Very long

Monkseaton Senior School

Today’s guest picture comes from ex-Langholm Archive data miner, Ken who is now living on the wrong side of the country.  He sent me this picture of Monkseaton Senior School, a place where the children obviously get a fully rounded education.

Monkseaton Senior School

Spoiler alert: If you don’t care for big lorries and birds, look away now.  There are too many pictures in this post.

Our spell of dry weather continued today.  This was fortunate as my day started with two outdoor activities.  Much to my surprise, I not only woke up at seven o’clock but I actually  got up at seven o’clock and then Mrs Tootlepedal got up too and we went off on a great windmill hunt.

This was a speculative venture as the offical time for the passing of the windmill procession was between six and eight am but the men whom I had met yesterday had told me that it might easily be much later.  This meant that when we arrived just before eight, we might have missed the thing altogether or still have hours to wait, not knowing whether it had gone past or not.

It was therefore with some degree of triumph (and a relief) that the first thing that we spotted was a police car with a flashing blue light.

windmill transport

We parked our car safely out of the way and I walked back to ask the policeman in the car what was the programme.  He told me that the load for today was turbines rather than the windmill tower itself and I was a bit disappointed until I saw the lorry appear….

windmill transport

with a 60metre blade on board…..followed by a second….

windmill transport

…and then a third.

windmill transport

They had a narrow bridge to cross….

windmill transport

…which needed inch perfect navigation and then they came up the hill from the Gair road…

windmill transport

…crossed the Waterbeck road with more skilful driving….

windmill transport
The back bogey with independent steering

…and drove onto the specially constructed track through a field on the other side of the road.

windmill transport

Soon all three blades were parked in the field.

windmill transport

I needed to use the panorama setting on the Lumix to get them all in from side on.

windmill transport

A remarkable sight.

They had set off from Glasgow at midnight, come down the motorway overnight and them waited at Kirkpatrick until daylight before they ventured onto the narrow back roads to bring them to Waterbeck.  At this point there was still four miles to go before they could get to the windmill site itself.  I could see the site from the field…

Ewe hill windfarm

…and it was sobering to realise just how big those turbines are.

After a pause to ensure that the road ahead was clear, the lead driver got into his vehicle…

windmill transport

…gave a cheery wave and set off for the final leg of the journey…

windmill transport

…very carefully.  Soon the whole cavalcade was on its way.

windmill transport

There were clues that this wasn’t entirely a home grown operation.

windmill transport

Mrs Tootlepedal and I were mightily impressed by the efficiency and calmness of the operation and went home very happy to have got such a good reward from an early start.

I had time for a slice of toast when we got home before Sandy arrived.  I had taken on the job of a fill-in feeder filler at the Moorland Project for an absent friend and Sandy very kindly offered to give me a lift up to the site.  We were fully equipped with cameras and tripods and after we had filled the feeders, we settled down in the handy hide for a bit of bird watching.

There were plenty of birds to watch.  I was pleased to see lots of chaffinches and a bunch of healthy looking greenfinches…

chaffinch and greenfinch

…and a good number of coal tits and great tits.

coal tit and great tit

The chaffinches flew around in all directions…


…but the star of the show was a dozy pheasant….


…who walked up a branch and fell off the end.

A couple of woodpeckers put in a very fleeting appearance…


…but didn’t stay to feed.

There were outbreaks of cuteness…

robin and rabbit

…and a good deal of self conscious posing for the camera.


The lure of a cup of coffee got us moving in the end and after a look round outside the hide…

Langholm Moor

…we headed for home.

After coffee, Sandy went off and Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about reducing the mound of garden clippings….

garden clippings

….to this useful pile of compost.

garden clippings

It is a very handy machine when Attila the Gardener is in full flow.

Then it was time for lunch.

We had just finished when the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a tiny wren outside the window.  I caught a glimpse of it before it flew off.


With giant turbine blades in the morning and a tiny wren in the afternoon, we had a day of marked contrasts.

I had hoped to continue with my run of short cycle rides after lunch but the wind was just too strong for comfort today so instead I sieved some more compost, mowed the front lawn and ate some raspberries.

Mrs Tootlepedal amused herself by going off to get some muck from her manure mine and when she got back we noticed a lone butterfly on the dahlias. It was a small tortoiseshell.

small tortoisehell butterfly
They have been very scarce this year.

