Posts Tagged ‘Winterhope’


Today’s guest picture come from ex-archivist Ken who tells me that this odd structure is designed to filter pollutants to the  equivalence of up to 300 trees. It is situated at Haymarket at a busy junction close to the bus station.

mechanical tree

Spring arrived  today and even if it is, as they used to say on the posters outside theatres, “For Two Days Only”, it was very welcome.

There was sun all day, no wind at all in the garden, no hint or threat of rain and a reasonable temperature.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very happy and got a power of work done in the garden and I was pretty cheerful too.   There had been a light frost overnight so I waited for the temperature to hit eight degrees before I set out on my slow bicycle.

This gave me time to admire a goldfinch on the feeder….


…and walk round the garden.

There were bees on the crocuses…


… and frogs in the pond…


…getting ready for the start of a handicap race (though one contestant may have got distracted).

This was my individual pick of the day.


Talking of crocuses, I noticed that the camera had recorded two quite different colours on a set of crocuses growing side by side…


…even though they are exactly the same colour.  Light is a funny thing.

And of course, if I ever get bored there is always plenty of moss to look at in the garden.

garden moss

Just a small sample.

I was quite happy to delay setting off on my slow bike as I wasn’t aiming for a long ride because pushing the slow bike along is hard work and my knees are feeling the recent efforts a bit.

It was a grand day for a slow pedal though and I enjoyed my thirty miles a lot.   I had noticed a sign regarding road improvements near the end of the Winterhope road so I took a short diversion to investigate.  Things looked promising as I found a brand new pothole free surface but sadly, it didn’t go on for long…

Winterhope road

The end of the road

…and I was soon on the old road again.  I went far enough to take a picture….

Winterhope road

….and then turned back and joined the Callister road again where I stopped to take a picture of the bridge at Falford which I often cross.

As it is at the bottom of a steep hill, I am usually going too fast to think about stopping but after my diversion today, I was going at a more suitable stopping speed.

Falford bridge

The gorse along the road to Gair is always out early and it is looking good already this year.


I went up to Kennedy’s Corner where I enjoyed the variable geometry of these three roofs.

red roofs

From there my route was downhill onto the Solway plain and I could look over the Solway Firth to the Lake District hills beyond as I came over the top of the hill.

view of skiddaw

On my way down to Chapelknowe, I passed a unusual lamb.  I think that these two are Jacob sheep.


Once through Chapelknowe, I headed down to Corries Mill and on my way, I met a rush of traffic.

pony cart

I was happy to pause while it passed my by.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been reading an interesting book about our end of the border between Scotland and England called ‘The Debatable Land: The Lost World Between Scotland and England’ written by Graham Robb, so I was happy to sneak over the border into England on my way and get a picture of the tower and church at Kirkandrews-on-cycEsk  in part of the Debatable Lands.

Kirkandrews tower and church

It was still a lovely day when I got home and unsurprisingly, I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden.  I took a look round and was very pleased to see that the hellebores were still looking good,  the fancy primroses had more or less survived the frosty nights and the sun had brought the winter aconites out.

flowers march

I think that the crocuses look at their best in the late afternoon sunshine…


…and I like a semi circle of them which Mrs Tootlepedal has arranged round the foot of the silver pear.


Our friends Mike and Alison have returned from seeing their grandchildren in New Zealand and Mrs Tootlepedal laid on a pot of tea and a fancy iced cake or two to welcome them back.  They had gone through a rather alarming experience when a cyclone had pushed a high tide under the floor of the beach house where they were staying but other than that, they had had a wonderful time.

I will have to practise my flute now as regular Friday night music should resume.

We are hoping for another sunny day tomorrow and perhaps on Monday too but after that we are back to cool weather with the threat of rain and even snow again.  Ah well, it was nice while it lasted.

A goldfinch, the flying bird of the day, is rather different from the usual chaffinch.

flying goldfinch



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As we are going to visit her in London tomorrow, my sister Mary has sent me a guest picture of the day to remind me what a big city looks like. She was passing the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square..

