Archive for the ‘Lochmaben’ Category

Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce.  He came across this fine view on the hill road to Roberton near Hawick a week or so ago.

Bruce's view

After a rather slack period for cycling recently, a dry and calm day today was an excellent opportunity to get the fairly speedy bike out and put in a few miles.  The tyres needed pumping up and the chain needed cleaning but I was soon ready to go.

My intention was to see how my legs felt and adjust the distance accordingly but I got a bit overcome by taking pictures as I pedalled along and lost a few potential miles on the way.  Still, I did 64 miles and took 50 pictures so that seems like a good balance.  Readers will be pleased to know that not all the pics made it into the post!

I started with a big surprise only a mile or so from the house when I saw the hillside above Bessie Bell’s covered in bluebells.

Bruce's view

Another visit on foot is on my to do list.

The verges were full of wild flowers and the first three that I met were these.

wild flowers

I have forgotten what the golden spikes are called but the other two are speedwell and geum

I started my ride among the hills and I hoped to get some good pictures of the 22 windmills on the new Ewe Hill windfarm by going up the hill towards Corrie Common.  I could see the windmills (just) but in the rather poor light, my camera couldn’t so i will have to try again on a brighter day.

I did get a splendid view down into the valley on the far side of Corrie Common though and even on a gloomy day, it is a very pleasing prospect.


view from Corrie Common

Click on the pic for a bigger picture

The only fly in the ointment is that very poor road surface takes the fun out of going down the hill into the valley.

The little stream at the bottom is very picturesque…

Corrie common

…and the bridge has the usual gate to stop any sheep making a break for freedom by swimming.

corrie common road

I pedalled on over the hill to Boreland, a very pretty road even on a rather grey day…

road to Boreland

…and then turned west and descended into Annandale.  On the way down, I was stopped several times by wild flowers crying out to be photographed.

red campion, cranesbill, hawthorn and more bluebells

Sometimes I couldn’t fail to notice them.

red campion

A bank of red campion

When I got to Lochmaben,  I had a stop for a banana and a little rest beside the Mill Loch, a very peaceful place for a sit down…

Mill Loch Lochmabe

Mill Loch Lochmaben

…and then I pedalled on down the valley to Dalton and Hoddom.

I passed several flourishing horse chestnut trees.  I was not the only one interested in the flowers.

horse chestnut

I like this rather Hansel and Gretel like lodge at Hoddom Castle…

Hoddom Lodge

…and I looked up at the Repentance Tower on the hill above the road.

Repentance Tower

I couldn’t cross my favourite bridge over the River Annan at Hoddom without taking a picture…

Hoddom Bridge

…and I noticed some more wild flowers beside the river bank path while I was there.


Broom is arriving as the gorse begins to fade

dandelion and buttercup

From Hoddom, I headed to Ecclefechan and then went down the old main road to Gretna where I fortified the inner man with an excellent plate of egg and chips.

From Gretna, I took a direct route home as all my photo stops (and the egg and chips) had added a lot of time to my trip.

I did stop for a few more pictures.

My three favourite trees on the old A7 were looking well in the spring garb….

three canonbie trees

…and there were two rather delicately shaded flowers beside Canonbie Bridge…

comfrey and forget me not

Comfrey and Forget-me-not

…as well full spring clothing at Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

…and a great number of Pyrenean Valerian flowers once I got within thee miles of Langholm.

pyrenean valerian

Here is a map of the trip and those with time hanging heavy on their hands can click on the map as usual to get further details of the ride.

garmin route 17 May 2017 elevation

You can see that the route was well chosen for an old man with all the climbing at the start and the wind mostly behind on the way home.

The hilly start into the wind meant that my average speed was pretty low but it was a most enjoyable outing.  I mean to get as much pleasure as I can from the scenery and the surroundings and be less bothered by average speeds now that the better weather has arrived.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was out and had completed her pea fortress.

pea fortress

Just let the sparrows try to get into that!

Our garden was full of flowers too….

garden flowers

…and it is always interesting to see the different ways that flowers set out to attract customers.

There are some very colourful aquilegias against the back wall of the house.


AKA Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to be Front-of-House at the Buccleuch Centre for a very peppy jazz concert from the Scottish Youth Jazz Orchestra while I went to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  We both enjoyed ourselves.

It was a very cheerful day for one that had little or no actual sunshine in it.

The flower of the day is a tulip which is not showing any signs of being a shrinking violet.



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Today’s guest picture is the final one from my Newcastle correspondent, Fiona’s trip to the Netherlands with her family for Easter. Her daughter Hannah is enjoying the prospect of a ride on one of the white bikes from the Hoge Veluwe National Park. They are included in the entrance to the park and you can just take one and ride around as much as you like.

white bikesIt is a rather brief blog today as I didn’t do much except sit around while Mrs Tootlepedal went to Edinburgh and then did more painting when she got back.

Fortunately the weather was ideal for sitting around, not too hot but nice and sunny and with nothing more than a light breeze.  I was hoping to get out early but at 3 degrees C it was too cold.  Cycling when the temperature is 3°C, if properly dressed for it, is not problem in winter but when spring comes, being properly dressed for 3° at breakfast means being boiled when it hits 10° at lunch time so I waited until it hit 6° and then set out, dressed for all occasions.

I had in mind a more adventurous ride than of late so I headed up to Bailliehill and Eskdalemuir.  This took me through Castle O’er on one of my favourite roads.

Castle O'er roadCastle O'er road…and looking back down the valley from near Eskdalemuir.

Castle O'er roadOnce at Eskdalemuir, I turned west and climbed out of the White Esk valley…

Eskdalemuir…and took the winding road across the hills via the Black Esk and Boreland to the Dryfe Water.

Boreland roadThis is a brilliant road for cycling as it is kept in very good condition for the use of timber wagons but as I only saw three today, they were not much of a bother to me.

I left the Dryfe Water behind and crossed first the motorway at Seven’s Croft and then the River Annan at Millhousebridge.


This is a very fine bridge but I can find no way of getting down to the riverside to photogrpah it.

My next stop was Lochmaben where I had a cup of hot chocolate and took pictures of the three lochs which give the town its name.


This is Mill Loch

Kirk Loch

This is Kirk Loch which has a golf course on its shores.

Castle Loch

And finally Castle Loch, the biggest of the three

Castle Loch

It even has a yacht club.

By this time, the sun was dimmed  by some thin cloud which was welcome to me as a cyclist, as I was getting too warm, even though it meant that I didn’t get the phone out for any more pictures.  My route was in rather duller country from now on as I wisely decided that some flat roads would be helpful in getting me up to my target distance.

I stopped in Annan for a cheese toastie and a cup of tea before heading to Gretna, Canonbie and home.  Annoyingly i arrived with a  mile and a half still needed so I had to make a short excursion up the Wauchope road and back to get to my target of 73 and a bit miles.

The distance was significant as it matches my 73 and a bit years, a target that I hope to be able to hit for a few more years yet.

Judging by the bird feeder, there didn’t seem to have been many avian visitors during the day and I was strangely tired when it came to the thought of lifting up a heavy camera and staring out of the window so, for once, there are no chaffinch pictures today.

I had a couple of fish cakes for my tea and these gave me enough strength to go to our local community choir practice where we had another well organised sing.

Instead of a flying bird, I am putting in a map link to today’s ride for those with time hanging heavy on their hands.   Slow but steady was my motto and I was surprised how well my legs were still working by the end of it.

garmin route 8 April 2015

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