Tuesday 18 December 2012

Tom's Birthday Present

Tom has decided to splash out for his 70th Birthday and he has purchased a Helicopter so him and Bowman the dog can get to the tops of the hills a bit quicker. It actually just happened to be on the golf course as they walked past so dont know who it belongs to or what it was doing on the golf course.

Tom's 70th Birthday Dinner

Tom's 70th birthday celebrations have lasted 6 months as we all clubbed together in July to buy him a Birthday Suit made up from a Reid & Taylor suit length he has had for many years. He takes over as president of Langholm Rotary Club next July so this suit will come in very useful. The climax of his Birthday celebrations was last nights dinner in the Douglas with "The Last of the Summer Wine" walkers.

The Birthday Boy

Looking very serious.

Gaye sitting next to the Birthday boy.

David & Gavin in a serious conversation.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Tom's Birthday Walk and a Numeric Palindrome

This was Tom's Birthday Walk and of course it was held on the 12th day of the 12th month 2012. The weather was cold and dull and the drive to Glenkiln Reservoir was on a very difficult road surface for the last few miles. I managed to slide the car round a bend when I just touched the brakes and the car back end spun round but luckily no damage to the car. This is the Statue of John the Baptist by August Rodin at the edge of the Glenkiln Reservoir. It was a bit cold to be standing with no clothes on but John did not seem to mind.

The nicest of all the statues agreed by all of us was the Visitation of the Virgin Mary by Sir Jacob Ebstein and it was at exactly 12.12pm on the 12th of December 2012 that we took this photograph.

This is the Statue of the King & Queen by Henry Moore overlooking the Glenkiln Reservoir. Tom seems to be getting very friendly with the Queen.

Wednesday 5 December 2012

River Annan & Solway Coast Walk

Today's weekly walk we decided to head for the Solway coast to do the river Annan and the footpath to Newbie and then along part of the Solway coast. It was a glorious day for walking but very cold. This is the Annan to Newbie footpath with the railway bridge over the river Annan in the background.

Annan Harbour and a fishing boat that you would wonder how it got there, but the tide when it comes in makes the river Annan navigable for a few hours.

Cochran Boiler Works on the River Annan. In the old days the boilers were shipped on special barges out into the Solway. I shipped Cochran Boilers spares round the world for the 24 years I worked in the Airfreight Industry and it was always a pleasure to visit my contact there Mario Motroni and I have spent many hours in the Spares Department and the Office. They are still good customers of my old company EMS Cargo Ltd. When I first went there in 1984 they had 750 employees and now there will be less than 200.

Back O' the Hill, Annan. Such an imaginative name.

The main Road Bridge over the Annan taken from the footbridge near the Harbour.

Annan Harbour which is hardly ever used these days and is definately in need of some dredging work.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Border Stane & Long Cairn

This weeks Wednesday Walk and we were back at 7 Stanes in Newcasleton with John able to join us after his holiday in Australia. This photograph is taken on the English side of the Border at the Border Stane marking the boundary. The reason for the long faces is of course because we were in England.

But of course we were soon back in Scotland and able to smile.

The walk took us to this ancient Long Cairn which to look at is just a collection of stones as the photograph below shows.

Tom was very excited about the Long Cairn but John and I thought it was just a collection of stones and nothing much to write home about.

These forestry tracks are excellent for walking and well waymarked. Our walk today was just short of 7 miles but an excellent walk and mostly dry underfoot.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Leo's Birthday Treat to National Railway Museum

What a fabulous day spent with Leo and his big sister Hannah at the National Railway Museum in York. This was his 3rd Birthday treat as he loves Trains so we took the train from Newcastle to York and then spent 5 hours in the NRM. Leo loved every minute of the day and was so excited about every engine and railway carriage. This photograph is of him in front of the Mallard which is the fastest of all the steam engines.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Ennerdale Water & Arctic Charr

Todays Wednesday walk was to Ennerdale water in the northern part of the Lake District about 15 miles from Cockermouth. The weather forecast was good and it looked as if it would be dry all day. It was only Tom and I today as Peter is unwell and David is still recovering from his knee operation. John is in Australia so just the two of us. After a near miss on a roundabout in Cockermouth Tom made it to the Lake. He really does not like roundabouts. The lake from where we parked is about 7 miles round it with the south side being very difficult terrain. That 3 miles on the southern side of the lake was one of the most difficult walks we have ever done. The path was mostly stone and instead of it being a path it was like a stream with loads of water running off the mountains.

