Posts Tagged ‘Bailliehill’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Welsh correspondent Keiron, who thought that a Welsh lamb would be appropriate for the time of year. I thought so too.

Kieran lamb

We had another in the run of dry and warmish days that have made March such a contrast to February.  Once again there was thin cloud about but there was plenty of sunshine too and the temperature had no trouble in leaping into double figures (just).

Some daffodils appreciated the sunshine…

daff in sun

…but others are still hanging their heads.

daff drooping

I am developing the skills  required for facing the lockdown and have learned to stretch time to fill the available space.  Where it might have taken me five minutes last week to put my socks on in the morning, now it takes me ten, and where I might have taken five minutes to walk round the garden to check if anything new had appeared, now it might take me a full quarter of an hour.  In this way, the day positively rushes by with no need for extra activities to fill it up at all.

And there was new grwoth in the garden, an emerging grape hyacinth…

first grape hyacinth

…and signs of cracking in the magnolia buds.

magnolia bud

But pride of place in the novelty stakes goes to the cardamine


I paid a visit to our local shop and got almost all of what was needed but unfortunately couldn’t get any set honey so I will have to go again tomorrow.  As well as the lack of honey, there was a marked lack of oyster catchers on the river bank on my way home.

My friend Dropscone rang up to have a chat in lieu of coffee and scones and in the course of the conversation revealed one of the deadly hidden perils of the lockdown.  His daughter Susan, who has been laid off and has got time on her hands, is intending to tidy the house.  Dropscone is worried.  How will he ever find anything again?

The tidy bug affected us too and after having had our logs in cheerful disarray for a long time…

rough wood pile

…Mrs Tootlepedal is getting some order into the log store.

neat wood pile

We made good use of an old raised bed surround, I thought.

While Mrs Tootlepedal gardened, I shifted another third of the compost from Bin B into Bin C and should finish the job tomorrow.  Last year, I might have done it all in a ‘oner’  but the new expanded time method applies to composting as well as socks.

After lunch, I went out for my permitted exercise.

It was a day for cycling, and it started well with this fine display of daffodils against a wall just as I left the town.

Alix daffs

It wasn’t all plain sailing though as there was a stiff wind in my face as I headed west and it took me an hour to do the first ten miles.  I was glad to have en excuse to stop to take a picture of this tree on a very steep slope.

tree before grange quarry

I have photographed it before but I am always pleased to see it still resisting the pull of gravity, and if I can keep cycling, I expect that it may well appear again if it survives.

I got as far west as Paddockhole, and then I turned north and headed for Bailliehill up the valley of the Water of Milk.  There are turbines on every side here already….

ewe hill wind farm

…and more are going to appear in the near future.

But it remains a very peaceful valley and a pleasure to cycle up.

water of milk valley

I could see the work being done to prepare the ground for the new turbines in the shadow of the existing wind farm.

crossdykes windfarm

As a bonus for elederly cyclists, the narrow road across the hill has been slightly widened to accommodate the lorry traffic for the wind farm and this lets a car pass me without either of us having to stop.

road to bailliehill

I only met one car though.

At the top of the hill, just before the road swoops down to join the course of the River Esk, this lonely man made pond had been well filled with water by the February rains.

pond at bailliehill

The wind had been behind me from Paddockhole and I had been blown up the hill so I expected that once I turned at Bailliehill to follow the road back to Langholm I might find the wind a bit troublesome.

My fears were largely unfounded and the wind was helpful more often than not so I was able to maintain a reasonable speed to Bentpath, where I stopped to admire the bridge and church, looking at their best.

westerkirk bridge and church

And I took in the view across the river at the same time.

benty and the fell

As I got nearer to Langholm, the hills which were sheltering me from the wind also left me in shadows, while the sun shone on the opposite side of the valley.

view towards potholm

It was still warm enough to make me happy that I only had had to put on two layers of clothing after months of cycling wrapped up like a Christmas parcel.

