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Archive for the ‘Langholm’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from a visit my brother paid to Wirksworth last month.  It is an ancient lead mining and quarrying town in Derbyshire which has a steam train and guard’s van shuttle to the Quarry museum up the hill.

Wirksworth train

It didn’t rain today.  It didn’t rain today.  I have said that twice because it is a bit unbelievable.  It wasn’t very warm and the sun didn’t put in much work but it didn’t rain so that made it a very good day.

I made use of it by cycling down to Canonbie on my regular 20 mile route while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.

Before I left, I had a quick look in the garden.  The bees were setting about the poppies with great enthusiasm and it was hard to find one to photograph without a bee or two on it…

bees on poppies

…though they could be found.

poppies

Once I got going, I found that the wind was in a helpful place, not too bad on the way down and very useful on the way back.  I only stopped for one picture….

Belted galloway bull

…but I thought that this belted Galloway bull was too handsome to leave unrecorded.

I had no time to waste when I got home as I was hoping to get up onto Castle Hill to take pictures of a charity ride which was setting off just after midday.  I packed a sandwich and a date, picked up a camera or two and got a lift from Mrs Tootlepedal to the bottom of the track up the hill.

I didn’t have to use the stile over the wall as the gate was opened for the riders to come.

Catle Hill stile and gate

The track up Castle Hill was steep enough for me to be quite happy to find things to stop and look at on the way up.

nettle. hawthorn and purple flower

There is going to be a bumper crop of haws this year by the look of it.

ragwort, hawkbit and daisy like thing

The little flowers on the right are sneezewort (ID courtesy of Mike Tinker)

At one point the hillside was almost like a meadow.

Castle Hill

And of course, there were splendid views that needed to be looked at too.

Langholm

An early look back at the town

I got a very expansive view of the three river valleys that meet in Langholm and the one that leaves it.  (Click on the picture for an enlargement.)

Panorama from Castle hill

When I got to the top of the hill, I had time to sit on a handy rock and eat a honey sandwich and admire the view to the north.

Esk valley

The course of the Esk snakes up the valley, outlined by trees

While I was eating my sandwich, I was passed by Laura who was going ahead of the riders to open a gate further along the ridge.

Laura

The wind had dropped and even on a coolish day, it was warm work for her as she strode across the heavy ground.

I had time for a last look over the edge of the hill…

Milnholm and Potholm

A sea of green

…before the first riders appeared over the crest…

Macmillan riders

…and cantered towards…..

Macmillan riders

…and then past me.

Macmillan riders

More sedate groups followed on.

Macmillan riders

It was a sociable ride.

Macmillan riders

There was a good number of riders out and I hope that they raise a lot of money for Macmillan Nurses.

I didn’t count the riders as I was too busy clicking away and by the time that the last riders had past me…

Macmillan riders

…the leaders were well ahead.  The last I saw of them was when they were waiting for the rest to catch at the top of Potholm Hill.

Macmillan riders

I left them to descend to the Ewes valley and turned back down the hill to the town.

One of the penalties of increasing age and creaky joints is that going down a steep and stony track is a lot worse than going up one but I arrived safely on the Castleholm and gave my legs a break as I watched a few overs of cricket.

Cricket on the castleholm

Bowlers bowled and batsmen batted.

Cricket on the castleholm

When I got home, I finished off my picnic lunch and then went out into the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cutting down comfrey to add to  compost bin A so I took the hint and sieved a bucket of two of compost from Compost Bin D.  Mrs Tootlepedal took away the rough discards which hadn’t gone through the sieve and used them for a mulch for the hedge.

Since I had already taken far too many pictures, I heroically abstained from taking any more garden flowers pictures….

fuchsia

….well, I nearly abstained.

Then I went in  to watch some athletics on the telly as I thought it was probably all right after a busy time to let someone else take the exercise for me.

I did go out and mow the drying green when the athletics finished and by this time, the wind had dropped and it was a lovely evening in the garden, even if it was still a bit cooler than it should be for the time of year.  It was so nice that I summoned Mrs Tootlepedal out to enjoy it too as the forecast is for more rain tomorrow and it seemed a pity to waste such a good moment.

