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Archive for the ‘Walking’ 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 comes from my sister Mary who was walking along the Thames last week when she came to Tower Bridge at low tide.

Tower Bridge at low tide

We had another day of sunshine and showers here today but in an improvement on yesterday, there was more sunshine and less rain and when the rain came, it came less ferociously.

The day started early as I picked up Sandy and we took our photograph down to Canonbie to put them on the boards in the village hall, ready to be judged at the Canonbie Flower Show.

On our way home, it rained heavily and we feared for the worst as the flower show has many outdoor activities on the playing field beside the hall.  In the end though, that was the worst rain of the day and things went ahead as planned.

I had a late breakfast when I got home and and after a leisurely time sitting and doing not much, I finally went out for a short walk before lunch.

The sun was shining when I started….

Saw Mill Brig

…but it was too good to last and I had to put up with occasional drizzle as I went round.

Still, there was a lot to look at.  There were sparrows, headless ducks and a sitting bird as I went along the Kilngreen.

sparrows, duck and heron

I wonder if Mr Grumpy is feeling his age a bit.  He seems to have created quite a worn patch on the bank where he has been sitting the last two times that I have seen him.

On the wall beside the Sawmill Brig, I saw spleenwort and turned a frond over to look at the back.

spleenwort

Elegant whichever way you look at it.

On the Lodge Walks I saw fungus.

fungus

The patches of fungus by the felled tree stumps are getting bigger and bigger .

As I walked back along the path by the river, I saw oak leafs with galls and on another oak nearby, a pristine acorn.

oak leaves and acorn

There may be two different galls on that leaf

I met a very handsome husky taking its owner for a walk.

husky

Other things appealed to me.

nettle and nut

Although it looked as though the heavens might open, the clouds passed by with the merest sprinkling of rain, and I got home quite dry.

After lunch, I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in a walk round the garden.

The honeysuckle is going over but Lilian Austin is producing a few late flowers.

honeysuckle rose

This is therefore a honeysuckle rose combination. Cue for song.

Two butterflies were defying the rain showers and a stiff breeze.

red admiral and peacock butterflies

The perennial nasturtium which lives among a yew tree has spread across a flower bed and appeared in the hedge behind the yew as well…

perennial nasturtium

…and rather cleverly, it has found a bamboo stick in the middle of the bed and grown up that too.  You can see it in the centre of the picture above.

After a while, I drove back down to Canonbie to see how the flower show was going on.

On the playing field, a chainsaw carver was demonstrating his art….

chainsaw carving and static engine

…while a patient static engine whirred endlessly nearby.

Equally patient donkeys were doing good business offering rides.

donkeys

A brief moment of repose.

Around the field, vintage tractors and old cars were drawn up for inspection.

Canonbie show cars and tractors

You know that you are old when you realise that you drove the classic cars which you see at a show when they were first brand new.  That Triumph Herald is very familiar.

I left a demonstration of dog agility and obedience to look after itself in some light rain and went in to see whether my pictures had attracted the attention of the judges.  I was delighted to find that a Lake District view and a garden blackbird had won their classes and one of our garden poppies had got a third.  I did get another first and a second place too in another class but as mine were the only pictures in that class, this was a not entirely unexpected.

The photos at the Canonbie show are always given plenty of room among the flowers…

Photos and flowers

I took this after some of the pictures and flowers had already been removed at the end of the show.

…so it a pleasure to exhibit there.

There was splendid fruit and veg to admire and many beautiful flowers too and I had an enjoyable time looking round.  When I had had a good look, I went back to the field and had a cup of tea and a fancy cake with Sandy, who was at the show with a friend and his wife and then I went off for a walk along the river before it was time to collect the pictures and go home.

I was lucky with my walk and dodged the rain completely.  I walked down towards the river bank at the bridge and came across a large clump of these tall yellow flowers.

yellow flowers

They were hard to photograph because they were waving about in the brisk wind but they are handsome plants.  I have no idea what they are.

Once I had got the water’s edge, I looked up at the Canonbie Bridge itself.

Canonbie Bridge

I drove over that bridge to work for thirteen years.  The bridge is narrow and the overhanging footpath is a fairly recent addition to allow schoolchildren to get back to the village in greater safety.

I crossed the bridge, passed the church and made my way down to the other bank of the river.

The Esk runs past some red sandstone cliffs at the village…

Dead Neuk

…but it soon opens out into a broad stretch that will take it down to Longtown and the Solway Firth.

