Going to the wall

Today’s guest picture comes from ex archive group member Ken. He came across this very delightful railway scene at Wylam on the Carlisle to Newcastle railway.

We had another grey day in Langholm today, with a hint of drizzle when we went out after breakfast. I had time for a walk round the garden before our visitor Venetia arrived. The theme today is abundance.

Mrs Tootlepedal especially likes those alliums under the silver pear tree. I like everything . . .

. . . but especially the soup plated sized poppies on our back wall. It is hard to pick a winner though.

Our visitor arrived and we went off for a short three bridges walk. Venetia is a regular blog reader and was keen to see some of the places that often appear in the posts.

We started at the church, where Mrs Tootlepedal took her inside to look around, and I watched the man on the cherry picker looking at the back of the church.

He had come down by the time that the ladies re-appeared, and he told Mrs Tootlepedal that there is no shortage of work needing to be done to make things safe.

From the church, we walked along the Esk to the town bridge. The waterside birds put on a good show for Venetia.

We went along the Kilngreen, crossed the Sawmill Brig and then we had a look at the red horse chestnut trees on the Castleholm.

We walked round the new path, admired the noble fir cones, crossed the Jubilee Bridge just as a blue tit emerged from the nest hole in the tree there, and got back home in time for a coffee just as a light drizzle started.

There had been plenty of blackbirds in the garden as usual but today, they were joined by a thrush.

After coffee, we got into the Zoe and set off for a drive to Hadrian’s Wall country.

We had a grand circular tour of about 100 miles in mind, coming home via Kielder Water, but being in an electric car, there is always a tinge of range anxiety even though our gauge was offering us a range of 190 miles as we left Langholm.

We got safely to Walltown Crags on the wall and parked the car to go for a walk. Much to my surprise, I found that there were two free electric charging points in this rather remote car park. This would have been ideal for a charge up while we walked, but unfortunately, I couldn’t access them and the phone reception was so poor that I couldn’t go onto the website to register which I think that I needed to do. There was no advice at the charging point and the lady in the kiosk couldn’t help so we left the car uncharged as we went off.

The walk was a great success. We looked up at the crags . . .

. . . and wondered if we would make it to the top! But there was a good path through a feast of wild flowers . . .

. . . including many northern marsh orchids, brilliant broom, tiny lesser trefoil, and up on the top, a single thyme flower.

The best looking orchid of them all was a spotted orchid. Looking at the internet, this may be a hybrid of the northern marsh and the common spotted.

The walk to the top of the crags was by way of a sheep cropped field . . .

. . . and surprisingly soon, we were looking back down to the wild flower meadow below . . .

. . . and up to the Roman wall ahead of us.

Perched on the top of an escarpment, the wall runs along the edge of the steep slope.

. . . we were just one of several parties of walkers enjoying the sunshine and the great views.

The wall is only a fraction of its original height now but it is still an impressive sight.

This is one of the small turrets that appear regularly along the wall . . .

. . . and of course where there is stone, you will usually find fine lichen too.

The wall has been robbed of much of its sone work over the centuries and this section soon ran out . . .

. . . and we took this as a hint to stop ourselves, and turn back to go to the car.

Some people think that Hadrian’s Wall is on the border between England and Scotland, but as we walked back and looked north over the wall, it was still England and not Scotland that we were looking at.

When we got back to the crags, we were able to look down on a large pond in the old quarry at the foot of the crags and the rolling hills beyond.

We had an ice cream when we got back to the car park and then decided not to complete the large circular drive but to go home by very much the way that we had come, with a diversion to Lanercost priory.

We passed a mile castle at Banks on the way to Lanercost and stopped for a look. Venetia checked an information board showing what the castle would have looked like when it was built . . .

. . . and saw that what is left is only a shadow of the original.

. . . but it was in a beautiful spot with a section of the wall and fine views so we were quite contented.

When we got to Lanercost, we had a walk round . . .

. . . and we decided that we would see if we could visit the ruined section. Sadly another technical glitch got in the way of this plan. Although there were no visitors around, we could only get in if we booked online. I got out my phone and started the process but it was so complicated and required so much information about all three of us that half way thorough, I lost the will to live, and we went and had a cup of tea on the cafe instead.

The fact that they couldn’t let us just write down our names and addresses and pay the entrance fee as there were no other visitors about was a tribute to an inflexible system. We didn’t have to write anything down in the cafe to get our cup of tea.

The cup of tea, revived my spirits and the drive home was a pleasure. We stopped at a garden centre on the way to let Mrs Tootlepedal buy a new hose attachment.

We had had a good afternoon of sunny weather for our trip and our enjoyment was perhaps enhanced a little when we found that it had obviously been drizzling steadily in Langholm in our absence.

Which it continued to do.

Venetia joined in our regular sibling Zoom, and then returned to her hotel. She will visit us for coffee tomorrow before heading north for the rest of her holiday.

We were very grateful to Venetia for giving us an excuse to have a genuine outing, the first for many months, but I am quite tired after two busy days, so I won’t be too unhappy if more rain tomorrow gives me an excuse for a quiet day in.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow in the evening rain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Going to the wall

  1. I enjoy your posts every day but it was especially thrilling for this American to see The Boathouse pub. I was there on June 25, 2017. We sat at their outside picnic tables having a beer and maybe sandwich after the train from Newcastle. We were on the first day of what was a very strenuous five day Hadrian’s Wall hike as far as Carlisle. Every hike is a good memory!

  2. I enjoyed this outing too – and shared your frustration at the inflexible booking system. Anyone would think they want neither visitors nor money! The orchid you feature is beautiful, as is the floral bounty in your garden. The bird of the day is a delightfully unusual photograph.

  3. I imagine I’m not the only one of your readers that has often thought how pleasant it would be to spend a day in your garden and along some of the walks and rides that we’ve enjoyed through your reports. I feel a touch of envy.

  4. Great pictures of your day, both the familiar surroundings and your Hadrian’s Wall outing. You took me there once – a most enjoyable visit.

  5. How rewarding to have a visit from a reader. Your pictures of the wall took me back a few years. Such a shame that you hit the curse of the inflexible system.

  6. The itinerary sounds like a wonderful way to spend a day, but the booking situation at Lanercost is outrageously bad business practice – I fear common sense has disappeared down a rabbit hole.

  7. I enjoyed the feast of flowers and views, especially the wall. I am glad Venetia was able to visit, and you all had such a beautiful outing. I am sorry to hear you were not able to get into Lanercost due to an inflexible system. That is a shame.

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