Posts Tagged ‘Hermitage Castle’

Today’s guest picture is a very strange aperture in the clouds sent to me by our son Tony. Perhaps the weather gods had opened their kitchen window to see what he was up to down below.

hole in cloud

We had a second sunny day running here today.   Once again, it was quite chilly after breakfast so I had a cup of coffee, watched the birds…

two chaffinches

…did the crossword, bought some spinach from our corner shop and only then, set off.

I decided to go in a different direction today and started up the main road through the Ewes Valley, which was looking very inviting in the morning sunshine.

Ewes valley from Terrona

Wafted up the gentle hill by a favouring gale, I reached Fiddleton Toll in no time and turned off to go over the hill and down into Liddesdale.

This quiet road has recently been resurfaced and was in very good condition so I pedalled along in a very cheerful mood…

hermitage road nesar foddleton

…which persisted even when I came to the steep hill up to Carrotrigg.  It may not look very steep in the picture but I needed to use my lowest gear to get up it without putting too much strain on my tin knee.

carrotrig hill from bottom

I took the precaution of stopping after a while on the excuse of looking at the view behind me.  It is one of my favourite views so it was a good excuse.

looking back into Ewes valley at Fiddleton

The road ahead doesn’t look too bad either and there can have been few people in the world who felt more blessed at that moment than I did.

road up carrotrig hill

As I rode along the Carrotrigg hogsback, looking at the hills around me, I was metaphorically, and almost literally, for a moment at least, on top of the world.

hills at carrotrig

I went down the steep hill on the far side with extreme caution.  It was a bit of a waste of all the height that I had had to work so hard to gain but I was happy to get to the valley bottom in one piece and be able to enjoy this little bridge…

bridge below carrotrig

…and this neatly maintained circular sheep pen…

circular bield

…before arriving at Hermitage Castle (closed for the winter months)…

hermitage castle

…the last stop before I got onto the road south which follows the Liddel Water through Liddesale, visits Newcastleton and then drops down to Canonbie.

The nature of my pedal changed here as now I was cycling into the sun and the steady breeze which had been so helpful in pushing me up the hills so far.

It was not only this tree that was feeling the strain.

leaning tree steele road

Still, the road to Newcastleton from Hermitage is gently downhill so even into the wind, I was making reasonable progress and passing interesting things….

alpaca grazing

…until I was stopped in my tracks by the sound of my mobile phone ringing in my back pocket.

It had stopped ringing by the time that I had stopped pedalling and when I got it out, I found that the missed call had come from Mrs Tootlepedal.  I noticed that I had also received a text message from Sandy.  Intrigued, I rang Mrs Tootlepedal back and was appalled to find that she was at the Archive Group’s annual lunch, a lunch which I should have been at too.  We had both forgotten about it completely and Sandy had gone to fetch Mrs Tootlepedal who had been hard at work in the garden.

With twenty hard miles to go to get back to Langholm, it was obvious that I wasn’t going to make the lunch so I pedalled on in rather a chastened mood.

Still, what was done was done, and there was nothing for it but to enjoy the rest of the ride as best as I could.

I stopped before I got to Newcastleton to take a picture of this railway bridge over a disused section of the old Waverley Line from Edinburgh to Carlisle.

railway bridge Copshaw

The northern half of this line has been re-opened in recent years and there is a strong push to get the southern half reinstated as soon as possible.

It would be nice to see this happen but it will need a lot of good will, hard work, excellent planning and pots of money, all of which seem to be in short supply at the moment.

I stopped in Newcastleton itself, and sat on a handy bench while I ate a banana and a finger of chocolate wafer.  Opposite me, the village’s two hotels, sitting side by side in the main square, looked to be keeping quite busy.

