Uphill work

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s visit to Wetherby.

wetherby

This post has double the usual amount of pictures for reasons that will become apparent for those with the time and energy to slog through them.  If you make an excuse and leave now, I will quite understand.

Our spell of good weather continues and it is a bit irksome that it is somewhat wasted on a grumpy old man with dodgy joints and a sincere wish that it would rain so that he can stop watering the garden. It is the best summer for 40 years.  And it is not even too hot any more.  After the excessive heat a couple of weeks ago, the temperature is nearly perfect and there are enough passing clouds to give an occasional break from the sun.  I should be running across the hills and swimming in the rivers.  Ah well.

There just isn’t any rain.  It has rained twenty miles away to the south and twenty miles to the north but not on us.  Still, not so long ago there were severe floods twenty miles to the south and twenty miles to the north of us but not here so we should take the rough with the smooth.

I started the day with a little watering and flower watching.

There have been quite a few white butterflies about in the garden but no coloured butterflies at all.

white butterfly
This is a small white (I think)

I have been watering the verbascum and it is thriving.

verbascum

The privet is thriving without any help from me.  It is usually loud with bees.

privet

Knapweed has appeared in one of the beds.

knapweed

And I think that this is a zinnia just coming out.

zinnia

It is pretty warm in the direct sunshine and this blackbird was having a puff and pant in the vegetable garden.

blackbird

I stopped watering and did a load of washing and hung it out to dry (a speedy process these days) and then went off to collect my new improved asthma puffer from the chemist.  I am expecting a miracle cure.

I watched the birds when I got back and enjoyed a complete set of greenfinches on the feeder.

greenfinches

Somehow the morning seemed to slip away without much more input from me but after lunch, I leapt into action and walked up Meikleholm Hill.

There were still no orchids about but there things to be seen.

Meikleholm hill flowers
Harebell, tormentil and pineapple weed

But I hadn’t come to look at wild flowers or birds, though I enjoyed this meadow pipit piping away on top of a little tree…

meadow pipit

…and couldn’t resist one of my favourite views.

view of esk valley

What I was interested in was the first ride-out of the Common Riding fortnight.  It goes from the town…

View of Langholm from Meikleholm Hill

…across the hills to the village of Bentpath and back and is thus universally known as “The Benty Ride out”.

Looking over the edge of the hill, I thought that I could see movement on the town bridge…

horse cross bridge

…but I needed the big zoom on the little Lumix to see the cavalcade setting off from the Kilngreen….

benty rideout leaving kilngreen

…and crossing the town bridge.

benty rideout crossing bridge

The results are a bit fuzzy to say the least but as there was a brisk wind blowing and the horses were about a mile away, it is a tribute to the Lumix that it could pick them out at all.

I didn’t have to wait too long until the cornet, who carries the flag round the town on Common Riding day and leads the rides-out, came round the corner of the hill….

benty rideout cornet

…waved graciously at the cheering crowd (me)…

benty rideout cornet 2

…and cantered on to the top of the hill with his right and left hand men behind him.

benty rideout hunter's gate 1

(The right and left hand men are the cornets from the previous two years who offer experience and support to the current cornet in his many duties.)

Soon the other riders followed on…

benty rideout hunter's gate 2

…some at a good canter over the rough ground…

benty rideout hunter's gate 3

…until the whole group stopped for a breather at the gate onto Timpen (at just over 1000ft, Timpen would be  the highest point of the day).

benty rideout hunter's gate 4

An advanced marshall on a quad bike checked that the route was ok…

Timpen lead out

…and after some deliberation…

benty rideout hunter's gate 7

The cornet led the way…

benty rideout hunter's gate 8

…through the gate…

benty rideout hunter's gate 9

…followed by the other riders…

benty rideout hunter's gate 10

…and set off towards  the summit of Timpen.

benty rideout timpen 1

This was an opportunity for another canter…

benty rideout timpen 2

…and one or two minor upsets.

benty rideout timpen 3

…which led to a pause while loose horses were collected and reunited with their riders…

benty rideout timpen 4

…and then while those at the back caught up…

benty rideout timpen 5

.. the leaders sailed over the top of Timpen and disappeared along the ridge towards the Black Knowe.

The delay to catch the loose horses gave me the opportunity to walk up to the top of Timpen too and watch the riders for a little bit longer.

benty rideout leaving timpen 1

This is not country for the faint hearted rider.

benty rideout leaving timpen 2

…but on a day like today, it offers superb views of the Esk valley.

I liked the view of the cavalcade stretched out along the hillside with the Craig windfarm in the background, a pleasing blend of the traditional and the modern.

benty rideout leaving timpen 3The recent dry weather hadn’t made the ground too hard for comfort but it had done a good job in drying out many of the boggy bits that might dislodge an unwary rider.  It was wonderful underfoot for an elderly walker and I even ventured to run for a few yards to make sure I was in position to get that last shot.

The cornet waited for his followers to catch up

benty rideout black knowe

..and then as the procession disappeared into the distance…

benty rideout black knowe 2

…I was left to enjoy a last look up the Esk valley…

View from timpen

…and a stroll back down the hill in the company of two keen walking ladies who had also taken to the hills to watch the riders go by.

two ladies

This was the first time that the Benty ride-out has taken this particular route on the way to Bentpath and I was surprised that I was one of only four adults and two children who had come out to see this historic occasion, considering the good weather and fine views of the riders.  I suppose though that if you wanted to catch up with the riders again at Bentpath itself, it would mean a long walk back to the town to pick up your car to drive up to the village.

I had considered a cycle ride after the ride-out but the brisk wind and stiff legs after coming down the steep hill to the town allowed me to imagine that watching some sport on the telly might be almost as good as taking exercise on my own account.  There was plenty to watch, with a sprint finish in the Tour de France, a deserved victory for Belgium in the third place play off in the World Cup and some entertaining tennis too.

I was quite exhausted by the time cooking my tea came along.  I added spinach, peas and potatoes (sautéed) from the garden to some very reasonably priced fish cakes for a nutritious and economical feast.

It was a beautiful evening as I finished my watering tasks.

garden in evening

 

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Uphill work

  1. I don’t know if you swam in any rivers but you did run across the hills and I’m glad you did because the views are beautiful.
    That moth mullein (Verbascum) is also beautiful.
    It’s nice to have such a great stretch of weather occasionally.

  2. How very exciting to watch the Benty parade. Those hills do look like quite a challenge whether on horse or on foot. But what a perfect day for the event!

  3. Well done for such a good record of the start of the Common Riding. Enjoyed the shots of the intrepid riders and the fine views.

  4. After a now long lay of from reading all blog related media, it’s good to come back and see you still tootling tootlepedal, cheers

  5. I think that this was one of the few times when the weather has been good for any of the events in your area, and your photos were superb. While viewing the photos of the riding procession, I found myself spending as much time admiring the fine scenery in the background.

  6. Magnificent photos of he Benty parade…took ages to open your post with our slow internet but definitely well worth the wait! Love your garden photos too.

  7. What beautiful pictures. Somehow I never imagine your part of the world looking yellow rather than green.

      1. Thank you, Tom. We are extremely warm having had a few days of over 30 C The nights are cooler, I am glad to say. We haven’t had enough rain!

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