Posts Tagged ‘Penton Linns’

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by our daughter Annie who has been visiting her granny.  It shows Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother Mauri, who is 99 and 51/52ths years old.  We are going to her birthday party next week.


It was a grey day and I had meant get up and get out early as there was a threat of rain later but it was one of those days when spring and footsteps were not related to each other so it wasn’t until after coffee that I finally got on the road.

Feeling that I had been over the same roads rather too often lately, I chose to head south out of the town to visit a different area of England.

This entailed a hilly route…

garmin route elevation26 July 2016

…which got hillier as I went on and didn’t have much in the way of flat bits on which to recover.  Also, as you can see from the elevation above, the downhills tended to be rather steep and as I am of a cautious disposition (especially on roads that I don’t know well), this entailed going very slowly down some of the hills as well as up them.

All this meant that I was never going to break any speed records and since this was so, I stopped quite a lot to take pictures as I went.

flowers by the road

There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road

I crossed into England over this fine bridge over the Liddle Water at Penton.

Penton Bridge

The ramp on the right of the bridge is a natural rock formation

I crossed back into Scotland by a much less impressive bridge over the Kershope Burn about 18 miles later.

Kershope Bridge

Riparian owners should be prevented by law from letting scrubby trees spoil photographers’ views of bridges.

In between, there was never a dull moment.

Tunnel of trees

I like this tunnel of trees near Catlowdy

I was often up on a ridge with good views.

Lyne valley

Just before I got to Roadhead, I turned left and took a road that was new to me back towards Newcastleton and Scotland.  I was surprised to find a little church in the middle of nowhere.

Bewcastle Reform church

It turned out to be the Bewcastle United Reform Church and has services once a month.

Past the church, I got into some high moorland…

Bewcastle fells

…but it wasn’t long before I was back among flowery verges.

Bewcastle fells

I had met one sharp shower a few miles after I had left Langholm but I had a rain jacket with me and it hadn’t lasted long so I wasn’t discouraged.   As I got near Newcastleton though, I could see a heavy rainstorm over the Langholm Moor, my route home.

As the wind would be against me, this was rather discouraging but I stopped and put my rain jacket back on in Newcastleton and plucked up some resolve and started to pedal up the steep hill out of the town in a steady drizzle.

I was rewarded by the rain stopping almost immediately and the only difficultly that I had in getting up the hill was having to stop and look at orchids all the time.  Mike Tinker had told me that there would be orchids and he was right. There were orchids lining the road the whole way past the golf course.


The hilly golf course itself can best be described as ‘sporting’ ….

Newcastleton Golf Course

..and it really pays to keep your ball on the fairway there.  I never played well on it.

I was having one last look at the roadside flowers…

orchid and pipit

…when I was distracted by the cheeping of a meadow pipit on a fence post.  It may have been hopping mad.

I toiled up the long and straight road to the county boundary….

Hill road

Looking back

…but the wind wasn’t as bad as I had feared and I finally reached the summit.  The ground there was liberally sprinkled with yellow flowers.

yellow flowers on Langholm Moor

I would welcome a suggestion as to what they might be.

Coming back down to Langholm from the county boundary is not the breeze that it should be as you have to cross the Tarras Valley on your way…

Tarras valley

The valley is marked by the line of trees.


..and this involves yet another down and up but at least the monument is in sight and you are not far from home.

Looking down the valley from the far side, I could see Cronksbank, a childhhood memory for one of the blog’s regular readers.


Although I had only done 35 miles by the time that I got home, I had climbed about 3000ft so it was no surprise that I had struggled to keep my average speed above 10mph.  This was 4 miles an hour slower than I had managed for the whole 100 miles on Saturday and only increases my respect for the Tour de France professionals who fly up hills faster than I can go along the flat.

It had been rather chilly on the cloudy ride with a nip in the wind and temperatures only in the high fifties so it was a bit annoying that the sun came out just as I turned into the drive.

Still, it gave me the motivation to have a walk round the garden.


The phlox is really beginning to cut loose

dahlia and knapweed

Mrs Tootlepedal had been visiting Gretna in the pursuit of shopping bargains while I was out and after she came back, I went off in the car in search of wild raspberries.  I found enough bushes to pick a pound and while I was doing this, I saw a striking caterpillar on a ragwort plant.  When I looked closer, every ragwort plant seemed to have its own caterpillar (or two).

ragwort with cinnabar moth caterpillar

A little research when I got home told me that these are cinnabar moth caterpillars.