Esk at Canonbie

The powers that be have put power lines over every nice view in Eskdale.

The church was looking at its best, picked out by the sun against the rain clouds behind it.

Canonbie Church

I watched a patient fisherman casting on one bank of the river while goosanders, great fishers themselves, snoozed on the opposite bank while they waited for their chance.

Canonbie fisher goosander

After  glance at a sign of autumn…

elderberries

…I returned to the hall, enthusiastically applauded the many trophy winners (not me), collected the pictures for myself and Sandy and drove home.

The final business of the day was a quick shopping trip with Mrs Tootlepedal and then I was happy cook my evening meal and to sit down and eat it.

It had seemed like a long day.

The flying bird of the day was still waiting to take off when I saw it in the morning after breakfast.

blackbird

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my flute pupil Luke’s mother.  They were having a family day out in Durham before the start of the new school term and found the cathedral looking at its best in the sunshine.

durham cathedral

I had a Utopian plan for the day which involved getting up early and being out on my bike by about seven o’clock.  I would be back in plenty of time to allow Mrs Tootlepedal to go to Edinburgh to see Matilda while I waited for the plumber to come. He would finish his work in plenty of time for me to get out for a walk before having my tea and going off to Carlisle with Susan to enjoy an evening of recorder quintets….and the sun would shine all day.

And it all came true.

Almost.

I did get up early and get out on the bike.

misty morning

The mist was just lifting as I cycled across the town bridge.

Esk with mist

The river was still shrouded with mist as I cycled south

Esk at Longtown

But by the time that I had got to Longtown, the mist had cleared. It had been raining heavily overnight as you can see.

I headed a bit further south and then turned west to Rockcliffe before heading back up to Langholm.

Trees in Cumbria

It was beautiful day and I passed many trees…

arch and bridge

…and arches both natural and man made…

Kirtle Water house

…and a fine house too.

But the most interesting thing that I saw was a flock of starlings on a farm silo near Rigg.

starlings

I pedalled 48 miles at a steady speed and got home in plenty of time to have a walk round the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a flock of butterflies on the buddleia.

peacock and red admiral butterfly

There were peacock and red admiral butterflies….

white and peacock butterflies

…and I saw a white butterfly on a Michaelmas daisy and took a close look at one of the peacocks.

I admired the poppies as usual and had a first look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s new pink Japanese anemone.

pink Japanese anemone.

The sun continued to shine.

While Mrs Tootlepedal was away, I cut down the orange hawkweed which had finished flowering  but some new flowers have appeared as if by magic….

orange hawkweed

What looks like shadows are buds waiting to open

…and once again I was thwarted in an attempt to take a picture of a cornflower, this time by a positive crowd of visitors.

orange hawkweed

Bumble bee, honey bee and a fly

Mrs Tootlepedal went and the plumber came, finished his task and went off as well.

I went for a walk.

I was trying to take yet another picture of the Auld Stane Bridge but a procession of cars kept driving across it…

auld stane bridge

…and when I looked, it turned out to be a rally of convertible beetles.

vw at the auld stane bridge

They had a good day for it.

I walked past the Hallcrofts, down through the woods and back along the track to Holmwood.

The forest floor was carpeted with these.

wood sorrel

I saw fruits…..

Rose hip, crab apple and blackberry

Rose hip, crab apple and blackberry… the blackberry was delicious

…a snail….

snail

…and a brand new bridge taking the path across a dangerous bit of banking that is being undermined by the Becks Burn.

new bridge by Becks Burn

It is good to see that our popular paths are being looked after.

There were of course many views to enjoy on such a good day.

view of Whita from Hallcrofts

I ended my walk by visiting Sandy in his new house and enjoying a cup of tea as I sat on his new suite.  He has been very busy tiling.

Sandy's tiles

Very neat work.

I got home in time to look over my photos for the day and have my tea and at this stage, the only part of my Utopian that didn’t fully work out came into play.  It started to pour with rain. It lashed down as Susan fearlessly drove through the storm and happily, by the time that we got to Carlisle, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out again.

The recorder playing was most enjoyable and as always the tea and biscuits afterwards were of the highest quality.  The rain stayed away as we drove home and that rounded off a day that could hardly have gone better….

