Up and about

Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Northumbrian holiday.  It shows his daughter and granddaughter on their way to visit the castle on Holy island.

holy island

It was sunny here, the wind had dropped, the cattle had been taken off Meikleholm Hill, and it was a perfect day for a walk up a hill.  So I went for a walk up a hill.

It was cold but not ridiculously so and with the sun being high enough in the sky by now to impart a little heat, walking was very pleasant.  My walking poles are a great benefit for hilly terrain, both going up and going back down again.  They help push me up and stop me falling down.

As I went up Meikleholm Hill, I passed this old hawthorn.  At first sight, you might think that it has been blown over but it is still growing and just keeping itself as low to the ground and out of the wind as it can.

old hawthorn

From the top of Meikleholm Hill at 262m (859ft) I paused for a breather and to admire the view along the ridge from Castle Hill to Potholm Hill on the other side of the Esk…

castle hill ridge

…and the green fields beside the river below.

milnholm valley

Two views that never fail to please.

Looking up to my left, I saw a very unusual sight indeed these days.  As you can see, the blades of the turbines were absolutely stationary for once.

craig windfarm still

I dropped down from the top of Meikleholm Hill and then began the walk up Timpen, the next hill along the ridge.  In spite of all the recent rain, the going underfoot was not too bad, and although I was only wearing walking shoes and not boots, my feet stayed dry.

climb to timpenb

Once again I was glad of an excuse to stop for a breather when I got to the top of the hill.  The trig point there has a bench mark, showing that I had reached 1024ft (312m) above sea level.

trig point timpen

To be fair, I had started at 269ft (82m) in the town so I hadn’t actually climbed a thousand feet.

There is a good view to reward the walker at this point.  Sadly, although it was a sunny day, it wasn’t a clear day and the hills in the distance were slightly obscured by haze.

view from timpen

Still, I wasn’t complaining, as the lack of wind made the 5°C temperature feel quite spring like as I walked on along the ridge to the north.

descent from timpen

I didn’t go far along the ridge and gently slid off the top of the hill making my way down to the road below by easy stages, using the contours as my friend.

Looking down below me, I could see Craigcleuch, built in 1874 for one of our local mill owners.


Looking beyond the house, I could see the road running through the Gates of Eden in the foreground and the hills of the Ewes valley beyond.

view through gates of eden

As I dropped down the hill, I came to a little gully where the steep banks had discouraged the sheep from eating the trees before they could grow.  I was stopped in my tracks when I saw a monster waiting to attack me…

monster green sike

…but it turned out to be harmless.

I liked this  old tree which had managed to survive even though it was on the flat above the gully.

tree green sike

The little gully that I was walking  along was joined by another…

green ske junction

…and together they made quite a dent in the hillside down which the Green Sike ran…

green sike

…and provided some picturesque corners where a picnic on a sunny day would be quite in order.

delightful spot green sik

I arrived at the road, and set off back to town.  After coming down the hill from the quarry, I chose to take one of the Langholm Walks paths instead of continuing along the road…

…and there could not have been a greater contrast to my open hilly route on the way out.

walk 2

I passed an elegant fern on my way and I could easily tell you what sort it is if only I could remember what Mike Tinker had told me when we walked here a year or two ago.  He is a fern fancier and knows them all by name.

fern on walk 2

A little stream chattering down the hill…

cascade near Duchess bridge

…and a newly broken branch…

fallen tree near Duchess Bridge

….were a reminder of last week’s wet and windy weather.

I got home just in time for lunch, having had a four mile walk of which not one single second had been boring.

After lunch, I watched the birds for a while.  There weren’t many about and some of those that visited the feeder wished to remain anonymous.

chaffinch hiding

…though others were keen to make sure that I had noticed them.

chaffinches checking

I didn’t watch the birds for long though and I greatly surprised myself by getting ready to go out for a cycle ride.  The day was just to good to waste.

All the same, the weather gods had to have their little joke and as soon as I put my cycle helmet on, it started to rain quite heavily.  Luckily, it was only a little joke, and a few minutes later I set off in dry conditions which lasted for the rest of my ride.

The lack of wind couldn’t last and there was enough wind for me to notice but not enough to make cycling a chore.

I had already taken far too many pictures and I didn’t stop for any more until a red traffic light at Irvine House forced me to apply the brakes.

I had another look at the landslip there…

landslide irvine house

Looking at it, it seems fortunate that some of the road didn’t go down the hill too. The fallen tree had taken quite a lot of masonry with it.

landslide irvine house tree

In contrast to the still morning, smoke from a neighbour’s chimney when I got home showed that the wind was back in the afternoon.


I had had ideas of a longer ride in the benign conditions, but my legs were quite adamant that the 20 miles of my familiar Canonbie circuit would be quite enough, thank you.  So that’s what I did.  It doesn’t pay to take up arms against your legs.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the morning but she had done some useful gardening in the afternoon so we had both been able to make good use of a rare calm day.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to another meeting.  The proposed land purchase is keeping her and the rest of the group very busy.

For the second day running, before I got to work on the blog I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, using the program which our son Alistair kindly repaired for us.  There is quite a backlog arising from the time when the page was unavailable so the data miners are on hold at the moment.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch looking positively stately.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: I am sorry about the large number of pictures but I did throw out a lot more,  It was a good day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Up and about

  1. Glad you had such a good walk in the morning. We also had a very enjoyable walk in excellent conditions at Stobs Camp near Hawick. It’s so nice to get out into the hills with blue skies and very little wind.

  2. Although you may not have gone through 1,000 feet, it was not a hill you climbed but a mountain, given the approved height of such a feature.

  3. The hawthorn on Meikleholm Hill is a testament to the tenacity of life. The views up there on the hills are beautiful – glad you got out for a good walk in sunny weather.

    I like Craigcleuch, hidden among the trees. The old owner must have lived well.

  4. As you say the light breeze and the hazy sunshine today made our 6c feel positively balmy.
    Great shot of the Gates of Eden.

  5. I see that Dropscone knows his way around a camera as well as a bakery. That’s a fairy tale photo.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad photo from one of your walks. You live in such a beautiful place, and I hope everyone in town knows and appreciates how fortunate they are.
    I hope to do some climbing soon but my views won’t be anything like yours. We have so many trees you’re lucky if you can see 10 feet.

    1. It is hard to believe that you can have too many trees but I would be hard pushed to live in a place with extensive views, I am so used to them.

  6. As I am momentarily bound to crutches I am happy that you do such beautiful walks for me and record the views on your blog.

  7. Glorious views on your walk and cycle ride- you can never take too many photos! A visit to Northumbria and Holy island is now on my bucket list joining all the other places around Langholm!

  8. So impressive how many meetings Mrs T is attending.
    Also impressive how much physical activity you got in today!
    And “doesn’t pay to take up arms against your legs“ made me chortle.

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