Today’s guest picture comes from the sister of the Canadian lady, Lucie, who sent me a fine picture of a bison. Jennifer, the sister, lives in the Highlands of Scotland and sent me this picture of a view from Feabuie woods near Culloden Battlefield, across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle.
We could have done with some of Jennifer’s nice weather here today as we had another mostly grey, mostly windy and often rainy day. Currently any resemblance to summer in Langholm is purely accidental.
When I ventured out into the garden after breakfast, I saw that the three Shirley poppies were feeling much the same about the weather as me…
There were other soggy flowers.
However I was cheered up when I went to the Welcome to Langholm office…
…and found that not only did we have enough photographs to make a modest exhibition…
…but that several members had turned up to help so it didn’t take us long to get everything sorted out.
One of the helpers was Sandy and after we had finished, he and I went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a Jaffa cake (or two in my case).
There are plenty of lettuces in the garden so Sandy took one away and I had some of another one in the form of a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch. A lunch fit for kings.
After lunch, I checked the weather and as it seemed to be likely to be reasonably fair for a while, I went off to see the the horsemen on the Castle Craigs ride out. This is part of our Common Riding tradition and in a way, it is a rehearsal for the great day on Friday.
Horsemen career up the Kirk Wynd and onto Whita Hill (it is all men at the Castle Craigs ride out unlike the Common Riding procession, which is open to all riders) and I went some distance up the Wynd and waited for them to arrive.
The cavalcade is led by the cornet and so I was surprised to see his left and right hand men coming up before him…
…but the cornet was following close behind on his white horse.
I learned later that the cornet’s horse and its rider had had a difference of opinion about the route further down the hill but no harm came of it and he was soon back in his proper position at the head of affairs.
Mounted followers soon appeared in good numbers…
… leaving sensible gaps between groups as they came.
They soon all disappeared up the hill….
…and I followed behind on foot, pausing to take in anything interesting that I saw en route.
The horsemen go round the shoulder of the hill and assemble at the Castle Craigs where they get a group photograph taken. I walked up to the monument and then down to the track along which they would return and I had time to see that a good number of supporters had travelled up by car to greet the riders…
…and to position myself among the heather…
…below the track and wait for the arrival of the horses as they came back from theCastle Craigs.
They were preceded first by a quad bike and then by the editor of our local paper….
…but they didn’t keep me waiting long.
There were over eighty horsemen picking their way carefully along a very rough track along the hillside.
They passed me and turned down the track towards the road at the White Yett where the cars were waiting…
…and we could see the whole troop of riders in a line as they headed off towards Cronksbank….
….where they would stop for refreshments before returning to the town.
I left them to it as I had got a very kind offer of a lift back to the town from the editor who was going to drive through the town and round to Cronksbank from the opposite direction, intending to arrive there before the horses.
I was glad that I got out in the High Street and didn’t go with her, because the cornet’s father, when I met him on the return of the horsemen, reported that it had been very wet and very cold while they were there…and very, very wet, he added just for emphasis.
I was happy to sit at home and watch the time trial from the Tour de France which was following roads in Marseille very familiar to us from our holiday there last year. I could swear that I did almost exactly the same course as the cyclists did although I was on a tourist bus.
I went out to see the horses and riders on their return from Cronksbank, pausing to enjoy the crocosmia and hosta beside the dam as I went.
The cavalcade parades round the town when it come back, preceded by the Langholm Pipe Band, seen here about to cross the Langholm Bridge…
……followed by the riders dressed for the weather.
Those who had hired their horse for the day went off to the Kilngreen rather than cross the bridge but the rest followed the cornet down Thomas Telford Road.
I was going to follow too but it soon started to rain again so I went home. I found a moment to look at the privet flowers which are beginning to fall like snow….or possibly like pasta on a closer look.
Needless to say when all the excitement was over and the soaked riders had got home, the sun came out and we had a beautiful evening again for a while. It does this sort of thing on purpose. It did mean though that I could pick some peas to have with an omelette for my tea.
There was a spot or two of feeble sunshine while I was walking up the hill in the afternoon so I looked at my favourite view…..
The flying birds of the day are either standing around or about to go swimming.