Grapes and Liddlesdale

Outside the hotels, there is a spot where free drink has been available in times past.

copshaw fountain

I had a real battle against the wind as I toiled up the three long hills which lie between Newcastleton and Canonbie.  Although this section of the route is slightly downhill overall as it follows the river, it never seems like that to me.  This is probably because the uphill sections are long and gradual and the downhill sections are short and sharp so I spend a lot more time going up than down.

I turned off just before I reached Canonbie and took a back road along to the Hollows.  This meant passing a sign with two words which by themselves fill my cycling heart with misgivings and together make me very worried.

windy hill

A nearby tree made the hill and the wind seem not so bad.

bare tree windy hill

When I got home after just under 40 miles, I was welcomed by the crocuses…

open crocuses

…and Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from the Archivists’ Lunch.

Not unsurprisingly, the archivists had managed to have a very good time  with no help from me and both the food and the conversation had been thoroughly enjoyable.  Nancy, the organiser, was very gracious when I rang up to apologise for my incompetence.  She was rather relieved in one way because if I had appeared on cue, it would have meant thirteen people sitting down for lunch, a number which she regards as very ill omened.   Perhaps it was for the best after all.

I had got home from my ride at a good moment because our day turned from bright and sunny into very gloomy and rainy in what seemed like the twinkling of an eye.  Some of the gloom may have come from another very uneven performance by the Scotland rugby team which lead to a sound defeat by the French.

I used the spinach that I had bought in the morning to make a meal of  baked eggs on a bed of spinach with a rich cheese sauce for our tea.  It went down well as I had missed my lunch!

I didn’t have long to look out of the window today but a passing chaffinch appeared at the right time to become the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

Those interested can find details of my route by clicking on the map below.  I did thirteen miles fewer today than yesterday but climbed 100 feet more so it was not surprising that I was a lot slower.

Garmin Route 23 Feb 2019

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Today’s guest picture was taken by my sister Mary in the Japanese Garden in Holland Park, London, England a few days ago. That is a nice international medley of names to go with a delightful picture taken on a dull day.

Japanese Garden Holland Park

After our very brief burst of springlike weather yesterday, we were back in the groove today with ten tenths cloud, occasional rain and a cold and uncharitable wind blowing.  It was rather disappointing.

However, there was plenty of activity going on to keep my mind off the missing sunshine.

I started with a walk after breakfast and I enjoyed the daffodils along the river bank in Caroline Street.  They brought a welcome touch of colour to a dull day.

daffodils on Wauchope

And for my daffodil of the day, I chose one from the clumps along the banks of the Esk between the bridges.


I was hoping to catch the goosanders but had to make do with an oyster catcher again.

oyster catcher

It wasn’t very inviting walking weather so I did more leg stretching than looking around just to keep myself warm but I couldn’t help noticing a rather strange set of fungi on a fallen tree by the river bank.


They are just normal bracket fungi but the way that they sat on the tree trunk made it look as though they were floating.

I did look to see if there were any more hazel catkins and flowers about but once again I saw few catkins and only two flowers.

hazel catkin and flower

It is hard to say whether more will arrive with some warmer weather or if this is all that there will be in such a miserable spring.

There were occasional signs of life elsewhere among the lichen covered branches of the trees.

lichen and buds

And I passed a party of cheerful Tuesday walkers who had stopped to pay their respects to a small dog.


I was pleased to get home and a have a cup of coffee but I did take a quick look round the garden first….

tree peony

…where the tree peony is looking healthy and I at last got a half decent picture of the pulmonaria flowers.


I also took a moment to check on the birds.

There were a lot about.

siskin and greenfinch

A chaffinch needed only a one footed attack to dislodge a fellow from the feeder.


After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal, Patricia, our guest, and I went off to Hawick in the car to visit a small exhibition of work there by Mrs Tootlepedal’s Embroiderers’ Guild group.  She hadn’t been able to go to the opening as she was visiting her mother at the time.

