Today’s guest picture comes from Irving who found a place without trees at Castle O’er. Not an easy thing to do.
After deciding a couple of days ago that I wasn’t going to take part in the annual New Year’s Day “Whisky Run” because of the snowy conditions, I changed my mind entirely when the snow disappeared as quickly as it came. As a result, I leapt out of bed this morning to greet the new dawn, put on my walking shoes and set out after breakfast.
The Whisky Run is a friendly affair that accommodates both serious runners and gentle walkers, the only condition being that you should try to start out at a time that will bring you to the Market Place in Langholm as near 11 o’clock as possible.
The main route takes the participants up the road on the west side of the River Esk, crosses the river at Burnfoot and then brings them back by track and road on the east side of the river along the Langfauld and then finishes along Langholm’s High Street. At just over 8 miles, it is the longest walk that I have done (as far as I can remember) since I did the same event last year.
I left myself plenty of time to do the walk and got round in two and a quarter hours, having paused to take a few picture on the way.
By the time that I had got to the far end of the route and had turned for home, the sun had made an appearance and picked out the windmills on the far side of the valley..
I looked back across the river at our local racehorse trainer’s track.
I got near to the Gates of Eden but didn’t go through them.
I liked the way that the sun had picked out a single field further down the valley.
The track was in better condition than I had feared and I stopped and looked back at Golf and Bauchle Hills behind me…
…and across to my favourite spot in the whole valley.
I passed a merry group of walkers who had gone for the shorter five mile option, including Mike Tinker on the right in the green,. He was one of the founders of this popular event more years ago than he cares to remember.
I stopped to look back at a view…
…which I had seen in very different circumstances only three days ago.
I continue to be amazed at the swift disappearance of so much snow so quickly.
I arrived a bit early and was able to watch bands of runners enjoying making the finish….
…and after a while I got the opportunity to take a group photo of some of the runners and walkers…
…and watch Alison, my Friday night orchestra, present the prize to the winner, flanked by the second and third placed runners.
While we waited for the prize giving, we were entertained by the Town Band which was doing its annual New Year’s Day perambulation of the town. It paused to play for us….
…and then proceeded with further perambulating.
Mrs Tootlepedal, having arrived at the Market Place ready to help Alison with the finish, found enough volunteers already in place and went off to bicycle round the five mile route herself.
I made some potato and leek soup and peered about to see of any birds had survived the Hogmanay celebrations.
The goldfinches were back, though the arrival of an argumentative siskin caused a little bafflement on the perch.
There are still plenty of blackbirds in the garden.
The day was mild enough at 5°C for Mrs Tootlepedal to brave the occasional short shower and do some digging in the garden as a start to her 2018 great gardening improvement scheme and it seemed a pity to me not to make use of a possible cycling day myself so while she delved, I pedalled off on my slow bike.
My major plan for the start of the new year is to lose some of the unwelcome weight that two slack months in November and December have piled on.
The best way to lose weight for me is to eat a little less and exercise a little more but since I like eating a lot, it tends to be a bit of a problem if the weather is not co-operative. Ten miles on the slow bike is not much but it is better than nothing….and I only had a small plate of fish pie for my tea.
I saw a few things on my way.
I took the New Hampshire Gardener’s advice after failing to get a good picture of the catkins on the tree and picked this twig off and laid it on a wall stone to get a better contrast with the background.
Then I looked at the wall stone and took a picture of it as well.
I avoided any showers and had a most enjoyable leisurely ride. When I got home, I prepared a cycling spreadsheet for 2018 and entered my first few miles into it. Having narrowly failed to make 4200 miles last year, I will try again this year so there are just 4190 miles to go. Here’s hoping for some good weather!
One of my resolutions for the new year is to go on more exciting outings with Mrs Tootlepedal. We just didn’t do enough in the way of getting out and seeing things last year, mainly because of the weather so I am determined to do better in 2018.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.