Thursday 30 October 2014

Northumberland Coastal Walk

This will be the second time this year we have walked the Northumberland Coast from Craster to Low Newton. We walked it in February but because John was ill then and unable to do it we decided as it was such a good walk to do it again for his benefit. Only 4 of us present as the rest are overseas in warmer climates. Perhaps they won't be that much warmer than us as we could not have got a better day for the walk and we all had to reduce the layers of our clothing during the afternoon.
Dunstanbury Castle

This formation is called The Greymare Rock and was formed by volcanic pressure that folded the limestone.

Embleton Bay and a wonderful 3 mile walk along the beach. It was the English school holidays and therefore quite busy with walkers and even children building sand castles. 

Mid morning and time for a pint or a cup of coffee outside The Ship Inn at Low Newton

Two old pharmacists and as Ken will tell you old pharmacists don't die they just take A POWDER.

Low tide at Craster Harbour
We finished our walk with a lovely fish lunch at The Jolly Fisherman Inn. The food was excellent although a wee bit overpriced.

Wednesday 22 October 2014

The Bridges of Langholm

We had planned to walk in either the Carlisle area or near Dumfries today depending on which had the better weather, but on looking at the weather forecast this morning which indicated rain coming in at all 3 places from 12 noon we decided to stay in Langholm and complete a walk from the 2012 Walking Festival namely the Langholm Bridges Walk. As 3 rivers run through Langholm we have plenty of bridges and this 7.5 mile walk crossed 13 bridges, although this includes the Suspension Bridge twice. There must be a way of bagging all these bridges and only crossing them once but I have still to find a way to do this. We were very fortunate as the rain only started just as we finished the walk at 1.00pm. The first bridge is the Duchess Bridge over the river Esk which is the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Bridge No 2 the Rugby Club Bridge over the Ewes built by The Royal Engineers Regiment a few years ago.

Bridge No 3 the High Mill Bridge at the north end of the town and crossing the river Ewes.

Bridge No 4 the Sawmill Bridge over the river Ewes

The Langholm Bridge taken from where the Ewes and the Esk meet and this was Bridge No 6 on our route.

Bridge No 5 the Jubilee Bridge over the Esk next to the new Langholm Primary School

Bridge No 7 the Suspension Bridge over the Esk, formerly called The Boatford Bridge. When the first one was built everybody crowded onto it to get their photograph taken and it collapsed into the river but luckily nobody was drowned. 

Bridge No 8 The Kirk Bridge over the river Wauchope

Bridge No 9 the Park Bridge over the Wauchope which is fairly new having replaced the old one a few years ago.

This is where Tom and I have arguments as this bridge over the Becks Burn on the Lockerbie Road should maybe not be recognised as one of the official Langholm Bridges as it only crosses a burn. It is however a bridge and the burn is quite big so in my opinion it is a Langholm Bridge and no 10 on our list.

Bridge No 11 the Auld Stane Brig over the Wauchope and probably the oldest bridge in the town. 

And finally Bridge No 12 the Skippers Bridge over the Esk at the south end of the town. This was a superb walk taking us 3 hours with plenty to see on the way and a good few stops for a blether with the many people we met on the way.

Wednesday 15 October 2014

Carsethorn and John Paul Jones

Todays Wednesday walk took us to the Solway Coast and the village of Carsethorn near Kirkbean. Tom selected the walk from a book containing 50 walks in the South West of Scotland and he picked it because it was an easy 6 mile walk with little or no hills and as he has been ill for the last week it would be an easy way to get back into our weekly walks. He was wrong in thinking it was easy as the first part of the walk along the beach was far from easy with very soft sand and mud in places and also slippery rocks to scramble over. It was also blowing a strong wind off the sea and although the temperature was showing 12C in the car it was much colder next to the sea. Only the 3 of us today as Niall is back in Australia and Peter is in the USA visiting his daughter and her family for a few weeks.

The tide was out and it looked very easy walking but soon became quite difficult.

Much work is going on near Carsethorn to protect the sea defences and this digger is preparing an embankment soon to be covered in granite rocks.

This is what the end result will be like as it is the house and garden being protected

The rocks poking up through the sand on the beach were formed 340 million years ago, known as the carboniferous period, when the climate was warm and wet. Layers of different sediments are now sandstones, limestones and mudstones. Although the layers have been folded, fractured and eroded they still give us clues as to how they were formed. Some rocks have ripple patterns which are evidence of the sediment being deposited on the sea floor. 

This is the Devil Stone. A traditional story tells us that the devil bit a bit of granite from Criffel and spat it out on the beach. Current theories identify it as an erratic, a lump of granite carried from the hill by a glacier and dumped when it melted during the ice age.

Mud glorious Mud. Much of the beach was covered in this mud and at one point we hit quicksand or to be more honest quickmud and very nearly sunk over our boot tops but luckily managed to scramble clear. 

This imposing rock formation is called the Thirl Stane Arch

An indication of its size

Our return journey took us inland and past the house where John Paul Jones was born. He was the founder of the United States Navy and this is now an impressive visitor centre, although closed at the end of September until next spring.

In many of the fields near the shore there were huge flocks of Geese feeding on the fields of corn stubble.

The end of the 6.5 mile walk and the lovely Steamboat Inn where we enjoyed a nice Bar Lunch and a drink.

Thursday 9 October 2014

A Visit to Hawick's Park

I had planned to go to Abbey St Bathens for a Birthday Walk yesterday but Tom was unable to go as he was a bit under the weather so we decided to cancel Sandrias Birthday Walk until November.
A few weeks ago Ian Landles had been telling the Langholm Public at an event in the Buccleuch Centre about the attractions in Victoria Park, Hawick, so Gaye and I decided to give it a visit and also visit Sainsburys for our shopping. The weather was beautiful and the park was everything Ian Landles had said about it so we had a lovely afternoon. We enjoyed afternoon tea in the wee cafe which unfortunately will close soon and be knocked down to eventually make way for a new cafe.
It even has a lovely waterfall.
The Statue to Motor Cyclist Steve Hislop who was so tragically killed in a helicopter accident in 2003.
Gaye with the memorial to Hawick's most famous man Bill McLaren the BBC Rugby Commentator.

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