….except that I had no time for a flying bird of any sort so I will put in the map of my cycle ride instead.  Click on the map for details of the ride.  Note the light wind.

garmin route 17 Aug 2017

 

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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 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 comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She found a very prominent fairy ring on her brother’s lawn.

fairy ring

Mrs Tootlepedal is still away visiting her mother, whose hundred and first birthday is imminent.  This means that I am having to make up my mind for myself here with no assistance and this is quite wearing.  On top of this, I am getting rather fat because every time I wander into the kitchen to share an interesting thought with Mrs Tootlepedal, she isn’t there and I eat something instead.  Luckily she will be back next week and all will be well.

The forecast offered a dry morning and a wet afternoon so in an ideal world, I would get up promptly and go for a cycle ride and then do useful things indoors in the afternoon.

It turned out to be an ideal world.

I didn’t waste any time in the garden but got on the bike after breakfast and did thirty miles.  I stopped for one picture….

Esk at Hollows

…just to prove that I had been out.  The wind was lighter than of late but the sky was grey so it was not a day for views.

I did notice when I got home that I had a serious outbreak of helmet hair which I have decided to share.  Nervous readers should look away now.

helmet hair

I flattened my hair down and mowed the greenhouse grass, did some poppy dead heading, cut down some plants which were beyond their sell by date and had a walk round the garden.

The poppies had appreciated the dry morning.

poppies

This was my favourite poppy of the day.

poppy

The should be a mixture of poppies and cornflowers growing round the front lawn but they are both taking their time thanks to the cool weather. Still, there are a few cornflowers about.

cornflower

As I walked between the flowers and the compost bins during my tidying up, I couldn’t help but enjoy the jumble of white clematis and red rose on the arch through to the veg garden…

clematis and rose

…and the clematis growing along the fence too.

clematis

If every flower has the same number of petals, there must be three different clematis growing there as I can see flowers with six, five and four petals in the picture.

I am always interested in fruits and berries and so are the birds.  I am keeping an eye on the plums and the blackbirds are keeping an eye on the rowan berries.

plum and rowan

Those rowan berries are in a neighbour’s garden.  Ours aren’t quite as ripe yet.

My neighbour Liz kindly took a surplus turnip off my hands and I picked some more carrots and beetroot. I am eating the beetroot at golf ball size and they are absolutely delicious as snacks.

After lunch, the forecasters’ predictions arrived in the form of a persistent spell of rain which lasted several hours.   I caught up on my correspondence and packed up the camera lens which I am trading in, having been offered a very fair price by the company which will sell me my new lens.  I then braved the rain and took the parcel up to the post office only to find the that post office was closed.

I brought the parcel home again and did some muttering.

Then I did some ironing …and a bit more muttering until getting a bit of advice from the ‘Call Mrs Tootlepedal Hotline’.

I had corned beef hash for my tea and was pleasantly surprised to find that our new potatoes taste very good when mashed and fried.

Recently I have had a choir to go to on a Wednesday night but that has finished now so finding that the rain had stopped, I filled in the time by wandering aimlessly about.

The bed at the end of the drive gave me a cheerful farewell as I left the garden.

pot marigolds and nasturtiums

For some reason, the rather grey light seem to suit the church so I stopped being aimless and pointed the camera at it as I passed.

Langholm Parish Church

Our usual mallards have been joined by several darker ducks with bright white breasts this summer.

darker duck

A little research tells me that they are probably mallard hybrids rather than anything more exotic.

I exchanged a few words with Mr Grumpy as I walked down to the Kilngeen…

heron

…and thought that a bunch of ragwort on the bank of the Esk just above the Meeting of the Waters added a nice touch to the scene.

ragwort

I was pleased to find that there was still a banded snail or two on the stump of one of felled trees along the Lodge Walks.

snail

Although the evening was fundamentally grey and it looked as though it might well rain, every now and again a shaft of sunshine illuminated the scene….but always a little bit away from where I was.

sunshine behind trees

Like behind a tree….

sunshine on the Esk

…or round a bend in the river…

monument

…or on top of a hill.

But I got round dry and saw a most unusual thing on my way.

ragwort

A ragwort plant with no insects on it.

It was nearly seven o’clock by this time so perhaps all the insects had gone home to bed.

My last picture was a pleasing tangle of grasses.

grasses

No flying bird of the day but there is a very badly painted blackbird and a splashy sparrow.

blackbird

sparrow splashing

There were plenty of puddles to choose from.

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Today’s guest picture comes from the sister of the Canadian lady, Lucie, who sent me a fine picture of a bison. Jennifer, the sister, lives in the Highlands of Scotland and sent me this picture of a view from Feabuie woods near Culloden Battlefield, across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle.

