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Posts Tagged ‘Sir John Malcolm’

Today’s guest picture comes from fellow archivist and Hibs supporter Ken.  Sadly he is having to leave the town to return to the north east of England for family reasons and he kindly sent me this picture of the Saltburn Viaduct, taken some years ago, which I hope will be the first of many from his new home area.

Saltburn Viaduct

After a generally cool start to July, we were promised a properly warm day today and we certainly got it. It was 18°C when we got up and 25° by mid afternoon.  As the sun was out all day, it was pretty warm when you left the shade.

Under these circumstances, I got the front lawn mowed as soon after breakfast as I could and then did the middle lawn after having had coffee with Dropscone. As a side note, our coffee was accompanied by a mound of croissants.  Dropscone had acquired them at a very reasonable price just before closing time at a supermarket in Hawick on his way back from a golf committee meeting in the borders last night.  They went down very well.

The lawn mowing and croissant eating in high temperatures took its toll and there was quite a bit of sitting and panting between times but I did find a moment to wander round the garden with the camera in hand.

Poppies were go.

poppies

I tried to capture the beauty of the back of the house potentillas with a panoramic shot but the camera had its own rather bent ideas.

potentilla panorama

I went back into the garden and looked at some clematis.

clematis

After lunch, I cycled up to the High Street to do some business and incidentally to check if I would make enough breeze while cycling to keep myself cool.  I did the business and decided that it was too hot for cycling so I went for a walk instead.

I wanted to get up to where a gentle breeze would fan my fevered brow so I put on some sun cream and an amusing hat and walked up to the monument on the top of Whita hill.

I stopped almost before I had started when I saw a commotion on the river as I crossed the suspension bridge.

family of goosanders

A family of goosanders were cruising down stream and I spent some happy minutes watching them dart about.

goosanders

Leaving them to their business, I adopted a sensible pace and headed uphill.  I stopped to take pictures from time to time.

Going up the Kirk Wynd, the left and right sides offered a contrast in colours.

fireweed and nettles

There was plenty to look at, some quite obvious and some mysterious.

gorse seeds and red thing

Gorse seeds on the left but I can’t work out what the red thing is. It looks like a leaf.

A horse minded its own business as I passed.

Horse

I looked back at the town below as I climbed.

Langholm

My target was the monument on the top of the hill…

Monument

…and it was very pleasant on the summit when I got there.

I had a close look at the obelisk.

Monument

As the inscribed writing in the stone is rather hard to read, some helpful person has transcribed it onto a tablet set into the base.   I always try in the intercourse of polite life to be an ornament and delight of every society but I am not so successful as Sir John Malcolm evidently was.

You can read more about him here.  He was a very distinguished chap and by no means the worst colonial ruler of his time but he opposed the Reform Act which counts against him in my view.

The views from the summit were glorious.

Panorama from Whita

A more successful panorama. (click to enlarge a bit)

My favourite view up the Ewes valley.

Ewes valley

I was standing beside a trig point and looking across the Esk valley, I could just see the matching trig point on the top of Timpen, where Sandy and I stood a few days ago.  The Lumix could see it much more easily.

Trig point on Timpen

It is the small black dot on the top of the hill at the front.  It is 2 miles away and the windmills behind are another mile off.  Smart camera.

It looks from the shot as though I was much higher on Whita than I would be on Timpen but the difference is only 25 metres or so.

I looked down to the Solway.  On a really clear day you can see the Isle of Man, 60 miles away across the Irish Sea but today I could only just make out the Cumbrian coast.

Solway

Instead of going straight back down the face of the hill, I walked along the ridge and scrambled down beside a wall to the quarry.   In some of the rougher spots, I reflected that a sensible person of my age might have brought his walking poles with him but when I looked round, there was no sensible person about so I just staggered on.

Quarry

A lot of the stone to build the town came from here in the early days.

There is a handy stile over the wall below the quarry…

Quarry wall stile

I popped over the stile and followed the old quarry road back to Whita Well, where I took a refreshing drink of water and dropped back into the town.

I was more than ready for a cup of tea when I got home.  It was only a 3.6 mile stroll but the walk to the summit from the centre of the town is a mile long at a gradient of 16% and on a hot day, it was quite strenuous.

In the evening, I went up to the Archive Centre with Sandy and we fought another losing battle with an unresponsive Wi-Fi hotspot there.  We can’t afford our own internet connection in the Centre so it is annoying that the BT hotspot is so unreliable.

I didn’t have the breath left to go off to find a flying bird today so a rather showy poppy as the flower of the day will have to stand by itself.

poppy

It may have been a short summer (we are promised rain and thunder tomorrow) but it was very welcome and we enjoyed it while it was here.

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