As I came down Caroline Street in the early evening sunshine at the very end of the ride, my neighbour Irving popped out of a side road and ambushed me.  You can see that I like to wear clothing that passing motorists can’t fail to notice.


Thanks to Irving and Libbie for sending me the picture

Mrs Tootlepedal made a sausage stew for our tea and another day of the crisis passed off peacefully.

In the continued total absence of flying birds at our feeder, the non flying bird of the day is a ‘shopping trip’ gull in the midst of the very sparkly Esk river this morning.

gull in sunshine

Footnote: members of the camera club have sent me some pictures for our virtual gallery while the club is not meeting and they can be seen here: www.langholmcameraclub.org

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He is visiting Aranjuez in Spain.  It is 30 mins from Madrid and is a town built around a Royal Palace.  His picture shows one of the rooms in the so called ‘Labourer’s House’.  I don’t think that the labourer lives there any more.


We had a busy morning, and straight after breakfast we had to drive off to Annan where I had an appointment with the podiatrist in the hope that she would be able to suggest ways of getting me walking comfortably again.

While I went to the clinic, Mrs Tootlepedal passed the time with some shopping at a handy supermarket.

The podiatrist was sympathetic, very thorough and helpful.  She told me to stop doing one or two things that I have been doing and to start doing one or two things that I haven’t been doing and, more importantly, suggested that a certain type of shoe might be a sensible purchase.  As it happened such shoes are available at the Gretna shopping village and we had already planned to visit Gretna on the way home so that Mrs Tootlepedal could buy a skirt.  That was handy.

When we got to Gretna, there was a good selection of the ‘walking trainers’ with stiff soles that the podiatrist had recommended and I bought a pair that had the added advantage of being marked down to a very reasonable price.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a suitable skirt, so we drove home in a cheerful frame of mind.

It was another dry day, though not very sunny, and we had a look round the garden before we had lunch.  The sedums were very busy hosting various small life forms…

insects on sedum

…while the butterflies had spread out over the garden, some on the sedum, some seeking the sun and some sitting on stone.

three butterflies

The sunflowers are doing  very well, and all these five flowers come from a  single stem.

four garden flowers

After lunch, which was sweet corn and a sardine sandwich, I got my bike out and went off for a pedal.  The wind was light so I thought that I might risk going on a slightly hillier route than usual and headed north out of the town.  This involved going  up a couple of steep but short hills right at the start of the ride.  I went at them so slowly and cautiously that time lapse photography might have been needed to detect any progress.

Still, it meant that I got to the top of the hills in very good order and with no unnecessary creaking in the knees. so it was worth it.

I rode along, still going pretty slowly and with an eye out for a photo opportunity.  The Gates of Eden on a day of sunshine and shadow is always an opportunity not to be missed.

gates of eden spetember

(I checked and they have appeared on the blog at least nineteen times over the past nine years.)

Further up the valley, it became obvious that as the weeks go by, we are losing the green on the tops of our hills and colour is beginning to gently fade away.

Esk valley

I followed the Esk up stream and stopped to admire this stark example of timber management.

tree felling

When I had got to Bailliehill, my turning point at ten miles, I looked back down the Esk valley and took a little panorama of one of my favourite views.

bailliehill panorama

A click will give the bigger picture.

Coming back down towards Langholm, a colourful tree stood out among the green.

Tree above benty

And I couldn’t pass by the church and bridge at Bentpath without taking yet another shot of them…

benty church

…and as I was standing beside a wall while I was taking the picture of the church, I looked at it too.

three benty lichens

I had forgotten to take my phone with me so I was naturally expecting to be overtaken by a mechanical or human catastrophe with the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service unavailable, but I got back home without any unwanted adventures to find that the rescue service herself was resting after some hard work in the garden.

After a cup of tea and a shower, I thought that it would be a good idea to put my new walking shoes to the test so I went out for a short, flat walk round three bridges.

