Today’s picture shows a young blackbird which, having had its bath, is standing on a fence post and making faces at Bruce who sent me the photo.
The day dawned dry and misty after the overnight rain and I managed to get up early and go for a pedal to Waterbeck at a nice gentle pace. The mist soon cleared and it was perfect weather for cycling with no wind and not too hot. I would have gone further than the twenty miles in such good conditions but we had made arrangements to go for a motor tour with Jean and Sandy.
We met up and set off up the A7 to visit Dryburgh Abbey. Mrs Tootlepedal and I had been there recently by bike but we hadn’t stayed long so we were keen to have a more leisurely visit. The drive north was very enjoyable in itself and we stopped at the Buccleuch Arms…
..at St Boswell’s for a bite of lunch. This turned out to be an inspired choice and we had a really good meal in comfortable surroundings with attentive service. This was enough to make for a good day out on its own but we drove on and soon arrived at Dryburgh.
As before we were really impressed by the trees surrounding the ruins. Someone had been keen on importing big trees from abroad. This is a Wellingtonia.
It was definitely a tree to look up to,
The ruins are artfully set among the trees.
The oldest tree is a yew which is reckoned to be over 900 years old and which was planted before the abbey was built. Here are two somewhat younger ladies admiring it.
I spent some time wondering at the many different styles of doors and windows in the abbey, showing how much the building was developed over the years.
There is one of those useful boards showing what it would have looked like if it wasn’t a ruin and most of the dressed stone hadn’t been stolen for other building projects.
I walked out of the gatehouse of the abbey and headed down to the river Tweed. Looking back, I was able to get a view that shows something of the size of the building, if not its height.
The river Tweed is almost always worth a visit.
The ladies had a more restful time, now admiring the trees and ruins and now sitting on one of the many benches provided for the more mature tourist.
One of the best preserved corners of the abbey….
…houses the tomb of Sir Walter Scott, the author of the Waverley novels. After we left the abbey, we headed up the road to Sir Walter’s favourite viewpoint. It is said that he visited it so often that the horses carrying his coffin to his funeral at Dryburgh automatically stopped there on their way past.
Before we got to the viewpoint, we stopped and walked along a path through a wood to see a statute of William Wallace which had been erected by the same chap who preserved the abbey ruins. The huge size of the statue came as a surprise to Mrs Tootlepedal and me who hadn’t seen it before.
It stares out across the valley towards the Eildon Hill from an escarpment high above the river.
I took this picture from the path as we walked back to the car.
We all agreed that if you like a fine view of the countryside, the Tweed valley is hard to beat.
We were soon at the Scott viewpoint and it isn’t hard to see why he should have liked it so much. It is where the road winds round the side of the hill above a loop in the river below with views for 180 degrees from south to north spread out in front of you. The hazy conditions, the position of the sun and my skills as a landscape photographer all conspired to make it impossible for me to convey the beauty of the scene but I had a go anyway.
We were high above the Tweed.
I watched the watchers.
Looking at the woods below us, we could see the tops of the cedar trees like giant green funguses in the grounds of the Abbey which we had just visited.
I was pleased to see this plant next to the wall….
…because I had read on one of the information boards at the abbey that the monks used its leaves to wrap their butter in which lead to its name of Butterbur. It also has medicinal uses.
Then it was time to head for home. We arrived back tired but happy having had a proper day out with a good lunch and a visit to an antiquity plus some lovely views. Who could ask for anything more?
As the evening set in, the town was full of the sound of the pipe and brass bands marching through the streets to herald the Common Riding Concert where the cornet receives his sash ready for our great day on Friday. I didn’t rush out to photograph them, for to tell you the truth the Town Band marching through the streets in 2o13 looks very much like the Town Band marching through the streets in 2012….and 2011, 2010, 2009 and so on.
I did catch a snap of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s sunflowers which may well be out on Friday.
I didn’t have time to get a flying bird today so I have put in the first dahlia of the year. Mrs Tootlepedal grows a few as cut flowers.