Posts Tagged ‘windfarm’

Today’s guest picture is another from Stephen’s visit to North Queensland. As well as idyllic beaches, he and his wife visited the Kuranda aviary where amongst others, they encountered this striking pair of birds.

Australian birds

The weather gods relented today, and after sending us more overnight rain, they let up by morning and allowed us to enjoy a dry and sometimes sunny day today. This gave us the chance to do some work in the garden and let me take a few pictures while I was out there.

Well, to be honest, I took a lot of pictures but I am putting in this panel of four pale flowers to stand for them all.

four pale flowers

It was pleasantly warm and the wind was noticeable but not offensive so there was really no reason why I should not have gone out for a cycle ride after breakfast to make good use of the day. All the same, I managed to find several reasons; a crossword, coffee, dead heading, picking sweet peas and so on until I finally ran out of excuses and set off for a pedal about midday.

To tell the truth, I didn’t feel exactly enthusiastic about the idea so I started off very slowly and stopped to look at wild flowers at the earliest opportunity.

The yellow bedstraw beside the Wauchope road is very striking at the moment…

yeloow bedstraw by road

…as are the pink heads on the yarrow when they first come out.

yarrow by road

The verge trimmers have left this road alone so there are a number of orchids around…

orchid by road

…but this little tormentil flower is so low to the ground that it might well escape the mower even if it does come.

tormentil by road

As I went on, the sun came out and in spite of having to pedal into the wind, my spirits lifted and I decided to take a diversion to investigate the road along which the turbines for the new windfarm at Solwaybank will arrive.

It was a narrow and poorly surfaced road but now it has been resurfaced and a extra bit of width has been added.

solwaybank road

The arrival of the turbines has been delayed because of financial problems with the suppliers so the extra width has got many traffic cones on it to stop it getting worn out before the big lorries finally come.

It was a treat to cycle along a well surfaced back road but when the time came that a brand new windfarm road had been built across country….

solwaybank road for windfarm

…I was left pedalling up the old narrow road.

new solwaybank road

However, as it had been resurfaced not too long ago and was still in fair condition, and as there were foxgloves on the way…

foxgloves solwaybank road

…I wasn’t complaining.

The new windfarm will be the fourth in our area and as I cycled along, I passed under a power line that was built for one of the previous sites.

The people who put the poles up must had a very good piece of string as they are in a really straight line from one corner to the next.

windmill power line

Once I had got to the end of this road, I turned for home and with the wind now behind me, I found that I was going too fast to think of stopping for every wild flower that I passed and it wasn’t until my legs started complaining as I got near the end of my ride, that I stopped again.

I was looking to admire a fine spread of knapweed on the old A7 near Hagg-on-Esk and I was lucky to find a hoverfly with same idea.


The knapweed and daisies are in good form along the road here,

verge irvine house road

When I got back to Langholm after 36 miles, I was seized with decimal mania and cycled through the town and out of the other side for two miles. The verge cutters had been slaughtering wild flowers here.

mowed verge A7 terrona

The extra four miles brought my trip up to 40 miles and my mileage for the first ten days of the month of July up to 200, the most that I have cycled in such a short spell this year.

If I stick to cycling, and don’t try to do any walking, my feet are not too bad and in recent days I have found myself feeling quite a bit happier about taking exercise. This is a tribute to the healing skills of Dr Velo.

I had enough energy left when I got home to get the mower out and mow the two lawns. We are going down to London again for a few days on family business tomorrow so they needed a cut before we went.

While I was out, I checked on the new fuchsia in the chimney pot. It is settling in well.

fuchsia chimney

The hostas are bursting onto flower…

hosta flowers

…but they can’t compare with the magnificence of our neighbour Liz’s filipendula.

liz's astilbe

When I went in, I spent a little time checking on the birds.

A reader suggested that the collective term for our siskins should be ‘squabble of siskins’ but he pointed out that it has already been taken by seagulls. This is a pity as it really fits the feisty little things.

siskins sparring

If they are not squabbling over the seed, they are kicking one another.

a squabble of siskins

Some more sensible siskins prefer to nibble the nuts in peace.

siskin on nuts

Watching the recording of today’s stage Tour de France once again provided an opportunity for some relaxing sofa testing in the evening.

With some potentially heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, we are keeping our fingers crossed that our transport all works smoothly for out journey south.

