Sandy’s downfall or a tale of two twits

Today’s guest picture was sent to me from Arran by Bruce where he was attending the wedding of his son.  I think this means that the wedding got the official seal of approval.


It was another windless,  sunny but chilly (5°C) morning and I had thought about cycling south down the A7 and A6071 to Newtown for a flat forty miles but it seemed too nice a day to waste cycling through featureless fields so I changed my plan and headed north up the ever beautiful Ewes valley.

I took a picture of two perching birds in the garden before I left.

robin and starling

garmin map Dec 1 2013Because the first ten miles of the journey are uphill and because of all the chilly air which the extra effort that this entailed pulled into my lungs, I was soon persuaded that less than forty miles would be a good idea and I settled for a modest trip with many stops to try out Pocketcam.

It had slipped easily into my bike jacket pocket and was easy to use as far as pushing the buttons went.  Reading the screen in strong sunlight was not so easy though but that is the price you pay for a small portable camera.

I stopped at Ewes Church because someone has asked for photographs of our local parish churches and this seemed like a good day to take one.


I stopped a few more times on my way past Mosspaul Hotel in the hope of catching one of those photos that will never die but the vast quantity of power lines in the valley always seemed to get in the way and the strong contrasts in light and shade made things difficult.  I turned back before I had gone very far down the far side of the hill and enjoyed the run back down to Fiddleton Toll, even though the narrow valley blocked out all sunshine.  At Fiddleton, I made a short excursion up the Hermitage road and found a view back across the valley with good light and mercifully invisible power lines.

Ewes hills

There are power lines there as you can see from the presence of a  pylon in the left of the picture.

I cycled on and went a short way up the steep hill to Carewoodrig before turning back and taking this shot of the road that I had just ridden up.

Carewoodrig road

I shall certainly be back in the springtime and go the whole way over the hill as the road surface looks to be in good condition and this is my kind of road.

The journey home back down the gentle hill to Langholm was painless and I covered the 27 miles in just under two hours of cycling time (a bit more in total when the photo stops were added in) which was about the speed that I was aiming for.

When I got in, I sent Sandy a message to see what he was up to and he told me that he was up at the White Yett taking stop motion pictures of the Tarras valley which was full of mist.  I look forward to seeing the results.  The downside of stop motion photography is the hundreds of pictures it needs and he told me that he was still downloading them to his computer when he came round after lunch.  I think that he said that he had taken over 800 photos.

At my suggestion, he drove us back up to the White Yett and we parked the car there and walked up to the Monument on the top of Whita.

The views were rewarding.

Although most of the mist had retreated there was still a strip to the south.
Castle Hill
And looking north over Castle Hill, another river of mist could be seen in the distance.

A bonfire on the slopes above the town below was generating its own smoke.

Langholm from Whita

To the west, the Solway was shining like a jewel but on the far shore, the Lake District hills, where we were yesterday, were hidden from us by mist and clouds.


Sandy was in full photographic mode, relaxed but serious….

Sandy on Whita

…and I look forward to seeing his day’s work.

I had the opportunity to look down onto the road that I had cycled along earlier in the day.

Ewes valley
You can see why I might like it, especially on a Sunday when there is not much traffic.

As the sun sank, we packed up our gear and Sandy suggested that instead of walking back down the track to the car, we should walk straight down the face of the hill into the town, have a cup of tea and then drive back up in my car to collect his car.

This seemed like a good idea.

It didn’t take much time scrambling across tussocks and wet rocks in unsuitable shoes before it seemed like a less good idea.  When Sandy slipped on marshy grass and landed in a very soggy bit on his posterior, it seemed like quite a  bad idea.

He sustained no hurt other than to his dignity and walked uncomplainingly down the rest of the hill suffering from a damp, cold pair of trousers with commendable fortitude.  I heartlessly stopped to take a picture or two on the way down.

We walked across the deserted golf course and I took this shot of the fifth green, which is being substantially relaid as you can see, especially for Dropscone, who has told me a lot about it.

Fifth green

It was not any breeze but the cold air above the town which was keeping smoke from the chimneys from rising more than a few yards.


In the ‘good’ old days, the town would have been hidden under a blanket of coal fire smoke on a day like this.

We crossed the river by the suspension bridge in the fading light…

Suspension bridge

…and made our way to Wauchope Cottage.

The car was in the drive but the keys were in Sandy’s car at the White Yett where I had left them before walking up the hill to make sure I didn’t lose them.  Mrs Tootlepedal was away at a singing practice with her keys so there was nothing for it but to walk back up the hill to the car.  We both felt pretty foolish.

Luckily, a good Samaritan in the form of our neighbour Kenny was at hand and when he had heard of our plight and had stopped laughing, he kindly offered to drive us up the hill.

There was a wonderful sunset in progress when we got there but, of course, I had left my camera at the house.

In the evening, I had to walk up to the High Street to get some milk and this gave me the opportunity to admire our Christmas tree which was officially turned on yesterday.

Christmas Tree

Amongst all this excitement, I got a rather gloomy shot of a flying chaffinch early in the morning.

flying chaffinch








Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Sandy’s downfall or a tale of two twits

  1. Oh my goodness, you two had quite an adventure! I’m glad Sandy was okay after his tumble. I hated to laugh at your unfortunate series of events, especially topping it off with the forgotten car key, but it was a bit hilarious. 🙂

  2. What a wonderful collection of photos showcasing your area. I like your Christmas tree. I like to see all the holiday lights at this time of year, Annie

  3. The photos were beautiful, your story about the keys, cars, and camera remind me of several instances kayaking rivers where half the people leave their vehicle upstream, and the other half downstream, and often find out that their keys are at the wrong end of the trip.

  4. A rather frustrating day with good photographic results.

    I say, I am officially and herewith giving you the Dragon’s Loyalty Award with no strings attached because you have plenty to write about without adding the “rules” for this award to your subject matter. You are a great commenter and supporter of other blogs and it is much appreciated. As the person who gave it to me wrote: “Just take it as a sign of appreciation for what you do”.

  5. Oh dear, the car keys incident sounds like something I’d do. Still, it’s always funny after the event. I hope Sandy’s bottom dried out.

  6. Oops, but just the sort of thing that I’d do. A lovely hint of a Muckle Toon version of ‘Last of the Summer Wine.’ That’s meant in the kindest way! Stotting photo of the Ewes frae the top, and what a grand cycle run.

  7. What an annoying end to your trip up the hill, thankfully you had a good neighbour when you needed one. Some lovely landscapes, I particularly liked the gleam on the Solway.

  8. that just proves that often things don’t turn out as expected, to paraphrase the poet Burns.
    N.B.excellent pictures as usual

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