In the evening, I turned the wild raspberries into two jars of raspberry jam while my tea was cooking.  Raspberry jam is brilliant as it only takes about ten minutes to make it.  The downside is that using this ‘quick’ method means that it has to be eaten quite soon. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks she may be able to bear up under the strain.

There is no flying bird of the day but I think that the crocosmia, the flower of the day, looks remarkably bird like so that should make up for it.


Those interested may click on the map below for details of the ride.  It is a lovely route.

garmin route 26 July 2016



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Today’s guest picture shows a popular pair of pelicans in St James Park.   My sister Mary enjoyed their company.


We had another in our very welcome spell of dry days today.  We didn’t go as far as getting any sunshine but the wind was reasonably calm so mustn’t grumble.  You can’t have everything.

After a warm day at the weekend, the temperature has dropped back again and I was well wrapped up when I went out on the fairly speedy bike after serial procrastinating with the aid of a cup of coffee and a slice of toast.

My aim was to get going and see what sort of a mood my legs were in.  As it turned out, they were quite perky and I ended up doing 50 miles.  This was quite satisfactory.  I wasn’t in a hurry and stopped for many photo opportunities as I went along.

The sky above me was generally cloudy….

Sky from the Kerr

…so the light wasn’t all that it might have been from a photographic point of view.  Annoyingly, there was constant blue sky to my west and occasional stray sunbeams to make me all to aware of what I was missing.

As a result of the light, I left landscapes alone and looked at bridges instead.  There are three within a hundred yards as the Kirtle Water gets near the Solway shore.

Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg

This one takes the Dumfries railway across the water and the road beside it, one arch for each.

Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg

This one takes the new Annan road over the water and the road in one fell swoop.

Kirtle Water bridge at Rigg

And the last one takes the old Annan road across the water in an understated fashion.

Since I was near the Solway shore, I went down to Brow Houses…

Brow Houses

…to see where the tide was today.

It was out.


This was the furthest west that I got on my ride and I turned south and then east for the next section.

I found a more modest railway bridge near Rigg.

Rigg railway bridge

At 10ft 9in this really is a low bridge.

My next bridge was the undistinguished one that constitutes the border between Scotland and England as it crosses the Sark river at Gretna.

Sark bridge Gretna

I pottered around on the flat lands of the Solway plain and stopped at Blackford church…

Blackford church

It has a handy low wall where an old man may rest his weary bones.

…for a banana and a healthy energy bar.

Buoyed up by this energy intake, I left the flat lands and wound up into the low hills above Easton for a more interesting route home.   There is quite a bit of gorse showing in the hedges now…

gorse near Easton

…and there is no doubt that spring is on the go.


I saw this lamb in a field near Penton

The lambs were luckier than me because the milk bar was open for them…


…but the Bridge Inn at Penton was shut for me.

Still, I wasn’t that far from home so I had my last banana and shot down the hill to the bridge over the Liddle water which marked my return from England into Scotland.  The bridge is one of my favourites.

Penton Bridge

So much so that I took two pictures of it…

Penton Bridge

…and couldn’t decide which I liked best so I have put them both in.

The downside of stopping to take a picture (or two) of the bridge is that I had to face the steep hill up to Harlaw from a standing start.  My legs were very calm about this and I got to the top in good order.  I could have chosen more hills to go home over at this point but I didn’t want to spoil my enjoyment of the day so I took the easy way out and went home by way of Canonbie and the old A7.

There was a north easterly wind so I was expecting a hard ride on the way home from the southern extent of my journey but in the event, the wind didn’t seem very strong and the route was often well sheltered and the whole thing was a lot easier than I had feared. It is not often that the breeze eases off when you want it too so it was all the more welcome for that.

Those interested may click on the map for more details of the ride.

garmin 16 March 2016

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her painting when I got home and we had a nice cup of tea together.

The garden was once again full of birds at the feeder…

busy feeder siskin

…but a few quick visits from a sparrowhawk tended to clear the birds off.  I don’t think it caught anything today.


