Out and about in October

It’s an odd thing: when I bought my 1915 Sunbeam (see here and here) I’d have thought I might spend the summer on it – yet here we are in Autumn and my rides have been few and far between. Of course, things have happened, but still…

So this morning, having slept in and missed my usual start to the day, I decided to make another change – instead of going for a walk (a regime I have been following faithfully of late) I would take that much-delayed cycle outing. It was Autumn weather as fine as you could wish for, the Michaelmas daisies in bloom

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and the low sun sidelighting trees and houses and casting long shadows on the road
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Does a sunbeam have a shadow? This one does:

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I had opted for a familiar route, a clockwise circular round the outskirts of Perth, but I varied the start a little, swooping down to join the path round Craigie Hill a little further on than is my wont – forgetting that where there is swooping down, there is often a need for climbing up; so I was reminded of that often-overlooked advantage of the bicycle, that you can always get off and walk if you have to:

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Probably the most pleasing thing about an Autumn run is the angle of the light and the effects it creates, especially combined with the changing colours of the trees

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Though sometimes black-and-white evokes the light conditions better – a curious phenomenon:

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I am becoming practised at using the phone-camera while under way, though I should perhaps look at some sort of handlebar mounting: there is a tension created between the desire to record the moment and the pleasure of cycling on.

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this path is already well-documented [here] and although much of it is fine well-metalled cyclepath of a good width, I rather like those parts that remind you how minimal a cycle path can be –

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Where the track broadened again (but with a pleasing central strip of grass) I came on a fine sight up ahead, a bar of sunlight lying across the path like fiery gold – sadly, the phone does not do it justice:

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After running much of the way by leafy paths hemmed in by trees, the route turns Northward, opening a pleasing vista of the distant hills:

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and the low-angled sun strikes pleasingly on the gold-leaf adornments of the Sunbeam:

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The path from here runs down an escarpment by way of a narrow lane much overhung by trees:

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till it opens out and you are confronted by a splendid glowing beech-tree:

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After crossing the Crieff Road, the downward trend continues, till the welcome landmark of the clocktower heaves into view:

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What seems an unpromising cul-de-sac actually leads to a narrow path that takes you almost at once onto the banks of the Almond, where if you are lucky, you might continually glimpse a great Grey Heron as you ride along, and if you are unlucky, never quite manage to capture it on camera:

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The path along the Almond makes such pleasant cycling that I am always loth to stop; so after diving under three bridges – the disused railway one that carries the cycle path North to Luncarty, then the one that carries the A9 North to Inverness, then the active railway line that carries the main line to the North, you come at last to the confluence of the Almond and the Tay, and see that the anglers are both out and in, some on the bank, some in the water, while on the far bank a little grey Fergie tractor sends up a plume of smoke:
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(rendered here in the style of Constable)
While on the water the fish make rings, rising to the flies
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A pause by a signpost marks the start of the next leg

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which takes us along the brilliant green of the North Inch

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In the direction of the Fair City, with the spires pointing heavenwards (the right hand one is St John’s Kirk; the old name for Perth is St John’s Toun, which is preserved in its football team, St Johnstone – they won the Scottish Cup this year)

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A swift passage along Tay St, past the old and new bridges and the railway bridge, and round by the old waterworks that is now the Fergusson Gallery, takes us to the South Inch, and the final leg of our journey, where on the pond we pass the swans and their cygnets sailing line ahead like battleships:

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and so home, exhilarated.

One thought on “Out and about in October

  1. Thank you for that colour filled autumnal spin ,I sympathise with the photo issue versus the cycling, a dilemma I often find myself in..In fact sometimes though I’m out for quite a while I realise I haven’t got far at all. Lovely to see such a wonderful old bike in action :)….

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