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.
Because 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.
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.
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.
A bonfire on the slopes above the town below was generating its own smoke.
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….
…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.
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.
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…
…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.
Amongst all this excitement, I got a rather gloomy shot of a flying chaffinch early in the morning.