Mrs Tootlepedal walks the walk

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile in Canada, Joyce. She was greeted by this scene on New Year’s Eve. There will be shovelling.

canada new year

The new year here came in with clouds but no rain and no frost, so all was well set for the ‘Whisky Run’, a long standing Ne’erday event in Langholm, organised by our friends Mike and Alison with the help of their friend Charlie. It is an informal event for runners and walkers where what is important is not when you start, but when you finish. You can start whenever you like but you must try to finish at the Market Place as near to 11am as possible.

Leaving her decision to the very last minute, Mrs Tootlepedal decided that she would walk the eight mile long route and left the house at 8.25 just as it became light enough to walk safely on public roads.

I gave her a quarter of an hour start and followed.

It was as good a day for walking as you could reasonably expect on the first of January, with a light wind and generally ice free roads, but it wasn’t a great day for taking photographs early in the morning.

I also didn’t want to waste too much time stopping for snapping as I thought I might need all my time to get to the end punctually. I did stop once or twice though.

The walk starts with a stiff climb so I was probably happy to have an excuse for a breather when I had got over the first hill.

gill near craigcleuch

It was misty in the valley below me as I walked down towards the Burnfoot Bridge over the Esk.

esk at craig

I noticed a couple of horses in a field beside the road near…

ponies at craig

…the racehorse training establishment.

racetrack at craig

Passing the training track, I came to the Burnfoot Bridge, and having crossed it…

burnfoot bridge

…I plodded up the second long hill of the walk, looking back down the misty valley which had been my outward route.

mist on langholm road

At the top of the hill, I noted the cottage at Henwell which always strikes me as being a perfect example of a borders hill farm cottage.

cottage at henwell

The road took me past a small quarry which was full of cows, and I wondered if they had been stashed there by Border reivers.

cattle at henwell
I approached the Gates of Eden, which I have often photographed on more sunny days from across the valley..

gates of eden spetember
The Gates in September earlier in 2019

…though they didn’t look quite so inviting today.

gates of eden henwell

I wasn’t going to go through the gates anyway as our route took us to the right at the spot where you can see a white van in the picture above.

From there, it was straight back to Langholm with a slight kink at Potholm farm to make a detour round a bridge which got washed away some years ago.

I passed Mrs Tootlepedal at Potholm. She was making good progress and listening to the radio on her phone as she went along.

I had been walking without passing or being passed up to this point but from then on in, I caught up with other walkers…

langfauld walkers

…and was passed by eager runners. I arrived at the Market Place at five to eleven and Mrs Tootlepedal followed me in at five past, so we were both pretty happy with the timing of our efforts. The eight miles was our longest walking outing for a couple of years.

The runners and walkers gathered in the square for New Year greetings, tots of whisky, the prize presentation and a group photo. This was the last year that Mike, Alison and Charlie were going to organise the event so it is to be hoped that some others will take on the task next year as it makes a cheerful start to the year…

…especially as the Town Band always arrives to play in the Market Place while the runners are there.

town band new year

Mrs Tootlepedal and I made our way home, and on the way, we met our neighbours Liz and Ken who came in with us to enjoy a cup of coffee with a tot of whisky added and a seasonal piece of shortbread.

Ken has had many medical troubles this year but between visits to the doctor, he has somehow managed to squeeze in over 6000 cycling miles this year. Memo to self: must try harder.

When they left, I watched the birds for a bit.

I was happy to see a redpoll chatting to a siskin on the plum tree….

redpoll and siskin

…and took the fuzzy picture because it is an unusual sight. It does show how similar on size and build redpolls and siskins are.

At the feeder, one chaffinch leaned round the corner and gave another chaffinch a really nasty shock when it approached.

astonished flying chaffinch

A collared dove looked down from above.

collared dove

And Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the walnut tree was dripping with big black birds.

jackdaws in walnut

Over coffee, Ken had told me that he had cycled thirty miles yesterday in very low temperatures while I had been walking up my hill, so I thought that I ought to at least make an effort in slightly milder conditions today and went for a 16 mile ride up and back down the main road after lunch.

I didn’t stop to take photographs as it was still very grey and I wanted to get home before the light faded. The only picture I took was the old toll house at Fiddleton. I had stopped there anyway as that was where I turned to come home.

Thanks to a kindly wind which helped me up the hill and didn’t make too much of a nuisance of itself on the way back down, I averaged just under 14 mph. This was a promising start to my 2020 cycling year.

fiddleton toll

Strangely, neither Mrs Tootlepedal or I was fit for a great deal in the late afternoon and evening so it was lucky that the Magnificent Seven was available on the telly to remind us of the days of our youth. It stands up remarkably well to the test of time and still has some of the coolest film moments that I can recall.

I would practise that gunfighter’s walk if my knees didn’t creak so much.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, doubtless the first of many in 2020.
flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Mrs Tootlepedal walks the walk

  1. Congratulations to both for walking so far and timing it so well. I loved the many views you took on the walk, as I think said yesterday, you live in a beautiful part of the UK.

  2. An interesting walking and running event. Congratulations to you both on the eight miles! I enjoyed the scenes from along the way as well as the feeders back home, particularly the siskin and redpoll.

    We have had rain and wind squalls here all day. A little sun now and then, but quite brief.

  3. That’s a long walk that I’m not sure I could do on hills. The views would be enticing though.
    The farm cottage would also be hard to resist for me. I’d love to live in such a spot.
    I hope you’ll see more of the weather you had when you took the gates of Eden photo. It was a beautiful day.

  4. Happy New Year to you and yours! I’m reading this post on January 2, and what a marvelous way to start the New Year. I was especially moved and inspired by your description of Ken and his dedication to biking even though he has had many health problems. I will be biking on my road to nowhere in anticipation of being back on the road come spring.

  5. Great way to start the New Year! Shattered! Love the photo of the siskin and redpoll and the guest photo is beautiful but chilly!

  6. An eight mile walk and 16 mile ride . . . an auspicious start to the year. The community walk is a wonderful idea. I think Joyce’s picture is very pretty, but I prefer the minimal snow we have here right now!

  7. Hi tootlepedal, You’ve already set a very high standard for pedalling, walking and blog posting for 2020. I’m afraid I had a puncture on my way in to my night shift this evening, but it did mean I had a good walk. My Fitbit watch informs me I’ve done over 15,000 steps as a result. Swings and roundabouts I think you’d call it. I have to admit I quite enjoyed the walk, it took me 40 minutes pushing my Pioneer along with me, pedalling it would have 10 max. And I wasn’t late for work, just had to put up with a fair bit of ribbing from my colleagues, Funny how everyone else can see the comical side of my misfortune. Part of life’s rich tapestry I suppose. I have a load of catching you up, to do already. Cheers

  8. On the other hand, I rather like the dappled light in your Gates of Eden image. That sounds like quite the workout you had on the ‘Whisky Run’. Good to see you starting the year with such a great workout. What a great and ambitious idea!

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