It can’t be ignored any more, autumn is definitely in the process of arriving.

riverside autumn leaves

At the Kilngreen, a duck was admiring its reflection in the water.

sombre duck ewes

On the Castleholm, some trees are getting ahead of themselves as far as autumn goes.

This tree always turns early….


tree turning castleholm

…but normally we would be waiting for October to come before we see any significant change in leaf colour.

castleholm trees seprember

I came home by way of the Duchess Bridge and found this little crop of fungus growing on a dead tree stump along the path.

riverside fungus

Our neighbour Liz’s garage rounded my walk off with a full blown burst of autumn colour.

liz's garage

My new shoes seemed to be quite satisfactory for a first go.  The podiatrist is going to send me some insoles for them which should make them even better, so I am cautiously optimistic about being able to get a bit more walking in before winter comes.

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked lamb chops for tea and that rounded off a varied, useful and enjoyable day.

The flying bird of the day is having a little sit down.

sparrow on fence

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Today’s guest picture comes from Anna, a former B&B guest of ours.  She was visiting Costa Rica when she met this unusual towel rabbit.

Costa Rica rabbit from Anna

We had another lovely sunny day today and with the temperature just above freezing, I was happy to welcome Dropscone for coffee until the day got warm enough for cycling.

As it was Friday, I was expecting treacle scones but owing to a slight failure of his milk purchasing department, Dropscone arrived with a packet of biscuits instead.  They went down very well.   His car has still not been fixed so instead of golfing, he went for a walk yesterday and I hope to show a picture from his walk tomorrow.

Bright sun in winter is not always the most helpful thing when looking at birds on the feeder so I got a lot of shots of chaffinches like this…


…but even more like this.


I did see some greenfinches in the shade.,…


…and one in the sun later on.


I don’t know where the goldfinches and siskins were today but they weren’t in our garden.

I had an early lunch not long after Dropscone left and as the the thermometer had hit 5 degrees, I set out on the fairly speedy bike.

The sun is now high enough in the sky to give a bit of warmth so I had a very pleasant time as I cycled up the Esk Valley to Bentpath…


…and on to Bailiehill, passing fine individual trees….

tree at Craig

…and strips of commercial forestry up the Meggat valley.

Meggat valley

The trees on our hills are almost all commercial planting, the results of government grants to encourage home grown timber.  It has led to some odd patches among the fields.


I feel that there is no call for this signpost to make insulting remarks about the age of cyclists using the Cycle By-way.

prehistoric trail sign

I passed more planting as I headed cheerfully up the hill to Bailiehill….


…but the frozen pond at the junction at the top made me take a bit of care as I went over the hill and down to Paddockhole.

pond at bailliehill

There were plenty of still frozen puddles beside the road….

frozen puddle

…but the road itself, warmed but the sun, was dry enough and I pottered on carefully but safely.

Bailliehill road

This is one of my favourite routes as the road winds along beside the Water of Milk…

Water of MIlk

…though the appearance of a strengthy looking cloud over the hill made me wonder if bad things might happen before the end of the ride.


The road passes the new Ewe Hill wind farm and a  closer look showed….

Ewe Hill windfarm

…that I wasn’t very far from the snow line.

Ewe Hill windfarm

Still, the clouds stayed away, the sun warmed my back and I was enjoying myself so much that I decided to add a few more miles to my ride by taking a diversion to Waterbeck.   This was a step too far and I should have remembered that I was still recovering and I had climbed a hill or two already.

The back road to Waterbeck is used by quarry lorries and has a very poor surface in places.  Although I knew this very well, I rather vainly thought that having dodged the ice coming over the hill, I could easily dodge the potholes in the valley.

This proved to be mistaken.

crash test dummy

I misjudged my line through a little maze of potholes and was tipped slowly but thoroughly onto the tarmac.   My cycling glasses banged into the side of my face and i found myself dripping with blood.  By happy coincidence, a quarry lorry came round the corner just as I had got to my feet and cleared myself and my bike off the road.  He stopped to see how I was and I discovered that quarry lorry drivers carry round the softest, strongest, most absorbent paper towels that I have ever met.  The driver kindly gave me a couple to mop myself up.  I weighed up this kindness against the fact that it is the quarry lorries that make the potholes. That is not the driver’s fault so the kindness won.

