Wednesday 21 January 2015

Caerlaverock Reserve and Castle with Peter

After the enjoyable walk last week with 5 of us we were down to just 2 this week. As Peter was in USA when we visited Caerlaverock Castle and the Solway Merses a few weeks ago I asked if he would like to visit the Nature Reserve and the Castle and he was delighted with my choice. There had been a slight covering of snow but the roads were clear and the conditions for walking perfect. This is Peter at the sight of the old Caerlaverock Castle which did not last for many years as it was so damp and marshy.

Caerlaverock Castle with a frozen moat

Looking out to the Solway Marshes

Inside the Castle

A green staircase of moss leading to the turret

Back at the RSPB Reserve and a field full of Canada Geese

A few seconds later and they heard us and took off. A very enjoyable day with 6 miles walked and a visit to the old and new castle and we finished up with Coffee & Scones in the cafe at the Reserve. It had been our intention to watch the Starlings at Gretna on our way home and we stopped for about 40 minutes during which a few Starlings appeared but not enough to be worth staying for a spectacular display so we headed home for a lovely evening meal waiting for us cooked by Gaye.
This will be my last Wednesday Walk for 7 weeks although I intend to do a bit of walking in California but it will probably be combined with pushing a pram around many of the lovely parks in Silicon Valley and the Bay area of San Francisco with our new Grandson Elliot. I also intend to play Lawn Bowls at a couple of Bowling Clubs in the area so will be ready for the new season when we return towards the end of March.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

A Winter Walk in Lauder

Todays walk nearly did not happen. We decided a week ago to meet up in Lauder to do this walk called the  Blackchester Fort Circuit but when we looked at the weather last night John reported over 2 inches of snow in Edinburgh and snow was forecast for today. We deferred the decision until 9.00am this morning and after a final look at the BBC weather forecast which indicated light snow showers in the morning at Lauder but clear for a few hours during the rest of the day, we decided to go for it. This proved an excellent decision as we had snow for the first 15 minutes of the walk and then it cleared to be a lovely, but very cold day. 

The Market Place in the Border town of Lauder which was 75 minutes from Langholm and 45 minutes from Edinburgh is an ideal place to meet up. 

Ken, John, Peter, and Tom. Missing today was Martin who was on stand by waiting the arrival of grandchild no 3. Also missing was David who is in Barbados and Niall who is in the Antarctic where the weather was probably warmer than at Lauder which had a biting cold wind.

The first part of the walk took us along the old track of the Lauder Light Railway which opened in 1902 and closed for passengers in 1932 and Freight in 1958. Near Lauder and next to the old railway is this memorial in memory of Hamish Wood who was a Tree Surgeon from Lauder tragically killed in 2005 and this wood is named after him.

Next to the line are many ploughed fields just waiting for the spring sowing of Wheat or Barley

After leaving the railway we headed uphill to the ancient settlement at Blackchester. Most of the settlement is covered with trees so we did not venture into it but headed on up the hill.

As we begin to gain height and the path opens out into fields. This is a particularly attractive dry stane dyke with a rounded bit next to the gate.

We passed Pilmuir Farm to be met by 4 very happy Border Collies who were very pleased to see us and these cattle having their lunch and not very happy at being disturbed by 5 walkers.

In places the roads were quite icy and myself, Peter and Tom all had very undignified falls but thankfully nobody suffered any injury.

Tom is not the only person who can wear a silly hat but at least it keeps me warm. After just over 3 hours and 8 miles we were back in Lauder for a lovely soup and coffee in the Flat Cat Gallery which was very quickly served in pleasant surroundings. We were back in Langholm by 3.30pm after an excellent walk. This will be the last time we are all together for quite a while as Tom is off to Barbados, Ken is off to Cuba, and I am off to California so it will be end March before we all meet up again.

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year

It has been such a wet day for the first day of 2015 that I was unable to take any photographs of our New Years Day Whisky Run walk. Me, Tom, Peter, Niall, David and Elspeth set of from no 63 at 9.00am led by the intrepid Bowman to walk round Potholm and be back in the Market Place for 11.00am. It was raining lightly as we left and got gradually worse as the walk progressed but we made it back in time and arrived at the Market Place with 5 minutes to spare.
Last night we had an excellent dinner at Niall and Elspeths in great company with them plus Peter and Elizabeth and Tom.
Within the next few weeks most of us will be in warmer countries for winter breaks.
The following photos reflect Christmas and New Year festivities.
Gaye and Elizabeth looking very smart with Tom in the background.
Tom wearing his Secret Santa hat.
Eleanor and Thomas in Salt Lake City enjoying the snow.
Our new Grandson Elliot.
Eleanor making use of the ski conveyer belt on the lower slopes of the ski resort in Northern Utah near her American Grandparents home.
Hannah gets her face painted at Seven Stories.
Making a Gingerbread House
Enjoying The Snowman at the Sage in Gateshead with Northern Sinfonia.
Granny Gaye with Hannah and Leo in Paddy Freeman Park.
And finally me enjoying one of Hannah's Christmas presents.

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