Wednesday, 15 November 2017

A Missed Walk but a Good Day at DGRI

Instead of my usual Wednesday Walk with the lads today we had a 6 month appointment for Gaye at DGRI. It was great news as her blood count is down yet again so its another 6 months before we have to go back again. So proud of the recovery she has made in the last 3 years all thanks to our wonderful NHS and the support of our family. 

The lads were joined by Elizabeth for a walk up the Meikledale valley. They were lucky as it looks to be clear of mist while the journey to Dumfries we made was very misty. 
While Gaye did a bit of shopping to celebrate her good news from the Hospital I walked along the Nith. This is the famous Devorgilla Bridge.  
Many years ago on a canoeing course with The Boy's Brigade I went over this Caul in a canoe. 

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Another Walk in Silloth and a Disappearing Hotel

This was the Skinburness Hotel when we walked at Silloth on 1st June 2017 and the photo below was it when John and I walked the route today. I don't know what will happen to the site but the hotel was advertised for sale at £250K about 10 years ago so somebody has lost a lot of money.
John was not available in June so we both decided to go there today with both Tom & Peter unavailable.

It was a fairly misty day but very pleasant for walking. 
Silloth main street and one of the few towns left with cobbled streets 
Skinburness Creek at the furthermost point of the walk. We ended our walk at Mrs. Wilsons Cafe on Silloth High Street and  had a fabulous lunch at a reasonable price with excellent service. 

Friday, 3 November 2017

River Esk Walk from Canonbie to Langholm

My favourite walk is along the river Esk from Canonbie to Langholm. I tried about 4 or 5 years ago to get this walk as one of The Langholm Walks network but Buccleuch Estates refused permission. Since then I have taken as many people as possible on this walk as a way of sticking two fingers up to Buccleuch Estates for their lack of support. My latest party of walkers were Kate and Don Lacey who have recently moved to Skippers Cottage to be near their son Daniel who is one of the worlds leading furniture makers. In my opinion this is the nicest walk in the area and should be in our network. I even had the funding to get it all in order as all it needed was signposts and maybe a couple of new stiles but it was not to be. I think I will have another go soon to get it as a way marked walk for the benefit of visitors. It is even more important now as the Gilnockie Tower Visitor Centre is open and attracting visitors. When this opens fully next summer a way marked walk going past it could be a great asset to it.  
This is the entrance to the mill stream at Hollows Mill which now runs an Archimedes Screw to power the mill. The working Mill is another place of interest on this walk.
This is one of the rooms in the newly refurbished Gilnockie Tower. We were kindly shown round by Beverley Hyslop and when it is finished it will be beautiful and a great asset to the area. Go to for more information. 
Beverley with Kath and Don
Gilnockie Tower and the Clan Armstrong Centre 
The river Tarras joins the Esk at Irving House. It looks such an insignificant river here but further up the valley it is one of the loveliest rivers in Scotland with loads of wild life to be seen.
Irving House which has been empty for a good number of years and now has Moles on the front lawn which used to be a Tennis Court many years ago. It would make a lovely high class hotel 
Just below Irving House on the nicest part of the river walk we saw this Salmon. It looks to be diseased and probably wont survive very long. I am not sure if it will have spawned further up river and now be on its way back to the sea.

Thursday, 2 November 2017

The Red Squirrels of Eskrigg

John was delighted that this village was named after him. This weeks Wednesday walk took us to Lockerbie as I had to drop Gaye off at Lockerbie Station for a trip to Glasgow to see The Streamie. She was in this play at Langholm Music & Arts Festival in 1998 and she loved every minute of it during that summer of rehearsals. It was such a success they went to Annan for a performance as well in front of 400 people. We all met up at Lockerbie Station for a 6 mile circular walk that took in Eskrigg Nature Reserve.  
When we arrived at Eskrigg we had hardly time to sit down in  the Hide before the Red Squirrels arrived and in no time at all we were watching 6 of them.
This one had a very black bushy tail 
Just as I started to take photographs my camera battery packed in so these are all from my I Phone which has not got as good a zoom as the camera.  
They moved so fast it was difficult to get a clear photo. 
Great entertainment for 20 minutes and then we moved on. 
The route back to Lockerbie was extremely muddy. We ended our walk with Lunch in the Kings Arms Hotel.

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Gardens and Donkeys at Westwater

Tom and I have walked the valley at Westwater 3 times in the last 6 years but Peter has never done it so we headed there today. We soon met Mrs. Clapperton from Westwater who delighted in showing us her Woodland Garden. Over the last few years she has planted Tree Ferns, Bamboo, and various other trees and shrubs. This has been such a wet summer so the area is very wet and muddy but the ferns have thrived as a result of this.  
The gardens at Westwater are open to the public under the Scottish Gardens Scheme several times during the year.
An old Urn in the Woodland Garden 
The family also have several Donkeys on the farm. They were quite a long way away today. 
These are the wind turbines at Westerkirk 
Peter and Tom well wrapped up for the cold wind blowing down the valley 
This is the plantation of trees taken today and the photo below was taken in April 2015. It wont be long before all we see when walking up this valley will be trees. 
Peter looking after me
Some large tubs have been put in at the garden at Westwater
After our walk we had a nice lunch at Whitshiels Cafe where Tom tried out the garden furniture

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Walking the River Caldew from Dalston to Carlisle

The train that took us from Carlisle to Dalston. It was a beautiful day for our walk. Within 2 minutes of buying his train ticket Peter had lost his but the Ticket Inspector was very nice about it and as we were only travelling to Dalston she accepted his explanation.
This will be Tom's longest walk since his operation and from now on we will include a few hills in our walk as he is getting fitter every week.
The river Caldew
The walk took us through Cummersdale and the factory of Stead McAlpin. They were one of my biggest customers in my Atlasair days and I visited this factory on many occasions. It was one of their 2 tonne shipments I tried to book on Pan Am 103 in 1988 but was refused a booking because it had a full passenger load but when it blew up over Lockerbie there were over 100 empty seats on it. Maybe sometime in the future the real truth about PA103 will be told.
This is an old cotton mill at Denton Holme which has been converted into very nice flats

The Weir at Denton Holme which must have been put there for the cotton mill.
At this point in the walk the temperature must have been in the low 60sF. One of the nicest days we have walked this year.
The trees all along the river bank were full of berries. It will provide the birds with food all winter.
After our walk we had lunch in the Cakes and Ale Cafe near the Castle. The building in the background with the scaffolding is rumoured to be the new offices of EWM. Whether this is true only time will tell but if it is then its a despicable move by them and I feel nothing but contempt for them deserting the town that put them on the map. It will be the final nail in the coffin for our wonderful little town.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

A Rainy Day Walk

Our walk had been arranged for 10.30am but was delayed until 1.30pm as the forecast said it would stop raining by then.  It was wrong and it kept on raining right up to 2.30pm and then it stopped and the sun came out. We headed round my morning walk route but even that was flooded in places and very muddy so we kept to the tarmac area as much as possible. 
The Esk was in full flow but not at dangerous levels just big 
The stone Turtle at the Suspension Bridge is well built and managed to survive the flood.  
The Wauchope was the first to come down in flood but was well contained. Our walk ended with tea at Whitshiels Cafe and despite the weather the conversation was excellent and we enjoyed ourselves.

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