Posts Tagged ‘Lanercost Priory’

Today’s guest picture was taken by my friend Sue.  She borrowed my camera and took this shot of an elderly walker near Talkin Tarn.


My day started with two surprises.

The first surprise was that I managed to get my bike out and go for a 14 mile ride before breakfast. The second surprise was that it started to rain soon after I set out and I got a bit wet.  Still I was very pleased to get out at all and as it was quite warm, the business of getting wet was not such a hardship as it is in cold weather.  I enjoyed myself.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off for a church choir practice almost as soon as I had got back while I had a wander round the garden (it had stopped raining).

iris and dahlia

A wet welcome for a pretty new iris and one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s dahlias from seed.

nasturtium and strawberry

The first nasturtium and a promising strawberry

Then I had some breakfast and a shower and finally a look at the birds.  I have put a second feeder out in a new place….

siskins and sparrow

…but the same old birds are visiting it…

siskin and sparrow

…in large numbers.

Then I got ready to go out as soon as Mrs Tootlepedal got back from her choir.

We had two things to do.

Our first port of call was Lanercost Priory….

Lanercost Priory

…where we listened to a short concert of Beethoven’s songs and piano music which was given by the conductor and accompanist of our Langholm choir as part of the Lanercost Festival.  They are both excellent musicians and the concert was very enjoyable.

It also had the inestimable benefit of being no more than an hour long so we were soon on our way to our second destination.

This was the garden of our friend Sue who had the brave idea of buying a shipping container and turning it into a garden room.  With a lot of very hard work from Sue and her children and a very obliging builder, it has worked out very well.

Sue's container

It wasn’t long before we were ensconced inside.

Sue and Mrs T in container

It has every comfort including running water, a wood burning stove and a small cooker.  There is still some work to be done, shelves and that sort of thing, but it already looked like a space that anyone would be happy to be in.  The doors, windows, stove and flooring were all acquired second hand.

Sue gave us a tasty lunch and then we went out for a circular walk in the lanes round her house, taking in Talkin Tarn en route.

Although it was midsummer day, coats were in order as we set out….

Farlam walk

…but by the time that we reached the Tarn, the weather had improved and the coats were off.

Talkin Tarn with Sue

It is always a treat to walk round the Tarn, though it is hard to capture its full charm on a camera. The Tarn is quite small and it is the whole picture rather than any single part of the walk that is so attractive.

I tried though.

Talkin Tarn

Talkin Tarn

We were watched by shaggy sheep on our way to the Tarn…

sheep at talkin

…and we watched some birds when we got there.

talkin birds

There were other things to look at too.

Talkin rower

wild iris

There was steep hill to climb from the Tarn back up to Sue’s house but there were plenty of things to look at beside the road as we went along to keep our mind off the hard work.

Talkin road

It wasn’t a long walk but it was very good value with something large or small, near or far to please the eye at almost every step (and good company too).

We couldn’t stay long when we got back as I had to get back in time for my flute pupil Luke’s lesson.

Luke came and we enjoyed our playing.

The weather had changed from the wet and windy morning into a beautiful evening and the garden was looking suitably refreshed by the rain.

I had time to look at the new feeder before tea. It is hanging from a variegated elder and has a more interesting background than the old feeder on the pole but because it is under a tree, there is less light available for the photographer.   For some reason the branches are covered with lichen and moss….and sparrows.

Elder sparrows

The flying bird of the day is a siskin under the elder.


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Today’s guest picture, which was sent to me by yesterday’s visitor Dylan, shows his sister Tash’s pet dragon.  It may not look much now but just wait a couple of years and stand back when it learns to breath fire.


A sunny morning warmed our aged bones as Dropscone and I headed out to Gair on our usual morning run after breakfast.  The noticeable breeze which made the outward journey hard work, strengthened a little when we turned for home and we enjoyed  the spin back over the hill with a final headlong rush down the hill towards our coffee and scones.

Our timing was good as we got back before it started to rain quite heavily.  Well, at least my timing was good as I was indoors but Dropscone had to brave the rain as he pedalled home after coffee.

There wasn’t any time for taking photographs after the rain had stopped because Mrs Tootlepedal, Granny and I went out for a motor excursion to Lanercost Priory to have a light lunch.  We stopped at Longtown to buy some spare inner tubes as both Mrs Tootlepedal and I have had recent punctures.  I know that it is possible to mend punctures by the road side and I have done it but my experience is that you often have to mend them again shortly afterwards so these days, I prefer to cycle with a spare inner tube in my back pocket.

