Thursday, 19 November 2020

A Debatable Question

 After some pretty dismal weather these last few days it was nice to wake up to nice clear blue skies and sunshine. I spent the most of the morning doing some much needed basic housework and generally tidying up before deciding whether to go for a cycle run or for a walk and settled for a walk. I recently tweaked my shoulder reaching into a lower cupboard and since it has got steadily worse to the point reaching forward on the ebike to grip the handlebars is painful enough to abandon cycling sadly at the moment. 

I jumped into the car and after purchasing the E&L and filling up with petrol I made my way to the Back o' Tarras for my walk. I did find changing gear quite difficult due to my shoulder and wouldn't like to drive any distance at the moment, so that's cycling and driving put on the back burner for the time being although I'm not intending doing much cycling over the winter months.

I stopped and took a look over the land which I suppose this part is no longer debatable after the successful buyout recently, or is that a debatable question?

I was attracted to these rather colourful fungi on the roadside.

The picnic tables t the car park are looking well weathered but I think they have a rather nice rustic appeal.

Th trees are looking rather skeletal against the sky now they've shed their summer coats.

It was nice to walk beside and listen to the Tarras burn rushing over the rocks.

It was a good walk but I didn't go as far as I intended but just nice to get out for a couple of hours away from the constant depressing daily news we are faced with at the moment but we've got the freedom of our local countryside and things could always be much worse. 

On reflection I can understand why exiles make a beeline for this truly wonderful spot on our doorstep.

Later in the evening I had my usual video call with my friend Malcolm which cheered me up no end an my apologies for my earlier mournful waffle.

Monday, 2 November 2020

A Pocketful of Gunge

 The forecast look promising enough for a bike ride later in the day when I woke up this morning. So after a rather half hearted attempt to do some housework I decided to get changed into my cycling gear and go for a short pedal. This the first  time I've been out in over a fortnight, due to various reasons but  it was worth the effort. 

With no winds to fight against it was an comfortable pedal without spending too much energy. There was quite a bit of surface water on the road that was coming down off the hills to contend with but nothing serious, but it did serve to remind me in investing in a pair of overshoes, I will seek advice from my cycling guru, Tootlepedal.

My next door neighbour was out cleaning has car as I was preparing to leave and he enquired where I was heading for, I said I had no idea but would decide when I got to the end of the street whether to turn right of left, I turned left, and headed off up the Westerkirk valley.

My first stop was in this pull off to get a shot off one  of Westerkirk's iconic views......

........the Gates of Eden.

Cycling on I came upon some healthy looking specimens of fungi on the verge of the road.

An example of the water that was coming off the hills after last nights rain.

I pedaled on up the road and was pleasantly surprised to see the phone box had been restored, maybe some of these multi national company's do have a heart and listen to local opinion, or maybe some political influence was at work. However it was nice to see back in place, and I'm sure a nice coat of post office red paint would set it off grand against a lovely background.

I moved on into The Benty, turning left and.......

.....right over the bridge and heading up the opposite side of the river to Enzieholm bridge before returning home. But before that .....

I manged to get a couple of pictures of the mausoleum and Westerkirk grave yard.

After last nights rain I thoght there would've been more water in the river.

On arriving at Enzieholm bridge I stopped to have the banana that I had put in my pocket but un fortunately I had put my mobile phone in the same pocket and the result was mashed banana that caused a lot of problems with the phone when I got home.

But never theless I headed home and was cheered up with some brief sunshine on the way.

 I did stop for a couple of shots of the Kirk as came through the village.

The rest of the afternoon was spent frustratingly trying to get the phone to work, apparently the banana gunge had jammed the volume key which had put it in a mode that Couldn't get out of. After some online help from a patient and helpful technician it was decided I needed to put the phone in for repair, but as strange things happen I set it aside and when I checked a while later it was miraculously up and running much to me relief.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Wrong Turn

After a very laid back Saturday morning lounging on the sofa I gathered myself together, got my cycling togs on and set out. My aim was to head for the Canonbie area with the bridge being shut in mind. I headed off down the Tarras road with the intentions of going past Solway Bank wind farm in the opposite direction to what I normally take. I crossed the 7 at the Hollows turn off and headed for Chapelknowe.

