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Posts Tagged ‘Ewes Church’

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  He sent it to me to show that his daughter Susan is not just a fine recorder player but a good cook too. This is her beef Wellington.

Susan's beef wellington

We had another warm and dry December day here but the 35 mph wind in the morning was a forcible reminder that we should not expect too much good weather in the winter.

I had plenty of time therefore to watch birds through the kitchen window as I idled the morning away but once again birds were in very short supply and no photo opportunities beckoned.

The wind eased off a little around midday and as my cycle stats spreadsheet told me that I only had twenty three miles to go to reach three hundred miles for the month and that at the same time I would hit a significant annual target too, I decided to get my bike out and battle with the breeze.

I thought that skulking in the valley might be the best policy so I started by cycling up to Cleuchfoot along the Wauchope road with a view to doing two or three repetitions in the valley bottom depending on the weather.

The Glencorf Burn never fails to please me as I cross over the bridge on my way to Cleuchfoot…

Glencorf burn

…and I was fully expecting to cross it again in a short while.  However, by the time that I got back to Langholm after eight miles, the wind had dropped to a very tolerable level so instead of coming back up the Wauchope road, I cycled straight through the town and took the main road north.

The sun was out and the traffic was light and I headed northwards in a cheerful mood.  It is a very scenic route and there is plenty to look at on the way.

I stopped at Ewes Church….

ewes kirck

…where the church bell hangs in a tree and not in the bell tower.

ewes kirk bell

Behind the church, one of several little glens winds up between the hills.

Ewes kirk vallwy

At the next gap in the hills, a stone tells of a vanished tower and an intrusive apostrophe.

little monument

This is the valley where the tower once stood.

Little valley

I went as far as the old toll house at Fiddleton….

Fiddleton toll

…and took a look round at the hills at the head of the Ewes valley.

To the east…

Fiddleton hills 3

…to the west….

Fiddleton hills 2

…and to the north.

Fiddleton hills 1

And then I headed back south to complete a most enjoyable 25 miles.

The only flower still in bloom in our garden is the winter jasmine…

winter jasmine

…but there are plenty of signs of potential flowers to come.

december green shoots

Once inside, I was happy to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had made another pan of duck soup so I had a late lunch and looked out in hope of seeing a few birds.

I did see a lone greenfinch…

greenfinch

…but it wasn’t in any danger of getting knocked off its perch by the crowd.

I was so pleased with getting to three hundred miles for the month and hitting  a significant annual target that after a shower, I sat down at my computer to put my twenty five miles into my cycle stats spreadsheet and do a bit of gloating.  The smug look was soon wiped off my face though as I discovered an error in a vital column which meant that although I had indeed hit the 300 mile mark for the month, I was still thirty miles short of my annual target.  Oh catastrophe!

Mercifully, the weather forecast predicts reasonable weather for tomorrow but it will be a shock when the legs find out that that they have to go out again.  I hope that they won’t complain too much.

Along with the lone greenfinch, a single chaffinch flew by and it takes the honour of being the uncontested flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture is another from my daughter’s visit to the Chelsea Flower Show.  Heaven knows what the wonderful flowers are.

Chelsea Flower Show

We are enjoying a spell of warm, dry weather which is extremely welcome.  It is letting Mrs Tootlepedal get some really useful gardening done and it is letting me get some good cycling miles in.

It was sunny from the start of the day and I took a moment before getting the fairly speedy bike out to have a look round the garden.

As always, I was happy to see a bee.  They love the Dicentras.

bee on Dicentra

I would be even happier if there were a lot more bees about but in spite of the good weather, they are still very scarce.

Our neighbour Gavin took a break on his customary morning walk to give two of his friends a guided tour of the garden.  They were impressed that Mrs Tootlepedal does all the work herself.  I am impressed by that too.

There are a lot of birds in the garden at the moment.  Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t regard house sparrows in a very friendly light as they eat her young plants if she doesn’t protect them well but I am very happy if they pose nicely for me.

male sparrows

Males on the fence…

female sparrow

…and a female on the feeder

Hedge sparrows or dunnocks are often to be seen creeping about under plants in the borders.  I caught a young one under the feeders today.

dunnock

Siskins are still the most frequent feeder visitors…

siskins

…but they have to fend off the occasional incursion by sparrows….

sparrow and siskin

…and everybody gives a starling a wide berth.

starling

I didn’t have a moment to look at the flowers today because I had only a limited time to complete my cycle ride.  I set off up the A7 to the north with two plans in mind – either go straight up the road against the wind for twenty miles and enjoy a whizz back down with the wind behind or else take a more circular and hilly route and avoid having to pedal into the wind for too long.

The forecast had promised a reasonably light wind but after eight miles butting into it, it seemed quite strong to me and after a pause to look at Ewes Church…

Ewes Church

…I turned right at Fiddleton and headed for the hills.

There is a stiff climb out of the Ewes valley….

Ewes valley

…and on to the ridge at the top…

Carrotrig

…but it is well worth it, both for the views when you are up there and the steady descent down to Hermitage Water and the Castle on its bank.

Hermitage castle

The run back down the road to Newcastleton with the breeze now behind me was most enjoyable after the slow progress over the first sixteen miles.

I passed several bridges of various sizes on my way from Fiddleton to Newcastleton and stopped for two of them.

bridges

The water in the rivers is very low.  The fisherman are crying out for some rain.

I stopped in Newcastleton to buy a strawberry tart from a handy cafe as I needed a bit of fuel for the last leg of my trip, 10 miles over the moor with a thousand foot summit between me and Langholm.

I had designed my route in the hope that the brisk breeze would help me over the hill and my hopes were realised in full and the ten miles passed without any trouble.  If I had had more time to spare, I could happily have spent an hour or two just snapping away at all the wild flowers.  But time pressed and I settled for a view of Tinnis Hill…

Tinnis Hill

Its characteristic shape and position make it a familiar landmark from many miles away to the south and west.

…and an impression of the quiet road that I followed.

Langholm Moor

Getting near the summit

There was so much bog cotton about that at times it looked as though it had been snowing.

Bog cotton

The sting in the tail of the road across the moor is the valley of the Tarras.  It gives an extra up and down when you are almost home.

Tarras

One more river….

The bog cotton and and some very colourful moss gave me an excuse for a breather…

bog cotton and moss

..and more wild flowers gave me another.

wild flowers

The climbing and the wind made for a pretty slow average speed for my outing but it had been such a pleasant trip that I wasn’t too sad about this……but all the same, I scurried down the last hill and just managed to creep up to exactly 12 mph for the circuit which gave me some respectability (but not much).

Those interested can see more about the route by clicking on the map below.

garmin route 29 May 16

I should add that the weather information that Garmin have added to the route map was wrong in every respect except the wind direction and even that was a bit more from the north than they show.

I just had time for a shower, a change of clothes and lunch before we set off to Carlisle for a combination of shopping and singing.  The shopping went very well.  The singing was not quite so good as our usual conductor and accompanist were missing, as was quite a good proportion of the choir.

With our concert coming up next week, it left us a little under prepared but those present gave of their best for the substitute conductor and it also gave us a chance to meet the young lady who is going to be our new accompanist from September onwards.  She did amazingly well considering that she was sight reading everything today.

After a heavy eight days of cycling, singing and gardening, we were very pleased to have a sit down when we got home.

The flying bird of the day is another siskin.

flying siskin

 

 

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