Posts Tagged ‘Hollows Bridge’

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce’s northern trip.  He had got as far as the Isle of Harris when he took this shot of the  famous beach at Seilebost on a day that was not encouraging any sunbathing…but the view was still good.


It was both less windy and warmer than yesterday here today in spite of the complete absence of any sun.

As I sipped coffee and nibbled scones with Dropscone, who had come in search of a spare mouse for his computer as his had died, Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing off the remaining dahlias from the front beds.

She made short work of the task…


…and by the time that Dropscone left, the beds were cleared.  It didn’t take us long to shred  them and add the remains to the green mulch on the back bed.


Mrs Tootlepedal has become very fond of green mulching and I have to take care not to to linger for too long in one spot while taking flower photographs for fear of being covered in mulch myself.

I nipped around with the camera just to show that although the dahlias may have gone, there is a good deal still left to delight the eye.

All this….


…and these too.


We even have what passes for a colourful corner in October…


…and of course, there are Special Grandmas.


I had a quick check on the birds while we having coffee.  We are getting a steady supply of  greenfinches again though they were rather rude today and turned their backs on me…


…and a blue tit wasn’t any more helpful.


Still if the birds won’t ‘watch the birdie’ then there is nothing to be done about it.

After lunch, the warmer weather persuaded me to ignore the possibility of some light rain and go for a cycle ride.  I took the precaution of having my big yellow rain jacket on from the start and a persistent drizzle, which came on almost as soon as I had left the house, made me grateful for the decision.

It was a gloomy day….


…with the hills shrouded in clouds and there was quite enough wind to make pedalling into it seem like hard work.

There were reminders along the way of even stronger winds in the recent past.


However, as I dropped down into the Esk valley at Canonbie, the rain stopped and the wind became my friend and pushed me back up the hill into Langholm.  The trees along the riverside are among the most colourful around at the moment and the bridges at the Hollows…

hollows bridge view oct 3

Looking north

hollows bridge Oct 3 south

Looking south

And at Skippers…

view from skippers oct 3 2018

Looking north

skippers bridge view south 3 oct 18

Looking south

…gave me the chance to have an uninterrupted view of the colour.

All this tree watching was very tiring and my new bike had to have a short rest on the old A7 between the bridges.

old A7 oct 3

Although it was only my usual 20 mile Canonbie circuit, the ride gave me great pleasure, both because of the views and because my legs had appreciated four days rest since my last cycle outing.

I had a shower and a sit down and then, after a nourishing meal of corned beef hash,  it was time to go out to sing with the Langholm Choir and put my singing lesson to the test.  My teacher, Mary was too busy to take the choir herself this week and sent her husband along to take her place so I don’t know what she would have thought of my efforts but I enjoyed myself a lot so I thought that the lesson had been worthwhile.

I have got several busy days ahead and posts might become a little sketchy or even totally invisible after tomorrow for a while.

Meantime here is a flying goldfinch as a change from the incessant chaffinches.



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We had such a grey day here that I badly needed something bright for the post so today’s guest offering is another of Tommy cycling in the South African sunshine.  Lucky chap.

tommy in SA

The only colour in the garden today was provided by a few stubborn daffodils who defied the cold and the wind.


It was very depressing after having had a few nearly decent days to go back to mean, cold and nasty weather again.

The birds had to hang on to the feeders…


…and take great care getting on  to the perches.


The encompassing gloom was cheered by the arrival of Dropscone with treacle scones and Sandy to help eat them with our morning coffee.

We were also pleased to see the return of the dam bridge repairers with the new railings, ready to be installed.

Sandy and I arranged to go for a walk after lunch and he duly arrived and drove us down to Canonbie where we parked at the Hollows and walked along the road to the Byreburn bridge.

In spite of very poor conditions for taking pictures, the wall along the old road provided us with plenty of temptations to get the camera out.

fernsmoss on lichengorsemoss and fern

When we got to the Byreburn bridge, we left the river Esk and followed the track beside the burn…

Byreburn track

…with plenty to see as we walked up to the next bridge.


A hint of the coal seams which were mined in days past

fairy loup

The Fairy Loup

fairy loup

The Byreburn

byreburn bridge

Here we left the shelter of the woods and took to the road to make a circular route back to the car.

