A visit to Annan

Today’s guest picture of a magnolia in bloom, taken in NZ where my brother has just been skiing, shows that spring is round the corner there at the same time.  This was sent to me by Jennie, who lives in the north of the South Island.

magnoliaWe are headed in the opposite direction meteorologically from her of course but not quite yet as our spell of dry and warm weather continues.  The wind has started to get up a bit which may be heralding a change but Dropscone and I had no need for overshoes or rain jackets as we set off for the morning run to Gair.

After his record of two punctures in his last two rides, Dropscone was hoping for the best today.  He had discovered a small thorn in his tyre and as a result had put a different tyre on for this morning’s ride and this turned out to be a sound decision as we skimmed along with not a hint of a hiss of escaping air.  There was a bit of puffing from me though as we had to work hard into the wind on the way home to get the average up to our target of 15 mph.

Our post ride coffee and scones became a very sociable affair with the arrival of first Sandy and then Scott, the cycling minister, who had both been voting in the referendum.  Luckily I had made a big bucket of coffee and had some supplies of Selkirk bannock on hand so we were all fed and watered.

Once peace had returned, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took an old exercise bike round to a friend who is also going to get a knee replacement and badly needed some way of building up her muscles before the operation. We combined this with a visit to the polling station to cast our votes too and then I had some time to wander round the garden.

poppy and rose
Our steady supply of poppies has been joined by a late white rose.
sweet peas
Sweet peas continue to lurk along the vegetable garden fence.
Further along the fence, a traditional fuchsia is visited by a small flying object.
In the back border, a clematis runs riot.

As a marker of just how dry it has been, one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s rhododendrons was looking so poorly that she thought that it was dying but a really good watering was enough to bring it back to life.  If it doesn’t rain soon, we will have to start checking out shrubs more carefully.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with the driving for the disabled and  I waited for the arrival of Sandy as we had agreed to go for a photographic outing.  After considerable debate, we decided to take up Sandy’s suggestion of a  visit to the old port at Annan, a town about twenty miles from us. Neither of us had visited it before so we were interested as to what we would find.

As the river was low and the tide was out, what we didn’t find was any water.  There were boats though….

boats at Annan  port….both ancient and modern.

trawlerThis rather ugly fishing boat at a small boatyard in the port was built in Stranraer in 2013 and seems to be under repair here.  It would probably look a bit more elegant of it was actually floating.

There was not a lot to detain us on the waterless dockside so we decided to cross the River Annan by a modern bridge built in conjunction with Sustrans as part of the National Cycle network and go for a walk on the other side.  The bridge looked a little grimy as we approached it…

sustrans bridge….but once on it, it looked rather smart…..

sustrans bridge…especially in black and white.

In spite of the shadows on the bridge, it was another hazy day and rather flat for taking photographs.  Looking up river as we crossed, we could see the old bridge taking the main road into the town.

Annan town bridge…and a selection of rather distant but interesting bird life.

heron and goosanderLooking downstream, we could see the bridge carrying the Gretna to Dumfries railway line.

Annan railway bridgeFor a bridge enthusiast like myself, this was a real treat.  Crossing the Sustrans bridge, we were directed by this curiously wrought signpost….

signpost…onto the path along the river.

riverside path, AnnanWe headed downstream and looked back at the railway bridge with the new bridge behind it….

Annan railway bridge
A fine five arched bridge to admire.

….and even had the bonus of another tiny bridge to cross as we went along.

little bridge, AnnanWe were not likely to starve as we walked as there was a profusion of blackberries to pick and eat.

bramblesThe crop has been so good this year that even the most dedicated jelly maker couldn’t pick them all.

We noticed that we were being accompanied by a ghost railway in the woods beside the path.

ghost railwayIt must have led to the large boiler making factory that we could see in front of us.  We got almost as far as the factory before my knee suggested that turning for home would be a good idea.  We had to keep a sharp eye out for low flying cyclists as we went along…

cycling sign…but we negotiated those that we met quite safely.

In spite of the weather feeling like late summer (we were walking in shirtsleeves), the trees know that autumn is coming…

autumn trees at Annan…but they are changing in a rather half hearted way and unless we get a colder spell soon, I fear that we won’t get much vibrant autumn colour this year.

Our return walk took us through the hidden sixth arch of the railway bridge….

Annan railway bridge…and back to the car.

I snoozed gently as Sandy drove us home and we polished off the remains of the Selkirk bannock with our cup of tea when we got back to the house.

In the evening, Sandy and I went to the Archive Centre and put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the database.  These two weeks took us to the end of 1887 and the putting of another year to bed is always a moment of satisfaction.  Less satisfactory is the fact that the data miners are already two months into 1888 and my in-tray is piling up.

