthorn

….and past this little Congregational chapel built in 1869…

chapel at anthorn

…until we found a well sited bench on the bank of the River Whampool, where we paused and ate our lunch.

lunch view at anthorn

We were screened from inquisitive sea birds by this elegant grass.

anthorn garsses

We had a little walk and saw thrift, wild iris and hawkweed…

anthorn wild flowers

…before cycling on to cross the River Whampool by this delightful bridge.

Whampool bridge

I took a view from the bridge…

view from Whampool bridge

…but when Mrs Tootlepedal went up to take a look, more traffic than we had met in the whole ride crossed the narrow bridge in a steady stream.  We think it must have been lunch time traffic returning to work.

We had a a few miles on a normally busy road to follow but it was fortunately very quiet and then we turned off onto a back road….

Mrs T cycling

…which took us back over the Carlisle Canal (disused)….

Carlisle canal

….from which Port Carlisle gets its name and cycled back to the car past more cattle grazing on the marsh.

solway cattle

The tide showed no sign at all of coming in.

By this time the sun was getting quite hot and we were grateful for the light breeze which had kept us cool as we pedalled.

We couldn’t have asked for a better day and more beautiful surroundings for a gentle bike ride.

We managed to visit a bird food shop and a garden centre with a cafe on our way home so the whole outing was a treat from start to finish.

When we got back, the temperature was above 20°C and quite a lot of things needed watering.  After I had done a bit of watering, I took the camera out and looked at the clematis round the back door with wonder.

clematis

The orange hawkweed is often known as the fox and cubs and the cubs are just coming out to join the foxes.

orange hawkweed

The  roses are enjoying the sunshine (and the watering).

roses

I put the camera  away and mowed the middle lawn which was showing good growth and then sat down and contemplated the sweet rocket while I got my breath back.

sweet rocket

I had a moment to look at the birds and noticed a sparrow with a bit of white on it.

white sparrow

I hope that our weather will let Mrs Tootlepedal and me go out for other rides this summer as it is very enjoyable to go out at a gentle speed with added conversation and company and we tend to go to other places than my usual rides.

I didn’t have much luck with a flying bird today as time was limited  so this siskin leaving at speed was the best that I could do.

flying siskin

 

 

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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…

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

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…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…

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…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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The guest picture of the day comes from my neighbour Liz.  She has been on holiday in Spain but must have strayed into Portugal because she tells me that these are Portuguese fishermen mending their nets.

net mending

It was rather chilly and the cloud was clamped on the hills when I got up.  It was nearly windless so I thought very hard about going for a cycle ride and had to weigh up the damp, cold conditions against the lack of wind.  My cough has not disappeared.  At one stage, I got into quite a heated argument with myself but in the end, sense prevailed and I invited Sandy round for a cup of coffee instead.

After coffee, I checked on the garden birds….

chaffinch

…and then I went out for a short walk with the hope of finding some misty shots involving bare trees for dramatic effect.  I found a dipper, a dripping conifer and some birch leaves….

dipper

…but no dramatic misty treescapes.

However, there was some curiously striped mist about…

misty view

…and a hint of a hilltop above the mist…

misty view

…and this was enough to suggest that a drive up to the White Yett might provide a shot worth taking or two and so, on a whim and a prayer, off I went.

Things looked promising as I went up the hill…

windmills in mist

…and more promising the higher I went…

mist from Whita

…higher and higher…

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And the promise was fulfilled when I got to the car park.

mist from Whita

I don’t think I have seen mist in such well defined streams before.

mist from Whita

I decided that a walk up to the monument was called for and as I went up, I kept snapping.

Timpen hill was like an island in an icy sea.

 

mist from Whita

The mist was filling the col between Timpen and the windmills on Craig and Ewe Hill

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On the other side of the town, the mist had smothered the Wauchope valley and I was very glad that I had decided not to cycle there earlier in the day.  It would have been dark and damp.

mist from Whita

The stripes of mist were most unusual and thanks to the cool and very still day, they stayed where they were for long enough for me to enjoy them thoroughly.mist from Whita

Once at the top of the hill, I expected to see the Solway plain full of mist too but it was pretty clear so that I could see the Gretna wind farm on this side of the firth  and the Lake District Hills on the far side. ..

Solway Firth

…but as you can see, they had some low level mist on the English shore too.

I could have sat up there for some time but I had an afternoon appointment so I reluctantly came back down to the car, taking a shot or two on the way of course…

windmills and mist

…including a panorama to try to give an impression of how neatly the mist was wrapped round the hills.  You can click on the panorama for a closer look.

mist panorama

As I came down, I saw two things of interest.  The first was a bird perched on a snow pole.  When I looked at the picture for the first time, I thought that it was only a stray chaffinch but a closer look tells me that it is something else.

bird on pole

(Helpful readers have told me that it is a stonechat,  I am grateful to them.)

The other interesting sight was Sandy.  I had sent him a  text to say that there was interesting mist and he had come up for a look for himself.

I didn’t have time to stay and chat as that afternoon appointment was looming up and I needed to have lunch before I went.

I combined lunch with staring out of the window.

There was the usual charm offensive…

blue tit and robin

….and an offensive charm too (goldfinch flocks are called charms)…

goldfinch and siskin

…but the siskins can more than hold their own when it comes to being offensive.

siskin and goldfinch

I couldn’t stay for long as I had to drive over to Powfoot on the Scottish side of the Solway shore to visit my physiotherapist.

The local health authorities have made it almost impossible to see an NHS physio so it was lucky that I know and have used the services of an excellent private physio, even though it costs me money.

A few weeks ago, I injured my left bicep by reaching gently behind me to pick something off a shelf and in the process, damaged my long head tendon.  Two visits to the doctor hadn’t provided me with either much information or a referral to an NHS physio so I was in search of good advice and, if possible, a miracle cure.

I purposely arrived in enough time to go down to the Solway shore.

The tide was out, there was no wind and the scene was eerily quiet.

solway and lake district

I don’t think that I have ever been able to see the reflections of the Anthorn radio masts in the sea before and may well never see them again.

Anthorn

It was hard to choose whether the views from the hill or the shore were better but it was a great privilege to have been able to see them both in one day.

I went to my appointment and discovered that the tendon was irreparably burst and wasn’t going to miraculously join up again so that my bicep would never recover its natural good looks.  This dashed my hopes of appearing in the Mr Universe competition.

On the up side, it turns out that as there are other tendons about, the  loss of one is not a disaster and I should, with care and attention, not do any further damage and be able to gradually improve the situation with judicious light exercise.

As the physio then eased my arthritic shoulder and freed up my neck so that I can actually turn my head now, I considered it money well spent and drove back very cheerfully.

I might have stopped on the way and waved at the starlings at Gretna but I hadn’t brought the right lens with me so I went straight home.

In the evening, I went out to the Langholm Sings choir practice and got shouted at by the pianist.  Deservedly.   But I was tired and my cough hasn’t gone away so I felt a bit hard done by.

I did get a flying goldfinch of the day before I went to Powfoot.

flying goldfinch

 

 

 

 

 

 

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