Thursday 29 December 2011

A Day out at Kelso Races

 Gaye and I were invited by David and Alix to their box at Kelso for todays's National Hunt meeting. The box was situated just past the winning post and gave us a superb view of the whole coarse. We wined and dined in style but managed to back only 1 winner. That I should add was a 3 horse race and Tom, Gaye, and I each backed a horse with my one winning so could not be classed as a genuine winner. We did however have a superb day in excellent company with the photograph of Gabrielle showing how good the situation of our box was.

The first race of the day with my money on the horse without the rider as he was unseated at about the third fence. Definately the pattern for the day with most of my horses either coming in last or falling. It is a good job it was only £2 a race I was betting. 

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Holiday Walk

 Our Wednesday walk this week was a bit shorter than usual as it was a bad forecast and also because we were joined by Ken & Susan who had a busy schedule. We decided to go roung the Potholm but went the wrong way as the wind was in our face along the Potholm road and it was like walking through treacle with the strong wind in our faces. We were lucky however as it remained dry and Tom and I learnt a lot about the Power Industry as Ken works for Scottish Power and is involved in the Wind Turbine industry and daughter Susan works for EON and is in power generating with special responsibility for the Lockerbie Biomass Power Station.
 Ken, Susan, and Tom on the Jubilee Bridge

Monday 26 December 2011

Boxing Day Visitors

 Fiona's friends Graham & Luke arrived from Glasgow to see us all on Boxing Day so a walk to feed the ducks was in order and then round by Langholm Castle on the Ty Pennington Walk.
 No visit to Langholm can be complete without a visit to feed the ducks.

Back home and another chance to see Thomas the Tank Engine on Grandad's I Pad. Two redheads and a blonde.

Christmas Day

 Hannah & Leo start to open their presents left by Santa under the Christmas Tree. Leo says "not another Thomas the Tank Engine" but he is really very happy receiving anything to do with Thomas and his friends.
 Hannah is very happy with her new Dressing Gown
Cousin Susan is in great demand as a story teller.

Tom wakens from his pre Christmas Dinner Nap.

Saturday 24 December 2011

Hannah at Moorland Bird Feeding Station

 One of my jobs during the Christmas holiday is to fill up the feeders at the Moorland Feeding Station while Dr. Cat Barlow is on holiday. As Hannah is in Langholm on holiday she helped me to do this valuable job. we were assisted by son in law Mario and my cousin Susan.
 Hannah & Susan fill up a feeder
 Hannah was determined to get the last bit of seed out of the bag

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Bothy at Greensykes up Meggat Water

 The purpose of todays Wednesday walk was to visit the new Mountain Bothy opened at Greensykes up Meggat water. It has taken several years for the volunteers from the MBA to get this opened but it is a superb Bothy and well worth a visit. We parked the car at the Thomas Telford Memorial Car Park at Glendinning and headed up the Forestry road to the east of the Meggat and up the valley of the Hairgrain Burn which is a total of 7.5 miles circular.
 After about 4.5 miles the Bothy comes into view and it has been well roofed and re built, although there is still a bit of work still to be done especially clearing up outside as they have knocked down some of the outhouses.
 In this photograph the Bothy looks perfect but hidden from view is all the rubble outside which is still to be cleared.
 Inside it is fairly basic with 3 rooms. This is the first room you enter and when we arrived we found the room to be very warm and then realised the wood burning stove was still on. On looking at the visitors book we discovered two people from Edinburgh had spent last night in the Bothy and just left a few hours before we arrived. We stuck a couple more logs on the excellent Wood Burning Stove and enjoyed our packed lunch in real style in cumfortable chairs and with a grand fire giving off a good heat. The other two rooms are bedrooms with sort of platforms for beds and in one of them there is an open fire and two comfortable chairs. There is of course no electricity although plenty of candles and plenty of wood stacked and drying for the fires. At the moment there is no toilet but that will be built next year. In the visitors book we were amazed to see how many people have stayed there in the few months it has been open.  

Some of the visitors to the Bothy have been Mountain Bikers as there are superb forestry roads in the area and this must make it very attractive for Bikers. The comments left by last nights visitors was that it was an excellent escape from Christmas shopping. If I had to stay the night I think you would need a nice bottle of whisky to help you sleep as the beds looked a bit hard.

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Outside the Haig Maternity Hospital in Hawick

This is the Video of Tom giving the story of David's 70th Birthday

David & Tom's Birthday Walk

 This was supposed to be David's Birthday Walk a week ago but unfortunately he has back problems and his physiotherapist has advised him to rest for a few weeks so he was unable to be with us. Tom's birthday is December so we decided to make this his walk. We started at the old Haig Maternity Hospital in Hawick where David was born 70 years ago. Tom gave a very interesting speech to Absent Friends which I have recorded but the file seems to be too large for my blog. We then headed out to Hawick Golf Club too meet up with Ian Landles from Hawick who was going to give us a conducted tour of the Vertish Hill. Ian is a well known Hawick & Scottish personality and is in great demand as a Public Speaker.
 Ian recited the poem by David Hill called "The Vertish" on the actual Vertish Hill at Hawick Golf Club at the very Tee where Bill MacLaren hit a hole in one to score an Albatross a good few years ago. Ian also recited a poem of his own about his own exploits on Hawick Golf Course. This was extremely funny and I must admit it is a great pleasure to listen to poetry delivered by the author of the poem at the very place he is refering to in his poem.
 Ian Landles parted company with us after about 90 minutes and we headed on round the route the riders take on Hawick Common Riding Day. The wind was very strong and in our faces so we made slow progress in very boggy ground and are photographed above and below at the Cairn where the Burgesses Roll was called in the early days of Hawick Common Riding.