Culloden

We could have done with some of Jennifer’s nice weather here today as we had another mostly grey, mostly windy and often rainy day.  Currently any resemblance to summer in Langholm is purely accidental.

When I ventured out into the garden after breakfast, I saw that the three Shirley poppies were feeling much the same about the weather as me…

shirley poppies

…depressed.

There were other soggy flowers.

phlox and marigold

Blue phlox has come to join the pink and white

However I was cheered up when I went to the Welcome to Langholm office…

wtl

…and found that not only did we have enough photographs to make a modest exhibition…

camera club exhibition

A corner of the show

…but that several members had turned up to help so it didn’t take us long to get everything sorted out.

One of the helpers was Sandy and after we had finished, he and I went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a Jaffa cake (or two in my case).

There are plenty of lettuces in the garden so Sandy took one away and I had some of another one in the form of a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch.  A lunch fit for kings.

After lunch, I checked the weather and as it seemed to be likely to be reasonably fair for a while, I went off to see the the horsemen on the Castle Craigs ride out.  This is part of our Common Riding tradition and in a way, it is a rehearsal for the great day on Friday.

Horsemen career up the Kirk Wynd and onto Whita Hill (it is all men at the Castle Craigs ride out unlike the Common Riding procession, which is open to all riders) and I went some distance up the Wynd and waited for them to arrive.

The cavalcade is led by the cornet and so I was surprised to see his left and right hand men coming up before him…

left and right

…but the cornet was following close behind on his white horse.

cornet

I learned later that the cornet’s horse and its rider had had a difference of opinion about the route further down the hill but no harm came of it and he was soon back in his proper position at the head of affairs.

Mounted followers soon appeared in good numbers…

castle craigscastle craigs

… leaving sensible gaps between groups as they came.

They soon all disappeared up the hill….

castle craigs

…and I followed behind on foot, pausing to take in anything interesting that I saw en route.

hare bell and fungus

The horsemen go round the shoulder of the hill and assemble at the Castle Craigs where they get a group photograph taken.   I walked up to the monument and then down to the track  along which they would return and I had time to see that a good number of supporters had travelled up by car to greet the riders…

castle craigs

…and to position myself among the heather…

heather on the hill

First signs of flowers

…below the track and wait for the arrival of the horses as they came back from theCastle Craigs.

They were preceded first by a quad bike and then by the editor of our local paper….

castle craigs

…but they didn’t keep me waiting long.

castle craigs

There were over eighty horsemen picking their way carefully along a very rough track along the hillside.

castle craigscastle craigs

castle craigs

A study in concentration from horse and rider.

They passed me and turned down the track towards the road at the White Yett where the cars were waiting…

castle craigs

…and we could see the whole troop of riders in a line as they headed off towards Cronksbank….

castle craigs

….where they would stop for refreshments before returning to the town.

I left them to it as I had got a very kind offer of a lift back to the town from the editor who was going to drive through the town and round to Cronksbank from the opposite direction, intending to arrive there before the horses.

I was glad that I got out in the High Street and didn’t go with her,  because the cornet’s father, when I met him on the return of the horsemen, reported that it had been very wet and very cold while they were there…and very, very wet, he added just for emphasis.

I was happy to sit at home and watch the time trial from the Tour de France which was following roads in Marseille very familiar to us from our holiday there last year.  I could swear that I did almost exactly the same course as the cyclists did although I was on a tourist bus.

I went out to see the horses and riders on their return from Cronksbank, pausing to enjoy the crocosmia and hosta beside the dam as I went.

Crocosmia and hosta

Adding much needed colour to a rather grey day

The cavalcade parades round the town when it come back, preceded by the Langholm Pipe Band, seen here about to cross the Langholm Bridge…

Langholm Pipe Band castle craigs

……followed by the riders dressed for the weather.

castle craigs

The Front Three

Those who had hired their horse for the day went off to the Kilngreen rather than cross the bridge but the rest followed the cornet down Thomas Telford Road.

Castle Craigs

I was going to follow too but it soon started to rain again so I went home.  I found a moment to look at the privet flowers which are beginning to fall like snow….or possibly like pasta on a closer look.

privet

Needless to say when all the excitement was over and the soaked riders had got home, the sun came out and we had a beautiful evening again for a while.  It does this sort of thing on purpose.  It did mean though that I could pick some peas to have with an omelette for my tea.

There was a spot or two of feeble  sunshine while I was walking up the hill in the afternoon so I looked at my favourite view…..

Ewes valley

The flying birds of the day are either standing around or about to go swimming.

blackbird an duck

 

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