Wednesday 31 October 2018

A Walk to The Monument for the Launch of Wild Eskdale

Today was the Launch of The Wild Eskdale Project at The Monument at 10.30am so our walk took us up to the Monument for the launch of this exciting project. It was only Tom, David, myself and Bowman & Ruger, David's two dogs. The weather was cold and windy but thankfully the rain stayed away. Tom having a blether with retired shepherd John Armstrong.  
Luke Tolson trying to keep Bowman from pinching all the biscuits
Kevin giving his introduction to The Wild Eskdale Project. He has only been employed on this from the end of July and has put a lot of work into getting it to this Launch stage. It is going to be an exciting project and hopefully will bring loads of visitors to this very special area for wild life. 
The Monument was a busy place this morning. 
Kevin introduces the Canonbie schoolchildren to Haggis the Owl
This Sparrowhawk was keeping an eye on everybody 
One very happy little girl

The girl on the right was very excited
Haggis the Owl and the star of the show
After the launch party we headed back down the hill where there is a considerable amount of tree felling going on.
Looking up the road to Hillhead now that most of the trees have been felled

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Alston Railway and the Pennine Way

We have been thinking about walking the Alston Railway Line for some time as it is 6 years since we were last here. It was an ideal day to pick up Peter from his new home in Aglionby near Carlisle so he could spend the day walking with us. It all went to plan and we were ready to depart from the station at Alston by 10.30am just before a steam train was due to leave on its 6 mile journey to Slaggyford. As it was school holidays there were a good number of visitors to the railway.
The first 3 miles of the walk were along the old railway which is now narrow gauge  
At a bridge over the Gilderdale Burn we crossed from Cumberland into Northumberland 
The Gilderdale Burn just before it joins the South Tyne
The points at a siding just outside Kirkhaugh Station
This is the Station at Kirkhaugh. I was very impressed with the main station at Alston and it seems they have spent a lot of money doing it up. It has a lovely cafe and new toilet facilities.  
For the return journey to Alston we followed the Pennine Way which was a most enjoyable walk with some good views

At the highest point of the walk we stopped to have a snack but the wind had got up admit was bitterly cold
Near Alston we passed this lovely tree in full autumn colours
The train that was running along the line today
This was the map of our walk. The total distance was about 7.5 miles which was just about enough for us auld yins. We finished with a nice lunch in the station cafe, although Peters choice of food was a bit stodgy according to him. 

Wednesday 17 October 2018

The Brow Well and Ruthwell Shore Walk

We parked our cars at The Brow Well near Ruthwell and as soon as we got out of the cars the noise of Geese was everywhere with this lot overhead and hundreds of them on the shoreline and in the fields. Just beyond the house in the photograph below there was a field full of them and the noise as they rose from the field was deafening. 
Once we left the shoreline we had this lovely grass track to walk along and it took us to the village of Ruthwell.
There were plenty of Geese on the shoreline but they were just too far away to photograph especially as I only had my I Phone
John and Tom with Criffel in the Background 
The first part of the walk along the shore and on the salt marsh had many little inlets and gullies but there were loads of bridges to assist walkers. This was the first time we had walked here and it was a beautiful area with plenty to see.
Next to the track was this superb field of Winter Barley 
Near to Rothwell we visited the Ruthwell Parish Church but we were unable to get in to see the famous Ruthwell Cross
In the graveyard there was this memorial stone covered in ivy 
Our plan was to visit our friends Margaret and Robert in Clarencefield for morning coffee. Margaret was waiting for us with freshly baked Cheese Scones and Shortbread. They were beautiful and we had soon almost finished the lot. John was raving about the scones for the rest of the walk.
We headed from Clarencefield to walk to Comlongen and then through the woods back to The Brow Well. On the way we found this lot in the field next to the path. They were very cute.
Back on the road to The Brow Well we again came upon loads of Geese in the adjoining fields. Tom was making far too much noise so they were in the air before we were close enough for good photos.
More Geese
The Brow Well. We had walked almost 7 miles and then headed to the Farmers Inn at Clarencefield for a Bar Lunch which was served in double quick time. 

Wednesday 10 October 2018

A Wild Eskdale Walk with Kevin Cumming

On what proved to be a fabulously warm autumnal day we were joined by Kevin Cumming the new Project Manager of Langholm Initiative's Project "Wild Eskdale". It was a good opportunity for him to brief David and Tom on his project which will be launched at The Monument on Wednesday 31st October at 10.30am. I had promised to cover for Bob McLure at the Bird Feeders and do the topping up of the feeders so this was an opportunity to enjoy a nice 6 mile walk and  do my wee job at the same time. The weather was just perfect and very warm so it was a most enjoyable morning walk and finished in style with a lovely light lunch at The Buccleuch Centre. 
The view from Broomholmshiels road
Tom enjoying the view from the Laverock Bird Hide but just don't ask him to identify any birds.  
An autumnal view

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Another Walk round Castle Loch

We were last round Castle Loch at Lochmaben exactly 2 years ago when there were 12 of us on a Birthday Walk. It was only 3 of us today for this lovely walk but it was dry and we enjoyed the 5 miles walk.
Its been a great year for Fungi and this was growing on the side of a tree next to the Loch.
I reckon these trees blown over were the result of Storm Ali a couple of weeks ago. Here 3 trees were uprooted all at the same time. They look to have a very shallow root system. 
This is the view of them from the other side.
Another very colourful Fungi 
Tom and John enjoying themselves 
We spent 15 minutes in the bird hide and this is the view from it.  
The walk goes past Lochmaben Castle

The route took us through this ploughed field but the farmer had kindly left a clear track for walkers as its a right of way
As we approached Lochmaben we headed through the Golf Course which was quite busy today
We finished our walk with a lunch in the cafe attached to the Bakers shop. a lovely walk in good company with nice mild weather and we managed to beat the rain which came in the afternoon but did not stay for long. 

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