I enjoyed looking at the rich colours still about in the garden.

poppy, rose, cotoneaster and nasturtium

Long may the good weather continue.

We went in for a cup of tea and I had so many pictures to look at already that I decided not to go for a short walk and take some more in spite of the nice day.  This was just as well as looking at the pictures that I had already taken filled in all the available time before it was necessary to get tea cooked.  We had smoked sausage risotto and courgette fritters.  I shall miss Mrs Tootlepedal’s courgette fritters when the courgette supply finally runs out.

After tea, I went off to sing with our local choir, Langholm Sings and we had a really enjoyable rehearsal.  Although our numbers are small, everyone is working hard and we are making good progress.  As she is singing in two other choirs, Mrs Tootlepedal has decided to retire from Langholm Sings.  She will be sadly missed.

The flying bird of the day is that pheasant, recovering (just) from stepping off the end of the branch this morning.

flying pheasant


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Very long

  1. Wow. ‘Specially built trucks. What else do they haul, I wonder? Do they need a specially built ship as well to get them over from where is it? Germany? The Netherlands? I found this very exciting and was holding my breath during some of those turns. What experts the drivers are! Will you be able to ride those roads of the windmill once it is up? Your wren looks similar to our house wren.

    1. The great charm of the independent front and rear is that they can transport any length of girders or such like. They will also carry the towers when they come. The turbines may be made in Denmark but I am not sure.

  2. If it wasn’t for the independent rear steering I don’t think they could get the turbines over such narrow, twisting roads. It’s a marvel of engineering though.
    Both the tortoiseshell and pheasant are beautiful.
    The bird next to the robin looks like it had its head in a hole.

  3. There are a few places that I go for work where I could really use that rear wheel steering, even though we pull trailers that are much shorter than the blades of the turbines are. I’ll bet that the going was very slow as they made their way to the final destination as narrow as the roads are.

    I loved the flying pheasant, the ones around here have learned not to fly unless they have to, that way they don’t get shot during hunting season. It was also great to see the variety of other birds at the feeders.

    That’s a huge pile of clippings, I suppose that this time of the year Attila the Gardner generates many piles like that though.

    1. The pheasants wouldn’t fly if it wasn’t for gangs of men waving flags and shouting at them. They have learned to perch on the feeders at the feeding station so maybe they will learn not to fly too.

  4. There are definitely not too many lorry pictures. Even with the special vehicles I find it hard to imagine something that long negotiating winding roads or going around corners – it doesn’t seem possible. The drivers must be real masters of their trade.

    1. They must be. They got across the little bridge on the back road which you wouldn’t imagine was possible at all. How are you? I was thinking of you just the other day.

      1. I am doing OK – still cycling, still playing music. Life has been presenting its challenges simultaneously which is disconcerting, but so far I’m keeping all the balls in the air.

        I am sending you a picture that I took a few ago with the intent of submitting it to you for your daily guest photo.

  5. Well done for getting up to see the turbines go past, what a sight it must have been. Very impressed at the pile of clippings reduced to compost so speedily.

  6. Wonderful! So glad you caught the procession. For someone like me (for whom reversing the car taxes my abilities) I can only gasp in awe at those truck driver’s skill. Pleased to see my favourite woodpeckers putting in an appearance but my pick of the day is the pheasant…I can truly identify with that level of doziness😊

  7. Great to see the blades up close. We’ve been stuck behind a procession here and the delays can be rather long. What on earth had the pheasant done to be asked to walk the plank?

  8. So many beautiful photos here, and the flowers still look good. A beautiful chosen and framed three panel photo of the pheasant. That looks like it should be hanging a wall in a prominent room. The pheasant makes a very artistic bird of the day, too! Robins look terminally happy. 🙂

    Lots of good compost in the making.

    The turbines are very impressive, especially when the blades are seen at ground level. A set of photos of them being installed on the turbine would be fascinating, but they probably don’t let you get that close.

  9. A fascinating series of photos of the trucks. You have a nice alliterative job title too and must have had a chuckle at the dozy pheasant. I like the FBotD photo. The pheasant redeems himself by being so handsome.

  10. I totally agree with all the other comments above. What an exciting day you’ve had! Those lorries are amazing and the drivers very skilled indeed. Those turbines are an unbelievable size and frightening when close to but quite elegant and magnificent when far away…as far away as possible! Love all the bird and flower photos but that dolt of a pheasant photo is my favourite today.

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