Once again, there were things to look at as we went along…

gate at Claygate

Gate of the day being threatened by encroaching hedges

gilnockie schoolhouse

Snowdrops at the old school house

Near Gilnockie station

Neatly trimmed hedges, often a feature of our back roads.

…and things looking at us…

mean sheep

…with a very hard stare.

As we got down the hill back towards the Hollows, Sandy noticed a tree beside the road which looked as though it had been the victim of a very bad sewing job by some dendrological Dr Frankenstein…

tree with ivy

…and I enjoyed the sight of a clump of hardy trees hanging by their toenails to the bank high above the river Esk.

Hollows Bridge

We had thought that we might get blasted by the cruel wind as we walked back along the road but by happy accident, the wind was directly behind us and the whole walk was remarkably comfortable considering the conditions.

The Hollows Bridge is hard to see from the road so the best that I could do was to peer through the trees…

Hollows Bridge

…but the consolation was the sight of the little stone carvings which keep appearing on the wooded knoll beside the river.   This set were new since I had last been here.

Hollows Bridge statues

When we got home, the bridge railings had been installed but not quite finished so I took a temporary shot of each side…

dam bridge repair railings

…and then forgot to come out later to take the finished article.

I will try again tomorrow.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out to a concert in the Church which was raising funds for the restoration of the church organ and the refurbishment of the social club in the town.

The concert featured brass and pipe bands, guest singers from Hawick and a fine selection of local talent.  I am not an out and out fan of pipe bands playing indoors but the concert was thoroughly enjoyable all the same and only the attendance was a bit disappointing.  I hope that those who couldn’t come had something better to do for they had missed a treat.

On a grumpy note, it went on too long.  Two and a half hours sitting in a church pew is enough to let the iron enter anyone’s soul.  I may have remarked before that I have never heard anyone come out of an amateur concert saying, “That was too short.”

Still, it proved that we are not short of musical talent in the town.

The flying bird of the day matches the weather.  Rather a poor effort.


The weather is due to get worse.




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Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.


She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.


Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….


…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

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Today’s guest picture is a reminder from my sister Mary of sunny days in the South of France, captured when we visited Aix-en-Provence not so long ago.

Aix-en-Provence -Cafe where Cezanne and Zola used to meet - called Les Deux Garcons

Today had two good things about it  and one of them was surprising considering that the forecast had been for rain showers all day when I last looked at it.

The first good thing was the arrival of Dropscone for coffee on a Saturday bringing with him the traditional Friday treacle scones. Freshly cooked too.  While we ate and drank, the rain poured down outside but when it came to be time for Dropscone to leave, the rain had stopped.  It still looked pretty gloomy but I ventured out into the garden after a while.

Of course as soon as I said in yesterday’s post that the blackbirds had gone, they came back today…


…and I saw a goldfinch while we were having coffee too.  When I looked over the back fence, I could see that the blackbirds had been busy eating the rowan berries on the other side of the dam which was probably why I hadn’t been seeing them in the garden.

As soon as I got my camera out though, they all flew off leaving a starling to take the rap.

starling with rowan berry

I enjoyed watching some sparrows bathing in the dam while I waited for the blackbirds to come back…

sparrows bathing in dam

…but the blackbirds were camera shy so I gave up and went in and had lunch.

I took a couple of pictures on my way in.


A single snowberry


A lot of marigolds (and some nicotiana and nasturtiums)

While I was preparing lunch, I was entertained by a pair of blue tits on the feeder.

Blue tits

The second good thing about the day was that when I checked the forecast again, it said that it would be dry, possibly sunny later and almost windless in the afternoon.  It was a bit hard to believe after the poor forecast yesterday and the morning rain shower but I put on my cycling gear and ventured tentatively out, ready to turn for  home at a moment’s notice.

It was windless so I pedalled on and although it was grey and autumnal…

Sprinkell road

The road near Sprinkell

…it was good cycling weather.

I stopped for a bridge near Eaglesfield….

Eaglesfield bridge

…with the merest hint of blue sky off to my right.  By the time that I had got to Gretna, the blue sky had become a fixture and the bridge over the Sark was glowing in the sunshine.

Sark Bridge, Gretna

I leant my bike against the parapet and enjoyed a banana while viewing Gretna’s answer to the Rio Grande.


Scotland to the left and England to the right.

I had started out with twenty miles in mind and as I had done twenty five by this time, I headed straight up the main roads back to Langholm with the gentlest of breezes helping me on my way.  It had become a perfect day for a pedal in every way.