A busy scene outside the National Gallery

More poppies have arrived in our garden, mostly opium poppies but with one new Shirley poppy too.


The bees were up early and enjoying the privet.

privet and bee

I took the poppy and privet pictures after breakfast and as you can see, we had a perfect summer day today so naturally it was my turn to do a couple of hours in the morning indoors in the Welcome to Langholm office.  I did welcome a few people to the town and I also made good use of my time there by putting two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

When the next welcomer arrived  to relieve me, I pedalled home and combined having coffee with mowing both lawns and the greenhouse grass.  This was necessary as the visit to London will last three days and the warmer weather is making the grass grow at last.

While she is in the south, Mrs Tootlepedal is going to stay with her mother for a week or two so she was pleased to have got the last of the hedges trimmed.

hedges trimmed

After mowing and a late lunch of tinned sardines with potatoes and beetroot from the garden, I thought of cycling but there was a very brisk wind blowing so I got in touch with Sandy instead to see if he was available for a walk.

He was and at his suggestion, we decided to visit the Winterhope Reservoir which lies about six miles to the west of Langholm where it impounds the head waters of the Kirtle Water.

Sandy drove and once we had parked, we were able to enjoy a selection of wild flowers….

Winterhope wild flowers

…as we walked up to the foot of the dam.

Winterhope dam

It is an impressive structure but fortunately there is friendly set of steps to get you to the top and a splendid view to greet you when you get there.

Winterhope reservoir

There is a rather old fashioned looking control house on the dam….

Winterhope reservoir

…and we walked along the top of the dam and past the building to start our walk on the east side of the water.

I was distracted by ducks and concrete loving lichen as we went across.

lichen and ducks Winterhope reservoir

There is no track on the east side of the reservoir so we had to plod over some tussocky ground but there were always lovely prospects to give us pause…


Winterhope reservoir

Winterhope reservoir

…and smaller details as well.

thistle and fish

A big thistle and little fish in a side stream

We were in open fields and we were slightly nervous about the prospect of meeting cattle but although we did see a couple of cattle collections, the first stared at us without moving from the top of the hill and the second moved away politely leaving us plenty of room to get past.

Winterhope reservoir cattle

There should be more cattle like this.

The reservoir is about 500m in length so in spite of the rough ground, it didn’t take us long to get to the far end…

Winterhope reservoir

…which these days is overlooked by some of the big turbines on the new Ewe Hill windfarm.

Walking down the track on the west side of the reservoir, we could look back at the fields we had walked through on the far side.

Winterhope reservoir

It is a supremely peaceful spot.

When we got back to the dam, we spent quite a lot of time leaning on the railing and looking at aquatic plants….

aquatic plants

…which created a little waterscape of their own with islands, promontories, bays and headlands.  I don’t know what these are and hope that some kind reader can enlighten me.

It wasn’t only the plants that kept us leaning on the railings.  There were a great number of blue damsel flies about and large quantities of little fish darting around and occasionally leaping from the water.

We went to the far end of the dam to get another look.

The damsel flies were too far away and flitting about too vigorously for me to get a good picture but you can see five of them in this shot.

dragon flies

The shoals of little fish were easier to spot, though the contrast on the camera shows them much more clearly than we could see them in real life.

fish in Winterhope reservoir

In the end we left the damsel flies and fish to it and walked back down the side of the dam….

Winterhope reservoir dam

There was more to see beside the track back to the car…

hoverfly, beetle, nuts and rose

…but before we could get to the car, we were waylaid by Jean and Wattie, who live below the dam, and regaled with refreshing cordial and rich tea biscuits accompanied by tales of all the wildlife they see.

It was a good way to end a lovely walk.

Sandy and I picked some blackcurrants for him when we got back to Wauchope Cottage but there are still plenty left for me to make more jelly.

All this had taken some time so it was soon time for tea and we had a second helping of the slow cooked stew, this time with fresh carrots from the garden.

