Wednesday 23 September 2015

A Quick Canonbie Walk Before the Rugby

With Scotland due to play Japan in the World Cup at 2.30pm this afternoon todays walk had to be short local one so Tom and I headed off to Canonbie to do the new walk set up for the Canonbie Day of the Region recently. It is a 5 mile walk covering parts of the Langholm Walks Canonbie Walk. The forecast was for rain at lunch time as well so we planned to be home by 1.00pm and we were. The first part of the walk along by the Dead Nook pool on the Esk shows that there has been a massive rock fall there. The 2 houses at the top may eventually be at some risk. 
There is a lot of forestry work going on along the road to Rowanburnfoot and it has certainly opened up the countryside.
On-going forestry work

By cutting dow the many trees the Viaduct over the River Liddel is shown from a new viewpoint
As we approached Rowanburn along the old railway line I pointed out this field to Tom where in 1962 when the field was not as overgrown as now there was a Cricket Match between Langholm and Rowanburn played. The Langholm team comprising of myself and John Irving plus friends from our class at the school travelled in the train to Canonbie Station and returned by train a few hours later after a very rewarding victory. That was the one and only time cricket was played in Rowanburn.
These Starlings were thinking about going over to Gretna for their regular meeting but maybe it is still too early for them. 
Canonbie Kirk and the end of our very pleasant walk just as the rain started 

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Walking the Formartine and Buchan Way

Tom and I at the start of day 3 of our Railway Walk
Gaye and I were due to visit her friend Collett in Newmachar near Aberdeen so Tom and I decided we would combine this visit with a 3 day walk along this old disused railway line. This enabled Gaye and Collett to do their own thing mainly shopping and visiting some art studios during the North East's equivalent to Spring Fling. We arrived in Newmachar on Monday afternoon at 3.00pm and were soon taken by the girls to the start of our walk at Dyce Railway Station which is near Aberdeen Airport. The walk starts here and it was a 6 mile walk back to the house in Newmachar. It looked very dull but we were fortunate that the rain stayed away. The photo above is the start of the walk next to the industrial sites of Aberdeen airport. 
The first mile of the walk took us parallel to the main road which was jam packed with peak time traffic. We actually covered the first mile quicker that Collett and Gaye in the car. 
Aberdeen Airport is the busiest heliport in Europe and this is one of them heading out to the North Sea. Every few minutes a helicopter would pass overhead.
The river Don
The first stage of our route
Work going on for the new Aberdeen ring route which should open in 2017 and make life much easier for everybody.
As we headed out into the country we passed the first of many fields still waiting for the combine harvester. The harvest seems to be very late this year and I would say that only about a quarter of the fields have been harvested. 
One of the many railway cuttings
These guys came over to see if we had any food 
Newmachar Station and the end of the fist stage of our walk. We covered the 6 miles in 2 hours and arrived back just in time for dinner. 
Day 2 of our walk and we are heading for Ellon through yet another railway cutting. The weather is much brighter today but rain is forecast for about the time we are due to finish.
Another fine bridge
This is Udny Station and it is looked after by an old guy who lives next to it. We met him and he has one of the finest Doric accents I have ever heard. We had a hard job understanding him but it was lovely to hear such an amazing language.  
One of his floral displays 
We saw lots of Buzzards on our walk and this one posed for a photograph.
After many unharvested fields it was near Ellon before we saw any farm machinery but what this one was doing will remain a mystery 
This is the railway viaduct which crosses the river Ythan. By this time the light was not good and rain was not far away but our walk was nearly finished for the day
Day 3 of our Railway Walk and this time we needed 2 cars to get us to our starting point at Auchnagatt for an 8 mile walk back to Ellon.
The end of day 2 after 9 miles and the 2 bridges crossing the Ythan river taken from the car park

We had not gone far before we saw these 3 Deer in the trees next to the railway. The light was not good but it was great to see them so close. 
 Another field waiting for the Barley to be in the right condition for harvesting. We saw loads of fields like this but no combines working. 
 The line has a bridge at least every mile and the ones that carry roads over them are like this one. 
But the ones used for farm lanes are like this one. Some engineering firm 150 years ago must have had a good order to make these as there are dozens of them on this line. 
After our walk finished we headed back to Newmachar via the coast road and called in to the Trump Golf Course just north of Aberdeen. I have to say I am not a great lover of Donald Trump and god help USA if he ever becomes President but he has done a lovely job with this golf course. From what I read several years ago he was spoiling the sand dunes but to me he has enhanced the area and the course is magnificent. This is Macleod Lodge his 5 star hotel in the grounds of the golf course. 
 One of the holes on the course.
The Golf Clubhouse 
This is the clock tower at the entrance to Trump Golf Course 
Our way home took us on some of the quiet country lanes and at last we saw a Combine Harvester working. I stopped to speak to the farmer and his son and they told me the harvest is 3 weeks late and they will be pushed to get it all in unless the weather brightens up. they need sunshine and wind to get the best results.
His very friendly Border Collie and this is on the blog as Fiona was due to doggy walk a Border Collie in Newcastle today but unfortunately she was stood up at the last minute. The dogs owner was ill and could not bring the Collie round to her. That is the end of our Formartine and Buchan Railway walk and we have completed about 24 miles in the 3 days we have been in Newmachar. It has been a superb walk and we will need to come back sometime to walk the remaining 30 miles. 

Tuesday 8 September 2015

A Trip to Edinburgh on new Borders Railway

When we planned this outing a few weeks ago we did not anticipate the weather would be so beautiful but it certainly made it a day to remember. This is the train arriving at Tweedbank with the Edinburgh contingent of the Last of the Summer Wine Walkers on it. They stayed on the train and the Langholm contingent joined them for the journey to Edinburgh.
All together on the train.
The Borders countryside from the train.
The Pentland Hills in the distance as we neared Edinburgh. 
This is the Sun Inn near Dalkeith and I have passed by the front door many times on the A7 but never thought I would be on the old viaduct.
Outside Waverley Station 
A superb lunch at Howie's in Waterloo Place
John, Ken, and I went on the new Edinburgh Trams while the rest of the party went to a Bernat Klein exhibition and Gaye and Sandria went shopping. 
The line changes its appearance at the Gyle where we got off for the return journey.
Borthwick Castle on the return journey
Tom and Elizabeth 
Peter & Gaye 
Crossing the River Tweed near Galashiels. It had been the perfect day and the new railway is a great asset to the Borders. Hopefully sometime in the future it may be extended to Carlisle and we should campaign for it to come through Langholm. That may be a dream too far. 

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