I made a little deviation off the A7 to visit Hollows Bridge…

Hollows Bridge

…and see my favourite fiery tree…

fiery tree Hollows

…before stopping off to admire  Hollows Tower.

Hollows Tower

Mrs Tootlepedal was at home by this time after a full day learning about Japanese quilting at an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting so I stopped pootering about and put my head down for the last few miles home.

It was lucky that I did have my head down as I noticed something unusual in the verge as I passed the Middleholms road end.


I stopped and looked around.

Ink Cap

It was a bunch of common ink cap mushrooms at various stages of development

I took the opportunity, since I had already stopped, to cross the road and look across the Esk to where I had lately been taking pictures from the other side.


I managed the distance neatly so that I arrived home bang on 40 miles.  This was very pleasing for a decimally inclined chap like myself.  Then I enjoyed a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal.  We both felt that we had had a good day out.

There was enough light left to watch a coal tit on the feeder….

coal tit

…before I went off to have a shower.

I had put a beef and vegetable stew into the slow cooker in the morning so all that was needed for the complete evening meal was some courgette fritters and Mrs Tootlepedal came up trumps on that front.

Being Saturday, we settled down to enjoy our weekly dose of Strictly Come dancing as we ate our meal and we hope that this week, the worst dancer will get eliminated, something which often doesn’t happen owing to a misplaced sense of irony in the voting audience.

My flower of the day is the Fuschia on the back wall by the dam which I noticed while I was stalking berry eating blackbirds….


…and the flying bird is a berry eating blackbird which flew off before I could photograph it.

flying blackbird




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Today’s guest picture comes from my elder son Tony and shows a fine shot of a firework display which was part of the Nerja feria in Andalucia where he was having a well earned short break.

nerja feriaDropscone and I did not have a break as for the fourth day running (riding?) we went out for the morning run to Gair and back after breakfast.  It had rained heavily over night but it had kindly stopped before we set off.  The wet weather came with a rise in temperature and as a result, apart from a bit of spray from damp roads, we had a very pleasant pedal.

Sandy joined us for coffee and found that there was a scone left for him which he enjoyed with a little plum jam.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had to go out after coffee to collect an exercise bike that we had lent to a friend  who has now bought something more convenient.  As we were coming back over the town bridge, I was struck by the view down the river so when we got home, I packed up a camera or two and pedalled up to the bridge.

Needless to say, any brightness had disappeared and a slight drizzle had arrived in the five minutes that it took me to get organised.   I took some pictures anyway.

The esk in autumn

Looking down the river Esk from the bridge

The Bar Brae

Something about the geometry of this scene appealed to me.

When I got home, I had time for a garden wander.  I took ever decreasing numbers of pictures.


Lots of Fuchsia flowers and seed pods


Five marigolds


Three rosebuds


Two poppies


And a single  delphinium

Not bad for mid October.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a cycle ride so I got out the slow bike, packed Pocketcam in the back bag and set off with her to go on an eleven mile trip down one side of the Esk and back up the other.  This is not quite such a flat trip as you might imagine as going down the east side of the Esk means crossing the Tarras Water with a couple of good climbs on the way but we pedalled steadily on and enjoyed the hints of autumn colour as we went.

Down to Tarras

Going down to Tarras

On the road

Above the Esk valley.  The weather was kind although it looked alarming at times.

Hollows Bridge

Crossing the Esk at Hollows bridge looking north…

Hollows Bridge

…and south.

It was kind of the sun to come out at just the right moment.  You can see why I often stop on the Hollows bridge to take in the view of the Esk.

Going back up the west side of the river on the old A7 is an easier ride by far.

Irvine House

A gap in the trees along the river bank give a glimpse of Irvine House with Whita in the background.

The Old A7

The old road has become a bike path here.

Once again, our outing was well organised and we arrived home in perfect time for an afternoon cup of tea.

I found a moment from time to time during the day to stare out of the kitchen window.   We can expect some winter visitors in the garden soon so I thought it proper meantime to take a portrait of our two most loyal customers, the chaffinch and the house sparrow.

sparrow and chaffinch

The sparrow on the left and the chaffinch on the right.

I was prompted to do this by the arrival of the first redpoll of the season.

redpollIt didn’t stop long and soon flew off.

Birds approach the feeder in different ways.

A chaffinch arrives diffidently but a goldfinch arrives with all guns blazing.

