Today’s double guest picture comes from Langholm exile, Tom, in South Africa and shows his niece Laura, who is visiting from Langholm, watching the Cape Epic mountain bike race together with a slice of action from the event itself.
The day started with glorious sunshine and it would have been a perfect morning for a cycle ride if I hadn’t had to pay a visit to the doctor after breakfast. The visit itself would have left me with plenty of time for a pedal but it involved an injection into my sore shoulder. This requires a whole 24 hours of rest and in spite of telling the doctor that cycling is as good as a rest any day, it was banned.
Holding up heavy cameras was not recommended either so I put up a tripod at the kitchen window and sat down with a cup of coffee in one hand and the remote camera control in the other. The light was good, the set up superb and all that was needed was some birds. There was one.
Sandy came round for coffee after filling the Moorland bird feeders (and sitting in the new hide) and we arranged to go for an outing in the afternoon.
Desperate for bird action, I shredded a suet ball on the lawn. This attracted a jackdaw.
The flowers were more co-operative. There was a new one out today…
…and the first bee too.
Luckily the afternoon excursion was more interesting than the morning bird watching. I had enjoyed cycling past the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail sites yesterday so I suggested to Sandy that we could drive round them today and stop at the only one that I have never visited. He agreed and acted as chauffeur as Mrs Tootlepedal had taken the car to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda.
As on my tour yesterday, our first stop was to look at the meeting of the Black and White Esks. It is a beautiful spot on a sunny afternoon.
We drove on until we arrived at the final trail site on the west side of the valley, Bessie’s Hill Fort and Enclosure.
A helpful sign stimulates the imagination….
We followed a well marked and well maintained path up through the woods…
In spite of the hazy day, the view north was very satisfying. We walked up to the settlement first and were able to look back down on the impressively defended fort with its triple earthworks and double ditch.
We walked round and battled through tussocks and past vivid moss…
With the delightful precision customary in looking at early sites, the author of the leaflet for the trail notes that, “Field archaeologists have suggested the possibility of from two to seven round timber-built houses.” We took their word for it.
Having walked right round the enclosure, we descended towards the fort.
On the way, a glimpse of colour caught my eye and a tree stump revealed a hidden garden.
The fort was impressive from the outside…
We walked back down the hill, remarking on the many coniferous trees that were fully living up to their name.
We drove on until we got to the bridge over the Esk at Eskdalemuir and, as I had done yesterday, came back along the other side of the river. We stopped for a brief walk to another of the Trail’s sites, the Louping Stanes Stone circle.
This is not the most impressive monument in the world but it has its charm.
It is suggested that the circle got its modern name from the tendency of young men to show their prowess by leaping from one to another of the two impressive stones that make up the entrance to the circle.
On our return we had a cup of tea and agreed that the visit to Bessie’s Hill and the whole drive had been well worth the effort.
Mrs Tootlepedal arrived back safely, having had an entertaining time entertaining Matilda.
In the evening Sandy and I went up to the Archive Centre and this time, we agreed that our trip was not worth the effort at all as the internet connection worked brilliantly for a heady three minutes and then went into a terminal sulk and wouldn’t work again. We went home in disgust.
The flying bird of the day is a fleeting glimpse of the jackdaw leaving after eating all the shredded suet.