Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blowing in the Wind

Wamphray escaped the heavy rain that accompanied the first big storm of autumn and affected other parts of the country, although it was certainly windy here overnight. The word that there was a tree down near Skip got me out with the camera today. I can confirm that it was blowy!

One of the features of the Parish of Wamphray, and indeed of Annandale, is the number of old trees which line the roads. I've photographed some of them before, see here, and have even talked about the 'hug method' for assessing their age (here)!

It was the beech tree above, on the back road towards Lockerbie, near Girthead, which was the culprit.

It's easy to see what had happened. The inside of the trunk had died and a major bough has broken off the weakened structure. I wonder what will happen to it now.

The Council workmen had been and gone by the time I got there and the road was open again. The residue will no doubt keep a few local stoves burning in due course.

Identifying aging and diseased trees is important and, even in my short time living in Annandale, I have see old, apparently healthy, trees felled on safety grounds. I wonder if roadside trees still get inspected regularly?

It's always good to see replacements growing away, however slowly!

You can probably tell that I have a fondness for these old timers. This one, near Gateside, is a favourite. It has to be 200 years old and watched over this road long before the motor car came along. With the wind blowing strongly, I did not spend any time underneath it today!

At one time someone was keeping track of these trees. Perhaps someone still is. I wonder if beech tree number 02429 is still on a database somewhere.

Another rainbow to add to the collection, albeit somewhat peely-wally. It did show that the sun was trying to get through today!

Photos © Skip Cottage


  1. Lovely stuff Bob.
    I used to live not far away from you and you've reminded me of those wonderful trees.
    I wonder if you have been over to Lochwood? If you want old trees, it's got them!
    Also if you walk along the Western bank of the Annan, heading upstream from Jocksthorn, you will encounter some really old ones there too!
    Thanks for your lovely Blog

  2. Thanks for your comment, and encouraging remarks. I visited Lochwood some years ago (to see the Tower) and discovered the oak wood, carpeted in bluebells. Didn't have my camera with me - it was probably before I started blogging.

    I have yet to explore upstream from the Jocksthorn Bridge, and will try to do this soon.

    1. Hi Bob - you should still be able to get along there. When I lived at Orchard, you could walk from Jocksthorn all the way along to the railway bridge on the Western bank, albeit with a few wee detours. Obviously the Eastern bank is a bit easier, but not as much fun. On the Western bank it runs the gamut from what used to be a clearly defined fishermen's path, through to dense undergrowth and places where the river has washed large chunks of bank away in places, so stout wellies are essential. The bank below Orchard had a quite a number of old, pollarded trees, and some really lovely, stunted, gnarled oaks.
      With regard to Lochwood, it is a shame they 'upgraded' it. I can well remember playing in the ruins with my friend and even squeezing into a narrow hole in the ground to the cellars . . exceptionally dangerous. Happy days!

  3. All the mature roadside trees were numbered about 10 years ago by the Crown Estate presumably as part of their tree management as some were felled after that. They are managing it rather better than Mr. Fettes who owned the estate for 9 years from 1801 and stripped it of all mature timber, using the proceeds to endow Fettes College in Edinburgh.