The weather gods play fair

Today’s guest photograph comes from my brother Andrew. He was pursuing his hobby of photographing swans when he discovered that on this occasion, all his swans were geese

For many years, an eight mile New Year’s day run has been organised in Langholm on the basis of starting when you like but trying to time your finish to be at the Market Place at 11 o’clock. This avoids any organisational needs at the start and maximises the social gathering at the finish of the event. Walkers are encouraged to join in too, so I had resolved to have a go this year if the weather was fine. I was pleased to wake up to a frost free and dry day.

I left myself plenty of time to get round the course, so it was still quite gloomy when I walked up to the start in the Market Place, and a dog walker had his dogs’ lights switched on as I set off along Thomas Telford Road.

I was wearing a hi-viz waistcoat because the road beyond the town is rather gloomy and I didn’t want to start my walk by getting run over. However, the recent felling along the road side has made it much more open and less dangerous now . . .

. . . and there was no traffic anyway.

The weather brightened up quite a bit as I went along . . .

. . . past curious ponies and the racing stables . . .

. . . and although there were still some clouds clamped firmly on the top of some hills . . .

. . . there was even a hint of sunshine as I crossed the River Esk by the Burnfoot Bridge.

The better weather stayed to the north though . . .

. . . and the clouds descended as I headed up the hill towards the Gates of Eden and took the track back down to Potholm . . .

. . .where I was passed by three runners.

I had seen very few other people up to this point but when I got on to the Langfauld track, traffic got busier as the weather got gloomier.

I felt so perky at this point that I even broke into a kind of shuffling run myself from time to time. I say that I was running, but I don’t think I would have been disqualified by the judges at a walking race.

A skein of geese flew overhead.

As I approached the town, a light rain began to fall so I concentrated on walking and stopped taking pictures. I was aiming to get as close to two hours as possible for the 8.4 miles and as I managed to get round in 2 hours and 6 minutes, I was pretty pleased. Conditions could not have been much better, as it was almost windless.

More than thirty walkers and runners took part in the event so there was a good gathering at the Market Place to hear a group from the Town Band welcome the new year in with some rousing playing . .

. . . and applaud the presentation of prizes by Charlie and Mike, the previous organisers of this event, to the male and female winners.

This year, the organisation was done by Mike’s daughter Elizabeth. She did it well and has now probably got a job for life.

It was raining in a more serious way by this time, so I didn’t dilly dally but walked home to dry off.

I filled the feeders when I got home and spent some relaxing time watching birds. There were several siskins about again today

. .. at least two dunnocks were to be seen as well.

Jackdaws tend to hang around in pairs . . .

. . . but collared doves are more collegiate.

Our son Alistair used our new soup maker to make some very tasty soup for our lunch while I played a little recorder music with our granddaughter Matilda.

After lunch, our visitors went for a short walk in some very light rain and I put my feet up. Later on, Matilda and I set about a 200 piece jigsaw with some seriousness. With a little help from her father in the middle, we soon got it done.

Alistair cooked some delicious mushroom burgers for our evening meal, and they were followed by Mrs Tootlepedal’s celebrated sticky toffee pudding (Nigella’s recipe, highly recommended). This rounded off a very good start to 2023.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow under the scrutiny of a siskin.

Footnote: I made a 30 second video recording of the Town Band marching into the Market Place. Those with time to spare can listen to it if they wish.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “The weather gods play fair

  1. What a wonderful way to start the new year with a town walk! I like the dog’s blanket lights. That seems like a very good idea. I enjoyed listening to the town band joyously marching in the new year. The birds are a nice start to the year, too.

    It sounds like family is all enjoying time together. Life is good.

      1. I love the details of yours and Mrs. T’s daily rituals and community involvement in your picturesque town. I get my community involvement as a 17-year member of our 2-county WSU Master Gardener group. Our mission to spread the joy and education of gardening to the community! I started my winter weeding chores yesterday by pulling and cutting holly volunteers in our forest. Not much gardening I do in the winter except to except the foraging our resident head of elk do my garden also known as “Terri’s Salad Bar”. They have gourmand tastes.

      2. I am quite thankful that we have very few elk in our garden. 🙂 Mrs T has just started to look seriously at plant catalogues.

  2. Just want to thank you for a year’s worth of interesting blog entries. Only seems fair to respond at the start of the new year to encourage you to continue your fine work. We really enjoy your ramblings, verbal and geographical. Thank you and all the best to you in 2023. Hugs from New Jersey, USA to you and Mrs. Tootlepedal.

    1. I thank you for taking the trouble to visit the blog. I am always very tickled by the thought of Langholm being known in far off places when it is not very well known to most of the people in the UK.

  3. What a great day you had to start 2023! My time in nature was spent chipping 2-3 inches of ice caked frost off of our front walk today. With any luck I will be done before our spring has sprung some time in May. (In reality, my husband is working his last night shift of this set tonight so he will be out there tomorrow afternoon helping me to clear the walks.)

  4. I agree with previous comments, it is lovely to see and hear the band, and it shows the spirit of the community at times like this. I enjoyed looking at the landscape, despite your weather being rather is still beautiful.
    I have been given a Nigella Cookbook for Christmas, so I’ll out for the sticky toffee pudding, it sounds delicious!
    Your granddaughter is very brave taking on such an enormous puzzle….and what fun for you and your son to help her complete it. My granddaughter has just turned five, and loves puzzles, so we have given her a puzzle of the map of Australia. Fortunately not to complex, she is enjoying it so far.
    Best wishes from Australia.

    1. That sounds like a puzzle that should be educational; and fun, a perfect mix. I hope that you find the sticky toffee pudding recipe. We think it is really good. I used to play in that band and I have been out on New Year’s day when it was so cold that the mouthpiece froze to my lips.

  5. Aiming for a finish time is a wonderful way to do such a “race”! I enjoyed the video of the marching band – their formation is impressive. I remember watching our high school band learning to march on the road outside my classroom window. It was an entertaining shambles that demonstrated how hard it is to get everyone in synch.

  6. A great idea to have a finish time and to have such a wonderful marching band to welcome everyone back. Enjoyed the photos of your day with the rolling hills, the magnificent jigsaw and the light on dog’s coat! A great start to the New Year!

      1. Seeing grandchildren more regularly is the best …we are looking forward to a whole family get together in March the first for three years!

  7. You posted an excellent time for 8 mls..well done.
    I’m very wary whilst walking now,keeping my eyes firmly peeled on every step.
    Liked the skein of geese and the unobtrusive dunnocks of course.

  8. Thanks Tom, sorry for the late response. Happy New Year to yourself, Mrs Tootlepdal and family. Lovely to see the old man still involved at new year run. A special way to bring in the new year with friends and family. Well done sister!!.

    Tinkers NZ XXXX

  9. I love the town band! I guess in our town, the high school band serves that purpose as sometimes they play at events…but yours is better, being more experienced!

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