The sun was out as we drove south and it was a lovely day when we arrived at Lanercost.  After a meal in the café there, I left the ladies and took a quick stroll round the Priory, camera in hand.  Needless to say, the sun promptly went in.  There has been a lot of very well done restoration at Lanercost.

Lanercost Priory


Though the main entrance is lacking a little grandeur.


Half of the building is still used as a church…..

Lanercost Priory

…while the other half remains a ruin.

Lanercost Priory

I didn’t go inside but peeped through doors and windows instead.

The buildings around the priory and its farm have been treated very well and you can rent some of them out as holiday homes.

Lanercost Priory

It would be very peaceful here if it wasn’t  for the incessant clicking of visitors’ cameras.

I stopped taking pictures and came back to the visitor centre to meet Granny and Mrs Tootlepedal.  The sun came out again.

Lanercost Priory

We drove on a few miles to visit Hadrian’s Wall at the Banks Milecastle.  This famous wall was built by the Romans to stop the English escaping into Scotland after the Romans occupied the southern half of the British isles.

In many places most of the stone used to build the wall was taken for housing after the Romans left and there are only small sections left.  There were milecastles every mile along the wall and you can still the remains of one at Banks…

Hadrian's Wall

…as well as a short section of wall foundations.  Of course the sun went in as I got out of the car to take these pictures.

Hadrian's Wall

The view south from the milecastle is very good.

Hadrian's Wall

We took a few very quiet and narrow roads before rejoining the main road to Longtown and got back to Langholm in beautiful sunshine just in time to watch the end of the third stage of the Tour de France as it arrived in London (where it was raining).

After the stage ended, I watched a bird or two…

siskins behaving badly

Siskins behaving badly

…..put a new inner tube into Mrs Tootlepedal’s back tyre  and walked round the garden.

Martagon Lily

The Martagon Lilies are almost over


The Alstroemeria are in full flower

Icelandic Poppies

And these Icelandic Poppies continue to produce new blooms.

A green nicotiana

A self sown nicotiana has beaten Mrs Tootlepedal’s greenhouse grown plants into flower.

The sun was too bright now for photographing flowers so I mowed the middle lawn instead.

I had to leave the sunshine when my flute pupil Luke came for his lesson.  He has a good ear and was able to work out the correct fingering for the major scales of B flat, E flat and A without any help from me.   We had a good lesson.

After tea  of delicious slow cooked lamb stew, I went out into the garden to enjoy the late evening sunshine.


Ligularias in the sunshine…

Rosa Mundi

…and Rosa Mundi in the shade

After a last glance at the mowed lawn….

middle lawn

It has been a very good year for grass.

….I went inside to look through the pictures that I had taken during the day.

In the other room, Mrs Tootlepedal and Granny were watching a programme about University Challenge and Mrs Tootlepedal called me through when Edinburgh University was mentioned and for two whole seconds, my youthful features appeared on the screen from 50 years ago.  They keep that clip in the archives because one of our team members went on to become a cabinet minister so mine was only reflected glory.

Two more sparring siskins share the proud position of being flying bird of the day.

flying siskins




middle lawn



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Today’s picture is another from the camera of Langholm exile Tom Elliot.  It is an eye catching bougainvillea.

Red flowers

It was another grey day when we woke up and as we had planned an outing with Jean, we were a bit worried about a forecast of rain to come.  I stared out of the window….

blue tit

A blue tit with a mouthful.

…while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to help with costumes for the forthcoming Operatic Society concert.  When she returned, it was still dry so we picked Jean up and motored over the hill to Newcastleton where we planned to have lunch.

I was hoping to be able to take a picture of the bonnie purple heather as we went across the moor but in spite of all the work that has been done, the heather is still in very short supply and the most prominent vegetation on the whole ten mile trip was grass.

We enjoyed a light lunch in the Olive Tree café in Newcastleton.

Olive Tree

You might think it delightful that continental street cafe style has come to this quiet borders village but of course it is not the weather that puts the tables in the street but the necessity for smokers to pursue their habit outdoors now that it is banned indoors.