A chaffinch arrives diffidently but a goldfinch arrives with all guns blazing.

As we came back from our cycle ride, I took a moment to go into the Buccleuch Park to take a picture of our war memorial.  This is in particular for Langholm exiles who read the blog as the council have recently cut down nearly all the rather gloomy cypress trees that used to surround the memorial and it has a more open air about it now which improves it in my opinion.

War memorialIn the evening I went to the Archive Centre with Sandy and while he added more pictures to our photo archive, I put a couple more weeks of the newspaper index into the database.  I will need quite a few rainy days to help me to catch up with the data miners who are ploughing on relentlessly.

When we went in to the Eskdale Hotel for our well earned refreshment, we discovered that someone else was sitting in our place in the corner of the snug.  Even the hotel owner was appalled when he noticed but we rose above it and enjoyed our glass of wine in unfamiliar surroundings with equanimity.

The light would not oblige while I was  trying to catch a flying bird of the day and this has led to the rather curious effect of see-through wings on this picture of a flying chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s picture shows a Henry Moore sculpture at Kenwood, taken by my sister Mary.

Henry Moore two piece reclining figure, Kenwood

I had some undeserved treacle scones with my coffee today because after my battles with the wind yesterday, my joints were on strike this morning and I stayed at home.  Dropscone who is made of sterner stuff, kindly carried the extra weight of four scones around the morning run and arrived with them bang on time.  Very good they were too.

Mike Tinker has sold me his old tripod and I took it out into the garden while I was waiting for Dropscone to arrive and set it up to take a picture of the fuchsia gleaming in the morning sunshine.  The value of keeping the camera perfectly still was slightly negated by the breeze which was blowing the flowers about but I waited for the wind to drop for a second and the result was quite sharp.

fuchsia (15)

After Dropscone left, I had time to take a quick picture of a sparrow looking rather scornfully at the poor supply of fat balls….

sparrow on fatball

…before going off to take some pictures with Sandy who had arrived with time to spare before going north to see his grandsons.

We went to the Moorland feeders first.  They are in a larch grove and the trees were worth a look just for themselves.

feeder larches

We didn’t see any winter migrants and only one woodpecker arrived.

woodpecker (26)

The position of the sun meant that birds on the far side of the grove were hard to photograph convincingly and the the presence of Sandy and me seemed to discourage a lot of action on the near side so I contented myself with just a couple of shots.  A blue tit…..

feeder blue tit…and a chaffinch.

feeder perching chaffinch

In spite of the sun, the brisk wind made it chilly sitting there and we soon moved on to see how the autumn colour near the Hollows bridge was getting on.

Esk hollows bridge

The trees beside the river were nothing to write home about but the woods beside the road down to the bridge from Gilnockie were better value.  It is one of my favourite short stretches of road at this time of year and I hope that a few pictures might show why that is.

hollows road (3)

The field beside the road

hollows road (2)

Looking back up the road towards the old station

hollows road (4)

Looking down towards the bridge

The low sunlight through the woods beside the road made everything look particularly lovely.  Sometimes you couldn’t see the wood for the trees….

leaves hollows road

leaves hollows road (2)

..but sometimes you could see the wood.

wood hollows road

We parked the car at the bottom of the hill and I looked south along the old A7 which is now part of our morning cycle run.

cycle route hollows

Sandy dropped me at home in time for lunch and I did think of going for a pedal but my legs voted against it as the wind was still pretty brisk.  By the time that the wind had dropped later in the afternoon, it had got rather cold so I stayed inside and played on Photoshop with the pictures which I had taken in the morning.

I did venture out into the garden for a moment to snap a marigold as the forecast is for near zero temperatures over the weekend and the flowers may soon be gone.

marigold (11)

After only a few hours practice and having only read about 40 of the 700 pages of my guidebook, I can safely say that there is good deal more to learn but first impressions are of infinite time wasting possibilities in the effort to produce the best possible result.  The first thing that I will have to learn is when to stop.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a social for the workers and helpers with the pony driving for the disabled group and she came home after good night out with a very fetching rosette.

In her absence, I enjoyed some flute and recorder playing with Alison who came round with Mike, having only just arrived back in Langholm from a long car journey in the dark from seeing their daughter.  That is dedication to music.

The flying bird of the day is a buzzard which Sandy spotted at the Hollows.

buzzard hollows road




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