Sunday, 20 February 2011

At Last a Sign of Spring

A bout of bloggers block

I seem to have suffered from a bout of bloggers block these last few weeks, but the truth is I have had very little of interest to blog about. Anyway after Mrs Gill's routine visit to the Cumberland Infirmary (Friday 19th) which produced a favourable result, I decided to go along towards the Becks Burn to see the tree cutting operations that is going on in the Gaskell's walk area. I was absolutely amazed at the transformation of the landscape. The machines they use are amazing, taking the place of horse and manpower with great precision. They seem to have been working night and day as you can see the powerful lights going on into the late evening and they are still shining in the morning when I get up for work in the morning.
Result of the tree felling on Gaskells

The access road for removing timber for pick up by timber lorry

The first sign of life I came across was a black Labrador which was on its own, so I thought I would meet up with its owner further along the track.

A community of sorts

This area of the Becks consists of small fields rented from Buccleuch Estates, going back for many generations and a community of sorts has been created. These are very popular fields at Common Riding time.

 These are a few examples of the array of stables and buildings that has been created over the years.

The mystery of the missing Labrador

I continued along the track when I met up with Jimmy Kingstree with two black Labrador and said he was missing one, so it was nice to tell him I had just seen it and it was obviously on its way back home. Mystery solved. Jimmy had been tending to his son Stevie's small holding while he was at work. We chatted about various things of local and political interest, Jimmy has his own unique style of language and many of his expressions are alien to my ears.
Have you seen a black Lab? 
Jimmy heads for home!

After a good chin wag with Jimmy we parted and I decide to do a circular by way of Ha'Crofts.

A covering of moss

Heading through a small plantation I crossed the Becks burn itself and emerged on to the road leading back to town. On crossing the burn I noticed the area was covered in a very bright and healthy covering of moss, indicating constant damp conditions.
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Battle of the Becks
Many a battle was fought in these dark woods against fierce marauding Indian tribes, when I was a young boy in the 1950's
Becks Crossing

For conscientious dog walkers I presume

On to road
Frogs, Newts and Toads
I continued on until the track met the road leading up to the Becks farm. Across to the right, as you come on to the lane there is a plantation, this is the site of a skating pond. I can remember it being there as a boy but can't ever remember it being used. It was an excellent area for Frogs, Newts and Toads. Maybe I will conduct an expedition into the plantation this Summer to see if there is still any evidence of the pond.
Site of skating pond

I followed the lane past Ha'Crofts down onto the Langholm/Lockerbie road passing the site of Wauchope Castle.
Site of Wauchope Castle
 A Touch of Spring

As it is many years since I have been in Wauchope Graveyard I decided to explore a bit. The smell of pine resin was strong as the felling work went on on the opposite bank of the river. Most of the memorial stones are ineligible, but thanks to many painstaking hours of work by fellow Archivists Brenda Morrison and Bruce McCartney these and other graveyards have been recorded. Snowdrops were in abundance around some of the graves so it was very pleasing to see a touch of Spring.

They must have been grand people

At last a touch of Spring
 Down the Manse Brae

On leaving the graveyard I met David Grieve who works for Buccleuch Estates. He told me the Estate was facing financial difficulty like any other business and the tree felling was a way of raising capital. As we chatted we were passed by Mrs Tootlepedal who was returning from a cycle ride. I left David to continue his walk, and I headed down the Manse Brae, passing langholm Young Riders stables. This is an excellent local organisation run by Ramsay Johnstone assisted by local horsemen.
Langholm Young Riders
Pool Corner AKA Langholm Lido
Just past the stables we come to the Pool Corner. This was the langholm Lido in days gone by. Many a sunny day was spent jumping off the wall into the pool during the school holidays, a nice alternative to Indian fighting. On the far bank is the Corseholm another battle site.

The Caul

The next photo shows the Caul and the sluice for the dam that fed the power for Reid and Taylor. This was a great spot to come to when the river was in spate and watch the fish jump as they made their way up stream to spawn. It also made a great water slide during the summer months.
The Caul
The Dump
This next photo shows the 'Dump' This was the municipal midden where myself and a great many of like minded friends spent many a happy, healthy and carefree hour ratching about in the toxic glaur. (used briefly as Langholm Legion's football stadium) It was also where Gypsy travellers used to camp around Common Riding time. They would arrive in their traditional horse drawn caravans,  you could hear the crockery crash and bang as the caravans turned off the road and onto the sight. As local kids we were never encouraged to mix and they with us. If I recall they used to run their pony's up and down the High Street and you could hire them for a price.
LLFC Stadium "The Dump"

1 comment:

  1. A fine walk about and outside the town. I didn't know about Wauchope Castle - it's amazing how completely these things can disappear sometimes (the original Kirkcudbright castle is just earthworks too and it was a substantial one)