We are off to London for a few days to see my sisters, spend a day with our daughter and celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday and I don’t know whether there will be an opportunity to post anything other than the briefest efforts until I get home again.

I did get some contrasting flying birds of the day though as a great flock of crows got up from the trees beside the reservoir…


….and this plane flew low over the garden twice this afternoon.

low flying plane


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Today’s picture shows a final burst of activity from a side shoot of a campanula.

last campanula

Mrs Tootlepedal spent the morning in Newcastleton judging the needlework classes in the Holm Show. It was pretty wet and horrible so I stayed at home and did the bank holiday competition crossword for want of anything better to do.

From time to time, I glanced out of the window.

unruffled sparrow

An unruffled sparrow is not bothered by the rain

battling sparrows

These two are not so calm

I went out to buy some bits and bobs for a pan of minestrone soup and on my return, I saw the white duck was about.

white duck

It was stalking the other duck with her duckling brood.

Duck and brood

She was standing rather anxiously by them.

The ducklings were oblivious to external matters and were in a duckling heap engaging in constant grooming of themselves and their siblings.

duck heap 1

duck heap 2

They are very unflustered beings and happily there are still seven of them.

Making minestrone soup by the recipe I use is a very labour intensive process and it took all morning to complete.  Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Newcastleton after lunch and then we hit one of those annoying times when plans are made and then unmade as the weather fluctuates between rain and no rain.  Mrs Tootlepedal did some shopping and some ironing and I applied for a new driving license as I have to as my seventieth birthday is fast approaching.  I did this on-line and the process was very pain free even for a formophobe like me.

At last the weather brightened up and I went out into the garden.

puffy chaffinches

These rather puffy chaffinches were warming themselves in the sunshine as I went out


The cosmos stretches its petals out to the sun

nicotiana bee

A bee takes a snuff at a tobacco plant

last clematis

This is the first flower of the last clematis to bloom in the garden this season

I like the crocosmia because as time goes by the old flowers fall neatly off and the new come out in an orderly sequence making it always look fully out from a distance.


No dead petals in sight here

Once it became plain that it wasn’t going to rain for a bit, I got the slow bike out to give it a test run to check on the knocking noise and Mrs Tootlepedal returned to her task of shifting plants in the border reorganisation.

I went off up the Wauchope road and once over Callister, I turned right on a little dead end which I have never been up before. It leads to the Winterhope reservoir and I was surprised at how big the works were for it.

winterhope dam

Quite impressive

winterhope reservoir

I headed back to the Lockerbie road, crossed the outgoing stream from the reservoir at Falford and turned left towards Waterbeck. I took the first right towards Crowdieknowe and was rewarded by fine views to my right and straight ahead.

view north

Looking to my right

view of Dunnabie

Straight ahead

It was a lovely evening by now and my bike wasn’t making any untoward noises at all so all was well with the world. At Dunnabie, I turned back to Langholm and so cheerful  was I feeling that I spent some time trying to see if I could get a picture in my rear view mirror while pedalling along. I could. This is on the top of Callister.

mirror image

This is a mirror image

Although it is thought to be rather cissy, when you get to my age a mirror is essential as I can’t turn my head enough to see what’s behind me any more. Or not without falling off my bike.

We were visited by Dropscone after tea who was returning a memory stick which I had lent to him. He revealed that he had played eighteen holes of golf in the Saturday Competition this afternoon for the first time since his accident. He didn’t reveal his score though.

I am looking through my photos to see if I can find ones that I can enter in the Langholm Show. I find that I have taken an awful lot of them and it is going to be a task just to find any ones that fit the classes and then just pick five or six good ones that are suitable for showing out of the hundreds that are all more or less the same as far as I can see.  I don’t take the photos for showing but for putting in the blog for interest. I am more interested in the subject than the composition but I try to make them as good as my limited experience lets me.  The expert photographers have a lot of polish in their efforts that mine lack. I shall persevere.


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