We have three weeks of the Vuelta (the cycling tour of Spain) to entertain us in the coming evenings so that is something to look forward to as the rain beats against the windows.

No flying bird today but an interestingly coloured dahlia instead.

dahlia

 

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Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.

frog

The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.

Skiddaw

Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.

heather

And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.

Whita

Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….

dahlia

…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from a walk on The Edge in Derbyshire which my brother Andrew shared with his walking group….and some cows….and some very nice weather.

The Edge

Our weather improved today but it was still pretty damp in the morning. I didn’t go out to take a flower picture until nearly midday.

poppies

Oddly, many of the poppies were facing the wrong way and I had to go out into the road and look into the garden from over the hedge to see these two pairs.

poppies

Yellow crocosmia have just started to come out and they should blend with the poppies if we get some warmth.  The dahlias also need warmth but the nasturtiums are doing very well in the cool and damp.

crocosmia, nasturtium and dahlia

Along with the weather, my back was quite a lot better too and I was able to trim a box ball and prune the espalier apples…

box and apples

…which are cropping well this year.

After lunch I did a bit more work in the garden and admired a hosta and an indefatigable Icelandic poppy which will keep flowering as long as I keep dead heading it.

hosta and poppy

Mrs Tootlepedal spent as much as time in the garden as she could but I went in to give my back a rest and watched a bit of the World Athletic Championships.  I was joined by Mrs Tootlepedal when it started to rain but the rain didn’t last so I went off for a walk to see how my back would hold up.

It held up well as I pottered down to Skippers Bridge and back, a distance of two miles which took me exactly an hour.

It wasn’t sunny but at least I could see the hills today.

Whita

There was plenty more to see on the way.

fruit

Fruits

flowers

Flowers present and past

Garden escapes by the river

Garden escapes by the river

Himalayan balsam

Himalayan balsam

Skippers Bridge was looking as good as ever….

skippers bridge

The recent repair is holding up well at the moment.

I thought that the trees were starting to get an autumnal tint when I looked through the bridge.

skippers bridge

There was enough water coming down the river….

River esk

…to keep me well back from the edge.

On the way back there was more to see.

swallows

I hope that it not time for the swallows to leave already

leaf problems

Problems on the leafs of trees

fly on ragwort

A ragwort with visitors

It was almost sunny as I walked back…

Castle Hill

…and it was a very pleasant evening to be out walking.

I tried a black and white shot of the walnut tree when I got back to the garden….

Walnut tree

…as I liked the pattern of the trunks.

We are promised some sunshine tomorrow and that will be very welcome.  If we get it, I will try my back out on a short bike ride.

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

dahlias

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled

poppies

And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…

heather

…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.

yarrow

I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.

sloes

The crop looks very good but a closer look…

sloes

…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….

hosta

water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…

rowan

…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…

heron

…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet

Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.

fungus

The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.

insect

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is of a rather stuck up group of august personages which my brother Andrew found in a church in Hull on a recent visit.

Close up of the church hierarchy

I think that the permanently changeable weather is beginning to get to me and I am currently feeling rather short of beans to be full of.  As a result I was still sleeping soundly this morning when Dropscone rang to ask if some scones could find a cup of coffee to go with.

It was a rush for me to get my breakfast finished before coffee time but I managed.

The scones were very good.

It was another day of sunshine and showers and Dropscone cycled round in the sun, drank his coffee while it rained and cycled home again in the sun.

Since it was dry when he left, I had a look round the garden.  It was a day for the birds and the bees…

bees

blackbird

 

…and berries.

tropaeolum

Tropaeolum. They should go blue soon.

As it looked to stay dry for a bit, I was emboldened to walk up to the town with my parcel and I was rewarded when I not only found the post office open but also the river bank full of thirteen goosanders.

goosanders

They were preferring to wait until the river had gone down a bit before doing any swimming.

Some just sat about reflecting on life….

goosanders

…while others took a keen interest in the passing water.

goosanders

I enjoyed a bright crocosmia beside the dam as I came home.

crocosmia

I did a little light gardening, had lunch and watched the rain until Sandy rang up and suggested a walk.  I said that I would be pleased to go if the rain stopped and it did obligingly stop shortly afterwards so I went.

