Hard going

Today’s picture shows our visiting wood pigeon pulling itself up to its full height.

standing pigeon

It wasn’t freezing and it wasn’t raining this morning and the wind was less than gale force. All in all, it was a pretty good day and I naturally got the slow bike out after breakfast and set out on a old favourite circlular tour.

The map of the route can be seen here.

I started by going up the B709 to  Bentpath.  On the way I stopped above the Craig to show the mixed winter colours of spruce and larch up the Douglen Cleuch.  You can see a glimpse of James Ewart’s racing stables’ workout track in the bottom left corner of the photo.

Douglen Cleuch

As you can see, it was a lovely morning.  The wind was a bit stronger than I had hoped but it was coming from the north west so I was partly sheltered by the hills on my left.  At Bentpath, I crossed the river and went past Georgefield, before crossing the river again at Enzieholm Bridge and heading uphill past Lyneholm for Bailliehill.

At this point, I had turned more into the wind which was gusting heavily and at one stage, I looked at the speedometer to find that I was making all of 3 miles an hour in a particularly heavy gust.  Luckily I got a bit of shelter from a passing hill and made it to the top, albeit very slowly.

At the top of the hill, I stopped to take a picture of a small man made pond and building.

pond at Bailliehill

Is it a summerhouse? Or a scientific research project? Or a carp pond?  Why is it stuck out here in the middle of nowhere in a very exposed spot?  Can anyone tell me?

Cottage at Bailliehill
These are the only other buildings nearby

At the top of the hill, I turned left for Paddockhole and now, I was at the mercy of a stiff cross wind.  I was pleased at this stage to be on the slow bike because its wider handlebars let me keep the bike steadier in these conditions.  At times I had to keep my wits about me to avoid being blown off the road.

I got safely off the top of the hill and into the head of the valley of the Water of Milk.  There I was able to stop to take a picture or two to show why this is one of my favourite rides when the sun is out.

View up the valley
View up the valley. I think that the farm is Capelfoot
The Water of Milk
The Water of Milk (but no honey)
View to the east near Pearsby Hall
View to the east near Pearsby Hall
Looking towards the Langholm Road
Above Paddockhole. You can see my road home on the right of the picture.

From Paddockhole, it was an easy 10 miles home with the brisk wind now behind me.  I got back to Langholm just as a fine drizzle started to fall so in every way, except for the strength of the wind, it was a good morning out.  Once again the trip was about a marathon in distance but because of the hills and the wind, I would have probably been beaten by Paula Radcliffe and only managed a meagre 11 mph.  On this occasion speed wasn’t important and I cycled purely for the pleasure of it after so many days of indifferent weather.

I just had time to snap a pigeon…

Possibly the only bird that is wider than it is tall

…and have a couple of marmalade sandwiches for lunch before the sound of savage shouting alerted me to the fact that a football match (soccer) was being played on the Scholars’ Field.  I had been wanting to try my camera out at a sports event so I scuttled round to the field.  Just to show that I am not alone in being affected by the weather, a supporter told me that this was the first time the team had been able to play since November.  They certainly looked a bit rusty and their fitness faded badly towards the end of the game.  Football is not an easy game to photograph as the players are well spread out and the pitch is large.  I did my best to give a flavour of the action.  Langholm (black and yellow) were playing Selkirk (blue) in a cup game.

(There are quite a few of these pictures which I took for my own interest and if you are bored, skip to the end of the blog where there is another tasty marmalade photo.)

soccer photo
The crowd were small and frozen in the chilly wind and light drizzle
A midfield tussle
A midfield tussle

The excellent sponsors of the Langholm team
Heid the ba'
Winning the ball in midfield


Looking for the telling cross
Looking for the telling cross
The goalie tipped this shot over the bar
The Selkirk goalie tipped this shot over the bar


Langholm Goalie
The Langholm substitute goalie was a remarkable 48 years old
A goalmouth incident
A goalmouth incident

At one stage it looked as though Langholm had forced the ball across the goal line but the referee waved play on and anxious spectators asked me if I had captured the moment to prove him wrong.  Of course I hadn’t.  They were very disappointed and made remarks.

dirty knees and determination
Dirty knees and determination

In spite of Langholm pressing hard, Selkirk broke away and scored and with the score at 3-1 to them with not long to go, I made an excuse and left the field.  I was frozen.

When I got home, I warmed myself up by making another batch of fine cut marmalade.  It ended up between the first two lots in colour so we have now got a good variety for the coming year.

third marmalade
Fine cut

We have made 34 pots so far, leaving us to make another 18 to reach our target.






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “Hard going

  1. Interesting pedal backed up with excellent photos.

    The commentary on your football photos passed on the thrill of the game.

    Why not marmalade sandwiches at half time instead of half an orange? I’m sure it would raise energy levels no end.

  2. On the evidence that pigeon has been into the marmalade.

    I expect the pond is where it is because it’s meant to drain the surrounding ground – but I know as much about that as I do about potato planters, so take my assessment for what it’s worth.

    It’s very difficult to take good sports photos–and of course no one ever manages to get the shot that would prove a Matter in Dispute–but I’m impressed with the action you captured. Good job, she said in her best Michigan accent.

  3. Not being a sports enthusiast I will comment on you biking photos. Absolutely beautiful. I feel as though I went along on the journey. I particularly like the building and the pond. It looks as though it could be a painting. I might actually try to do a pen and ink of the photo!

  4. Loved the ‘Water of Milk’ pictures, the football ones came out well I thought even though you missed ‘the incident’ and the marmalade looked splendid.

    Glad you got out on your bike in such adverse conditions.

  5. When I pedal around, I look at the lovely vistas and think, “This is nice, but not as nice as Tootlepedal’s area.” Once again you have proved my point.

    Sports photography is an exciting field. Your commentary is a natural plus. Your public wants more Langholm sports news!

    1. It always surprises me to find how many people there are out there who deliberately choose not to live in Langholm. I am hoping for a reasonable day and a game of rugby to coincide so that I can try for some more action shots.

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