A guest picture at last.  A spot beside the Kennet and Avon canal where my brother stopped for a sandwich.

I stopped here to eat my sandwich beside the canal

I am posting early in the afternoon in an effort to beat the current great internet slowdown in the evenings in Langholm.  So many people have complained that maybe things will be better anyway but I thought that I would take no chances.

The winter solstice is past and in celebration the sun came out today after some truly horrible days of wind and rain.  It is still quite windy and as it was only 3C when Mrs Tootlepedal went to sing in the church, I left the bike in the garage and turned my hand to preparing a simple bacon and sausage cassoulet for the slow cooker.

I then filled the seed feeder and left some out on the lawn for the fertilising gang who turned up within seconds of the door being closed.


There were chaffinches on all sides as usual.


All this took some time and having done it, I caught up with my emails as the internet was working well.  When Mrs Tootlepedal returned from church, she threw herself into some grouting. She is re-tiling the surround for the bath and as she is never happier than when grouting, I left her to it and took a short walk.  My focus was on gates and fungus but I allowed myself to be distracted as I walked round the Becks burn and back.

It was a pleasure to be able to see the town tucked under Whita hill after the gloom of the last few days.


The white front door in the middle of the bottom of the pictures is ours and it shows how soon the ground begins to rise as you leave the town.  It is one of the pleasures of living here that it takes so few minutes before you are out in the country.

I saw my first gate as I walked past Holmwood.

gate at Holmwood

I walked along below the fields at the bottom of Meikleholm Hill, keeping an eye on tree stumps as I went.

Tree stump
This one had a lot going on.

While I was looking at tree stumps, others were looking at me.

An inquisitive tup stares me out.

Leaving the fields, I walked down to the Becks burn through the woods until I came to the bridge.

Becks bridge
Another bridge not built by Thomas Telford. It was actually built by John Murray for the Langholm Walks Group.

The bridge is a great boon as this walk would not have been possible on a day such as today before it was built because of the amount of water in the burn.

I came up through the woods on the other side of the stream and joined the road.  The sun caught some fungus (lichen?) on a dead branch beside the road.

bramch woth fungus
I am going to have to look at the web site on Scottish fungus which the New Hampshire gardener recommended and get to know more about this.

I passed gates on my right….

gate at Hallcrofts

…and on my left as well.

gate at Hallcrofts

If you ask why I took so many pictures of gates, I reply, “Because they were there.”   There is something essentially attractive about a wooden five bar gate (to me at any rate).

I also noticed a striking tree.

tree at hallcrofts

When I got down to the Wauchope road, I came to a more formal bridge across the Becks burn.

Becks bridge

I had one more gate to pass, this one in rather a sad state.

gate at Springhill
A bar short of a full gate as they say.

The stones in the walls round here are often interesting to look at in their own right.

wall at Springhill

The whole walk had taken less than an hour but the opportunity to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air was most welcome.

I put a little old bread out on the lawn when I got back and the jackdaws were as quick to get to it as the chaffinches had been to get at the seed in the morning.


When it had all gone, one of them sat in the plum tree and sulked.

jackdaw in plum tree

Nearby, a robin posed, not knowing that he was too late for the Christmas card.

robin on bird table

We had a visit from a member of the crow family.

It didn’t stay long.

As I write this, Mrs Tootlepedal has gone off for fresh supplies of grout and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the connection holds up long enough for this abbreviated journal to get on line.

A flying chaffinch was to be seen.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Gateway

  1. This is a lovely post–full of so much! I especially like the sulking Jackdaw. I didn’t know what one was (sulking or not) until I read this post. You are so fortunate to live is such a lovely region.

  2. Yesterday I read that some place in Hampshire was selected as the most desireable place to live in Britain. Only one place in Scotland made the list, and it was at #50. The people who make these lists are clearly delusional and should pop over for Langholm for a look. At the very least, they should read this blog.

    1. There are always two sides to everything. Langholm is not such a great place if you are young and looking for a job or if you hanker for a lively night life. If you like to potter about on a bike or walk around taking pictures, it is heaven…..and if you like joining clubs and societies, there is always something to do.

    2. The place in Hampshire was Southampton. Quite a shock for me as its where I live and, although I love it I find it hard to believe its the best place in the whole country!

  3. Thank goodness you had that window of opportunity, have missed your photos and stories. Todays were particularly good too with the birds, gates, fungi and stone. Here’s to the citizens of Langholm raising enough wrath to toast the bottoms at BT into action.

  4. The sulky jackdaw is a very handsome fellow! I’m glad you finally got a connection and were able to post. Your iffy internet must be contagious – took forever to be connected to your blog today . . . ‘tho it might have something to do with the -35 temp . . .

      1. Indeed we do! My walking kit is good for comfort at -50 windchill, ‘tho fortunately it doesn’t get that bad very often. Mind you, it was -46 windchill at 6 a.m today . . . the utilities company will be gleefully watching the money roll in!

  5. Lovely countryside, and I see a few more bridges which could become my favorites as well as the other one! The expression on that jackdaw’s face is priceless… like a child who didn’t get his way! ~SueBee

    1. One thing we are not short of in this hilly country of small streams and fast flowing rivers is bridges. Someone calculated that there are over twenty in our small town alone.

  6. Wonderful to see the lichen and fungi close-ups. Are they taken with PocketCam? I have a good ID book, which I’ll hunt out and give you the title of. Superb photos altogether, and did I spy a photo showing a visit to your garden from a member of my friends, clan raven?

  7. Great post, a joy to read. The sun coming out makes such a difference, glad you were able to get out and take such inspiring photos, I am going to take more notice of the gates I pass in future.

      1. As do bridges – often the way to the ‘otherworld’. Watch out you don’t get get taken by the fairy folk.

  8. The large lichen after the first gate photo is a dog lichen, possibly Peltigera membranacea. I’m not sure about the bumps on the log. They could be crust fungi, small brackets, or something else entirely. Tracking down their identities is part of the fun though. I’m glad you saw some sunshine.

  9. Wishing you and Mrs Tootlepedal a wonderful Christmas! I would also like to thank you very much for your moral support to us during the last couple of months. Ming, Meg and I really appreciate it. Juliex

    1. And a happy Christmas to you, Ming and Meg. I hope the new year goes as well as it possibly can for you all. It was really delightful meeting Meg and we hope one day that you will be bale to visit us too.

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