At one point I took a wrong turn just before I came to Milltown on Sark thinking that is where they led the turbines in for the wind farm after about 2 miles and coming to farm on a dead end I then realized I had made a mistake as did the farm collie who seen me of the premises with loud barking and baring teeth, I made a very hasty retreat. But on the plus side I did get a different view of the turbines and also notice that three were turning, I presume they were being tested.

I eventually got back on track and remembered the road I should have taken was approaching Chapelknowe. I was held up fairly briefly at this junction to let about a hundred cows and calves past that heading indoors to be fed for the winter. I had an interesting chat with the young farmer and we discussed the massive task of getting the turbines onto site which he said it was very impressive to watch. He told me the stone that was brought in for the footings for the turbines went down at least 8 feet, the task was enormous he said.

I casually pedaled on and came across this rather severe cut hedge dyke, I can only think it was to clear the telegraph wire from overhanging branches before winter sets in. It wasn't a pretty site but I'm sure nature will take care of the situation.

I came upon this lovely plane tree which was flaunting its coat of many autumnal shades. I just had to stop and take a picture.......

  ......I also had a curious audience at the same time.

I cycled on pleasantly towards home.

This was a pedal a little bit farther than I intended but very enjoyable all the same. I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.

Thursday, 15 October 2020


 No cycling today, though the weather was much better for it than yesterday. I thought I'd give my foot a bit of a test and go for a walk instead. But before that I set about preparing a photo I took recently to go into a frame. I had everything ready and prepared, mount cutter set up, mount card selected, all systems go! First cut with a Stanley knife, I reached for where the knife is, always, on the wall, but for some unknown reason it was the only space on the wall with no tool, after a frantic search both in shed and house that was fruitless I finally gave up and walked away.

Anyway enough of my feeble ramblings I got my good camera out and drove down to the old A7 and had a stroll around the Irving House area. The autumn colours are still holding out showing off some wonderful shades of brown and gold.

Quite a few of these pictures feature the old road but I thought the roadside was showing such an abundance of colour they were worth posting

I could imagine these steps down to the riverside from the grounds of Irvine House being quite grand in their heyday, ladies with parasols and gents in top hats.

The view across the the from the steps showing the confluence of the Tarras and the river Esk....

.......and looking down stream.

After quite lengthy walk, which put my foot under quite a bit of strain I drove home, did a bit of shopping on the way and spent the rest of the day wondering where the hell missing Stanley knife is hiding.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Scary Times

 There was some intermittent sunshine when I walked down to Wauchope Cottage to have coffee with Tootlepedal this morning. We sat in a nice sheltered corner of the garden while we enjoyed our coffee and some excellent ginger biscuits but a nice warm jacket was still needed. We had a light hearted conversation and it was good to see Mrs Tootlepedal out for a brief stroll round the garden which is still retaining some vivid splashes of colour despite the end of autumn approaching.

My plan for the afternoon what's to get out on the Ebike and pedal round Solwaybank wind farm and see how it was progressing. 

A rather dull set of photographs I'm afraid mostly due to the poor light and the lack of enthusiasm from myself to take this as a challenge and make the most of what was on offer.

I stopped briefly on the way up Callister to take these shots.....

.....and stopped at the top to look over to Chapelcross which is currently being decommissioned. On research Chapelcross was built to produce weapons grade plutonium and electricity for the civilian market. Strange to think that we have come from scary times from the threat of a cold war to face something perhaps even more frightening in the form of a global pandemic, and arguably a safer way to produce electricity in the form of wind turbines.

I didn't take any shots on the return part of the pedal as there was a light threat of rain as I approached Solway Bank, and I thought it was wise to head for home. The rain at that time didn't come to very much and I thought smugly I was home and dry until I started to descend towards Wauchope road and could see the valley was under quite a heavy shower but it wasn't too heavy to spoil my trip and I was soon home and into a nice hot shower.

For those that are interested I did 22 miles on the Ebike and lost 3 bars out of five on the battery which gave approximately 7 miles per bar on the battery. There was a range of 5 miles left on the sport mode and 9 miles left on the tour mode. I didn't check the range before I set off which I will do the next time I'm out.