The exhibition had been very well mounted…

EG exhibition Hawick

…in a small gallery in the Textile Towerhouse.  It had gone down so well with visitors that a notice pointing out that the exhibits were not for sale had had to be put up.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a couple of old favourite pieces in the show and one of her newer pieces figured on the poster which was pleasing.


Stumpwork on the left and the new piece at the bottom right of the poster. 

We had an excellent lunch, rather surprisingly accompanied by live string playing from students of Trinity College, London.

We walked back to car, passing many bridges in the town….

hawick bridge

…both old….


…and new…


…and then drove home by way of Whitrope Summit and Hermitage, passing another bridge…

Copshaw road bridge

…Hermitage Castle…

Hermitage Castle…and a cottage at the back of beyond.

Hermitage road

In spite of the heavy clouds hanging low on the hills or perhaps even because of them, it was  a peaceful and picturesque drive.

It would have been nice to get out of the car for a walk but it really was cold and unpleasant even though the rain had stopped so we were happy to go straight home.

The birds had been busy and I filled the feeders again as the lowering of the seed level was leading to regrettable behaviour.

chaffinch stamping on goldfinch

I had hoped to go for a cycle ride when we got back from our outing but the wind was far too brisk to make cycling anything else but a chore so I found useful things to do indoors until Patricia kindly took us out for a meal at the Douglas  Hotel in the evening.

The food was excellent as usual.  It is not often that we eat out at all so to get two good meals out on the same day was a great treat.  It hasn’t done my slimming regime any good though.  My new bike when it comes will be a kilogram and a half heavier than the old fairly speedy one so I need to lose a couple of kilograms from my body weight to make up the difference.  This is proving hard in the cold weather when a bit of comfort eating is always likely.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, probably looking for someone to kick.

flying chaffinch


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Today’s guest picture, taken by Bruce’s daughter and forwarded to me by him, shows Guthrie, having woken up, wondering where the next meal is coming from.

GuthrieWe were up promptly in the morning but got away a few minutes behind schedule on a trip to Lockerbie.  This time we were not catching the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda but going to a hotel in the town to meet Venetia.  Venetia is a long standing friend of my sister Mary and having been to a symposium in Newcastle, she was taking the opportunity of having come so far north in England to go a little further and meet us and have a tour of our part of southern Scotland.

I was delighted to meet her as she is a frequent commenter on the blog and has sent me several guest pictures of the day.

She was waiting patiently for us when we arrived and she was soon ensconced in our car as we headed off north to Moffat, our first stop.  There we had coffee, did a little shopping, admired the Moffat Ram…

Moffat Ram…and set off out  of the town to visit the Devil’s Beef Tub.  The Devil’s Beef Tub is a dramatic hollow among the hills north of the town where the Johnstones (“The Devils” to their enemies) would hide their cattle in Border Reiving days.  It was described by Sir Walter Scott in these terms:  “It looks as if four hills were laying their heads together, to shut out daylight from the dark hollow space between them. A damned deep, black, blackguard-looking abyss of a hole it is.”

It didn’t look quite so dramatic to us today in spite of some gloomy weather but it is an impressive hollow.

Devil's Beef TubWe rolled back down the hill into the town and then drove out on the Selkirk road.  This gave Venetia her first taste of the delights of log lorries on narrow roads as we followed three of them, having to stop every time we met a car coming the other way.  We finally got to our next port of call, the Grey Mare’s Tail.

This is the name given to a fine waterfall which drops over side of the valley from Loch Skene above.

Grey Mare's tailThere are footpaths both to the top or the bottom of the falls and Venetia and Mrs Tootlepedal took the path to the bottom.  I took a picture of them on their return which which shows the scale of the waterfall.

Grey Mare's tailMy knee felt better today but while they braved the narrow and steep path, I cautiously (sensibly) stayed near the car park finding interesting things to look at.

purple flowers

The banks of the stream were carpeted with these flowers, a bit more purple in real life than in the picture.


