At this time of year you have to grab the good days when you can, and last week found me exploring the ruins of Auchen Castle, near Beattock.
The castle (not to be confused with the nearby Auchen Castle Hotel) dates from the 13th century. The ruins are extensive and quite confusing. I had expected to find a tower house, but Auchen predates such structures. Deciphering its history has presented problems even for the experts, as you can see if you read the comprehensive archeological notes here.
But it was a wonderful place to visit, on a spectacular autumn day! The ivy covering the remains of the corner tower looks like a skull!
This area is described on old maps as 'fish ponds'.
The function of this underground passage/tunnel remains unclear, but it is rather impressive.
It seems to be home for this splendid frog, just waiting for his princess to come along!
Looking north. The West Coast Main Line, and the A74(M) following the valley of the Evan Water, are in the dip behind the trees. Coatsgate quarry is on the left of the pic.