After lunch, we drove along very quiet and pretty back roads until we arrived at Bewcastle.  I had visited the church there with Sandy a few days ago and we had enjoyed the drive so much that we thought that it would make a good outing for Jean and Mrs Tootlepedal.  As we drove along, contrary to the forecast, the weather got better and better and it was warm and almost sunny by the time we got to Bewcastle.

I have looked at the castle from the church yard before but this time we went to see of it was open to visitors.  We found a welcoming notice at the corner of a farm building and went to visit the castle.

Bew Castle

There is not great deal left to see.

It is of uncertain date and was built on the site of a previous wooden structure which in turn was built on the site of a Roman fort.  There is not much of it left but it was obviously a substantial building at one time.  We walked right round the mound.

Bew castle

I was on top of the mound. You can see the Roman ditch behind the ladies.

The going was rough and when we reached the entrance to the castle, Jean took a well earned rest.

Bew castle

There was a helpful notice telling us of all the wonderful things we would have been able to see if only we had timed our visit for 600 years earlier.  There was not much left to admire in our present visit.

Bew castle

This section of one of the walls shows one of the reasons why the castle is in such a poor state.  All the easily accessible dressed stone from the bottom of the wall has been removed and doubtless forms the bulk of the farmhouse and other buildings nearby.  The end of of several hundred years of running battles between the Scots and English also removed the need for such castles and it fell into disrepair after the Civil War.

We were watched by curious spectators as we walked around.

farm animals

I enjoyed this economical trough let into a wall so that one trough could serve two fields.


We paid a visit to the church next door but as I had several pictures of it on a recent post, I will just put a detail from the Celtic cross in the churchyard here today.

Bewcastle Cross

It is interesting to realise that people have been looking at these carvings for 1300 years.

After sating our antiquarian interest, we got back in the car and drove south.  The views over the Solway plain were wide and wonderful and my camera can’t do justice to them.


A fraction of the panoramic view.

We drove on down the hill until we arrived at Lanercost priory which not only has some romantic ruins but an excellent tea room.

While the ladies headed for the tea room, I took my camera for a quick sprint round the priory.  There is an active place of worship in the original nave of the priory….

Lanercost Priory

…and the rest of  the old priory in ruins round the back.  This may be visited for a small fee.

Lanercost Priory

The restored nave on the left and the ruins on the right.

I took too many pictures to show here but this composite may give you an impression.

Lanercost Priory

The ruins are impressive in their size.

Lanercost Priory

I would have liked to have stayed longer but the call of the tea room was loud in the land so I joined Jean and Mrs Tootlepedal who had politely waited for me and we had a tasty afternoon tea (a pot of Darjeeling and a slice of lemon drizzle cake for me) in the fine new premises that have been built to cater for the many visitors to the priory.

Our journey to this point had been along narrow, mostly single track roads and we had not often exceeded 30mph but the road home was along the main roads to Longtown and Langholm and it wasn’t long before we were home again after an excellent tour.

I enjoyed the busy birds when I had filled up the feeder….

bird feeder

You can see that there is a perch missing on the right of the feeder but the chaffinches are quite able to hover at the aperture, take a seed and fly off to nibble it on the plum tree.  One is just eyeing up the chance.

I was impressed by their industry so I got the mower out and mowed the middle lawn.

In the grey morning, I had seen a peacock butterfly resting on some soil before we went on our tour….

peacock butterfly

…so when I had finished the lawn in the sunny evening, I got the camera out and went on a butterfly hunt.

I saw a rose…


…which was welcome and two white butterflies….

white butterflies

white butterflies

…proving that not all white butterflies are the same white butterfly  but there were no coloured butterflies.  Our sedums were hotching with bees….

sedum with bees

….but not with butterflies so I went across the road to look at my neighbour’s buddleia.  They were there.

peacock butterlfy

Not the usual peacock butterfly shot.

peacock butterlfy

That’s more like it.

Red admiral butterfly

This is a red admiral

Red admiral butterfly

It made sure that I could recognise its markings.

I love the antennae which look much like the torches children buy to wave about on fireworks night.

After tea, Sandy arrived and we went round to pick up Jean who still had enough strength left after our busy day  to help me out in an hour of hard work at the Archive Centre before we retired for a drink in the Douglas.

Altogether it was a most enjoyable day and my back might even be getting a little better.

Guess what the flying bird of the day is.











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