Anyway both the bike and I were sound enough for me to cycle the eight miles home (I didn’t go to Waterbeck) surprisingly happily and I even stopped for one more picture on the way.


Mrs Tootlepedal inspected the damage when I got home and took me off to the health centre where they patched me up in quick time.  After consultation with a doctor, it was felt that a visit to the A&E in Carlisle would be a good idea in case I had fractured my cheek bone which had taken a fair old dunt.

Mrs Tootlepedal drove me down and in spite of a lot of stories about delays in A&E, I was seen, x-rayed, tidied up a bit more and sent home with a clean bill of health in under three hours.  For my American readers, I should add that I had to fill in no forms and will receive no bills.

I might claim from British Cycling for a new pair of glasses though.  I have just renewed my sub fortunately.

To cheer ourselves up and because we were a bit behind schedule, we visited the chip shop in Langholm for a carry out on our way home so the day ended a great deal better than it might have.  I was going at a cautiously slow speed and wearing many layers of clothing when I hit the pothole which helped.  Also, I fell on the opposite side to my tin knee and previously broken elbow so that was another blessing.

There may be a few aches and pains to come and Mrs Tootlepedal took a portrait shot of me which is standing (sitting) in for the flying bird of the day.

It shows a crash test dummy.

Crash test dummy

Bang goes my Mr Universe entry money

I shall use it to remind me not to be so careless again.

Three cheers for the National Health Service which takes all the worry out of being an idiot.  And Mrs Tootlepedal too of course, still a vital resource after all these years.




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The second of the ‘trip to London’ pictures shows “Topaz”, one of the elegant Pullman coaches pulled by the steam engine which we saw at Carlisle station.  I like the little lamps with shades at every table.

Pullman coach

We had a rare outbreak of summer today with plenty of sunshine and a cooling breeze from the north in case it got too hot.

I started the day off by going up to check on the Camera Club exhibition and making arrangements for visitors to purchase prints if the mood comes upon them.  While I was there, the volunteer custodian and I got our pictures taken by the local paper which was publicising the event for us.

I then went home and promptly had to come back up to the town again as I had forgotten to buy a Common Riding tie to wear when our little choir songs at the concert on Wednesday.  It is a quirk of the Langholm Common Riding that it has different colours each year, taken from the colour of the silks worn by the jockey of the winner of the Derby.  This means that there is a different tie every year.

All this excitement and a bit of shopping thrown in, meant that I needed a sit down and a cup of coffee when I finally got home.  Then I needed a lettuce and marmite sandwich to provide fuel so it was not until after midday that I managed to get going on the fairly speedy bike.

I took a few garden pictures before I left.

sunny flowers

Once on the bike, I soon discovered that my legs were in go slow mode so I didn’t push them and I was happy to stop for pictures as I went along.

There was plenty to see in the verges….

umbellifer with red soldier beetles

Every umbellifer seemed to have at least one red soldier beetle on it.   I saw a stem hosting nineteen insects of various sorts on its flower heads later in my ride.

The road side verges are recovering after the mowing and I liked this display of hawkbits on the road up Callister.

hawkbits on Callister

Whether they are ‘lesser, ‘autumn, ‘rough’ or some other hawbits I cannot tell but they were good to look at as I puffed up the hill.  I have no idea what the little birds in the middle of the road further up the hill were doing.

I had to cross a couple of recently gravelled sections of road on my journey but there has been sufficient traffic to make them quite safe for cycling which was a relief.

I went as far west as Paddockhole and then turned north, uphill and into the wind to get to Eskdalemuir via Bailliehill and Castle O’er.  This took me past the new windfarm at Ewe Hill and I tried to get a picture that took in all the 22 turbines…..

