A bridge not far enough

Today’s picture shows another building block in the grand scheme to populate the entire world with the sons and daughters of Langholm.  This is the son of my younger son’s oldest friend. The child is resident in the USA and has the inestimable benefit of being called Thomas.


It was a Sunday morning.  Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir and I lazed about looking from time to time out of the kitchen window.  This is what I saw.

resting chaffinches
Two chaffinches were taking it easy.
Two goldfinches weighing up the scene
Two greenfinches bickering

There were familiar visitors.

coal tit
A coal tit

And a new autumn arrival.

The first brambling for some time.

My peanuts go down very slowly and looking at this great tit pecking at them, you can see why.

Great tit
The grid looks too small for comfortable nibbling

I took Sandy’s camera out to see whether there was anything to see.

I took a close look at an astrantia. (More practice needed.)

Six hours of sitting in comfortable dining  chairs yesterday turned out to be more wearing on the joints than six hours sitting on a bike would have been so in the end, I was quite happy that the crank had fallen off my speedy bike yesterday as it stopped me from going on a planned 70 mile ride today.  Instead, after Mrs Tootlepedal had come back from singing in the church choir, we set off on a leisurely pedal to Enzieholm Bridge.  Half a mile from home, we noticed that Mrs Tootlepedal had a very soft rear tyre so we headed back, pumped it up and started again.

Enzieholm bridge crosses the Esk eight miles north of Langholm.

Enzieholm Bridge
Enzieholm Bridge

The size of this bridge which carries the B709 over the Esk can be seen from this second picture which includes Mrs Tootlepedal waving to give a sense of scale .

Enzieholm Bridge to scale

The industry and skill of the engineers who built the roads and bridges through this sparsely populated countryside is a never ending source of amazement to me.

At Enzieholm Bridge, Mrs Tootlepedal and I parted amicably as she headed back to Langholm and I headed on to Bailliehill and Castle Oe’r.  I was following the route of the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail which highlights a small fraction of the many, many prehistoric sites in Eskdale.  The first site that I passed was Bailliehill Fort, an iron age hill top fort which I visited in July.  I didn’t stop this time but I did stop a mile or two further on to look at the site of Castle O’er Fort.  Sadly, owing to my fumbly fingers in cycling gloves, the simply splendid picture I took failed to come up to standard but I will try again, next time I go past.

The ride up the west bank of the White Esk is a real treat, with the road recently resurfaced and running now between woods and now in open country. At Eskdalemuir, I crossed the river again and turned for home down the east bank.

Eskdalemuir bridge
Possibly the bridge with the most electricity and telegraph poles in the world.

I was able to see another two of the prehistoric sites from the road as I passed.  These were the two stone circles, The Loupin’ Stanes (top) and the Girdle Stanes (bottom).

stone circles

Soon afterwards I passed the bottom of the Crurie Brae, where in a moment of idiocy a few years ago, I fell off my bike and broke my wrist while coming down the hill in the opposite direction far too fast.  Oddly, this was the start of my real enthusiasm for cycling because before that I was playing in a lot of old people’s golf competitions and doing a bit of cycling but after the accident, I couldn’t hit the ball well enough to keep playing tournaments and I took to cycling in a big way to fill the gap.

I stopped for one last look at a prehistoric site at Boonies on my way home.  This is the sign for the site…


…and this is the rather less exciting reality.


You need a lot of imagination to enjoy prehistoric sites.

In spite of the threat of rain and a few actual drops, I got home dry and happy.  It had been a really nice day for a pedal and the slow bike had given me plenty of opportunity to enjoy the views.  I have put a map of the 30 mile route here for anyone who might be interested in following the prehistoric trail.  There are cyclists instructions for the route on the cyclelangholm website (route 6)

Once home, it was time for a very late lunch and a bath.  I did notice a bird outside while I was waiting for my fish cakes to cook.

blue tit
A rare glimpse of a blue tit at rest

And the usual flurry of chaffinches.  They were finding the goldfinches rather hard work.

chaffinch and goldfinch
chaffinch and goldfinch

In the end they started picking on each other.
flying chaffinch

The nerine beside the feeder seems to put on more flowers each day.


And the pink rose makes a mockery of my view of a couple of weeks ago that its flowering season was over with constant new efforts.

pink rose
I am pleased to have been proved wrong (again).

We were very pleased in the evening to find out that Victoria Pendleton has survived the first cut in Strictly Come dancing as she is one of our sporting heroes and we didn’t want to see her humiliated.

The flying bird of the day is a frustrated starling who could find no way into the fat ball fortress.

flying starling

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “A bridge not far enough

  1. I enjoyed the prehistoric sites very much. (I have a lot of imagination.) I like to see how history has marked the land.

    I never thought I’d say such a thing, but that is an elegant starling. I still can’t believe I said it. I think I’ll go lie down for a bit.

    1. I like the sites as they are often in good places to tramp about but it’s the speculative stuff that goes with them that sometimes forces me to raise an eyebrow.

  2. Delighted to see the photograph of my Grandson Thomas Gavin Graham. He is a lovely wee boy and a credit to the Graham clan as also is his sister Eleanor.

  3. I love the flowerhead on the astrantia. It has such detail. Plus, that was the name of the plant I recently gifted to our neighbour, but couldn’t remember it’s name.

  4. Left unstated is your answer to the question posed on the historical marker. When confronting Romans, would you have shouted defiance or hid behind the palisade? 🙂

  5. I can’t keep my eyes off of this post. I kept looking at it on my mobile phone over and over throughout the weekend. So captivating! Thanks for posting these wonderful photos.

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