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Posts Tagged ‘Hoddom’

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

Bruce's view

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

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

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

Bruce's view

Another visit on foot is on my to do list.

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

wild flowers

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

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

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

 

view from Corrie Common

Click on the pic for a bigger picture

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

The little stream at the bottom is very picturesque…

Corrie common

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

corrie common road

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

road to Boreland

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

red campion, cranesbill, hawthorn and more bluebells

Sometimes I couldn’t fail to notice them.

red campion

A bank of red campion

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

Mill Loch Lochmabe

Mill Loch Lochmaben

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

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

horse chestnut

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

Hoddom Lodge

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

Repentance Tower

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

Hoddom Bridge

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

broom

Broom is arriving as the gorse begins to fade

dandelion and buttercup

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

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

I did stop for a few more pictures.

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

three canonbie trees

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

comfrey and forget me not

Comfrey and Forget-me-not

…as well full spring clothing at Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

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

pyrenean valerian

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

garmin route 17 May 2017 elevation

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

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

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

pea fortress

Just let the sparrows try to get into that!

Our garden was full of flowers too….

garden flowers

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

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

aquilegia

AKA Granny’s Bonnet or Columbine

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

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

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

tulip

 

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Today’s guest picture is one from a holiday that Mike Tinker took last year.  It shows a handsome bridge in Rhayader, Mid Wales.

Rhayader Mid Wales

I had requested a better day after our recent dreich spell and my plea was heard and we enjoyed a beautifully sunny day today.  As an added and unexpected bonus, the temperature was well above freezing from the very start and had I been better organised, I could have been out and about straight after breakfast.

However, at the moment I am not sleeping as well as I would like and it is taking me quite a bit of time to get up to speed in the mornings. I needed a cup of coffee and a roll and honey before I could even contemplate starting.

There were hardly any birds to distract me and the strong light made the re-appearance of Zorro the Chaffinch the high or perhaps the lowlight of the morning.

Zorro the Chaffinch

I had a wander round the garden,  A crocus has appeared, snowdrops are actually coming properly out and the rhubarb is more fantastic than ever.

rhubarb, snowdrop and crocus

I did finally get going, armed with two bananas and a tuna roll with a side supply of apricots and dates.  The view at Wauchope School was a lot more inviting than the last time that I came up the road…

Wauchope School

…and I headed out into the country with a light heart.  Fairly heavy legs but a light heart.

I was headed west and once you get out of our local hills, the land turns to gently rolling fields…

Middlebie road

Looking back towards Waterbeck

I went through Middlebie and Ecclefechan and headed for Hoddom Castle.  The road towards the Castle is flat and straight and I found myself pedalling head on into a noticeable wind.  This was a bit of a trial so I tried the Donald J Trump method and declared loudly to anyone who might be able to hear me, “I am not pedalling into a headwind.  The wind is behind.  It’s fine.”

Strangely, it didn’t work.  Obviously the alternative truth is not all that it is cracked up to be.

I did get within sight of the castle in the end…

Hoodom Castle

…and  stopped on the bridge over the River Annan to enjoy the view.

View from the bridge at Hoddom

I crossed the bridge and cycled on towards the next crossing of the river at Brydekirk.  The powers that be have put a lot of thought into the naming of streets and buildings in the village.

Brydekirk

This is the cause of all this naming.

Brydekirk Bridge

I crossed the bridge when I came to it and had a banana and half a roll on the other side.  I was right beside a fine ivy plant.

ivy

And as you know, I am a sucker for a nice piece of moss on a bridge parapet.

moss at Brydekirk

By this time, I had turned enough to have the wind now across or behind me for the rest of the journey but this didn’t seem to speed my legs up very much.

From the top of the hill looking towards Eaglesfield after I left Brydekirk, I could see a fine crop of windmills, half at the old established windfarm at Minsca…

Minsca

…and the other half randomly scattered across the country at the new Ewe Hill wind farm.

Ewe Hill farm

I think there are still a few more to be added to this lot.

I cycled down to Gretna on back roads, hoping to see some of our migrating geese in the fields but on this occasion, all my geese were swans…

swans

…and there wasn’t a goose to be seen.

On my way to Gretna, I passed these trees…

trees

…whihc would be very helpful to the confused traveller as they clearly show the direction of the prevailing wind.  South west.

When I got to Gretna, I had thought of going back across country and clocking up fifty miles but time began to press on me a bit thanks to my late start and my legs weren’t exactly over enthusiastic about any more unnecessary hills so I headed back up the main road, taking the quieter bike route through Canonbie…

Canonbie Church

It was a golden winter afternoon

…and limiting my ride to 47 miles.

It did give me the opportunity to admire a set of fisherman’s steps leading to the river at Broomholm…

fishermans steps Broomholm

…and the extensive scaffolding now in place at Skippers Bridge.

skippers bridge scaffolding

They have taken it through the arch and round the other side where the damage is.

skippers bridge scaffolding

I had a cheerful chat to two of the engineers supervising the task and asked them to take care of our bridge and make sure not to knock it down.  They assured me that they would take care.  Indeed, one engineer, a charming lady, told me that they really liked and admired  the bridge.  This was good to hear.

I got home and had a cup of tea and a biscuit with Mike Tinker who had dropped in and then after a good soak in the bath and a light curry for my tea, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a Woody Allen film, ‘Café Society’.

It went at a gentle pace, was well acted, beautifully set and costumed and had some (not a lot) of good jokes.  The great man obviously couldn’t work out how to finish the film so he didn’t bother and just let it drift away but it was none the worse for that and I enjoyed it a lot.

My favourite joke went something like this:

A pedantic and rather upset character say, “Socrates says the unexamined life is not worth living,”  and after a slight pause adds, “The examined life is not up to much either.”

As it was our 49th wedding anniversary yesterday, this was our anniversary treat.  We might do something a bit more flashy next year if spared.

The camera may not lie but it does often conceal quite a lot from the casual viewer.  Zorro the Chaffinch seen earlier in this post came straight from the camera.  Photoshop reveals that the camera knows who the masked intruder really is.

flying chaffinch

Herbert the Chaffinch unmasked

Details of the cycle ride may be found by clicking on the map below.

garmin-route-25-jan-2017

 

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