Over the hill

Today’s guest picture comes from Sandy. We had some spare seed potatoes earlier this year and he took them off our hands, planted them in a big bag, and looked after them. He has been rewarded with a good crop.

Our weather has settled down again to normal summer temperatures, and I had no need of a jacket as I cycled down to the Langholm Initiative offices after breakfast to take pictures of the visit of the Cornet Ruairi Hotson with his right and left hand men (previous cornets) to receive a gift from Jenny Barlow, the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve manager, to mark the Initiative’s respect for the work that he does while representing the town.

(The chap with the ferocious beard is our church organist and choirmaster ex-cornet Henry.)

When I got home, I had time for a quick walk round the garden, under the rose covered arch . . .

. . .and past a selection of flowers and veg . . .

. . . particularly enjoying the phlox . . .

. . . before it was time for coffee in the garden with Margaret. Our neighbour Liz heard us talking, came across to join us, and caused great merriment by juggling with an ice lolly.

After coffee, I walked across the road with Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal, and then came back along the dam. This let me see Liz’s fine acanthus, our neighbour Kenny’s forest of hosta, along with our own big potentilla and delicate crocosmia.

I noted a new dahlia when I got back into our own garden.

We didn’t have long to enjoy the garden as we needed to have an early lunch. It was a volunteering day on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve and we cycled up to the farm at Cronksbank to help with some tidying up before the arrival of the horses and riders on Saturday as part of the Castle Craigs ride out.

I had a look around and saw things of interest including a good deal of hardwood seasoning in the barn.

This was wood from trees that were victims of Storm Arwen, and will be used by our local highly skilled furniture maker.

The tidying up didn’t take us long, as a good number of volunteers had appeared.

We had passed a lot of good wild flowers on our way to Cronksbank, and I had remarked to Mrs Tootlepedal that I would stop to photograph them on our way home. However, this turned out not to be possible because Mrs Tootlepedal was in an adventurous mood, and we went home by cycling onwards rather than backwards.

After looking round at the immediate view . . .

. . . and up the Little Tarras valley . . .

. . . we cycled through the tunnel . . .

. . . and along the track to the ford across the Tarras Water at Perterburn.

The verges here were full of orchids. It is hard to do them justice but the little patch of grass in the top left block below has nearly twenty orchids in it. I have included a shot of leaves with the bottom orchid to show that it is a spotted orchid.

We approached the steep drop to the ford with care, as we didn’t know if the water would be too deep to let us cross it safely on our electric bikes. However, the recent lack of rain meant that it was fine, and we went across so smoothly that I didn’t manage to get a picture of the event itself, just the approach and the climb up on the far side.

Rather to our surprise, our small wheeled folding e-bikes were well up to the task of coping with the pretty rough and occasionally steep track up to the Newcastleton road, and it wasn’t long before we were on smooth tarmac and looking ahead towards the White Yettt and our road home.

Although they were not the flowers that I had hoped to photograph, there were some treats on the way. The camera and I agreed on the colour of the harebells today . . .

. . .and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a large clump of Erica Tetralix (bell heather) and bog asphodel on the moor.

As we climbed up towards the White Yett, we could look across the valley and see the white building at Cronksbank where we had been working earlier.

We whizzed back down the hill into Langholm, and completed our ten mile circuit in good time to see the best of a very exciting stage of the Tour de France.

Mrs Tootlepedal had picked a sprig of the heather and I took a picture of it when we got home.

I still have not mastered the close up skills required by my new camera.

I had thought of another short cycle ride in the evening, but I spent useful time in the garden instead, mowing both lawns, dead heading, and sieving a load of compost. Later on in the evening, I came out with Mrs Tootlepedal and we did some much needed watering.

Although I saw a few birds during the day . . .

. . . I didn’t find a good flying bird, so once again, a flying bee is standing in as flying object of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Over the hill

  1. I envy the furniture maker. Those boards look like they’d have some interesting grain patterns.
    It was nice to see the orchids and the “true” harebells. They look just like the garden flower we call peach leaved bluebells.
    The Olympus is very particular about the amount of light it needs and sometimes will just refuse to focus if it doesn’t have enough, but the shot of the heather looks good and sharp. This morning it refused to let me have a shot of some curly dock seeds until I found a plant that was in sunshine.

    1. It will take me time to get used to the Olympus. Your excellent pictures taken with it are an inspiration for me to take the time and trouble to get the best out of it.

  2. When ladies take the lead, you’re off on an adventure. At the very least, it resulted in very beautiful images and a meadow full of orchids. 🙂

  3. Local wood for the furniture maker is a good use of trees downed by storms.

    I was taken by that poppy seed case on its long stem. It reminded me of some sort of royal scepter.

    You see some very beautiful views on your bike trips. The one of the multi-level sky near the White Yettt was outstanding. That new camera has a way with clouds as well as flowers and birds.

  4. Enjoyed sharing your day with you via the lovely photos and the cheerful comments. Pretty harebell and orchid photos are my favourites.

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