The moist weather meant that the lichens were very striking

I looked back down the valley up which we had driven and I could see the typical U shape which shows that it has been scoured out by ice in times past.

Grey Mare's tail valleyBecause it falls into such a narrow gorge, it is hard to get a good picture of the whole waterfall without going along paths which are too steep and narrow for me now.

We left the falls and continued along the Selkirk road to what should have been the most beautiful destination of our trip, The Loch of the Lowes and St Mary’s Loch.  On a sunny day this is an idyllic place to be.  It was far from sunny by the time that we got there…

Loch of the Lowes…and although it was still a pleasant spot…

Loch of the Lowes…the many spots of rain didn’t encourage us to linger so we drove on, until by turning south at the end of St Mary’s Loch, we came across the hills to Eskdalemuir where we had lunch at the Hub.  We stayed long enough for Venetia to see our photo exhibition and then continued south until we arrived at Langholm, in sunshine at last, and there we had a tour of the garden,,,,

strawberry and rose

The ornamental pink strawberry and Crown Princess Margareta enjoying a dry spell at last

poppy and campanula

A poppy and a campanula showing that white can make a statement

phlox and rambler rose

A pink phlox and a potential rambler rose

….and a restful sit down.

A crime had been committed in the garden and we were able to catch the culprit red beaked….

blackbird with strawberryIt went off saying, “Who? Me?” but I don’t grudge a strawberry here and there as I have had plenty.

We didn’t sit for long though and we were soon back in the car for a further tour.  This took us up the A7 and across to Hermitage Castle…

Hermitage castle…a favourite spot to visit for us.  On this occasion, we were rather late and the castle was so strongly defended by an uncooperative attendant that we gave up hope of walking round it (although it didn’t officially close for another twenty minutes) and took some pictures of wild flowers beside the path…

Harebell and orchid

Harebells and yet another orchid

…before continuing our drive to Newcastleton.  From there, we came back across the hill to Langholm, stopping to watch a hen harrier quartering the moor on our way.

While we were parked, Venetia’s sharp eye noticed this fine thistle.

thistleApart from the sights we saw when we stopped, the whole drive was through lovely countryside and we hope that Venetia who lives in Glastonbury in Somerset, a famous beauty spot, got a good impression of this part of the world in spite of the generally grey weather.

We went out for a meal at the Douglas in the evening and then Mrs Tootlepedal kindly relieved me from my role as chauffeur and drove Venetia back to Lockerbie.  It has been a great pleasure to meet her.

Amidst all this excitement, catching a flying bird was a bit of a sideline and this was the best that I could do.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Matilda’s father, shows the great lengths that he and Clare go to in order to keep Matilda entertained.

Matilda and washing machine

We were blessed with another dry day today with occasional sunshine and light winds. After the success of the gentle pedal and walk yesterday, I thought I might be able to venture on a longer ride today so I girded my loins and set out on the (fairly) speedy bike after breakfast.

garmin route 20 Aug 2014I was interested to see whether I was able to add a few hilly sections to my cycling and by chance, I had agreed to fill the Moorland feeders for Sandy as he is going on holiday.  To get to the feeders requires a stiff climb up the road to Claygate and then another climb when you turn off onto the little road to the feeders themselves.

I was pleased to have managed these two climbs without much difficulty but less pleased when I found that someone had been there before me and filled all the feeders up.  I went back to the Claygate road and continued my ride which took me up and down hill and then down and up again into England over the bridge at Penton.

From there my route was less hard work.  It took me down into Longtown where I visited the bike shop and was able to get a annoying problem sorted out in a couple of minutes as it came from a loose cassette which was soon tightened.  I continued home in a much happier frame of mind without any more worrying creaks and groans from the bike.

Although the first part of ride had been quite challenging, the start of the second part was largely flat as I was now down on the Solway plain.

near Longtown

The view towards the sea

near Longtown

An inviting cycling prospect with good surface and no traffic

The whole circle was just over thirty miles and I made sure that I took it at a sensible speed with the result that I was able to walk quite freely when I got off the bike…not with grace and dignity maybe but with discernible forward motion in a straight line.  This was very welcome.