Sandy and I walked across the Duchess Bridge, round the pheasant hatchery, back down to the Sawmill Bridge and then home by way of the Kilngreen and Elizabeth Street, a distance of about two and a half miles.

When we were not watching out for puddles and muddy bits, we looked around. There was quite a bit of fungus to be seen in various places.

castleholm fungus

…much of it in dark corners under trees.  There is a huge amount of fungus round the stumps of the felled trees along the Lodge walks and you can see one small part of it in the bottom left panel above.

There were growing things to see too.

self heal, conkers and white flower

I don’t know what the white flower on the right is but it was attracting a lot of bees.  The plant is quite big but the white flowers are very small.  Once again, a brisk breeze made taking flower pictures tricky.

nettle, burr and rosebay willowherb

It started to rain as we passed these three wild flowers, a nettle, a burr and some willowherb, just at the furthest point from home on our walk but it soon stopped again and we continued on in the direction that the willowherb suggested.

We had passed some cows on our way out….

cows

My only attempt at a black and white picture today

I liked a mossy tree on our way back.  Outdoor people say that you can tell the direction of east and west by looking at where the moss grows on tree trunks.  This tree would have you going round in circles.

mossy tree

After what has been a cool and generally dry year since early spring, the recent heavy rain showers are making the ground quite wet and we had to stop and find an alternative route when we found this long and deep puddle blocking our way near the lodge.

lodge puddle

At the Kilngreen, we stopped to say hello to Mr Grumpy….

Kilngreen ducks

…and we were impressed by the number of friends he had sitting nearby.

Duck

This one was not quite fully dressed yet

As well as Mr Grumpy, we saw a robin, a dipper and a wagtail on our travels….

wagtail, robin, dipper and heron

…not to mention a very new duckling.

duckling

The rivers were all quite full and lively….

River esk in spate

…but there was no threat of a flood.

I always like this view from the Langholm Bridge….

View from the bridge

…but the Common Riding bunting and the sun glinting on the tops of the hills made it particularly good today, I thought.

We had a cup of Darjeeling and a slice of bread with wild raspberry jam when we got back and then Sandy walked home while I sank into semi snoozing mode.

I roused myself enough to prepare the charity regulator’s return for the Archive Group and catch upon my correspondence and after that I did some more relaxing.  The weather looks as though it may be suitable for cycling tomorrow so that will perk me up again.  I will choose a route so that the brisk wind will blow me back home.

The flying bird of the day had flown up onto a fence when I caught it.

blackbird

Note:  I see that Sandy has posted his view of our walk.  You can see it here

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba, is entitled “Alcatraz on the Assiniboine” and shows the lengths she has to go to keep the deer off her vegetables.  It makes Mrs Tootlepedal’s anti-sparrow pea fortress look a little small.

deer fence for veg

I was woken several times during the night by rain pounding on our Velux windows and was not surprised to see two large puddles on the lawns when I got up.  It was still raining after breakfast when I walked up to the Welcome to Langholm office to do my tour of duty.

As usual, I settled down to do some Archive Group work on the computer when I got in but unusually, I was constantly interrupted by people coming in to buy DVDs and booklets.  Mike Tinker also came in to look at the Camera Club exhibition and Archive Group treasurer Nancy dropped into to compare grandparenting fun over the Common Riding so I was not short of things to do and people to talk to.  I will finish off the Archive Group work later.

It had stopped raining shortly after I had got to the Welcome to Langholm office and with one or two brief exceptions, it stayed dry for the rest of the day without ever looking as though it might not rain at any time.

I had a walk round the garden when I got back but the very brisk wind made taking pictures hard.  Once again, it was pleasing to see that the miserable weather had not discouraged the bees from visiting.

bees on poppies

I like to think that some of the local honey that I bought at the producers’ market may have come from our garden.  There are other hives about though so it may not be true.

Thanks to the chilly weather, the garden is at a bit of a standstill at the moment, though a few dahlias are battling the elements.