The bridge over the River Liza at the entrance to the Lake

We were very fortunate to meet up with a group of people from The Wild Ennerdale Partnership who were netting Arctic Charr in the River Liza at the entrance to the lake. These fish are very rare and they live in the lake but spawn every November in the river. Twenty years ago there were 11,000 in the Lake but this has dropped dramatically for various reasons. Work has been done by the Partnership over the last few years to improve this.A pipe bridge, which was a barrier to migrating fish and also crucially prevented gravel from flowing further downstream to the spawning sites close to Ennerdale Water, was removed.
The acidity of the water was also improved by replacing conifers in the surrounding area with native broadleaves, Juniper and heathland.
In addition, Environment Agency officers have been taking eggs from local fish, and returning the hatched fry to the River Liza.
Above you can see the eggs being taken from a female Arctic Charr and these together with the Milt from the Male fish will be taken over to Keilder where they will be hatched and then eventually returned to Ennerdale lake

Eggs from the Arctic Charr

The rough path on the southern side of the Lake

Tom attempting to cross one of the many streams coming down the mountainsides. He did not fall in but it was a very close thing.

The final mile of the walk involved a scramble over this rocky peninsular and we very nearly came to a disaster as we had just met an ex Green Howard Soldier who was walking Coast to Coast in 7 days and was heading for Shap today in aid of Help for Heros and he gave us some instructions about this part of the walk which we decided to ignore as they would have got us into difficulty. We made it eventually but it was very difficult with a 30ft drop into the lake being the price to pay if we had failed.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Naked Lady at Northumberlandia

This is an exciting new landscape at the site of an Opencast Coal Mine at Cramlington. There is still a lot to be done but by next summer it will be a superb visitor attraction.
The waste bing has been landscaped to form a naked lady. In this photo you can see the outline of her face in the background.

Visit to 7 Stories

This is a superb Children's book and storytelling centre in Newcastle. Gaye and I took Hannah there yesterday and she had a lovely time. There was a special opening of a Viking Display and Hannah was selected to dress as a Viking and had her photo taken for the local newspaper.

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Cally Estate Walk

For our weekly Wednesday walk today we decided to head west as the weather forecast gave an excellent forecast for Galloway. We selected an 8 mile walk through the Cally Estate at Gatehouse of Fleet and parked in the grounds of the Cally Pallace Hotel. Within the first half mile we saw 2 Red Squirrels and then on our way back through the Hotel grounds we saw a third. The weather was just beautiful and the sun shone for the whole walk. The photograph above is outside the entrance to the Cally Pallace Hotel.

Lunch was a picnic on the beach at Sandgreen.

There is a Red Squirrel in the tree in the middle of the picture. Unfortunately I had forgotten my good camera so these photos are on my I phone so not as good as I would have liked.

In the small hamlet of Girthon is the remains of a very old Church so Tom insisted we go for a look.
Sandgreen Beach next to a lovely caravan site.

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Whinfell Forest Walk

Another Wednesday walk and a perfect day for walking in the Eden Valley. We started at the village of Cliburn which is about 6 miles east of Penrith. The 8 mile walk would take us round the edges of Whinfell Forest and the Oasis Holliday Village. After the first couple of miles in open countryside the stile above will take us into the forest. The main path round the perimeter of the Holiday Village was very soft in places and had been spoilt by people taking horses onto it.

This is Commonholme Bridge over the River Leith which will eventually join the River Eden.

Back in Cliburn we took the opportunity to visit this 12th century church.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Back With the Lads

It hardly seems like 6 weeks ago since I was last on our Wednesday walk but it was great to be back walking with John and Tom again. We headed for Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve as there was a 5 mile walk there and as the weather forecast was not good we thought it would be ideal even if it was wet. We were actually very lucky and the only rain during the walk was when we were in a bird hide having our lunch break. The rain did come on very heavy just as we left the Reserve so we judged the distance perfectly.

Criffel in the back ground.

This is the site of the first Caerlaverock Castle which was abandoned about 1277 in favour of a new site 200 yards further north. The reason it was abandoned was because the site was so wet the buildings started to collapse. It would appear the weather was as bad then as it is now so nothing really changes.

The new Caerlaverock Castle

Barnacle Geese and a Whooper Swan in one of the fields.

One of the many flocks of Geese we saw flying into the reserve.

Sunday 30 September 2012

Final Day in Utah

We had been invited to Heber for a barbecue by Leslie's friend Melissa so the first plan was to go for 4.30pm to Soldiers Hollow for a Battle Enactment from the Civil War but unfortunately by the time we had arrived it was all over. They explained they had just decided to start early which was a bit stupid.
We then had an excellent time at Melissa's and were back home for 9.30pm with the kids fast asleep in the car and just to transfer to bed.

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