Savouring the sunshine on our first winter ride

winter sun
Dazzling! You can’t afford to miss any opportunities to get out on the bike at this time of the year

‘Where is everyone?’ was the first question as we gathered for Saturday’s ride – for despite it being a perfect day for a relaxed weekend bike ride, participation on our jaunt out to Ruthwell was confined to the select few (as in just two of us…)

on the road
A pause to admire the view…

Nothing daunted, we set off anyway, and the truth is, everyone else missed a treat. Despite a mysteriously omnipresent headwind, and a chilly day, we couldn’t have had better riding conditions in November. The miles go swiftly by when you’re having a chat and the views over the Solay to the Lake District were beyond compare. We stopped off at Brow Well to mark the spot where Robert Burns was prescribed sea-bathing by his doctor (which probably finished him off), and then took a slight detour through Ruthwell village before finding the turn to Ruthwell church.

Ruthwell Church graveyard

This time there was nobody to let us in to admire the cross, but we were happy enough examining the gravestones and marvelling at the ripe old age some people got to even in the eighteenth century, presumably by avoiding contemporary medical advice.

By then the lure of the cafe was unignorable, so we set off back to Bank End and over the hill (and a nice brake-testing descent) to Glencaple, where we could admire Criffel from the warmth of the cafe and refuel on enormous slices of carrot cake which we felt we had thoroughly earned.

Criffel through cafe window
The view from the cafe. Note the artfully placed coffee cup and teapot in the reflections (by this time the cake was history)

All in all, a splendid day out – and hopefully we’ll have a bigger turnout for January’s adventure.


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