Posts Tagged ‘Tarras bridge’

Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.


The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.


Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.


And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.


Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….


…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull



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Today’s guest picture was taken by Dropscone who was enjoying a quiet new year walk up a hill yesterday until he came to this wall which he found very hard to cross.

wall on whita

I was a bit deceived by the weather forecast which had suggested that it might be too windy for comfortable pedalling so I went for a walk in the morning instead.  It wasn’t very windy at all.

It was dry and cloudy and birds were few and far between in the garden.  A lone rook perched on the very top of the walnut tree…


…and two jackdaws shared an arch below.


Since there was not much else to be seen, I put on my boots and got ready to go.  Then I had to take my boots off again because one of them was hurting my foot after yesterday’s ramble.

I abandoned thoughts of high hills and settled for another walk up the same road as we had travelled along yesterday.

There was still plenty to look at.  The ivy is flourishing at the moment.


The walls were full of interest too.  It is  a mystery to me why they have such a variety of growths on them so close together.


The stones were only yards apart both in the picture above and the picture below.

moss and lichen

Still, it makes for an interesting stroll.

The most hopeful thing that I saw was an early honeysuckle bud full of the promise of spring.


Today, I didn’t turn off at the top of the hill but  walked on down the other side until I came to the bridge over the Tarras Water.

Tarras Bridge

The coppery brown colour in the water was gorgeous.

To get to the bridge, I had had to go over the section of the road which had been damaged by the floods in early December.

Tarras road damage

The cyclists were struck not only by the steepness of the hill but by the extent of the damage.

When Mrs Tootlepedal and I had visited last month, there was water spurting from a hastily effected repair to the water main which had been carried away by the landslip….

water spout

This was now under control….

tarras road water main

…and the main had been sent under the road and safely across a neighbouring field.

The scrubby trees on the banking below the road had been cleared and this revealed a possible cause for the disaster.

tarras road damage

This is the view immediately below the slip and the large light brown patch is a smooth expanse of solid rock.  The gradient is steeper than the picture makes it look and the soft ground on top of the slab might easily have slipped away in the rainstorm.  We await developments with interest.

As I walked back up the hill from the bridge towards the damaged section of road, I passed a sign that showed that the present landslip may not be the last problem that the road engineers encounter.

Tarras road

I just walked back the way I had come so there was no further opportunity to take pictures apart from this last snowberry beside the Esk.


As I was walking back, I reflected that it had really been an ideal morning for cycling as the wind had turned out to be light and the temperature at 8°C was  comfortably warm.  All the same I was pleased to have done a five mile walk two days in a row as before I got my new knee, that would have been impossible.

When I got home, I had time for a little sit down before our neighbours Liz and Ken came over to enjoy a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit.  We followed this up with a small glass or two  of port to toast the new year and those of you who are worried about the state of things in 2016 can rest a little more easily now as we certainly put the world to rights between us as we talked.

The short and gloomy days are doing nothing to lift me out of my holidaze and I happily spent the rest of the day doing nothing apart from a little flute practice and catching up on my correspondence.  Life should get back to normal next week as music and choirs restart and I am looking forward to that a lot.

It wasn’t a day for flying birds but here is the best that I could do.




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