Ewe Hill wind farm

…and failed.  The turbines are so stretched out and alternately low and high that my camera couldn’t cope at all.

There are now so many wind turbines in Scotland that on a day of good wind and low demand, they can provide just about all the energy that is needed for the whole country.  What is required now is serious work on developing storage for renewable energy and it does seem that people are paying attention to this.  I live in hope.

I pedalled on up the valley of the Water of Milk, crossing bridges when I came to them.

little bridge on Bailliehill road

When I arrived at Bailliehill, I had crossed the col between the water of Milk and the Esk Valley….

Esk valley at Bailliehill

One of my favourite views of the Esk

…and I was soon passing the spot where the Black Esk meets the White Esk….

Black Esk meets White Esk

…and I had to cross the Black Esk…..

Black Esk bridge

…to continue up the west bank of the White Esk to Eskdalemuir.

When I got there, the northernmost point of the trip, I crossed yet another bridge…

Eskdalemuir bridge

Electricity and phone wires are everywhere I go.

…to continue my journey back to Langholm down the east bank of the river.

After pedalling the last ten miles uphill and into the wind, I was hoping for a good push from the breeze to get me back to Langholm but it was fitful and flighty and often seemed to come from the side and even into my face a bit instead of wafting me home.

Still, it was a glorious day to be out in the country so I didn’t mind too much and just pedalled along in a very stately manner admiring the views.

There are prehistoric monuments along the way.  This is a stone circle, The Girdle Stanes, half of which has been swept away by the river.

Girdle Stanes

The fields really were those colours.  The whole outing was a visual treat.

I had to pause on the Crurie Brae to let my tin knee rest as I am not supposed to cycle up steep hills.  While I paused,  I looked north.  I could see the road that I had come up on the other side of the valley.

Looking back from Crurie Brae

Soon afterwards, I got my reward for the climbing I had done…..

Shaw Rigg

…as I whistled down the long straight road of the Shaw Rig.

I was soon pedalling along the back road past Georgefield, through banks of wild flowers….

Georgefield road

…until I crossed the Esk again at Bentpath by the bridge below the church….

Bentpath bridge and church

…which I see has got the builders in.

Westerkirk Church

Although the road from Eskdalemuir is theoretically downhill as it follows the river, it never seems that way when I am cycling along it. It undulates a lot and I was grateful to get to the last climb of the day.  I stopped for a breather and a final view from my ride.

View of Esk valley at Potholm

I would have taken a picture of the good crop of raspberries at the top of the hill but I inadvertently ate them before I thought of getting the camera out.  Wild raspberries are delicious.

I did 34 miles which is not far but as you can see from the elevation profile below, it was an up and down sort of ride with long uphill and short downhill sections so not very restful.  It was the slowest ride I have done for ages but also one of the most enjoyable.

Garmin route 24 July 2107

Click on the map for more details of the ride if you wish


When I got home, I had another wander round the garden….

poppy and roses

…edged the lawn and picked some beetroot which I then cooked.  I made a loaf of bread (with water) and went upstairs to have shower.  The front lawn looked so good from the bathroom window that I went back downstairs and got a camera.  I often say to Mrs Tootlepedal that all the work that I do on the lawn through autumn, spring and early summer is to make it look good for at least one day later in the summer.

I think that this might have been that day.

the front lawn looking good

When I came down a little later, there were forty sparrows pecking the lawn to bits.  Ah well.

Still the evening sunshine lit up a poppy very nicely so that soothed my ire.

poppy in sunshine

And a very cheery clematis at the front door completely restored my good humour.

front door clematis

Then my flute pupil Luke came and we played through our trio and that rounded off a very good day indeed.

After tea, I picked the very last of the blackcurrants and I hope to find time to make a pot or two of jelly tomorrow.

The flying birds of the day can’t make up their minds and are sitting on the fence for the time being.


