After disembarking from the ferry back from Ireland, I decided that I couldn't face another couple of hours on the motorway and, as it was a pleasant sunny evening, I headed towards the smaller A71 instead.
I've gone this way before as it runs pretty much all the way to my home outside of Edinburgh. While it does take a bit longer, it's a much more pleasant run if you're not too pushed for time. It snakes through the countryside and a number of small towns and villages and is, in my opinion, infinitely preferable to sitting on a motorway any day of the week.
My decision was soon rewarded when I spotted some hot air balloons low in the evening sky. They made a tantalising distraction as I whizzed along between the hedgerows, appearing and disappearing between the trees. Also, every now and again you'd catch a glimpse of a pillar of flame in the sky when they used their burners.
I found somewhere to park up and took a few snaps. The pictures here don't really do them justice as they were much bigger and more colourful in real life.
Excitement over, I pointed the bike homewards and for the rest of the trip I felt that I was racing just ahead of the sunset, with ever lengthening shadows and the sky a wonderful array of pinks and golds.
All very dramatic stuff, and somehow a suitable end to a very relaxed and enjoyable weekend away.