Dahlias

A new and blue hosta has come to join the others.

hosta

I had lunch and decided to risk a heavy shower and go for a cycle ride.  In the event, the roads were running with water in places but it stayed dry.  It was blowing very briskly so I did one of my valley bottom hugging three lap runs to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back to get my twenty miles in.

It was hard work going uphill and against the wind.  Even on the flat in the more exposed sections, I was struggling to go at 10 mph. Conversely of course, the trip back down was a breeze!

My eye was caught on the way up the hill by a very pretty pink flower in the verge.

yarrow

I think it is yarrow and I found it hard to say whether the white flower next to it was the same plant or not.

yarrow

Nearby, there was some interesting lichen….

lichen

…which deserved a closer look.

lichen

You can’t get anything much more interesting than that, I am sure you will agree.

Although the river level in the Esk was not as high as I thought that it might have been after the heavy rain overnight, there was plenty of water flowing over one of my favourite cascades on the Wauchope.

Wauchope cascadeWauchope cascadeWauchope cascade

The power of the water, even in a small river like the Wauchope, is awesome.  I took good care not to get too close to the edge of the bank.

My bicycle was glad of a moment’s rest in the battle against the breeze.

Bloch field gate with bike

The field has been mowed for silage

As I came to Langholm for the last time, I whizzed past my South African correspondent, Tom, who was pedalling up the hill in the opposite direction with his niece.

I have fitted my new wing mirror to the bike….

wing mirror

It is held on by a velcro strap

…but it might need refitting as it was fine at low speeds going up hill but when I was going at speed back down the hill over the bumpy road, it dropped out of position a lot.  (If you have straight handlebars, getting one that fits into the bar end is the best solution.)

Almost as soon as I had got home, I went out again.  This time I was picking up Sandy in the car.  It was the first time that I have been to his new house.  It is very neat and well decorated but he has a few things still to come before it is completely done.

He has an interesting shed in his garden.

Sandy's shed

A piece of living history: ideal for a bicycle and a lawn mower.

Our plan was to drive a little bit up the road and pick wild raspberries.  As a plan, it worked out very well and we did just what we had meant to do.

My haul looked like this….

Sandy's shed

…almost exactly a pound of fruit and it quickly became three small pots of wild raspberry jam.  They will not last long.

As well as the raspberries, which were unusually good in quality, we saw a butterfly and it is doing duty as the flying bird of the day today.  It flew off soon after I took this picture.

ringlet butterfly

 

 

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No guest picture today but instead, a picture of my guests; Matilda flanked by her mother and father and outflanked by her granny and grandfather.

Eileen, Al, Matilda, Clare and Francis

In the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal, who is still visiting her mother, I was the chief cook and bottle washer of the party and as a result I was not as free as usual to flit about taking happy snaps.

I was woken at 5 o’clock by the boom, boom, boom of the big bass drum as the flute band perambulated the town, reminding the townsfolk that the hound trail would soon take place.  As it was pouring with rain, I was able to roll over and go to sleep again without feeling too bad about missing that part of the fun.

When I woke again, it had stopped raining and I made breakfast for Al and Clare and Matilda.  Then Al had to go out rescue Eileen and Francis who had got caught up in the road closures for the ceremonies and hadn’t made it to our house in time.

Matilda and her parents went off ‘to see the horses’ while I made breakfast for her grandparents.    Then we set off to join them.  By this time the youngsters had seen the procession of horses in the town and gone up the Kirkwynd to wait for the riders to ride up onto the hill.

We could see the crowd assembling there on the far side of the river as we walked along Caroline Street.

Kirk Wynd

It didn’t take us too long before we found the others and we too were part of the crowd waiting for the cornet.

Kirk Wynd

You might think that there was a good sized crowd on the hill but it is multiplied considerably when those who have waited in the Market Place for the first fair crying to finish, squeeze up the Kirk Wynd…..

Kirk Wynd

…..and annoyingly stand in front of the people who were on the hill first.

We could just see Cornet Murray over their heads as he rode past us in fine style….

Cornet Murray

…being enthusiastically cheered on by the crowd.

