Wednesday 27 May 2015

Fiona's Walk to Lanercost

Fiona has been in Langholm for mid term holiday this week so was invited to join the Last of the Summer Wine Walkers and also choose the walk. She selected a walk from Brampton to Lanercost with the return to Newtown via the Roman Wall. This was a distance of 8 miles and an excellent choice with the first section taking us along the Brampton Ridge. None of us knew of its existence and it provides superb views over the River Birthing valley. 
The Brampton Ridge 
Plenty of Bluebells.
This section of the walk followed the Quarry Beck and it also had loads of Bluebells, but maybe just a week past their best. 
The Quarry Beck which was very muddy in places but a lovely walk beside the Beck.
This is the old bridge over the River Irthing at Lanercost and is now only used for pedestrians.
The new bridge is not nearly as nice as the old one. We reached Lanercost for coffee and cake in the Priory tearoom. While we were in it rained heavily for about 30 minutes but soon stopped after we set out along the Roman Wall. The heavy rain started just after we reached Newtown so our timing had been just perfect and the BBC weather forecast spot on. 

Tuesday 26 May 2015

A Visit to Winterhope

Hannah & Leo love to visit Winterhope to see all Wattie & Jean's hens and ducks. This is a new addition to their family a bantam and here she is on the point of laying an egg for Hannah's breakfast tomorrow morning.  
Hannah is reunited with her friend Quackers a Calling Duck who she met for the first time last July. 
The pond was full of Newts and Hannah soon was handling them without any bother. 
Leo soon discovered the swing.
And he was soon giving Wattie a hand in the garden with the wheelbarrow.
We went for a walk and Hannah was given a great welcome by one of the Collie's from the farm 
On the way home we went to the Kilngreen to feed the ducks and Mr. Grumpy the Heron who thinks it is a duck.

Wednesday 20 May 2015

My Birthday Walk to Norham Bridge and Milne Garden

Todays walk was my Birthday walk so we headed for the Norham Bridge near Berwick on Tweed where it separates Scotland and England. The Edinburgh contingent arrived just before the Langholm contingent and we set off at 10.30am in glorious sunshine. This bridge was built in 1895 and looking upstream from here you will see 3 Islands on the River Tweed. We have walked many miles on the Tweed over the years but this stretch of about 3 miles completed today upriver is one of the nicest we have been on. 
Norham Bridge with one of the Islands on the right.
Much of the walk beside the river bordered an estate and this wall on the right stretched for many miles. Even when we left the river and walked back on quiet country roads the estate had excellent walls marking its boundary. Martin as usual had a map to keep us on the right track but todays walk was very easy to follow and there was not a single argument with Tom about which way to go.  
When we left the river and walked along the country roads most of the fields contained Oil Seed Rape and the scent from it was almost overpowering. 
We came upon this Milestone Inspector looking very well fed.
The Estate is called Mile Graden estate and each entrance to it has superb gates. This is the West Lodge with gates bigger than the house and no road leading to the main house 
This is the North Lodge gate
And this is the Lion Lodge gate
And finally the largest and most spectacular Lion Gate
Near the end of the walk we pass the Jubilee Fountain which was erected by Lady Marjoribanks of Ladykirk to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria. Sadly no water now comes out of the fountain.
After the walk we headed over the bridge into England and the village of Norham. This is a lovely village well worth a visit and the Masons Arms provided us with a lovely meal.
After the meal Tom expressed a wish to visit Norham Castle so we spent half an hour in this lovely old ruin which is over 900 years old and was built for the Bishop of Durham to protect the property of the bishopric in North Northumberland from incursions by the Scots. Nothing has changed there then. It was a superb day and the weather is hopefully now a bit more like summer so lets hope it continues for a few weeks. 