Oh all right, it’s a hedge and not a fence.  Perhaps they are hedging their bets.


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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s highland holiday.  The weather wasn’t always what he would have wished but you can’t fault the views.


We had a fine and sunny day here today so October was very welcome.  The temperature is autumnal and the garden was quite soggy when we got up but it dried up nicely during the day.

I had a leisurely morning with the high spot being a visit to the Producers’ Market in the Buccleuch Centre to stock up on the necessities of life.  Fresh fish and vegetables, good cheese, properly looked after meat and local honey all disappeared into my shopping bag and I pedalled home on the slow bike (solid tyre, no punctures!) in a cheery mood.

There was any amount of dead heading to do as we try and keep the flowers going as long as possible.  Lillian Austin is flourishing with no help from me at all.

Lilian Austin

…and the poppies in front of the pond are standing up very well too.


I dead headed a hundred stems and then Mrs Tootlepedal went round and did all the ones that I had missed and then I went round and did the ones that she had missed.  What fun we had.

She is busy doing gardening at the moment and the morning’s project was replanting an azalea in a new place as part of a border redesign.  She digs these hefty shrubs up, carries them to their new home and puts them in with no help from me at all.  I just stand and marvel at the results.

The morning involved coffee and a crossword too and a moment to enjoy the sparrows at the feeder.


After lunch, I had another look out of the window….

dunnock and chaffinch

Neither the dunnocks or the chaffinches fly up to the feeder at the moment, just scavenging for scraps below.

chaffinch and blue tit

A chaffinch spent some time in the plum tree considering its options but a blue tit got stuck in straight away.

After a good deal of dithering, I finally got out the fairly speedy bike, cleaned the chain and set off for a ride.

Yesterday I had gone up the Wauchope road, turned left and and circled round to approach the town from the south.  Today I went up the Wauchope road, turned right, circled round and approached the town from the north.  As usual, my route choice was determined by wind direction as I always like to have a friendly wind on my way home.   It is good to have a choice of two rides of almost the same distance.

I had noticed patches of bright green lichens on one particular short stretch of wall on recent rides so I stopped today to record one of them.

Green lichen

This colour is not common round here where the walls are usually covered in grey or brown lichens.  Maybe different stone was used on this section of the wall.

A calf on the other side of the road had nothing to say on the matter.


The hills may be turning a bit brown but the cultivated grass fields are still as green as ever…


Looking back on the Wauchope road just after my right turn

Water of Milk

My road ahead following the valley of the Water of Milk

This road winds steadily uphill for most of its four miles and as it was into the wind today, I was pleased to arrive at Bailliehill….


…at the top of the hill where I turned right and followed the River Esk back to Langholm.

At Bailliehill there is a slightly mysterious pond and summerhouse.

Bailliehill pond

Both pond and structure were made quite recently but I have never seen any sign of life there.

My route home wasn’t helped quite as much by the wind as I had hoped that it would be but it wasn’t hindered by it at all so I rolled along the road home at a good speed for me.

When I got back, I found that not content with shifting the azalea, Mrs Tootlepedal had continued her work of garden improvement by levelling out the path from the drive to the front lawn.

garden path

As this involved shifting and re-laying several large and heavy concrete slabs, I was distinctly impressed.  The dahlias in the picture were among the plants dead headed this morning.  They were all grown from seed this year but some of them are making really good looking tubers and Mrs Tootlepedal is contemplating taking some of them up and keeping them over winter.

Before I had my after-ride cup of tea, I put the speedy bike away and then got the slow bike out and pedalled down to the riverside to see what I could see there.

headless flying bird

A headless flying bird….

herring gull

…turned out to be a herring gull

A very late family of ducks was swimming close to the river bank.


There were some fine clouds on the horizon…


…but nothing else came within range of my lens so I pedalled home past two fierce lions….

square pump

Water providers on a public pump in Buccleuch Square in times gone by

…and had my cup of tea.

A meal of fish and courgette fritters rounded off a good day very well.

