Out and about

Today’s guest picture is another from my cello playing friend Mike’s trip to the north.  His wife Anne has kindly sent me some pictures which she took on the holiday,  including this one of Abraham in the biblical garden of Elgin Cathedral.

Elgin cathedral


It was another pointlessly drizzly morning here today with just enough rain to annoy but not enough to do any good.

wet wedding rose

It was quite warm though so I was happy to get my new bike out after breakfast and go for my regular 20 mile circuit to Canonbie and back.

I had to put my rain jacket on shortly after I left home but I was able to take it off again three miles later, though there wasn’t much opportunity to take shots of the wonderful views while I was stopped because there weren’t any views at all.

Bloch road on wet day

It brightened up a bit as I went round and by the time that I got to Canonbie…

Canonbie Church

…it was a cloudy but pleasant day.  My good mood was greatly enhanced by a friendly wind which let me cover the last fifteen miles of the route in exactly an hour of cycling time.

Steve, the man who makes our benches, has also provided us with a new bridge for the pond.  He delivered it today and Mrs Tootlepedal and I installed it.  I selflessly gave Mrs Tootlepedal the honour of testing it out.

new bridge

It held up very well.

I didn’t have time to do any gardening so after a quick smile from my favourite sunflower…


…I picked up my other camera and set off to walk up the Kirk Wynd onto Whita Hill.

There were plenty of wild flowers to give me an excuse for a stop on the way up the hill…

wild flowers kirk wynd

…and I was particularly pleased to see some heather out.


I needed the wildflower stops because, as you can see, it is quite a steep walk up from the town.


I wasn’t alone on the hill though, because not long after I found a good place to stand, the cornet and his right and left hand men came cantering up the Kirk Wynd and onto the hill too.

CC Ride-out 8

It was the last Saturday before the last Friday of July so it was the day for the Castle Craigs ride-out.

I liked the fine horse that carried Stuart, the right hand man, up the hill.

CC Ride-out 7

The ‘front three’ were soon joined by other riders….CC Ride-out 5

…and there was a general gathering for a moment’s rest…

CC Ride-out 4

…which gave me an opportunity to admire this beautiful horse…

CC Ride-out 6

…before the cornet led the cavalcade off up the hill…

CC Ride-out 3

…twisting and turning over the many hillocks and dips…

CC Ride-out 2

…before disappearing over the shoulder of the hill on their way to the Castle Craigs and Cronksbank.

CC Ride-out

Other eager pedestrians were following the horses on foot but I had had enough exercise for the day (and no lunch) so I headed back down through the town, got home, collapsed on the sofa…

…and let the heroes of the Tour de France take my exercise for me for the rest of the afternoon.

When the stage had finished, I went out into the garden to find that it was a lovely evening.  I noticed that a professional weeder had been at work…

weedy wheelbarrow

…and my scientific rain gauge had been put to good use.

Mrs Tootlepedal was doing some work in the vegetable garden and was surprised by just how dry the soil in the beds is.  The soil in the top six inches is basically dust if you turn it over and under that, there is a layer of hard, dried, fissured earth.  It is amazing that there any flowers thriving at all.

nasturtium, rose and poppy

But there are.


They must have deep roots.

We were able to supply the evening meal with many good things from the vegetable garden.

There was a scarcity of birds  when I had a moment to look at them and I was rather taken by this siskin which was much more interested in posing for the camera than eating seed,

siskin posing

Both I and Mrs Tootlepedal have been watering and there seems to be no immediate end in sight for this task as we have no rain in the forecast until the last day of the month, ten days away.

We are singing the Hallelujah Chorus in church again tomorrow so I had a final practice before settling down to write this post.  It will be good to have Mrs Tootlepedal back in the choir.

The flying bird of the day is half a chaffinch (the best that I could do)

flying chaffinch mostly


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Out and about

  1. The first man (Stuart?) on the white horse looks a little unsteady to me presumably because of the speed, but the last, on the black-and-white, has the kind of heels-down leg that they always taught us and without which it’s much easier to fall off. I’m surprised to see a thong whip with a rider since in my Regency-bogged mind they’re for carriage drivers–what an interesting event to get to see or to take part in. I do hope you get good rain that helps it all, and soon.

    1. The whip is largely ceremonial and not for actual use. Stuart was riding comfortably enough and the rider of the black and white horse was at rest which might have accounted for his stable appearance. 🙂

  2. From the looks of the “rain gauge”, it’s no surprise that your garden produces a good deal of compost! We had potatoes, beets, snap peas, and carrots from the garden last night. The carrots were mostly about the thickness of a fat pencil, but delicious nonetheless.

  3. The bridge looks like a nice addition to the garden. It sounds like you could use some drip irrigation in the beds if the soil is that dry. Or maybe a soaker hose.
    The lawn under the wheelbarrow looks like a carpet. It must be getting plenty of water.
    I know nothing about horses but I’ve always thought they were beautiful animals. It’s nice to see them out of a corral.

    1. We have been asked not to use a garden hose at the moment so we are just having to put up with it. We watered the lawn a lot as soon as the good weather started and that seems to have paid off as the dry spell has continued.

  4. Not only well presented beautiful horses but handsomely attired riders as well…what a treat to see the photos of them going over the hills. The rose, the sunflower and the cornflowers just say summer…can’t really remember the spring now with the Beast from the East…if it wasn’t for the watering it would be the best summer for years.

  5. I hope that for your sake, along with Mrs. T, and the flowers, that the weather forecast is wrong and that you’ll get some rain before the end of the month!

    Half a chaffinch is better than no chaffinch.

    I liked both the scenery and the horses in the Castle Craigs ride-out, looking forward to your coverage of the big day with the main events.

  6. I first thought of asking you what the significance of the Castle Crags rideout was, but then it occurred to me that I was being lazy and could Google it. Much to my surprise, I came up with something relatively local instead: http://castlecragscentury.com/index.html
    So, I added Langholm to my search and came up with this excellent explanation without putting you to the bother:
    You are in the midst of some wonderful historic events and settings!
    I enjoyed the other use of your very scientific rain gauge. 😀

  7. I remember starting my google search with Craigs (I looked back in your post to be sure of the correct spelling), but then I suspect that Mr Google did his “predictive” assumptions and changed it to our local Crags… at which point, I got confused and used the spelling for our local event. Once again Mr G just adds to the confusion! O_o

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