Thursday 14 May 2015

Kingholm Quay and a visit to Tom in DGRI

This weeks Wednesday walk was the Dumfries Parks and Riverside walk so we could visit Tom Stothart who was in the DGRI for what he called a Major-Minor operation. We parked our car at the hospital and then Niall, John and myself set off towards Kingholm Quay via the grounds of the old Crichton Hospital. This is the Crichton Memorial Church which was completed in 1897 as a memorial to the founder of the Crichton Royal Hospital Elizabeth Crichton. The grounds of the Hospital are superb and contain Cricket and Football Pitches plus a Bowling Green and wonderful gardens and even a Golf Course.  
Bluebells blooming in a flower bed in the grounds of the Crichton. 
On our arrival at Kingholm Quay we were delighted to see this sailing ship called the La Malouine which arrived a couple of weeks ago and will now be based on the Nith and the owner hopes to use it to give young people sailing experience on the Solway. The only problem with it being based on the Nith is that it needs a very high tide to get along the Nith and into the Solway so it may cause future problems.  
We walked further along the banks of the Nith and returned by a lane and road for lunch in the Swan Inn at Kingholm Quay. It is a very busy pub and provided us with an excellent lunch.
From Kingholm Quay we headed up the Nith towards St Michaels and then back into the DGRI to visit Tom but our route took us through Castledykes Park and an old sunken garden that used to be an old quarry where the sandstone for the Dumfries Mid Steeple was quarried.  
This is the sunken garden that was once a quarry and in a few weeks time will be ablaze with Azaleas according to a local guy we met who said it was one of the nicest parks he had ever been in and he spends many hours visiting it during the summer.
From the park we had to take a shortcut through a field to the Hospital
Tom was safely back in ward 6 after his major-minor operation and in very good spirits and very hungry.  He was delighted to see us and looking forward to getting home on Thursday and back into his very busy life. 

Wednesday 6 May 2015

Peter's 70th Birthday Walk

Due to the bad weather and other unforeseen circumstances our planned Birthday Walk to Kelso has been postponed until later in the year. We did however go a short walk in the afternoon even although it was still raining fairly heavily. We headed up the road to Warbla and then through the wood to the Kernigal. It was very muddy underfoot.
Most of the trees have been felled in this area now and it is about to be replanted soon.
Peter examines the trees to be planted. The ground is so uneven that it will be a tough job planting these trees.
On our return home Gaye had a special birthday cake ready and waiting for Peter to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Monday 4 May 2015

A Visit to Portpatrick

We left Langholm last Thursday for a couple of nights in Portpatrick as we love this part of the world and it gives us a chance each year to visit Wigtown where Gaye was brought up until she was about 12 years old. This is the Town Hall and Bowling Green in the Market Square in Wigtown and it must be one of the most impressive town centres in Scotland. The town is now Scotland's Book Town and is becoming more prosperous but it still needs more jobs to be created and in parts of the town a good facelift. As we drove further west the weather got better and better until by the time we arrived in Portpatrick it was a glorious evening.
The harbour in Wigtown and I have never seen a boat in it so don't know if it is used much these days.
Just next to the harbour at the mouth of the Bladnoch river there is a nature reserve with a superb bird hide.
This is the Bird Hide built by the local community in Wigtown 
While we were at the harbour we met this couple from Haltwhistle who often visit Newcastleton as they have relatives live there. We spent a very pleasant hour chatting to them and left as if we had known them for years. They are called Fiona and Robert Burn.
On arrival at the Rickwood Hotel we went down into Portpatrick for a meal and then came back to spend a very pleasant 30 minutes in the Hot Tub
On Friday we headed to the north of the Rhins and had a lovely walk along the shore of Loch Ryan at Kirkcolm. We then had lunch in the Corsewall Lighthouse Hotel at the northern tip of the Rhins of Galloway. From the Lighthouse you had a superb view of the ferries leaving and coming into Loch Ryan. The lunch was excellent and the surroundings just perfect. 
The Lighthouse Hotel at Corsewall. We can recommend it to anybody who wishes an unusual venue for a wedding or just to stay for a night. 
After lunch we headed down to the southern end of the Rhins and to Drummore where we spotted this Heron fishing at low tide. It caught a couple of fish while we sat watching it but I just was not able to take a photograph at the exact time it caught them.
The beach at Port Logan
On Saturday I went on a long pre breakfast walk to Dunskey Castle. It was a dry morning but a bitterly cold wind and by the time I got back to the hotel for breakfast I was ready for my excellent porridge and the fry up which we only have these days when we are on holiday.
Portpatrick from the southern end of the town.

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