A goldfinch, leaving the siskins to fight it out among themselves, is the flying bird of the day.

goldfinch leaving

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The last of my current set of guest pictures  (hint, hint) is a rather unorthodox setting for a Monteverdi concert that my sister Susan attended.

concert venue

Well, part of my wishes came true today and we had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine.  Sadly, but predictably, the sunshine came with early frost and it was quite chilly all day.

On the plus side, after breakfast, I saw a man shinning up a telephone pole outside our house and before we knew it, our phone was back working.  Since it turned out that it was one of his fellow workers who had left a wire unconnected (“easily done,” the man said) when working up the pole while we were away, I felt that he could have been a bit more apologetic about the whole affair but as far as he was concerned, it was job done and off to the next one.

Still, our phone works so we are happy.  Now we can get back to receiving calls from crooks who want to sell us PPI deals or interfere with our computer’s operating system.  It has been hard to go without offers of a ‘green deal’ for so many days.

As well as our phone, there was a welcome return of some birds to the feeder.

busy feeder

There was even some queuing going on.


I was pleased to see siskins back as well as goldfinches…


…and I liked the rather lordly air with which this one was waiting for someone to get out of his way.

stately siskin

Pigeons approached on foot, looking very serious….


…while a goldfinch regarded an empty perch with suspicion….

flying goldfinch

…and a blackbird didn’t take to being photographed at all kindly.


By noon, the temperature had crept up to 4°C and all danger of icy patches on the road had receded so I wrapped up warmly, got the fairly speedy bike out, lubricated the chain and set off to see what use I could make of a fine day.

As long as I didn’t try to go too fast, things went well and I pedalled over the top of Callister and down into the flat country beyond.

Quite often, you can see blue sky and be under cloud but today for a change, I could see plenty of clouds….

between the waters

…but I spent three hours under blue skies.

It was grand day for cycling….

tree between the waters

….with interesting trees and quiet roads.


The camera club theme for the next meeting is ‘selfies’.  This might be my effort.

cycle selfie

As I passed the relatively new wind farm at Gretna, where the turbines were only just turning …

Longtown windmills

…I could see the even newer wind farm at Longtown in the background.

I stopped to eat a banana near Springfield and fell into conversation with an old chap who was touring on his electric bike.  He told me that he had done five and half thousand miles in the last eighteen months and was very grateful to be able to keep going in spite of having diabetes.

I am keeping the possibility of an electric bike very much in the forefront of my mind for when the time comes that I will need one.

I was hoping that I might be able to do 40 miles on such a fine day but my legs and chest had other opinions and I found myself crossing the bridge in Langholm…

meeting of the waters

…after 35 miles.  That was still a good deal better than I have managed lately so I was grateful for the very light wind which made it a pleasure to be out.

In the garden, the snowdrops are beginning to show….


… early daffodils are looking promising…


…and there were signs that Mrs Tootlepedal had done some gardening while I was out.  The lawn re-shaping is part of her 2018 garden scheme.

lawn imptovements

When I got in, I had a shower and then I added another Parish Magazine which Sandy had scanned and edited to the Archive Group website.  Now the two of us are working on the project, we should get a lot done.

After another portion of Mrs Tootlepedal’s pork chop with parsnips, apples and cider for tea, I left her to watch an interesting gardening programme and went along to the Buccleuch Centre to listen to The Outside Track.

The Outside Track are three Scots, an Irish girl and a Canadian from Cape Breton. They were described in the brochure as a stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy with a love of traditional music and commitment to creating new music on its foundations.

That all seemed pretty fair when I listened to them.

I enjoyed the evening thoroughly, particularly the work of Ailie Robertson from Edinburgh on the Clarsach.  Anyone interested can hear them here  but they were a lot more punchy live.

Considering that there was a disappointingly small audience, they played with plenty of zest and were polite enough to give us encore too.

I did find a flying bird today, a female chaffinch intent on some seed.

flying chaffinch






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Today’s guest picture shows the Traitor’s Gate at the Tower of London.  My sister Mary took the picture while going down the river by boat for a second visit to Greenwich earlier this month.

Tower of London

After yesterday’s picture  totally white font lawn, today was a different kettle of fish altogether.

front lawn in January

It was the kindest of winter days, with sunshine, light winds and not a drop of rain or snow.  This was very fortunate as I had a full day planned.