The journey back to Hawick from here via the Hawick Moor Racecourse was much easier with the strong wind on our backs we were fair blown along and we finished our excellent Birthday Walk at the Drum Cafe in Hawick with a great bowl of soup followed by Cakes. 

Sunday 20 November 2011

Leo's 2nd Birthday

 Granny Gaye with Hannah & Leo
 The birthday boy opens his presents with big sister looking on
 Leo can really find his way round the I Pad
 Me and my girl
 Thats a lot of food to get through
 Hannah and Annelisa

Leo wanted to blow out his 2 candles but he needed help from Jack

Thursday 17 November 2011

Black Esk Reservoir Walk

 Another Wednesday so another walk and this time we headed north up to the Black Esk Reservoir. The weather was glorious and the sun shone for most of the 7.5 mile walk round the reservoir.
 There are plans to increase the height of the dam and therefore increase the amount of water it holds. Looking closely at this photograph you will see the tear in my trousers in a very embarrasing place caused by some barbed wire on a fence. 
 This line of Cherry trees below the dam were laden with fruit, although it is not very clear in this photograph.

Tom reckons they will never increase the hight of the dam as people will object, but there are only a few people in the whole area so unlikely anybody would object.

Thursday 10 November 2011

Hartside Walk and the Highest Cafe in England

 It was Tom's choice for the regular Wednesday Walk so he selected this walk from an excellent publication produced by the Penrith Ramblers of Walks in the Eden Valley. Tom advised us this would take us to the highest cafe in England so we set off from Gamblesby with eager anticipation and looking forward to a nice cup of tea and lunch at the cafe. On our way to the start of the walk in Gamblesby we met Tootlepedal and Dropscone on the A7 as they headed off on their daily cycle. This started an interesting discussion on the merits of cycling or walking and we decided we prefer the weekly full day walk rather than a daily cycle. The crack is much better when you are walking than cycling and in a day's walk we can solve all the world's problems. Anyway we headed up the lovely footpaths to Hartside climbing from the start at 500ft to almost 2000ft at the summit. On arrival at the summit we discovered the cafe was closed so Mr. Stothart was not the most popular person in the area and John and I made his life miserable for at least an hour.
 This is on the route down from Hartside and it is called the Ricker Gill crossing. This bridge was just completed this year and it replaces a rather old semi-derelict bridge. It is a splendid bridge and must have cost a fortune. I would love to have that amount of money to spend on the Langholm Walks.

Ricker Gill Bridge

Thursday 3 November 2011

The Hawick Hut

This weeks Wednesday walk was an exploratory walk in Hawick to look at a route for David's Birthday walk on 30th November. The walk is from the booklet "Walking in the Land of the Reivers" by I.W.Landles and A.G. Brydon. This is walk no 11 Hawick Common and Goldielands Tower and follows the route of the Hawick Cornet and his followers.
The photograph above is the famous Hawick "HUT" where on three occasions in early June in this unprepossessing wooden building a young man elected annually to lead the celebration, is entertained with songs and toasts by the men of Hawick. In the words of Ian landles "It sits here for fifty yin weeks neglected and sorry for itsel then it embarks on its yince a year week o glorious pulsatin life when it hez come ti encapsulate a' Hawick's hopes and dreams for it becomes the verra pulse o Hawick patriotism, the soul o Hawick song and story, the hub o Hawick's history and heritage" 
 The Ca'Knowe
This is a stone cairn marking the spot where the Burgess Roll was called at the annual checking of the marches of Hawick Common.

Hawick Moor (The Mair)
It's proper name is St. Leonard's Park and it is the location for the huge communal picnic on Common Riding Friday and Saturday and has been used for the Common Riding horse racing since 1856.

Monday 31 October 2011

Hannah & Leo in Langholm

 A very smart Hannah in her new coat and boots

Leo just loves feeding the ducks

Thursday 27 October 2011

Hannah the Bird Girl

 Hannah's first full day of her Langholm holiday has started by spending time looking at birds. First stop was the Kilngreen to feed the ducks. Some of the ducks in the photograph below are not the usual Mallards and they are much tamer and greedier that the others. I think Tootlepedal mentioned them on his blog a few weeks ago so maybe he will kindly identify them for me.  

 After we had fed the ducks we went to the Moorland Feeding Station on the Lower Tarras road where Dr. Cat Barlow was ringing birds with the help of 3 volunteers from Langholm Academy. In the above photograph Cat is releasing a small bird from the mist net.
 This beautiful bird is a Tree Sparrow
 Hannah inspects a Coal Tit
 This was the best bird we caught. It is a Spotted Woodpecker and was very noisy and managed to bite Cat several times.

Hannah strokes a young Chaffinch

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