Those with time hanging heavy on their hands may see the route by clicking on the little map above.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got home, cleaning out sections of borders and putting in manure and a top mulch to improve the soil condition.  I am looking forward to seeing the results of all this hard work next year.

While I was talking to her, I noticed a flash of colour on a phlox.

peacock butterfly

A peacock butterfly

I went in and made and ate some potato soup for lunch and then went off to the Health Centre for my annual asthma check.  Possibly owing to singing in two choirs and playing the flute, my breathing has been better recently and I have been able to reduce my use of preventive puffers.  The nurse checked my peak flow and gave me a very handy little leaflet with a set of actions in it.

It has four pages.  If my peak flow  stays within 75% of target, I keep doing what I am doing.  If it gets down to about 50%, I should arrange an appointment at the health centre.  If it gets down to 25%, I should go straight to the health centre without an appointment and if it goes to less than 25%, I can stop worrying about anything.

I asked her what I should do if my peak flow improved.  She checked my age and said I didn’t need to bother about that.

It was all very reassuring.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was still slaving away over a hot spade so I suggested a drive in the car to give her a break and to take advantage of the pleasant weather.  She agreed and we set off to drive a short circular tour over the hills between the Ewes Valley and the Liddle Valley and back again.

This took us over Carewoodrigg which offers lovely views of rolling hills and sinuous valleys…

Carewoodrigg….down past Hermitage Castle….

hermitage castle….through Newcastleton and up onto the Langholm Moor.

Copshaw Road

Looking back into Liddesdale

We paused from time to time to do a little bird watching but there only the occasional distant bird to be watched though we did see a mother and one or two young partridges crossing the road as we came down into Tarras.

grouseWe stopped near the harrier nesting site but all the birds have long left the nest.  Some of the harriers are still about and we did catch a glimpse of one but again it was only fleeting so I took a picture of a fine pack of heather on the hillside instead.

Heather on the hill

The tracks relate to the hen harrier management as well as heather management

We stopped on the Kilngreen just before we got home.  Mr Grumpy was crouching again and I wondered whether he was poorly….

heronbut when he saw me, he got up and walked away.  Maybe his hips hurt too.

Among the usual black headed gulls there was a larger herring gull standing on the river bank.

herring gullThe gulls weren’t in a flying mood today and the ducks were all snoozing…

snoozing duck…so we didn’t stay long.

Back in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal was soon at work again while I had a wander around, camera in hand.


Several clematis are going really well in spite of the relatively low temperatures.

rudbeckia and nicotiana

Rudbeckia and nicotiana

Virginia creeper

Virginia creeper

And one of the cheerful sunflowers.


We put out some seeds we saved from last year’s sunflowers and the birds ate them all up.

I saw a cute young blackbird in the plum tree and rushed to get a shot.  I was less enamoured of it when I found it was eating one of my plums.  Still, there are plenty to share.
blackbird eating plumsThen I cycled down to the Co-op to get some stuff for a bacon and chick pea casserole which Mrs Tootlepedal was making for our tea and by this time that I got back, the activity of the day had caught up with me and my hip was reminding me that it was there so I descended into a comatose state for the rest of the evening.

As a result of keeping busy, there was no time to catch a flying bird today.





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Today’s picture was sent to me by my sister Mary.  It has been very hot indeed in London and it looks as though the majority of the population of that great city were out dangling their toes in the water at Parliament Hill Fields on Sunday.

The large lake, Parliament Hill Fields

I didn’t have time to dangle anything this morning as Dropscone appeared on schedule for a morning pedal.  As there are currently a set of temporary traffic lights on the Town Bridge, we decided to go off in the opposite direction and enjoyed an uninterrupted visit to Waterbeck.

