Watching other people work

Today’s guest picture shows some of our local wild goats on the Langholm Moor.  Bruce spotted them and kindly sent me the picture.


After a good night’s sleep, I was up and about today and ready for action. Fortunately there was plenty of action to watch without having to do anything more energetic than stroll round Easton’s and Gaskell’s and have a gentle ride up to the Rugby Club.

It was the turn of the mountain bikers and trail runners to star in the Muckle Toon Adventure Festival today.  Unlike last year when it lashed with rain, it was a pleasantly warm day, though with enough wind about to make me glad that I was just a spectator.

After taking a quick look round the garden…

bee on lithodora
A bee having breakfast on a Lithodora.

….Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked through the park and along the banks of the Esk.  The air was heavy with the smell of wild garlic.

wild garlic

There was very little chance of encountering any vampires as we walked along the path.

wild garlic

At the end of the path, we saw the first cyclists pressing on in fine style.  We walked up the hill to see a section of single track on the long route and met one of the organisers who was checking the route in front of the competitors.


He told us that there were over 90 cyclists on the go.  It wasn’t long before they came past us.

mountain biker

mountain biker

mountain biker
A dangerous drop and bend negotiated with care

After a while, we walked along the track towards Stubholm and watched more cyclists working hard to get up the hill.  It was a relief for them to reach the level track at the top.


The cyclists had a chance to get some refreshments at Stubholm and then had a fast section of good track along Gaskells, including crossing the new bridge.

The new bridge

In the dry conditions, the track looked so inviting….


…that Mrs Tootlepedal was momentarily tempted by the thought of getting a mountain bike.  A look across the valley at what was waiting there might have changed her mind.

Meiklehom Hill
Several cyclists reduced to being pedestrians on the rough track up Meikleholm Hill

We walked along the track, keeping out of the cyclists way and had enough time between competitors to look at a very striking little yellow flower beside the path.

yellow flower

Mrs Tootlepedal thinks it might be some kind of St John’s Wort.

We arrived at the Auld Stane Brig and watched the cyclists disappear up the hill for a while before we walked home.

I have posted 40 pictures from the cycling on my Facebook page for those interested.

After lunch, we cycled up to the Rugby Club to watch the start of the 10km and half marathon trail running event.

Trail Running 2014
They’re off

After a look round the event centre at the Rugby Club, we cycled back to the Auld Stane Brig to see some of the 10k runners on their way round.


Most of the event was on tracks and paths and this little road section gave them a change to stretch out.

Mrs Tootlepedal had had an exciting drive back down this road in the twilight last night, having to brake sharply to avoid a deer and having an owl hit the roof of the car as it flew low over the road.  We went up to see if the owl had been seriously or fatally injured but could find no evidence of it anywhere so we hope that it survived the contact.

The blaeberry bush caught my eye again…

blaeberry bush

…while Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed a roadside violet.


We cycled gently home, cheering more of the runners as we passed them.

I have posted some trail running pictures on Facebook too.

Once home, Mrs Tootlepedal got stuck into some serious gardening and I set my hand to lawn care.  I scarified the middle lawn for the second time this spring, using a slightly less aggressive setting, then used the leaf vacuum sucker to clear the debris and finally mowed it.  Considering the poor state it was in after a long and wet winter, it has repaid a little care and attention by looking almost like a lawn.  I gave it a burst of buck-you-uppo as a reward.  To keep Mrs Tootlepedal happy (and me too), I completed the session by going round the lawn edges with a strimmer.

I know that it is not very cool or green to be a lawn obsessive but it keeps an old man happy and lets me contribute something to the look of the garden.

After the long cycle ride on Wednesday and the hill climb yesterday, this activity was quite enough for me for the day so I retired indoors where a losing battle with a prize crossword morphed into a snooze on the sofa without me even noticing.

I did find a moment to stare out of the kitchen window though.

goldfinch in plum tree
It was a golden afternoon
Even the blackbirds were dancing for joy

We have quite a few sparrows feeding at the moment as they are looking after their young.


It is the turn of the road cyclists tomorrow and if the wind is anything like it was today, some will find the 60 and 90 mile courses tough going.  I am sad that I can’t fit a course in and go to the choir,  but I am going to try to do the 90 mile route later on in the summer.

The flying bird of the day is one of those sparrows.






Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Watching other people work

  1. That’s great! Everybody enjoying the good weather in a healthy way! I’ve just finished two and a half hours of lawn work myself! 🙂

    1. The town was alive with activity with many people who were not actively taking part acting a marshals all round the town and over the surrounding hills. It was a very cheerful time for those who like community spirit.

  2. I think the pretty yellow flower is from the lysimachia family though I can’t say exactly what it is. Yellow Pimpernel perhaps. Lots of good action photos. The hills are alive with the sound of puffing and blowing!

      1. I always think of my mother when I think of the crossword. She died fairly young – at age 69 – after being ill for many, many years. She did the crossword daily and always liked to quote Agatha Christie’s Hercule Pirot – his line about the “little grey cells”. She said doing the crossword kept hers active and working properly. 🙂

      2. Research seems to prove that doing maths is better than doing words so it is lucky that I do sudoku (suduko? My brain isn’t working)as well as crosswords.

  3. I confess I got so far behind I didn’t read text the last couple of posts, but the pics are wonderful. If you were exceptionally brilliant, let me know so I can go back!

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