Wednesday, 16 May 2018

A Beautiful Day in Newcastleton

This was todays walk at Newcastleton. With the small detour to the local cemetery it was just short of 7 miles on such a beautiful day. It was only Tom and myself today as the rest are otherwise engaged.
The view from the east side of Newcastleton and what looks like a superb ridge walk although the distance can be misleading and its probably tougher than it looks.  
This is the garden at Yethouse looking very attractive today
This is my first selfie using my Apple watch as a timer and propping my phone up against my rucksack. I should use a small tripod to get a better centred picture. 
They may be small but my goodness what a noise they made as we passed their gate
The cemetery at Newcastleton where we stopped for a rest and a snack 
On the road towards Newcastleton we passed this house which used to be an old Manse and the owner has gone to great lengths to give his walled garden more light by dramatically cutting his trees.  
We met this gentleman outside his lovely cottage and he was keen for a blether. It turns out him and Tom have a lot in common. Tom is slightly younger but both of them have lived most of their lives in the same house and have never married. They both insist they are still looking though.  
The old and the new bridges
Another cottage beside the road with a lovely blossom and in a day or two's time it will be even nicer as 50% of it is still to fully come out. 
Plenty of Bluebells
A pond full of Tadpoles on the old railway line that took us back into Newcastleton 
The new community Petrol Pumps in the village

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Walking from Bentpath to Langholm through Westerhall

We always walk through Westerhall at this time of the year to see the Azaleas. They are a wee bit late this year so not at their best yet but by the end of May they should be stunning. Starting at Bentpath we noticed this new seat in memory of two locals from the village.
Just as we pass the cemetery we noticed this wall has collapsed so will need some urgent repairs done to it.  
We met Roddy Innes working in the cemetery on behalf of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He is paid by them to regularly tidy the paths to various War Graves throughout the area. There is only one War Grave at Bentpath but he has to keep the path tidy and the area round the grave. He obliged by taking a photograph of the four of us. 
This is the War Grave he has to keep tidy. It is a Royal Marine Commando killed in 1943 when he stepped on a mine
Rhododendrons near the big house
The regular pose in front of Westerhall
And the Folly looking up from where we stood for our photo
On the second half of the walk we are in more open country looking towards the Gates of Eden and Craigcleuch
A beautiful Rhododendron at Tom Scott's house at Potholm
Bluebells beginning to appear but not yet at their best
Pens for Breeding Pheasants at The North Lodge. We finished our walk with lunch in the Buccleuch Centre

Monday, 7 May 2018

Sandra's 70th Birthday Weekend in Reeth

We had been invited by Sandra to Reeth for the weekend to spend some time together celebrating her 70th Birthday. We met Margaret and Robert at Gretna and I drove the 4 of us to Reeth in time for us to go on the Wensleydale Railway from Redmire to Leyburn. This is a lovely railway line run by volunteers and today they had added extra trains to take people into Leyburn for the Tour of Yorkshire Bike Race. It was a great way of doing it and avoided problems parking and the service was free with just a collection tin for donations. We are on the old train and these kind of carriages brought back some happy memories from 50 years ago.
Sandra, Margaret, and Gaye have been best friends for well over 50 years 
Having our picnic in Leyburn before the race. Bob and Sandra were the perfect hosts and this was a lovely place just a few yards from where the cycle race would pass in about 30 minutes time.  
This shopkeeper provided Gaye with a chair from which she could watch the race go by
The breakaway group of 5 riders were a good 3 minutes ahead of the peloton but much later in the race and just a few kilometres from the finish they were caught and eventually these 5 finished well back in the field. It was a great atmosphere in Leyburn with plenty of entertainment going on in the square.
On Saturday evening Sandra, Margaret, and I went for a lovely walk along the river Swale and it was the most beautiful evening with so much wild life to be seen beside the river.  
Sandra & Margaret enjoying the last rays of sun beside the river. 
The sun had disappeared in the valley but up on the hill my cousin Hilary's house was still enjoying the late evening sunshine on The White House at Fremington Edge. I walked up there early on Saturday morning and it was just beautiful looking over the town of Reeth
The village of Reeth from the road heading up to The White House 
On Sunday Sandra had planned a walk from the village of Muker up the Swaledale valley to a small village called Thwaite where we stopped at a lovely pub for a drink before heading back along the trail to Muker.
After our walk we headed to Arkengarthdale for a birthday lunch at the CB Inn which was Gaye and Margarets treat to their best friend Sandra. It had been a whirlwind weekend and we had to leave after lunch to come home but the weather and hospitality had been superb and it was a weekend to remember for years to come. Special thanks to our hosts Sandra & Bob.

Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Up and Down the River Annan

Despite a lot of overnight rain it was dry and almost sunny when we started our River Annan walk from Annan to Brydekirk and back. 
The first obstacle was this Gorse near the Annan bridge but Tom manages to negotiate it without much hassle. He looks a bit like a Hoolet in a Whin bush.

This caul is a mile upstream and occasionally you can see some Salmon leaping here but not today 
Lovely shades of green on the trees on the bank of the river. 
Brydekirk Bridge beside one of the ugliest painted pubs in Scotland 
Tom went to a lot of trouble to take this photograph but did not try his usual pose of kneeling down and then being unable to get up. We ended our walk with lunch in The Whitshiels Cafe back in Langholm.

Wednesday, 25 April 2018

A Local Walk and a Good Crack

It was the first walk with David for a while so we kept it local as he was busy before he heads of for a fortnight in Barbados. We were extremely lucky with the weather and brollies were only needed for a very short time. 
Round by the Broomholm and back via The Roon Hoose with a nice lunch in The Buccleuch Centre to finish off.  A very enjoyable walk and we managed to sort out most of Langholm's problems in that time. If only it was that easy. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

Final Day at Sitges

Our last full day in Spain and a quiet one for Gaye and I while the rest of the family were at Barcelona Zoo. The sea is still running quite high with huge breakers. We enjoyed a nice walk and a seat by the sea people watching.
Gaye almost fully recovered from her poorly day yesterday
Only Eleanor, Tommy and myself remained free of the bug 
The inevitable selfie
Saying goodbye is never easy but this one was particularly difficult. There were a few tears from Gaye and I when they left. We now have another 6 hours to wait for our flight to NCL tonight.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

A Visit to Montserrat Monastery and Basilica

As Fraser had hired a larger car we headed off to Montserrat Monastery and Basilica which was about a 50 minute drive from our Villa at Sitges. Fiona and the kids and Gaye decided to stay in Sitges as there were just too many hills for Gaye. The first thing we had to do was go up in the cable car which is no problem to the Americans as they use cable cars and ski lifts so often but it had been many years since I was last on one. At the top it was still a lovely warm day and there was lots to see.  
The start of the cable car journey. There is also a rack and pinion railway to the top and when we reached the top we were astonished to find lots of cars there so there must be a road for the people who work there. I think they use a tunnel and road from the other side of the mountain. 

Getting higher

This is the top and the main viewing area with the station for the railway on the left 
The main building and Basilica where at 1.00pm there was a boys choir sang for about 15 minutes 
Looking down the mountain
Thomas, Elliot, and Eleanor sitting in the main square  
The entrance to the Basilica 
The top of the mountain
A rare occasion for Fraser and me to be photographed together. It might be a long time before we are together again 
A small Chapel up the mountain
Elliot and his Granddad
The Funicular Railway from the mountain top. It was an excellent day and one of the best places I have ever been to. We did have a couple of panics during the day with Fraser leaving his rucksack in a cafeteria in the morning and then when we came down the Funicular Eleanor discovered she had left her rucksack at the top. The staff were brilliant and looked after Elliot for a few minutes while Fraser and Eleanor went back up free of charge until I could arrive to collect him.

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