The flowers of the day are two nasturtium caught in the damp morning….


…and the flying bird is a determined sparrow.


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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mary Jo from Manitoba in a probably vain attempt to stop me complaining about the weather.  Her thermometer is in the shade on the North side of her house, and the picture taken around supper time.  If that was the case here, I would have to move.  I wouldn’t be able to take it.

thermometerIn contrast to that excessive heat, we had a fine and sometimes sunny day here but the temperature never climbed above 16°C.  It was fine if you were sheltered from the breeze but when I went out on my bike, it was decidedly chilly in a brisk wind.

I started the day before breakfast by taking ten photos (and a dish of blackcurrants) down to the hall at Canonbie for the flower show.   On the way back, I stopped on the Canonbie by-pass to admire a splendid show of daisies which have recently appeared.

by-pass daisiesThe whole roadside gleams with them in places.

by-pass daisiesAfter breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal and I had an involved conversation about a potential bike ride but following a good deal of to and fro, we couldn’t find a suggestion that met both our requirements so we agreed on a ride for tomorrow and Mrs Tootlepedal did some gardening while I went for a solo pedal.

I had a quick walk round the garden before I went.


The opium poppies opened their petals to the sun.


The first sunflower of the year.

wild flowers on the front  lawn

Wild flowers on the front lawn

wild lawn

The wild lawn is showing some signs of progress (if shot from the correct angle).

In spite of the sunshine, I went back in and put a second layer on.  I did a familiar 25 mile circular route and thanks to the chilly wind, I had to keep my head down and pedal hard rather than look for photo opportunities.  I was pleased to see though, that I had been unnecessarily gloomy about the possibility of wild raspberries….

wild raspberries…as I passed several spots dripping with fruit.

I need some black and white shots for future competitions so I did stop at a ruin at Bailliehill…

Bailliehill…but I never seem to get that punchiness which is needed for a successful b/w shot.

Colour is no problem just now as everywhere is looking as green as can be.  This was taken from the same spot, looking back into the valley that I had just climbed out of.

Looking back from BailliehillI got back in good order and after lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set off for the flower show at Canonbie.  It was very busy and we had to park a long way from the hall.

The picture that I took two days ago of the Skippers Brig won first prize in a very hotly contested class (even though Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it was too saturated for her taste) but all I had to show for the other nine was a second in a small class and none of the four (which I thought were quite good) cloudscapes troubled the judge at all.  Such is life.  As a consolation, my blackcurrants scraped second prize in a class of three.

We went down to the field behind the hall where an enterprising farmer from Loch Lomond was demonstrating herding Indian Runner ducks with a collie.

ducks and collieTo tell the truth, the ducks seemed to be as well trained as the collie and might well have been able to do the show without the dog.

There were the usual static engines to admire….

static engine…and highly polished vintage tractors too.

vintage tractorsWe left the show for a while and enjoyed a walk along the banks of the Esk below the church.  We passed many sand martins flitting across the river in search of insects to take to their nests in the river bank.   I would have taken several more (potentially superlative) shots of the walk and the show if my camera battery hadn’t run out.  I have lost my spare battery and in spite of looking for it everywhere for several months, it hasn’t come to light so after this fiasco, I ordered a new one  as soon as we got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had some more gardening to do when we got back and I turned some compost from Bin C into Bin D.  I have almost finished this task and one more go should free up Bin C to received the contents of Bin B.  True happiness this way lies.

I also took a picture or two while I was out.  Clematis were on my mind.

white clematis

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that these greeny white flowers are not petals at all.


These are growing side by side. Are they all the same flower?

On the other side of the garden, a new field poppy and the first Japanese anemone have poked their heads up.

poppy and anemoneThe forecast is offering us a good day for our proposed pedal tomorrow and I have charged my camera battery so I am looking forward to the outing.

