Fort provoking

Today’s guest picture comes from the camera of Mrs Tootlepedal and shows that Matilda, as well as being the world’s greatest baby, has tremendous colour sense.

matilda (2)My day started in helter skelter mode as both the Scott, the minister, and Dropscone appeared for the morning pedal.  It proved hard for the peleton to keep together on the road to Gair and back with constant breakaways forming and being brought back.  We had finally managed to get organised as we approached Langholm when the minister, in what I can only describe as a very unchristian manner, left Dropscone and me for dead as he sprinted for home.

Still, the result of all this activity was an excellent time for a hilly ride and a fine appetite for Dropscone’s girdle scones ( with plum jam in one case).  As both Dropscone and Scott took away some plums with them, it was a very satisfactory morning.

After all this excitement, I had a gentle wander round the garden admiring both the many clematis plants which are still in flower…

garden clematis…and the berries which are to be found on every side.

garden berries (2)Those raspberries go very well with some cream.

We are in the Michaelmas daisy season and we have some but they are not very impressive this year.

garden michaelmas daisiesOur occasional butterflies seem to prefer the phlox to the sedum at the moment.

peacock butterfly (2)After lunch, Sandy came round and he and Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a drive round the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.  We only visited two of the sites, both hill top forts.  Our first stop was at Bailliehill.

esk from bailliehill
Looking back at the Esk as we climbed the hill to the fort, one of my favourite views.

There is not much to see at the fort, apart from a defensive ditch or two…

ditch at bailliehill…but the views are wonderful.

I had my phone with me and it likes this sort of bright day.

bailliehill view
Looking over the ditch round the fort
bailliehill view (2)
The Black Esk to the left and the White Esk to the right

I had pocketcam with me too.

tanlawhill bridge (2)
Looking down towards the Black Esk. The Black and White Esk meet just below the bridge out of shot to the right.

We walked back down the hill to the car and drove on a short way until we came to the next fort on the ridge at Castle O’er.

A helpful sign showed what we might have seen about 1500 years ago.

Castle O'erThis was what we did see.

Castle O'er (2)The top was rather overgrown and it was hard to make out the shape of the fort but once again the surrounding ditches were clear enough….

Castle O'er ditch…and the views made the climb well worth while.

Castle O'er view of Bailliehill
Looking south back to the hilltop fort site at Bailliehill
Castle O'er view
Looking up the valley to the north

The walk back to the car was enjoyable in itself with many wild flowers, bugs, mosses and heathers to please the eye.  The mosses were particularly colourful.

Castle O'er mossWe drove on up to Eskdalemuir and returned to Langholm by the road on the opposite side of the White Esk. 

There is not much to see in the way of archaeology or structures at the hill top fort sites which we visited but they are in such commanding places that it is not hard to feel the history there and imagine waiting and watching for possible enemies to arrive below.

In the evening, Susan and I went to Carlisle for the penultimate practice with our recorder group for our concert appearance on Saturday.  At the end of the practice we played a new piece and it was very heartening to find that it didn’t sound nearly as good as the pieces we have been working on.  It made us feel that our work over recent weeks has paid off.

The flying bird of the day is a distant buzzard seen from Bailliehill Fort.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Fort provoking

  1. The views from the hills where the forts used to be were stunning! I believe that what you call buzzards are what we call hawks, but I could be mistaken. Either way, the flying bird of the day is an awesome shot!

  2. Wonderful views from the prehistoric sites . Glad that all your concert practising has shown good results.

  3. I hope the concert goes well. We have an old hill fort here, St Catherine’s Hill. I climbed it a while ago but there are a lot of trees at the top so it’s hard to imagine the fort there.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: