Uphill work


Today’s guest picture was taken by Venetia on our recent tour with her.  It shows a fine set of foxgloves near Hopsrig.

foxglovesRather to our surprise, we had a very pleasant morning today and Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it by working hard in the garden.  I clipped three more of the box balls….

box balls…leaving just two more to go.

The recent wind and rains have battered the delphiniums so severely that Mrs Tootlepedal is thinking of not growing them again but there are still quite a few standing…..

delphiniums…and I would be sorry to see them go.

The first dahlia of the year has appeared in all its gaudy glory.

Not a shy retiring flower.

Our lone gooseberry bush is doing well and both our neighbour Liz  and  Scott, the minister, dropped by during the day to collect a little of its bounty.  There is still plenty left for me so well has it cropped this year.

In the early afternoon, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to keep an eye on the Tour de France for me and went off to the White Yett in the car.  Today was the day of the Castle Craigs ride out and my plan was to take a picture or two to celebrate this event.

I left the car and walked up the track towards the monument.  There was plenty to see on the way.

Every boulders was lavishly supplied with lichens

And the side of the track was lined with thistles.

thistleThere is no sign of proper heather (calluna vulgaris) yet but there were a few bursts of bell heather (Erica cinerea) beside the path.

bell heather thistle
There was pink all around.  The thistles were busy with bees.

I got to a spot on the hillside where I could look down to the town in the valley below…

Langholm…and protected my camera from some unwelcome rain.  Walkers coming up the track in front of the riders were better dressed for the weather than I was…

walkers castle craigs…but luckily for me, standing there coatless in my short sleeves, the rain soon stopped.

The Castle Craigs ride starts in the Market Square and the riders gallop up the Kirk Wynd before assembling on the hill….

Castle Craigs…and then starting the climb up to where I was standing.

Castle CraigsThe cornet and his retinue will ride up this track again next Friday, our Common Riding Day, but then he will be carrying the town’s standard.

Castle CraigsHis mounted followers passed me by in single file on the narrow track…

Andrew Jeffrey…some, like Andrew, obligingly pausing for the camera….

Castle Craigs…before disappearing round the shoulder of the hill.

They collect at the Castle Craigs (hence the name of the ride)….

Castle Craigs…where they wait for a boys fell race from the Tarras valley below….

You can see cars parked at Cronksbank where the ride stops for refreshment on its way round the hill.

…before setting off back along the track….

Castle Craigs….and then down the track that I had walked along….

Castle Craigs…until they get to the road.

Castle CraigsI let them go and walked slowly back to the car stopping to admire a small green frog which Keith Davidson pointed out to me….

green frog
It was about the size of my thumb, much smaller than the frogs in our pond.

…and a last piece of bog cotton…

bog cotton…and the two handsome cairns which mark the track.

castle craigs cairnsAs the cavalcade continued on its way, I drove home in time to see another exciting stage of the tour come to its conclusion.

It soon started to rain so I was glad that I had not followed the riders any further.

I had thought of another short cycle ride but the combination of walking over some very rough ground following the horses and the intermittent rain persuaded me that this was not a particularly good idea so I didn’t go out.

My knee is steadily improving and I hope to give it a good test soon.

Later, I dug up three more early potatoes and was pleased to find no slug damage on them at all.  Long may this happy state of affairs continue.  I picked a few broad beans and had them and some of the potatoes with a lamb stew for my tea.

If it doesn’t rain too much tomorrow, I am going to start picking the blackcurrants as I notice that the birds have got ahead of me there and there may not be many left if I delay any longer.

I found a flying chaffinch in the rain.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Uphill work

  1. Sorry the rain came back for you. It was bliss to return to tee-shirt sunshine and warmth here in the south this afternoon!
    Love the picture of the single file horses. Reminiscent of some equine paintings.

  2. The riders look very smart in their bowler hats and uniform and there is a lot of them. What organisation do they come from?

    Glad you arrived home in time to see the finish of today’s stage in the Tour. I thought it was another very exciting day.

  3. bog cotton! We saw quite a lot of that while hiking in the peat bogs of Maine. Not a common sort of habitat back in my neck of the woods, bogs. They harbor some fascinating plants.

  4. I love the background in that shot of the thistles. It’s the kind that I hope for in my photos but rarely see.
    I’ve never heard of bell heather. Its flowers remind me of blueberry.
    I’ve never seen a dahlia quite like that one either. It has a lot going on.

  5. The ride out looks very grand – thanks to Andrew for pausing for that wonderful photo. I had to google bog cotton…very interesting. The Tour de France has lost it’s sparkle for me this year as there are no kiwis left in it…yes, shallow, I know 🙂

    1. I can sympathise with that feeling. Luckily for us there has been much more British interest in recent years though it is a bit of a pain to have to acknowledge any gratitude to that Rupert Murdoch fellow considering the harm he has done to the country in general..

  6. What a fine mob of riders and steeds in beautiful countryside. Lovely lichen and thistle too. The delphiniums are a lovely colour and very showy. I agree it would be a shame to see them go. You have many other gorgeous displays in your garden though. It is such a pleasure to be able to share in your garden via your excellent photos.

  7. A splendid turn out for the Castle Craigs ride out. Wonderful shots looking over the hills.
    Glad knee improving.

  8. The first thistle photo and the one of the riders in single file on the track are my favourites today. I’m glad your knee coped with the uneven ground on your walk.

  9. My memories of the ride-out and common riding are some half a century old. But when the ride out paused at Cronksbank for refreshments part courtesy of my long departed grandparents Lizzie and Jack Mitchell, the farm buildings tended to be pristine. Sadly, while the house has been modernised, the outbuildings are characterised by decay and dilapidation and the surrounding fields by broken dry-stone walls and fencing. Perhaps some of the older riders can remember Cronksbank as it was in the 1950s and 60s. The Common Riding was and I hope still is, a marvellous day in the Muckle toon’s calendar.

      1. Thank you Tootlepedal. I was there in 2013 and it was empty. When I was there in 2012 it was occupied. Alec Borthwick was in the cottage. My wife and I had a pleasant hour or so with him. Evidently, he worked at the Metal Box Company in Carlisle. It transpired that his first apprentice (in the 1960s) was a pal of mine with whom I trained for running.

  10. That dahlia is divine! And the thistle photo is particularly clear and sharp with wonderful bokeh.

    Thank you for so many photos of the common riding! I enjoyed each and every one!

  11. What a marvellous spectacle all those horses and riders make. Last year we saw some of your Common Riding Day on TV. It looked very interesting and a fine tradition to keep going.

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