Empty clawed

I am glad that it didn’t get this charming robin.


There are definite signs that the plants are waking up in the garden at last.

spring growth

I had to wake up after a shower and a nourishing plate of fish cakes because it was our Langholm choir night.  We are getting plenty of new songs to sing at the moment so it was an evening of hard work…but fun.

The flying bird(s) of the day are an immense flock of gulls which I saw rising from a farmer’s field at Harlaw on my ride.




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Today’s picture shows the Tower of London.  It comes from the camera of my sister Mary.

Tower of London

It was another of those days which we have become all to used to when, if it wasn’t raining at any one time, it was going to start soon.  This put paid to cycling as, at the moment, I am not pedalling if it is raining which means I am not pedalling very much as it seems to rain every day.

As we had B&B guests for the sixth night running, I was able to have a late breakfast yet again with a clear conscience.   Mrs Tootlepedal is going south to visit her brother tomorrow and she will be pleased not to have any washing and ironing to do while she is down there.  After breakfast, I did a couple of mundane jobs before settling down to a cup of coffee and a good look out of the window.  Our homing pigeon has not returned so maybe, fuelled up on our seed, it has set off for its own home.

There were the usual birds about.

goldfinch sparrow

Ladies heading for the feeder.

siskin sparrow

Gentlemen hanging on.


A blackbird inspecting the top dressing on the lawn for tidbits

Looking for something useful to do, I sharpened the garden shears and clipped three of the box  balls.  That is six down and four to go for me.  Mrs Tootlepedal has a programme of her own which she has completed so I’ll have try to get the last four done while she is away.  She was busy transplanting shrubs to improve the back borders.

Doing this and having a lettuce and marmite sandwich seemed to take up a lot of time, though I did find a moment to exchange meaningful glances with a rook…


…admire a rosebud…


…and discover a clematis flower half hidden in an azalea.


Although it was a damp sort of a day, there a good many bees buzzing around the flowers on the weigela next to the hedge.

weigela with bee

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I both decided that we had had enough of waiting for the sun to shine and that we needed an outing.   We got into the Kangoo and set off south.  We had hardly left the town before we hit a very heavy rainstorm but it was another passing shower and by the time we had reached Longtown, it had stopped raining.

From Longtown we headed for Penton and parked beside the bridge that forms the boundary between England and Scotland.  Looking from the bridge to the north, the country is gentle and the river calm…

River Liddel

…but to the south of the bridge, the Liddel Water runs through a narrowing limestone valley and picks up speed as it goes.

looking south

We walked south through dripping woods and scrambled down a slippery path to the water’s edge.  The bridge looks impressive from below.

Penton Bridge

The diagonal line of stone beneath the bridge on the left is not, as it might appear, a concrete ramp but a natural limestone bed running into the water.  The angle is accounted for by an anticline which used to be easily visible but can now only be glimpsed through the trees.


You can just make out the right hand side of the arch among the trees.

This makes for some water features.




We went back up the bank and followed a well maintained path along until another path led down to the river side at a popular swimming spot.


A rope for a bold jumper on a better day.

Our walk was interrupted by another fierce shower and we took shelter under a handy but rather inefficient tree.  Luckily I had an extra waterproof cover for the camera bag.

Mrs Tootlepedal on the shore

Mrs Tootlepedal checking the weather.

The valley here was very steep on the English side.


There were many good views of the river through the trees as we walked along but we thought that if someone with a lot of money had the inclination, he or she could clear some of the woods we walked through and create magnificent scenes.

a look at the river

We got back to the car after a short but very satisfying walk without being too soaked and were happy to set off for home.

welcome home

We were very pleased with our excursion because we hadn’t been down to the river there since we last took the children swimming there many years ago.  Of course we had summers with sunshine back then.

We found that scrambling up and down slippery paths was not the careless joy that it would have been those many years ago and talking to my sister Mary on the phone later in the day, she remarked that one of the penalties of advancing years is that you can’t even jump for joy without worrying about breaking your ankle.  Verb sap.

Today’s little flier is a siskin.

flying siskin

Note: I fully realise that many other places both in Britain and the US have recently had much worse weather than us here but you can only moan about the weather you’ve got.  I send my sympathy out to those caught by heavy floods on the one hand and forest fires on the other.

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