There was a light breeze in our face on the way out and, luckily for us, it didn’t get any stronger until we turned for home when it picked up quite a bit and was most helpful.  Our general pace was modest although we enjoyed a burst of speed over the last five and a half miles home which were downhill and with the wind behind us.  We hit 35 mph coming down Callister which is quite fast enough for two old men.

Over coffee and scones, I learnt about Dropscone’s latest golfing victory.  He is in a rich vein of form at the moment.  He also told me that he had been out twice on the bike over the weekend so he has had a busy time.

After he left, I got myself cleaned and smartened up and went up to the High Street to meet a most important visitor who was coming from Edinburgh by bus.

This was Meg, the mother of Julie Goyder whose blog I have followed with laughter, sorrow, sympathy, pride and many emotions in between over the past few years.  Meg had come all the way from Australia just to visit Wauchope Cottage and we were honoured.  She was also fitting in an attendance at her granddaughter’s wedding in Peebles so that was convenient for her.

We got her safely installed in the B&B rooms and then Sandy arrived. He too had a cup of coffee and he and I walked round the garden.  There was plenty to look at.

Danish Flags

The Danish Flag poppies may go over quickly but more arrive with commendable speed.

Rosa Mundi

The rosa mundi was looking very cheerful

Rosa Wren

A new rose, Rosa Wren, has made an appearance.

day lily

I hope that that this is the first of many day lilies


The cosmos plants will soon be out all round the garden.

Meg had brought us a gift from Julie in Australia.  It is a bottle stopper and came in a bag that told us all we needed to know about it.

Julie's gift

We were very touched by her kind thought.

Meg is making light of a fractured pelvis and several fractures in her left arm which she sustained in a fall from her bike.  When she had got settled, she went off on foot to visit the High Street and get a bit of lunch.

While she was out, I spent a little time bird watching.  There were several close encounters of the bird kind.

bird encounters

A greenfinch gave things a sideways look.


And a family of sparrows tucked in at the fat ball cafeteria.


Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and when Meg returned, she went for a short rest while I mowed the front lawn.  Then I took Meg for a motor tour of the area.  We went across the hill to Newcastleton, passing Sandy who was hen harrier watching by the roadside, and returned by way of a fleeting visit to Hermitage castle…

Hermitage Castle…and back down the A7.  I was too busy acting as a tour guide to take any pictures of the trip but the countryside was looking at its best and Meg got a really good  short tour of the western border country of Scotland.

Once back home, she took a walk round the garden and then retired to write up her diary while I finished the task of turning the compost from bin B to bin A and trimmed  a short section of hedge.  I had another camera tour of the garden.  In places, there are literally masses of flowers.


A spirea.


A white potentilla


The weigela by the road has never looked better.

And another new iris has appeared.


I like white plants that grow in shady corners.

I did some shopping and then Mrs Tootlepedal returned from work and prepared a splendid roast chicken evening meal for which Meg joined us.  The chicken was garnished with potatoes, turnip and broad beans from the garden, as we are just reaching the home grown vegetable part of the year.  We polished the meal off with strawberries, ice cream and cream and I fear that all this may have put the Tootlepedal diet plan somewhat into reverse.  It was worth it.

It has been a really good day as it was very nice to meet a real life person from the world of the blogs that I read and to have some flesh put upon Julie’s digital  bones.  I expect her ears were burning even so many thousands of miles away.

After our meal, Mrs Tootlepedal took Meg on a tour of the garden and I snatched a picture of them in a rare moment of repose.

Mrs Tootlepedal and Meg

You would never guess that Mrs Tootlepedal hates having her picture taken.

I thought that the evening light would show Crown Princess Margareta up well but the insects had beaten me to it.

rose with flies

The flying bird of the day was one of the sparrow clan.

flying sparrow














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This should have been an interesting post but WordPress seems to have eaten it instead of publishing it and it is too late for me to write it all again. I am going to try just to put the pictures in.  Dropscone has a new bike, we went for a nice pedal.  Sandy arrived and we visited Hermitage Castle.  I’m off to bed. Sorry.

