Down dale and up hill

Annan distillery

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was rather surprised to find a police box figuring in the entrance to the distillery at Annan.

Annan distillery

As it was Sunday and the main roads are lorry free, I thought that the traditional pedal down to Newtown on the line of Hadrians Wall and back would be just the thing.  The forecast held a slight possibility of light rain and the certainty of a noticeable wind so I wrapped up well and set off not long after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir.

Newtown is twenty miles from home and Longtown is about halfway there so I broke up the forty miles with a  stop at Longtown on the way out…..

The archways in the buildings gave access for a cart to allotments behind the houses when they were first built.

…for a drink of water and a bite of a guava energy bar.  Then I stopped at Newtown for a banana with a second stop at Longtown on the way back  (it looked just the same so I didn’t take another picture).

My only other stops were to admire the orchids on the Canonbie by-pass on the way out….

by-pass orchids
They were not hard to spot

…and again on the other side of the road on the way back.

by-pass orchids

If orchids are what you like, the Canonbie by-pass is the place to be.

While I was taking the pictures of the orchids on the way back, I saw a lot of fluttering going on.  There were several brown butterflies flitting about.

ringlet butterflies

These are ringlet butterflies and I read that the white trim round the wings of the one on the right means that it is newly emerged.

It did try to rain on me once or twice in a half hearted way on the return journey but it got bored and stopped after a mile or so I got home dry.

The vigorous wind turned out not to be a big problem as it was mostly coming from the side and the road south of Longtown has good hedges to hide behind.  Taking my cue from Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France time trial yesterday, I achieved a negative split and came back slightly faster than I went out.  All in all, it was a very satisfactory ride as I managed an average speed above 15 mph, a very rare thing for me these days.

Alaric the Goth gardener was hard at work in the garden when I got home.  (The gardener tells me that she feels more spiritually in tune with Alaric than Attila these days and who am I to argue.)

She took a break from heaping up piles of material for the shredder and we had a walk round.

The roses are looking wonderful….

Mundi, Crown Princess Margareta and Moss roses
Crown Princess Margareta in the middle of the panel is Alaric’s current favourite.
Rosa Wren
This is Rosa Wren, my current choice…
rambler roses
…though the rambler roses may take over soon

The palest of the astrantias is looking better every day and is now taking over as the chief bee magnet.

astrantia with bee
I think that the bee must be an old friend of the blog from the way he is waving at me.

Below the astrantia, a mass of campanula is also looking attractive.


There is a clematis on the metal fence next to the vegetable garden.  I took shots from both sides of the fence.


It raises a question.  Is this two flowers from the same plant but with different numbers of petals or are there in fact two identically coloured plants growing in the same space?  Mrs Tootlepedal has no answer to the question.

I love complex flowers so I took another picture of the spirea.


After lunch, we sat down to watch the second stage of the Tour de France but as there were still 84 km to go and the broadcast is often interrupted by advertisements, we decided to record it and come back to watch it again when we could skip through the ads at lightening speed, thanks to the wonders of technology.

In the meantime, I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill to see if there were orchids there too.

There are no sheep or cattle on the hill at the moment and the result is that the hillside is a carpet of wild flowers…

Meikleholm Hill

…of many different sorts.

Meikleholm wild flowers

The hill was carpeted with tormentil, lady’s bedstraw (?) and hawkbit, in various different places…

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

…and the orchids which were there in good numbers were a bit of a sideshow.

meikleholm orchids

The spotted leaves tell me that these are marsh orchids.

I followed the flowery path round the side of the hill….

Meikleholm Hill

…meeting various objects of interest…

meikleholm fungus

…along the way.

Horse and rider meikleholm Hill

The horsewoman kindly paused to let me take her picture.

When I got to the gate at the col between Meikleholm and Timpen, I weighed up the weather, decided that it was friendly and struck out for the summit of Timpen with its fine views….

View from Timpen
The lightest fields are ones where the grass has been cut for silage.

…and obsolete trigonometrical point.

Timpen trig point

This part of the hill hill did have sheep on it so instead of wild flowers I saw bog cotton, sphagnum moss and reed tussocks.

bog cotton, moss, reed

It started to look as though it might rain so I didn’t linger and popped back down the hill as fast as good sense and a stout pair of walking poles would let me.

The Tour de France stage was worth waiting for and turned out to be more exciting than expected.

I rounded off the day with a visit to the shops where I was ambushed by a pot of clotted cream (Mrs Tootlepedal had been making scones.  It wasn’t my fault)  followed by a visit to the front lawn where I applied a generous measure of buck-u-uppo.   It has been a a generally cool summer and the grass is not growing fast enough to discourage the moss..  It was well under 60 degrees F when I was cycling in the morning.  We need a bit of heat.

The flying bird of the day is a very strange creature which Mrs Tootlepedal spotted.  It looked like a cross when it settled on a leaf but it flew all round the borders of the middle lawn before finally giving me an opportunity to shoot it.  I have no idea what it is and would welcome enlightenment.

curious creature




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Down dale and up hill

  1. What an excellent day. That is a crazy creature and I hope one of your readers can identify it.

  2. Strange thing number 1: was the Tardis making a flying visit to the Annan distillery? Strange thing number 2: your creature is very vaguely reminiscent of a perhaps sickly praying mantis. But we don’t have them in the UK. And what about those spikes on its legs?! How big was it?

  3. I searched for “stick like insect in Scotland” and came up with a plume moth called Emmelina monodactyla. That might be it. Online photos show it cross shaped when at rest.
    The mass of campanula is a beautiful sight and so is the view from the hilltop.
    Flowers of the same species can have a different number of petals but I’m not sure about flowers on the same plant. If I had to guess I’d say it was possible.

  4. I’m with Alaric (I preferred Attila, I had to look up Alaric) on the yellow rose. What a beauty. What kind of grass is cut for silage there? Most of our silage material here is corn, I think. Your flying creature is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. It does look a bit like a praying mantis several generations removed from Chernobyl. The sixth leg appears to be attached at the wrong place and the antennae are emerging from what? Are there eyes?
    Truly the stuff of nightmares.

  5. Yes, I agree with Allen – Emmelina monodactyla, a plume moth. The caterpillar’s food plant is bindweed. I would love to be able to walk your flower-covered hills! The variety of plants you have there is amazing.

  6. The roses are unbelievably lustrous and I love the spotted orchid. The Plume Moth doesn’t look anything like its name, but I am having a hard time thinking of something else to call it. Fascinating for sure.

  7. Your roses really are flourishing beautifully.
    You are very good at spotting all the different varieties of wild flowers.

  8. I don’t know how you choose a favourite among the roses; they’re all gorgeous. What a wonderful place you live in where equestrians pause for photoshoots, dairy products accost you, and insects greet you like an old friend!

  9. What views! And I am very impressed with your 15 m.p.h. speed. Clif and I can barely make 10, but we are working on it.

  10. Hats off to you for fitting so many interesting activities into a day! The roses are beautiful and all look in tip top condition and seeing all those wild flowers was a treat and that moth…sums up your post….extraordinary and amazing!

  11. Taxi dropped us off in Newtown that same Sunday and from there we completed our Hadrian’s Wall hike to Carlisle. We took train to Newcastle and tomorrow it’s back to USA. I will keep up with Tootlepedal’s brilliant story.

  12. Beautiful photos as always!

    I had to look up Alaric the Goth. An interesting fellow.

    The plume moth is an interesting creature. It does look a bit like one of our praying mantids over here.

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