Today’s guest picture, taken by Bruce’s daughter and forwarded to me by him, shows Guthrie, having woken up, wondering where the next meal is coming from.
We were up promptly in the morning but got away a few minutes behind schedule on a trip to Lockerbie. This time we were not catching the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda but going to a hotel in the town to meet Venetia. Venetia is a long standing friend of my sister Mary and having been to a symposium in Newcastle, she was taking the opportunity of having come so far north in England to go a little further and meet us and have a tour of our part of southern Scotland.
I was delighted to meet her as she is a frequent commenter on the blog and has sent me several guest pictures of the day.
She was waiting patiently for us when we arrived and she was soon ensconced in our car as we headed off north to Moffat, our first stop. There we had coffee, did a little shopping, admired the Moffat Ram…
…and set off out of the town to visit the Devil’s Beef Tub. The Devil’s Beef Tub is a dramatic hollow among the hills north of the town where the Johnstones (“The Devils” to their enemies) would hide their cattle in Border Reiving days. It was described by Sir Walter Scott in these terms: “It looks as if four hills were laying their heads together, to shut out daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A damned deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is.”
It didn’t look quite so dramatic to us today in spite of some gloomy weather but it is an impressive hollow.
We rolled back down the hill into the town and then drove out on the Selkirk road. This gave Venetia her first taste of the delights of log lorries on narrow roads as we followed three of them, having to stop every time we met a car coming the other way. We finally got to our next port of call, the Grey Mare’s Tail.
This is the name given to a fine waterfall which drops over side of the valley from Loch Skene above.
There are footpaths both to the top or the bottom of the falls and Venetia and Mrs Tootlepedal took the path to the bottom. I took a picture of them on their return which which shows the scale of the waterfall.
I looked back down the valley up which we had driven and I could see the typical U shape which shows that it has been scoured out by ice in times past.
We left the falls and continued along the Selkirk road to what should have been the most beautiful destination of our trip, The Loch of the Lowes and St Mary’s Loch. On a sunny day this is an idyllic place to be. It was far from sunny by the time that we got there…
…the many spots of rain didn’t encourage us to linger so we drove on, until by turning south at the end of St Mary’s Loch, we came across the hills to Eskdalemuir where we had lunch at the Hub. We stayed long enough for Venetia to see our photo exhibition and then continued south until we arrived at Langholm, in sunshine at last, and there we had a tour of the garden,,,,
….and a restful sit down.
A crime had been committed in the garden and we were able to catch the culprit red beaked….
We didn’t sit for long though and we were soon back in the car for a further tour. This took us up the A7 and across to Hermitage Castle…
…a favourite spot to visit for us. On this occasion, we were rather late and the castle was so strongly defended by an uncooperative attendant that we gave up hope of walking round it (although it didn’t officially close for another twenty minutes) and took some pictures of wild flowers beside the path…
…before continuing our drive to Newcastleton. From there, we came back across the hill to Langholm, stopping to watch a hen harrier quartering the moor on our way.
While we were parked, Venetia’s sharp eye noticed this fine thistle.
Apart from the sights we saw when we stopped, the whole drive was through lovely countryside and we hope that Venetia who lives in Glastonbury in Somerset, a famous beauty spot, got a good impression of this part of the world in spite of the generally grey weather.
We went out for a meal at the Douglas in the evening and then Mrs Tootlepedal kindly relieved me from my role as chauffeur and drove Venetia back to Lockerbie. It has been a great pleasure to meet her.
Amidst all this excitement, catching a flying bird was a bit of a sideline and this was the best that I could do.