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Today’s picture, courtesy of Jennifer in Western Australia again, is a pardalote, one of the peep wren family  (as if you don’t know that already).


Here we were greeted by the lightest possible snowfall…

first snow

…and temperatures just high enough to leave a flower or two in business.


The last of the dam side potentillas.

I was pleased to see a tit tucking into the home made sunflower seeds.

Sunflower seeds

They are not being eaten with the same gusto as the shop bought sunflower hearts but they are going down a bit.  I shall knock a few more seeds out of the heads in the greenhouse soon.

We had got up late as we had nothing in the diary to do and after breakfast, we idled the morning away until we got the urge for action and Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a drive to Hawick for a little shopping and a return by the a scenic route.   I was thinking of a cycle ride but the thought of a nice warm car won me over and we were soon on our way to Hawick with Mrs Tootlepedal at the wheel.

Being in the passenger seat gave me the chance to see whether sandycam could take a good shot through the car windscreen.


The road to Hawick. It was a great day for a drive.  I am more used to cycling than driving up this road.

We got to Hawick, had a light lunch and did our shopping.  Business over, we left Hawick on the road to Newcastleon and were soon out in the country on a well surfaced, quiet road.  I was driving now and stopped from time to admire the view.

Shankend viaduct

A good viaduct is hard to beat. This one is on the old Waverley line at Shankend.

We went over the summit at Whitrope and wound down the hill beside the Whitrope Burn.  The road crosses the burn on handsome bridges.

Top bridge over Whitrope burn

The first bridge.

Bridge over Whitrope Burn

The second bridge

I have driven and cycled over this one many times without realising that it has its own waterfall attached.

Bridge over Whitrope Burn

At Hermitage Hall we turned right to go over the hill towards Fiddleton Toll.  We didn’t have to go far before a photo opportunity appeared.

Hermitage Castle

Hermitage Castle, a stern border fortress.

It is an uncompromising building which seems to sit very well in the austere country around it.

Hermitage Castle

We headed past the castle, following Hermitage Water.  The gentle contours of the valley rather mask the hard life which the people who have lived here have led over the years.

Hermitage Water

As we climbed the hill and crossed the county boundary, we saw a group of hunt enthusiasts waiting for the hounds to appear but we passed them and stopped a little further on to enjoy the fine views offered by Carewoodrig.


You can see the road ahead winding along the ridge.

I took a couple of panoramic shots with sandycam and here are two short cuts from them.  First looking to the left…

Panorama from Carewoodrig

…and then to the right with the sun catching the autumn grass.

panorama from Carewoodrig

Where the sun hadn’t touched the slopes, a little snow showed how cold it still was in spite of the sun.

Carewoodrig snow

The slopes of Carlin Tooth.

We pottered slowly and carefully down the hill and stopped once more, a  mile from the A7.

The hills of the Ewes valley ahead.

The hills of the Ewes valley ahead.

Soon, we were back on the main road and whizzing home to Langholm.  As we approached the town, we could see the first clouds in the west which herald a change to slightly warmer and a lot wetter weather tomorrow.

I dropped off at the Scholars’ Field to take in a little of a game of football which was taking place there.  Langholm have been recently promoted and are struggling a bit in the slightly higher class of football they are meeting now.  It was a lively game though…

football match 27 October

with plenty of action at both ends…

goalmouth incidents

The Langholm goalie couldn’t get anywhere near this thunderbolt from outside the area which left them staring defeat in the face.


We have been able to make the most of a rare week of good weather and can only hope that the fact that the clocks go back tonight is not going to see the end of the sun until next year.  The long, dark nights are bad enough without a lot of rain too.

The perching bird of the day is a chaffinch in the almost leafless plum tree.


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