We retired to the Eskdale for our customary after-archiving refreshment and raised a glass to the our absent friend Jean.

The requirements of voting and going to Annan left me with no time to catch a flying bird today but as I have already exceeded my daily limit for blog pictures, this can only be a source of relief for busy readers.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “A visit to Annan

  1. I can’t believe those picture-perfect blackberries! Makes the smooshy ones Kat and I picked even more sickly than they were. I’m a bit shocked at low flying bicycles… good to have a warning sign! Best wishes on whichever way the vote turns out. If only we could get such a large turnout for any vote over here. People have become far too complacent, although they all like to complain.

    1. It went wrong but it was probably only to be expected in the face of the onslaught from the press and unionist politicians predicting the imminent end of the world.

      1. From an outsiders view, I thoroughly expected (was hoping) it to pass. Very sorry. Is there chance of another election next year to try again?

      2. Not for many years I am afraid to say. It is odd to me that we didn’t take our chance but as a nation we are perhaps inclined to take a pessimistic view of things.

  2. I had to look up the Selkirk bannock. Looks like a very tasty idea. I’m glad you exceeded your daily limit of pictures and am particularly fond of the arches.

  3. That was a rather ugly fishing boat, efficiency is everything these days with no regard for pleasing lines. The same is somewhat true of the bridges, the modern ones in this post are okay, but they can’t come close to the beautifully arched old bridges or the stonework they were made of.

    According to the news reports here, the referendum on independence was voted down. That’s a shame, not only because you were for it, but because I think that a “Yes” vote would have shaken up the ruling political class around the world.

    1. I agree entirely. It was our chance to say we don’t like what is going on but we blew it. “Always keep tight hold of nurse for fear of finding something worse.” I just hoped that we were grown up enough to let go but we weren’t.

      1. Even if the vote went an unedifying way, Whitehall will have to take notice that a very substantial part of the voters are malcontent with the way things have been done in the past. And it will have to react and that quickly as election is ante portas. Already other parts of the union are voicing their dissatisfaction. So the UK might be saved at moment, but it will have to change – mere crumbs of devolution will not suffice. The Scottish have set (once more) things in motion and can be proud of themselves.

      2. I hope so but our UK politics seems to be run by youngish people who have never had a job and who know nothing about how people want to live. Their chief joy seems to be got from discomfiting their opponents and not from making things better for everyone so I am not optimistic that the change will be effective or well managed if indeed it comes at all.

  4. What a splendid selection of bridge pictures, I like bridges as much as you do. Sorry for you the way the vote went but hope that the solid Yes vote will stir up Westminster to be less inward looking.

  5. A feast of bridges – the one in black and white was very effective.
    Sorry for the disappointment over the vote – amazing turn-out and effective stirring up of thinking about the needs and wishes of those in Scotland.

  6. Commiserations on the vote result. Your countryside really looks very dry and parched in places. We in the driest part of the UK have been fairly damp this year and my husband is complaining about the amount of mowing he has had to do. Our shrubs have all grown enormously and are getting out of hand. The bridges in Annan are very photogenic.

  7. A very handsome collection of bridge pics. I especially liked the b/w one. I know the result of the election isn’t what you hoped for, but at the very least your side’s concerns were loudly heard and you have a handsome collection of bribes from London that you can now collect on.

    1. As the bribes were totally non specific and offered in bad faith and would have to be passed in a hostile parliament, we are not holding our breath.

  8. Great article. Love the photos. I have to go to Dalzell Estate to see Nuthatches. The cycle paths are great if you don’t get lost and yours seem quite quiet.

    I got some army netting from Adventure1 in Glasgow which is very effective in using as a screen to avoid the birds seeing you.

    1. They are good in parts. They have some very dodgy signed routes on roads round here which are either unnecessary diversions from where you want to go or badly maintained.

  9. Really great post, enjoyed it very much. I’ve been through Annan quite a few times, sadly not on my bike, and recognise the bridges etc., we have strangely wrought Sustrans signposts in these parts here also. A lot of work seems to go into them, but they remind me of totem poles? I’ve been away from my computer for awhile, been too busy pedalling in this glorious weather, and only now catching up. Our hedgerows too, are bursting with nuts and berries. I was talking to a local farmer, and he told me, he’d never seen so many nuts on the trees, and reckons we are in for a really cold winter. I hope not. Cheers.

    1. I don’t think that the berries will have much effect on the jetstream. The activities of the currents in the Pacific seem to have the biggest influence on our weather.

      I am glad that you have been getting out on your bikes. I have missed your posts but it is in a good cause.

  10. I like the lines on your B and W bridge. Sorry about the rain. We are in a real pickle here, too. Apparently, AZ and NV are getting the world’s rain right now, with record flooding!

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