Friday 27 December 2019

Christmas at Ardlui

Leo's Harry Potter Cushion
Hannah's Activities Cushion
Due to me picking up a virus on Sunday that affected my balance we were unable to travel to Newcastle for Christmas as planned, but Fiona and family came to us on Boxing Day with all the Christmas Dinner leftovers. Leo is delighted with the Harry Potter cushion Granny Gaye has made him and Hannah was also pleased with her Activities cushion even if one word is spelt wrong. That is a cushion made for each of our 5 grandchildren in the last few months. 
Tom came round on Boxing Day morning and managed to beat Leo at this game but Leo reckons it was luck more than skill. 
Hannah is growing fast so a photograph with Granny was called for to compare heights
We think she was standing on tiptoes. This is the same photo as above but a second later and suddenly Hannah is taller than Granny

Thursday 12 December 2019

A Walk Round Whita

It's many years since we did a Wednesday Walk round Whita. Thats maybe because its almost 10 miles right round so this week we used 2 cars to shorten the walk for us old men. We left one car at The Kiln Green, although the plan was to leave it at Whitshiels Cafe, but they have another Log Cabin arriving today. We then drove to the Tarras Bridge near Cronksbank  and walked back to Langholm via Middlemoss a distance of about 6 miles. We finished with our usual lunch at Whitshiels Cafe where we are made very welcome. This is the view of Whita and the Munument during the 10 minutes the sunn came out.
This cottage is called Rashiel and it is where the present Duke of Buccleuch spent part of his honeymoon.
John thinks this photo makes him and Tom look younger but I think its Tom's new hat that has made the difference. We had a grand walk made special by the arrival of a herd of over 20 wild goats. They quickly crossed our path and disappeared before I managed to get my phone out of my pocket. You will just have to take our word that they were there. This is my 1000th Blog Post since I started in 2007. It has solved many an argument with the lads about when we walked at a certain place and shows everybody how many walks we have done all over the country. When I get time I will publish a few of my favourite photographs from these years of walking. 

Friday 6 December 2019

Tom's Birthday Walk on Border Abbey Way

This was Tom's Birthday Walk and we did a section of The Border Abbey Way between Lindean and Melrose. We had actually done the same route but slightly longer in 2007 and when we started at 8.45am it had been -8C and at the finish in Melrose it was -3C. Thankfully it was a lot milder today and luckily the rain stayed away until we were on our way home to Langholm where it had rained all day. This is Tom dishing out his quota of Toffee to all the walkers. 
We walked past Melrose rugby ground which I think is the nicest rugby ground in the UK.
Suspension bridge over the Tweed at Melrose
Plenty of Fungi on the route
Melrose Bowling Club and a regular green visited by Langholm Old Bowling Club every September for a Pairs Tournament but regrettably I have never played on it. That might change next season as I might have to play there in The Champion of Champions competition as I won the Langholm Old Championship this season.
I think this may be Dere Street but am not sure
The Tweed at Melrose
The Birthday Boy with Martin, Peter, Ken, Sandria and John
Wherever you are in this area you can always see the Eildon Hills
More Fungi. Specially taken for Mr. Tootlepedal who is particularly fond of Fungi. 
During this walk we again had a friendly argument about the route but technology has come on a long way since 2007. Then we only had an OS Map when we argued about the route but this time I had OS maps on my I Phone and when Martin, Tom, Ken, and Peter all insisted I was on the wrong route I was able to look at my phone and clearly see exactly where we were. Reluctantly they took my word for it and then when it was proved I was right they apologised. Thank you Apple. Look at this blog from 2007.

Wednesday 20 November 2019

A Walk from The Beef Tub to Moffat

John was staying in Moffat for a week so he could regularly visit his mum in the home in Moffat so he fixed up a walk from The Devil's Beef Tub to Moffat and the advantage of this was it was all downhill. We like downhill. There were 7 walkers plus Sandria who was shaking off the effects of a virus but joined us after for a meal and had prepared excellent Bacon Rolls and Coffee when we arrived. 
Although the walk was nearly all downhill we started with a short climb from the Edinburgh road
It was a bit gloomy and very cold
Looking out onto the Devil's Beef Tub
John with the 2 ladies in the party Elizabeth and Anne. At the start of the walk in Moffat John was interviewed for C4 News and he featured in the 7.00pm News tonight. 
Tom with his famous Tea Cosy Hats
This beautiful Sheep was very interested in us going past its field
The route was the Annandale Way but it was a long time before we hit the river Annan
The last half mile of the walk into Moffat beside the river Annan. A most enjoyable walk in excellent company followed by a nice meal back in Moffat.