Kirk Wynd

About half the crowd are trying to take pictures with their phones of course.

The cornet is followed by the rest of the riders, about 150 today in number…

Kirk Wynd

…each one cheered to the echo by friends and family…

Kirk Wynd

…but there is always a head in the way.

After the riders had gone by, we went back home for refreshment, passing Mr Grumpy who was lurking by the river bank, probably wondering what all the commotion was about.

heron

When I got to the garden, I had a quick check to see how it had survived the overnight heavy rain.  The result was very positive.

poppy

poppy, buddleia, dahlia

The mounted procession returns from the hill and after a while, the riders cross the Ewes at the Kilngreen and assemble on the Castleholm.  Matilda had had enough outdoor activity for the morning so I took her grandparents along to see the riders crossing the water but we were a bit late and the cornet was already on the Castleholm when we arrived on the other side of the Esk…

Cornet's chase

…so we watched as he was led out to start the Cornet’s Chase where he takes the town standard round the racecourse and is pursued, at a decent distance, first by his right and left hand men (the ex cornets of the previous two years)…

Cornet's chase

…and then by the rest of the riders.

Cornet's chase

It was an impressive sight as the cavalcade thundered onto the racecourse.

We retired for lunch and then Eileen and Francis returned to their car and drove off on other business.

As Matilda has a siesta after lunch, I took the opportunity to walk over to the Castleholm to see the horse and foot racing which takes place there.

While I waited at the bottom corner for the first horse race to come round the track, I noticed that the castle ruin has sprouted some ragwort on its topmost turret.

Langholm Castle

Because the going on the racecourse was very heavy, there were only four runners in the race but it was still a stirring sight as the hurtled round the bend towards me.

Langholm Common Riding races

The small field was less impressive as it headed up the back straight.

Langholm Common Riding races

The next race also had four runners and I went to the opposite side of track to see the start.  It was a tense affair.

Langholm Common Riding races

The riders were soon up to full speed.

Langholm Common Riding races

As they came round the top corner on the way to the finish, I could clearly see the advantage of being in front of the field on such deep going.

Langholm Common Riding races

The air was full of flying mud and the rider at the back was covered in it.

On my way up the track between races, I had passed the Highland Dancing tent…

Highland dancing

..where the piper was playing and kilts were swirling.  We had hope to see Matilda’s cousin Lola dance again this year but in the end, she didn’t come down.

In the athletics field, I could see the floral crown in its place of honour.

Langholm Common Riding Crown

Our roses are in there somewhere.

Further up the track I took a picture which epitomised the fun to be had at a soggy Common Riding field.

stick in the mud

It was a wonder that the horses were able to race at all.

The ever present threat of rain had not discouraged a good crowd for the racing though.

Langholm Common Riding races

As I walked along, the sun came out and my eye was caught by a brilliant yellow ragwort beside the course.  It was a busy plant.

ragwort with bees

I took a closer look.

ragwort insects

In between watching the horse races, I watched the foot racing from both ends of the track.  Almost all the foot races are handicaps and I watched the start of one sprint event.

Common riding athletics start

On your marks….

Common riding athletics start

Get set…

Common riding athletics start

Go!!

The back markers may seem to have a lot of ground to make up but the handicapper knows what she is doing, as I could see when I went to the finish end of the track for a couple of later races.

Common riding athletics finishCommon riding athletics finish

The races often need a photo finish to see who has won.

The great beauty of events on the Castleholm is that there are always some lovely views to admire if the action gets a little slow.

Castleholm ViewCastleholm View

I stopped long enough to say hello to Sandy who was there with his family and then went back to see about making tea for my visitors.

While I was cooking, Matilda was getting on with her first novel.

Matilda

It turned into a very pleasant evening as the wind dropped and the sun came out but it was too late for us as it was soon time for Matilda to go to bed.  She may not have had the full Common Riding experience but she has certainly ‘seen the horses’ as she wanted.  I wonder if she will remember her first visit to the great day.  I will remember it.

I was very sorry to have not been able to share the day with Mrs Tootlepedal and I hope that both she and Matilda will be present next year.

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