Thursday 18 July 2024

A Welsh Get Together at Kippford

 On Wednesday we travelled to Barend Holiday Chalets to meet up with Doreen and Norman Southwell our friends from South Wales. They book a chalet there almost every year, but this may be the last time there as the journey north is now very tiring. This is the view from the balcony of their chalet. We usually go for a long walk when we are there with them but Norman had a bad back and I had problems with my achilles tendon. A sign we are all getting old. Tom as the oldest was in fine fettle and managed to enjoy  the day including drinking red wine plus several other drinks. He has much more stamina than Norman and myself.
It was a beautiful day so we headed down to Kippford for a drink at the Anchor and then a very short walk along the path beside the Urr estuary. Finlay the Golden Labrador is now 13 years old and very slow, but well looked after and a very happy dog. 
Tom with Doreen, Gaye and Norman.
Gaye and Doreen were friends and neighbours from their time in Dalbeattie and then after we were married Doreen came over for a Langholm Rugby Club weekend at the time Bryn Wanderers from South Wales were visiting LRFC and she met Norman. The rest as they say is history as she eventually married him and moved to Wales to live. 
While the men went a short walk along the shore Doreen and Gaye enjoyed a seat in the sun shelter looking onto the estuary and an out-going tide. 
Looking up the Urr estuary
Screel in the distance
Looking down the estuary to Rough island which you can walk to when the tide is out as there is a causeway. It is a spectacular walk that I have done many times over the 50+ years I have been visiting Kippford. 
A large Gnome looking at many other small Gnomes
Three old men who have been friends for many years 

After we had a very nice lunch back at Barend, Gaye and Doreen went to see Gaye's cousin Dora who was 80 that day. A most enjoyable day in good company and excellent weather. 

Friday 21 June 2024

Two Eskdalemuir Walks in Two Days

On Wednesday Tom, Niall, and myself did a 4 mile circular walk at Castle O’er. We followed the forestry road and then returned along the very quiet B Road that is so potholed now that very few people use it. In the 2 miles we walked it there were no cars, which make it great for walkers.

The forestry road with the verges full of wild flowers. There are also loads of Raspberries so hopefully a good harvest of them in a few weeks time.

Across the valley the farmers were busy cutting silage and the countryside looked so green.

At Over Rigg there is a natural auditorium

It’s getting very overgrown with bracken these days.

On Thursday Mike Charlie and myself walked an almost 6 mile circular route round Clerk Hill and Wisp Hill

Early in the walk we were lucky to see this pair of Red Deer up on the hill.

When we walked this route in 2020 there was an active rifle shooting range here and on the ridge at the side of this hill was a reception building for the shooters. Due to planning issues and protests from Samye Ling residents the planners have made the shooters demolish the building and there is now no shooting there.

This house at Mid Raeburn looked as if it is still occupied but nobody there at the moment. The wind turbine in the garden was spinning furiously.

The wind turbine

Mike and Charlie walking up the hill from Raeburnfoot.

Crossing the bridge over the Esk back in Eskdalemuir. On both days we visited The Hub in the village for lunch on Wednesday and Coffee on Thursday. On both days the weather was perfect for walking.

Thursday 6 June 2024

Drumburgh Walk with Mike and Charlie

Our walk today started in Drumburgh on the Cumbria Solway coast. The first half of the walk followed the Hadrians Wall Path along the Vallum. It is about 6 weeks since Mike, Charlie, and I had walked together so it was nice to enjoy their good company again.

The path took us through several fields

The crops planted in late autumn for harvesting in early summer have been badly hit by the winter rains and there are lots of bare patches in the fields of Barley or it may be that this is seed planted again in the spring after the crop failed and it will be harvested much later. 

A nice path at the edge of the field. We passed several walkers doing the Hadrians Wall path from west to east.

The hedgerows were full of blossom and especially wild Rose which was prolific and spectacular. 

Mike and Charlie crossing a narrow bridge

Drumburgh Castle in the background and the start and finish of our walk.

This is a self service cafe called the La’ll Bite which has an honesty box. It was excellent with a variety of drinks we could make ourself and fruit and tray bakes. There were nice seats inside and outside and a toilet if we needed it. A most enjoyable 4.7 mile walk despite the two very heavy showers of rain.

Sunday 2 June 2024

Last of the Summer Wine Walkers at Cally Palace

Our Walking weekend at Cally Palace Hotel in Gatehouse of Fleet. We all arrived on Friday about lunch time and immediately set out to do a 4 mile walk in the grounds of Cally Estate, while 4 of the gang played a round of Golf. 
The photographer managed to get in this photo as Martin took the photo.
Gaye and Aileen at Threave Gardens on Saturday
Pre Dinner drinks on Friday evening in the Conservatory
Alix and Gaye walking round Threave Gardens
Castle Douglas in the distance on our Saturday morning walk
Tom, John, Niall, David, and Martin on our Saturday 4 mile walk 
There were 10 of us on our Saturday Threave Estate walk of 4 miles. That's the largest number of Last of the Summer Wine Walkers since we all met at Lochmaben pre covid when there were 12 of us and of course that included Peter Bart-Smith who is no longer with us and Elizabeth who was invited but just couldn't face it without Peter. The weekend was dedicated to Peter and he was constantly in our thoughts.

The Cally estate taken very early on a beautiful Sunday morning while on my morning walk
Alix and Gaye enjoying Coffee and Cake at Threave Gardens cafe
The Golfers on Friday afternoon. David and Alix beat Tom and John
The Cally Palace Golf Course. It was a splendid weekend with glorious weather and excellent company. The hotel staff were excellent and really looked after us and the food was superb. 


Tuesday 21 May 2024

Little and large Aircraft

Fraser and Gaye and I left San Francisco airport within a few hours of each other on Sunday evening and early Monday morning. This is the General Motors Gulfstream which he flew to Detroit on early Monday morning. It has a capacity of 12 and flies regularly between SFO and DTT. If there is less than 5 booked in it they have to go scheduled. As Mountain View is the new IT Centre for GM it is regularly full now.

The inside of the Gulfstream

The A380 similar to the one we flew on from San Francisco to London Heathrow. It seats 480 and we were upstairs near the tail in Business Class. Great luxury and fabulous food, but quite a bit of turbulence on our journey.

Sunday 19 May 2024

Traditional Family Photo of the Graham Clan

Whenever we come to USA to visit Fraser and his family we always take a family photo on the day we depart home. The kids are growing up so fast and we were very sad at leaving them. This has been our quietest ever trip with no trips to Utah or weekends away. We are getting older so a quiet time suited us and weekends are taken up with sporting events with the kids. I walked my trusty Golden Retriever friend Sammy at least twice a day. He is such a loveable rogue, but very good natured. Fraser is enjoying his new job with GM and will be heading off to Detroit for 4 days early tomorrow morning, but with the luxury of flying in GMs Corporate Jet.

A busy day of Soccer

I started the day with a walk with Sammy who seemed to sense it was my last full day with him and he followed me everywhere.

Then the Graham grandchildren got ready for their 3 matches at 3 different places in Silicon Valley. A logistical nightmare but Fraser & Leslie had it covered.

The Graham name well to the fore. Tommy won 4-1, Eleanor won 8-1, and sadly Elliot lost 0-5.

Earlier Elliot and Tommy made us breakfast of pancakes.

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