I don't feel like starting today with an uphill climb,
so I head off down through the park then on to the cycle path.
On the right hand side - a little peek at a horse and farmhouses.
On the left, the folly silhouetted against the rising sun.
A couple of minutes later and I nearly fall off my bike into a ditch after braking hard in a panic over what sounded like a giant squirrel falling out the trees. It turns out it was only a cow which had lost its footing on the steep banking above the cycle path.
The sunshine today fairly makes the red hawthorn berries glow.
I remember early last week trying to drive along one of the main roads near here only to find it closed to allow work on gas lines which run underneath it. I'm hoping it's still closed today as that means I can cycle along in peace on a road I would not normally choose for a bike ride.
Just before arriving at the roadworks I spot this - a Victorian post box, still in use.
Yes! The road is still closed. It's no bother on a bike to squeeze past the big hole in it which is surrounded by blokes looking at the pipes.
This is the view I was most keen to see, Barr castle looking towards the south (as opposed to towards the north as seen from the cycle track). The sun popped out again at just the right moment, I particularly like how the castle and tree are relected in the pond.
Just a little bit further on. The sign on the side of the house reads "THE HOLE", an odd name for a house I always think.
Wiggly branch silhouettes.
I then leave the main road by taking a side road to the south, after a mile or so I head back east following a minor road which runs parallel to the main road I've just been on.
It's a new road for me and is quite pretty, there is woodland on one side and views of the hills on the other.
Berries, farmhouse and hills.
Cow in a sunny field.
I then find myself in the RSPB nature reserve. I take a little detour through the lovely woodland enjoying the Atumn colours all around.
The beech leaves are now starting to turn.
I venture into one of the bird hides.
A much zoomed view from one of the side windows of the bird hide.
Och, it's all just gorgeous!
Don't forget to look up.
On top of the hill in the distance can be seen the folly I passed right at the beginning of my ride.
Ducks, heading for some scraps of bread.
I'm now heading back towards home, at this stage following the path through the wood rather than the cycle path direct.
Detail from an old telegraph pole...
...being used as a gate post.
Out the woods and down the path past the collegiate church (built in 1504).
Still avoiding the cycle path (seeing as I've already been on it earlier) I then take a farm track which leads past a fantastic old walled garden where I spot this goose through one of the entrances.
More berries and some umbellifers still in bloom.
I'm back on the unclassified roads, I hate finishing on an uphill so I'm taking a detour so that I end my run on a downhill. It also means I get a shot on the "big dipper" - a section of road with a big dip (unsurprisingly!). It's quite fun on a bike, I get close to 30 mph on the downhill section and then hardly need to pedal on the uphill section at all.
Interesting lichen patterns.
A last green view before reaching home.