Wednesday 13 November 2019

A Walk Through the Gelt Woods

Our walk today was in The Gelt Woods near Brampton. Tom and I headed to Carlisle to meet Peter and then he took us on this 4 mile walk through the woods. It was a perfect day for walking and although it was a little muddy in places the covering of dead leaves was a great help. In places the Gelt river flows quite fast and a slip could lead to disaster.
At this point the river is very narrow but flows deeply through the rocks.
The paths were well covered in dead leaves
This was Tom's first walk after having been off with a virus for about a month and it was good to have him back in good health.
A nice little bridge over a burn that joins the Gelt River
A natural bridge over the Gelt
A large area of land next to the Gelt Woods is owned by EWM owner Philip Day and my goodness he defends his privacy with loads of barbed wire and signs indicating it's private land. It makes you realise how well off we are in Scotland with open access and if these woods were in Scotland I doubt he could stop the public from enjoying the woodland walks as long as they behave responsibly. 
Near the end of the walk we passed by this sand quarry which is something I have never seen before
This is the route taken from my I Watch. Tom and I left Peter back at Aglionby as he had to go into Carlisle to pick up Elizabeth from the London train so we went to the Hidden River Cafe near Longtown for a lovely lunch. As the name suggests its not easy to find but it is a little gem and very busy despite its location and the fact its November.

Thursday 7 November 2019

Westerhall and the Rig Valley and Dam

Due to a computer problem these photographs have not loaded in the order I took them but they represent a lovely walk through Westerhall Estate and up the Rig Valley. This is an amazing hidden valley that few people will even realise is there and its like an Oasis in the middle of the Border Hills. This was the first time for a month that Tom was back walking with me. Its great to have him back fit and well and we only had about 2 arguments during our walk.
Depending on the how the light caught the view it can change the effect of the photograph and in this light the valley is very brown due to just a hint of sunshine peeking through the clouds. 
Just up from Westerhall Farm where the Rig Burn enters the river Esk is a Hydro Dam
This is the small lake caused by the Dam
On the Westerhall Estate road the autumn colours are at their best
At every season this is a lovely road to walk and the autumn is spectacular matched only by the spring Azaleas and the winter Snowdrops. It is without doubt my favourite walk and long may it continue to be such a well managed estate.
Even the pine needles on the road add a colourful magic to the road.

Westerkirk Church always looks so splendid standing in such an unspoilt village

Thursday 31 October 2019

The Rig Valley

This is one of my favourite photos from The Rig Valley on Westerhall Estate.

Wednesday 30 October 2019

A Visit to Aglionby

As Tom is still not fully fit for walking we were invited for lunch to Peter and Elizabeth’s house in Aglionby near Carlisle. It was great to catch up with them as it was August when we last saw them. 

Wednesday 16 October 2019

Two Walks in Edinburgh

I travelled to Tweedbank and got the train to Brunstane near Musselburgh in Edinburgh to be met by John, Ken, and Martin. Unfortunately Tom was still not very well and therefore unable to join us. We really missed him and never had an argument all day. John had planned 2 walks for us. The first one on Newhailes House Estate and the second one on Carberry Tower Estate. The total distance was almost 6 miles and we ended the walk with a lovely lunch in Carberry Tower Bistro.  
This was the closest we got to the sea near Musselburgh before we turned back inland to Newhailes House
This is Newhailes House now owned by The National Trust for Scotland and at the moment closed for renovation, although some of the facilities are available in the gardens and stables. 
Martin outside the Newhailes Shell Grotto which was part of a mid 18th Century pleasure ground near Musselburgh in East Lothian. It included other features such as a Palladian Bridge and a Tea or Summerhouse. 
A good autumnal view over Edinburgh 
Our second walk was in the grounds of Carberry Tower just a 10 minute car journey from our first walk. In the grounds we saw this memorial stone where Mary Queen of Scots surrendered to The Confederate Lords on 15th June 1567.  
Martin attempting to keep his trousers clean on the muddy paths
The most spectacular part of the day was to walk down this avenue of Sequoia Trees in the grounds of Carberry Tower 
This shows just how large the trees are. They seeds were brought to Scotland by a Scotsman called John Matthew in 1853 and they seem to like Scotland as they don't like hot summers and like a lot of rain.
Carberry Tower once owned by The Church of Scotland and now a very nice hotel. I made it back to Brunstane Station in time for the 3.00pm train and was back in Langholm by 5.00pm after a very enjoyable day in excellent company.

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