All hail

Today’s guest picture is a bit of a cheat as it is of a guest but not by a guest. 

Dropscone and ScottStanding beside Dropscone leaning on his carbon fibre machine is the minister, Scott posing with his very new and stylish Bianchi bike   He joined us for our morning run to Gair and back today and we found that our speeds fitted well together so we all enjoyed the ride.  Scott may be carrying a pound or two more than us but he has the advantage of youth on his side and things balanced out well.   He has only recently taken up cycling seriously and it won’t be long before he will be going too fast for us.

The heavy jackets were on because although it was reasonably sunny as we pedalled along, the temperature was still well below the August average, barely getting above 10C.  The wind was very light though and we managed to hit the 15 mph average speed just as we got home which was very satisfactory for a 22 mile ride with a thousand feet of climbing.  I was pleased that I was able to keep up with two such flash stylish bikes.

We had coffee and scones when we got back and Dropscone had brought some of his excellent treacle scones.  This upset the rest of my day as treacle scones should signify Friday and to have them on a Saturday meant that I had great difficulty working out what day it was for the rest of the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been hard at work delving in the garden while we were pedalling and by the end of the morning she had shifted an enormous clump of ornamental grass from one end of the lawn to the other.

Gardeners will know just how heavy a clump like this is.  It looks good in its new position.

Her poppies in the new bed last for a day or two each but they are replaced by new ones at a very satisfactory rate.  I dead headed no less than seventy stems the other day and another twenty or thirty today.  They are so pretty that my shutter finger twitches every time that I go past them.

Four ages of a poppies.   The flowers are Shirley poppies and the seed head comes from an opium poppy.
Four ages of a poppies. The flowers are Shirley poppies and the seed head comes from an opium poppy.

I append a panel of three other plants that caught my eye.

euphorbia, astilbe and tropaeolumAfter lunch, as the weather still looked fine, I suggested a drive to the White Yett, followed by a walk to the Monument and beyond.  Mrs Tootlepedal took up her binoculars and off we went.   At the car park we met a couple of visitors who had come from Newcastleton.  They told us that there had been very heavy rain there and were wondering if they had time to get to the monument and back before it rained here.  We assured them that it wouldn’t rain and they followed us up the track. 

After a few minutes walking, I wasn’t quite so confident as I had been…

monument…but the clouds passed and we arrived at the monument in sunshine.  The visitors were very impressed by our weather lore but not so impressed as to stay at the top of the hill for long.  We had a look down at the town…

Langholm from Whita
This is the New Town. The industrial building in the foreground is a textile mill, now closed.

…which was bathed in sunshine.  The large tree in the dead centre of the picture is our walnut tree.

We walked onwards along the ridge as I was hoping to take a few more heather pictures.  The tide was in along the Solway and it was gleaming in the distance.

SolwayLooking behind us at the monument to check the weather….

monument and clouds…we thought that we could risk going on.

Our target was the gate in the wall below.

view from WhitaThe views from the ridge are very good…

View from Whita…but the camera doesn’t like them as much as I do as the sun was not in the right place. You can see the expanse of heather that we walked through a couple of days ago.  Just for interest, I zoomed in on the wood at the bottom of the hill that conceals the moorland feeders.  The feeders are set out on each side of the ride down the middle of the plantation where the car is parked.

Moorland feedersWe met a friend who was walking his dogs and then turned to walk back up to the monument.  The temperature had fallen a bit and the wind had risen.  This made us a little nervous about the possibility of rain.  The windmills on Craig Hill were twirling around merrily in the sunshine….

windmills…but looking at Castle Hill made us quicken our pace.

view from whitaThe nearer we got to the monument, the faster we walked.

monument and cloudsAs we got over the summit, we were still in sunshine but it looked to be a race against time to get to the car as the rain swept down the valley towards us.

gathering rainstormAs our race pace these days and the progress of a snail are hard to differentiate, it was a race that we lost by two hundred metres.  That may not sound far but the rain and hail were so savage that we were soaked through and the road was awash by the time that we got to the car.

We had to wait until the shower eased off before it was safe to drive down to the town but by the time that we arrived home, the sun was out again.  We were so wet though that a complete change of clothes was needed before we could enjoy a well earned cup of tea.

As if all of this was not enough excitement for the day, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair before our evening meal, rendering me, needless to say, quite light headed..

I used the photo editor in the evening to change one of the shots that I took on the hill to black and white.

sheep's skull
Found in a crevice in one of the walls on the hill.

And I used a plug-in that I thought gave another photo a touch of the drama that we actually felt as the storm loomed up.

topaz view from Whita


In between the pedalling and the walking, I found a moment to catch a flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch







Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “All hail

  1. The landscape photos are superb once again. I love the last one that shows the rain falling.
    Whenever I have to move heavy plants by myself I roll them onto a plastic tarp and then drag them across the lawn. You can move some heavy root balls this way, especially when the grass is a bit damp, but Mrs. T. probably already knows that trick.

  2. It’s a shame that you and Mrs. T got soaked, but the photos, especially the second one of the monument, were worth it I would say! The flying chaffinch of the day is also a winner.

  3. Lovely shot of the flying bird of the day – it seems as though I could reach into the picture and touch the feathers.

  4. Sorry about the soaking but really excellent photos of the storm cloud heading for you. Sometimes you have to suffer for your art…

  5. Wonderful dramatic pictures – sorry about the soaking. Congratulations to Scott for his energetic ride with you two. The new bicycle seems to have been a good choice.

  6. Such great narration, I felt like I was right there with you hustling to get to the car in time! That photo of the monument with the dark clouds is really striking. I also appreciated the three photo panel of flowers. Such vivid colors! May I ask what treacle is? I’ve been curious for some time, whenever you mention treacle scones.

  7. I felt I was running down that hill with you trying to escape the rain. You did get some great pictures though and I like the skull caught in the rocks. Very atmospheric.

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