Wednesday 24 September 2014

Howtown to Pooley Bridge - A Farewell Special

As Niall is returning to Australia tomorrow we thought we would have a special walk in the Lake District. We were restricted for time so set of at 8.30am to catch the Ullswater Ferry from Pooley Bridge to Howtown departing at 9.45am.
We were in plenty of time and even managed a coffee at the Ferry before we boarded.
The walk was a 6 miler back to Pooley Bridge and provided wonderful views of Ullswater.
Its a few years since we last did this walk but the difference is spectacular with the ground very dry and the streams we cross are very low so no muddy boots at the end of the walk. When we last took the ferry to Howtown we had to take our boots off to wade from the pier to the land due to flooding.
Our Ferry. The first one of the day and full of walkers.

Tom & Niall

One of the many sheep we encountered on our walk.


The Ferry and the only boat on the Lake today

This family ahead of us were lost and asked us for directions. They had an American accent and I asked them where they came from and discovered they were from California and lived just a few miles from where Fraser lives near San Jose. Its a small world.

Ullswater near Pooley Bridge

The Bridge at Pooley Bridge next to the car park. The cost of parking your car in England is much more than in Scotland. It cost £5 to park for just 4 hours. A real rip off.

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Black Esk Reservoir Walk

The last time we walked round the Black Esk Reservoir was in November 2011 and it was only Tom and myself so as Niall and Peter had not been round before we decided this would make a fairly easy walk especially as Peter and myself have knee problems. The walk was about 7.5 miles and the weather dry and mild so it was a good chance to have a final discussion prior to tomorrows big referendum on Scottish Independence. 

Since we were last round the Reservoir they have increased its capacity and all it will need now is a wet winter and there will be much more water in it. 

The actual dam

I am not sure by how much they have increased the capacity but at the top end of the reservoir they have built a new road as the old one will be eventually under water. The new one is about 5 ft higher than the old one. 

This is all new and allows for an increase in height of the water

After the walk we headed to Samye Ling for a Coffee and Cake where we met this very pleasant young man from Gaza or Palestine as he hopes it will eventually be called. He is a PHD graduate now on a 6 months break and is heading up to Edinburgh on his cycle and hopes to reach the Highlands. We had a very interesting discussion about his homeland and the problems faced by the people of Gaza. We wished him well on his journey through Scotland.

This tree was next to the cafe at Samye Ling and covered in Fungai.

Thursday 11 September 2014

Local Gardens

Every morning I walk a mile to collect my paper and start the day off before breakfast. I have planned my route so I can pass by three of the nicest gardens in the town. During the last couple of weeks they have looked even more magnificent especially in the early morning light.
This garden on the corner of Eskdaill Street and Walter Street is just perfect and full of colour.

Wauchope Cottage and in my opinion the nicest garden in Langholm with lots of little nooks and crannies where you can sit in the lovely sunshine we are experiencing at the moment.

Another one in Walter Street and a real credit to the "young" lady who owns it. 

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Drumburgh and the Roman Frontier

Today's walk again took us to the shores of the Solway on the English side and the village of Drumburgh where we first of all followed the coast road and then followed the line of an old railway which ran between Drumburgh and Silloth. This area of West Cumbria has many old lanes and at times it looked as if we were walking through a tunnel.
We has a guest walker with us today. Sadly Ken Weatherstone had to come to Langholm due to the death of his Mum Jean so took the opportunity to join us for a relaxing walk in countryside much different from where he lives in Argyll. The seat the lads are on outside the Highland Laddie Pub in Glasson is 50 years old. 

This is the first of the 3 lanes we walked along and the best of them with a broad track and hedges you can just see through or over. 

Gradually they got narrower, higher, and thicker and rougher ground to walk on. 

Until they became very difficult but at the same time very interesting. I have never seen such large Brambles and in huge quantities mainly because so few people walk along these very old lanes. 

After these lanes we came out onto Drumburgh Moss national Nature Reserve which contains rare plants thriving in the special conditions this habitat provides. Insect eating plants such as the Sundew and Butterwort can be found here lying in wait for unsuspecting flies and bugs.

After a very welcome pint in the Highland Laddie we headed the short lane down to Raven Bank on the Solway to find it was almost high tide. We think this was an old look out post from the 2nd World War which may come in handy again if the YES voters win the referendum next week and Scotland becomes an Independent country. 

Ken being the youngest and fittest headed down the bank to the Solway and climbed this old structure. We have no idea what it was or what it was used for so if anyone has an idea please let us know. 

Sunday 7 September 2014

In Memory of Jean Weatherstone who Died Today

Our good friend Jean passed away today at the age of 85. We were neighbours when our family lived at Masonic Buildings way back in the early 60s and the Weatherstone's lived at Airswood in what is now Thomas Telford Road. When my Mum died in 1989 she more or less took over from her and I looked upon her as my second Mum. This photograph was taken in April 2005 when she joined us for Fraser's wedding in Salt Lake City in Utah. She was a clever and talented lady and will be much missed by everybody.

In Central Park, New York with Tom, Jean, and Wattie, and Gaye.

With all our friends who travelled to Salt Lake City in 2005. This is Red Butte Gardens on the day before Fraser & Leslie's wedding.

With Gaye in Arran where she had always wanted to go to so she joined us for a lovely holiday in a cottage there in September 2006..

Jean with Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham when Niall sponsored their concert as a birthday present for her in the Buccleuch Centre in 2011

Wednesday 3 September 2014

John's Birthday Walk at Ruberslaw and Fatlips Castle

Last week we met at our holiday Log Cabin and this week we met at John & Sandria's holiday cottage near Denholm. The occasion was John's Birthday walk which took us on a circular route from Denholm to the top of Ruberslaw and then back to Denholm. On return to Denholm we drove a couple of miles to the car park at Fatlips Castle and then walked the half mile uphill to the Castle. We covered in the day almost 8 miles and climbed in total about 2000ft.
The last of the Summer Wine Walkers. A motley crew.

Our destination Ruberslaw in the distance at almost 1400 ft. 

The last stage and the steepest part of the walk. Notice that I got to the top first so I could take the photo.

At the top and the dullest weather but still quite warm

In this area a preacher called Peden used to hold religious meetings. The same person who Pedens View is named after on the outskirts of Langholm. He got about a bit Mr. Peden and I bet his sermons were not very long after climbing to the top of Ruberslaw.

You cannot go far in the Borders without seeing the Eildons although today it was a bit hazy.

On our way back to Denholm past this lovely Beech hedge.

From Denholm we took the cars to Fatlips Castle which not really a Castle but a Border Keep similar to Johnny Armstrongs Tower at Hollows. It is a half mile from the car park but a climb of about 750 ft. It is called Fatlips Castle because there was a tradition that the gentlemen were allowed to kiss the ladies on entering the castle. Sounds like a very good idea.

And once again the Eildons in the distance

The view from Fatlips Castle looking up the Teviot valley

We ended up back in Denholm and had tea as guests of the Borders Walking Festival which is based there this year for a lovely afternoon tea provided by the local W.I. Several years ago Mike Tinker and I had a meeting with the organisers of the many Walking Festivals in the South of Scotland and the North of England to explain how we at the Langholm Walking Festival provided our superb teas after each walk. I am glad to see they copied our idea.

This is Tom taking a photograph of us all at Fatlips Castle. He struggled to get back on his feet after this.

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