It started with a visit to the garage before breakfast to put the car in for its annual MOT test.  This led to me check on the mileage that we had done during the last year and I am pretty sure that I cycled more than I drove over the past twelve months.  In spite of the light mileage, the car needed some repairs before it could get its certificate.  This will lighten my wallet no doubt.

After breakfast, I had to go up to the town again, this time to collect the key for the Day Centre where the Camera Club holds its monthly meetings.

On my way back I noticed a splendid clump of snowdrops on the bank of the dam behind our house.

dam snowdrops

Encouraged by this, I took a walk round the garden.


A wallflower looking very promising


Rhubarb crumble in the making.

When I had done this, it was time for a quick coffee and the intake of some cycling fuel (two slices of bread and jam) and then I got the fairly speedy bike out, cleaned the rust off the chain and pedalled off into the unknown.

I have done very little cycling recently so I was unsure of how far I could go before my legs gave up but I set out full of optimism and caution combined.  I stopped fairly frequently early in the ride to make sure that I didn’t overcook things and this gave me the chance to take more shots of my favourite little cascades on the Wauchope, one at Bessie Bell’s…

Wauchope cascade

…and one near Wauchope School.

Wauchope cascade

Melting snow had added a little zip to the flow.

Because it was a beautiful day, more like autumn than winter….

The Bigholms

…and my legs were relatively cheerful, I was encouraged to aim for a decent distance so I decided to go to Lockerbie by way of Corrie Common.

Maybe because the sun was out at exactly the right angle, I was halted in my tracks by a tree literally dripping with fungus.

fungus tree near Dunnabie

I have cycled past this tree many, many times and have never taken a second look at it before.  I was amazed that I could have missed such a display.

My route up to Corrie Common involved some hill work so once again I was happy to stop for a breather, this time with the excuse of counting the windmills on the the new Ewe Hill windfarm.

I counted seventeen….

Ewe Hill windfarm

…but there may be one or two more as I was too far away to get an accurate picture.

When I got to the hill above Lockerbie, I looked over Annandale…..

Annandale at Lockerbie

… and paused to take a picture of Lockerbie golf course…

Lockerbie golf course

…which in spite of the good weather, seemed to have only a single player going round.

From Lockerbie down to Gretna, my route was not so scenic and I pressed on down the old main road, nose to the front wheel, until I came to the new windfarm at Gretna.  This is now full completed with nine turbines…

Gretna windfarm

…although the turbines are not turning yet.

I stopped to eat a banana on a bridge over the mainline railway near the village of Springfield and was happy to find a mainline train approaching the bridge at a very modest speed which let me take this picture.

Virgin train

Normally they go by in a flash.

While I was looking over the wall beside the bridge, I noticed this fine crop of moss on the top of it.

Moss at Gretna

I pottered into England and took this picture of this English tree near Englishtown….

English tree near Englishtown

…before pottering back into Scotland and heading for home.

I arrived in Langholm with 48 miles on the computer and was overcome by decimal mania and added a couple of miles  by going through the town and up to the rugby club and back again to bring up a satisfyingly neat fifty miles.

I celebrated by taking a picture  from the Town Bridge as I crossed it.

Kilngreen and Ewes for town bridge

Snow? What snow?

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy while I out, collecting the car and doing some gardening and as a result was resting and reading when I got in.

I didn’t have long to hang about recovering though because I had preparations to make for the Camera Club meeting in the evening and then my flute pupil Luke came and we played duets by Boismortier and Telemann.

After he had gone, there was time for a meal and then I went off to the Camera Club meeting.  We had twelve members (one for the first time) there, eleven of whom had brought pictures on flash drives for us to look at so we had an interesting evening with some very original images to look at.   There are some very skilled photographers in the group so I always have something to learn every month.

The new member told me how much he had enjoyed a camera club meeting where there was no discussion of how images were deficient and should have been improved but rather a full hearted appreciation of the good things in the pictures and a willingness to share experiences with the other members.  This was heartening, as this was precisely the principles on which the club was founded.

I took no pictures of birds today for the simple reason that whenever I had a moment to look out of the window, there were no birds in the garden at all.  Very strange.  I will have to see what tomorrow brings as far as the birds go.

For those of you interested, here is my cycle route.  You can see that I went very slowly.  You may find more details by clicking on the map.Garmin Route 16 Jan 2017

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