I didn’t have a lot of time to watch the birds today but the mean pigeon was back again…

pigeon…and the dialogue between the chaffinches and siskins continued.

chaffinch and siskin…and the better light allowed me to get a more satisfactory flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent who has been having a good time on holiday in Jersey.  Keeping her eyes well peeled, she spotted this inconspicuous fungus while there.

jersey fungusMrs Tootlepedal went off with two friends to have another visit to the Great Tapestry of Scotland.  They had all seen it on a visit last Saturday but thought that they had not been able to give it the attention that it deserved in the time available and so were off for a second look.

Left on my own, I managed to get organised and go off on the fairly speedy bike for a good round trip of 37½ miles in brilliant sunshine modified by a chilly northerly wind.  The breeze was light enough to make cycling a pleasure but cold enough to encourage me not to stop and take pictures.   I just took one of the cottage at Bailliehill, the literal high spot of my tour.

BailliehillAs you can see from the stream running down the side of the road, it was lucky that the temperature stayed above 4°C or I would have had to worry about icy conditions because everywhere is quite wet.  As it was, fallen leaves, cut hedges and the occasional pothole were all that I had to keep an eye out for and I got round…..

garmin 5 Nov 14….my planned circle with only one moment of worry when I found myself dreaming and pedalling over the clippings of a recently cut hedge.  Luckily there were no hawthorns involved and I got away without a puncture.

The north wind meant that the last few miles back into Langholm were harder than I expected so I was pleased to make a brief stop for a picture of a favourite corner….

Irvine House…..and chillier than I would have liked so I was pleased to sit down to a cup of tea in the warmth of the kitchen when I arrived home.

I watched birds for a very short while.

chaffinchAnd I popped out into the garden because I thought one of the clematis looked worthy of a portrait.


You can see how low the sun is in the sky, even though it was only one o’clock.

I didn’t have time to hang about though, because Mike Tinker had kindly offered to bring his ‘ordinary’ around.  The next competition at the Liddesdale Camera Club is for pictures of vintage vehicles and I felt that his bike might be just the thing….not to mention the almost vintage owner.

We had several goes and here is one result.

Ordinary penny farthingSadly, owing to recent back problems, he has not been riding it lately but he is going to have a go on it after some private practice and I hope to have a shot of him in motion in the not too distant future.   They are not easy to ride when you first get on.

After we had walked his ordinary bike home, I set out on two very ordinary vintage feet to walk round Gaskells, as it was still a lovely day.

The larches at Pool Corner were enjoying the light.

Pool corner larchesThis was not a walk with a feast of fungus but the moss was very vibrant…

moss…and my favourite fence post had its usual crop of lichens on the go…

lichens…and there were tiny but interesting things on walls and logs.

coral spot and thingI did see one patch under a tree where two crops of fungus were doing well…

fungus…within a few feet of each other and this got me excited but they were the last that I saw.

The walk was very agreeable and there is always a view to be had around Langholm.

Meikleholm Hill

Meikleholm Hill.  I was standing over there looking back over here on my last walk.

 The hawthorn berries are nothing like as sensational as they were last year but there are still some about…..

hawthorn …and I have paired them with a little shoot with berries growing out of the top of the wall beside the park.

I was passed by a horse and rider who then crossed the Wauchope at the ford to Caroline Street….

Horse crossing ford…while I took the safer option of the Park Bridge.

As I walked up Wauchope Steet, I was as impressed as I always am by the reflections cast on the opposite wall by two satellite TV dishes on the side of a house.

satellite reflectionSince they seem to be made out of a dull black metal, the reflection is always a surprise, no matter how often I see it.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal returned from  New Lanark full of enthusiasm for the Great Tapestry of Scotland and quite ready for a third visit.   I will go with her if she goes again.

After our tea, we went off for a Langholm Sings choir practice where our musical director who resigned two weeks ago, seems to have un-resigned and is back taking a share of the work with two lady assistants.  We had a good practice and ended up singing several pieces better than when we started.  Hooray.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch caught in a rare cloudy moment..


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