Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Girl from Milngavie

I made my way to Motherwell yesterday, to enjoy at first hand Round 7 of the Tour Series.

Colourful Motherwell.

The women's race had a 5.30 pm start. The sponsors of Team WNT make quality tools for metal cutting, see here. My father, Peter Cowan, was a machine tools representative, so this team had my support on the night. All the teams were presented before the start.

Here was another reason to support Team WNT! I first saw Katie Archibald in Edinburgh in 2014, see here, and have followed the girl from Milngavie's successes since then. Here she is warming up in the Team WNT pits before the race.

This young lady had designed the flag used to start the race!

I cannot find words to say how I felt yesterday morning as I learned about the events that had occurred in Manchester the night before. Life has to go on of course, but it was appropriate that there was a minute's silence observed before the race started. Moving.

We're off!

Eileen Roe, another brilliant Scottish rider, and also a member of Team WNT, on the right.

I walked round the course, and who should I pass but Dame Sarah Storey, observing the progress of Team Storey, but especially cheering on her sprinter EJay Harris.

A four-rider breakaway gets established, Eileen Roe in second place in this pic.

The main chasing group was more than a minute behind with just a few laps to go. But then Katie, and Rebecca Durrell of Team Drops, powered on to bridge to the leaders.

Eileen Roe pulled away on the last lap and took the victory and had time to celebrate. I (almost) got the shot in focus!

Katie was just pipped on the line by Rebecca for second place.

Team WNT were top team on the night. Nothing to do with my support, of course. But well done girls!

And Katie received the prize for the fastest lap of the evening. All the Matrix Fitness Tour Series women's results are here.

Did I mention there was a men's race too?

Exciting to watch too. The results are all here.

Photos © Skip Cottage

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Just a trickle

In my time in Wamphray, I cannot remember seeing the River Annan quite as low as it is today.

Usually, I'm taking photos at the Jocksthorn Bridge when the river is high, for example, here!

This is the Wamphray Water today, looking somewhat different than it did back in 2014, here.

The Wamphray Water goes under the West Coast Main Line. There has been a lot of work carried out to ensure that the blockage that caused the bad floods in the village back in 2005 won't happen again. The photo shows that today there was no water under the old bridge, which now acts as an overflow.

The new bridge is unlikely to become blocked!

This diversion allows the river to join its previous course!

Now that I've mentioned how dry it has been, I'm sure it will all change soon. But hopefully things will not be as bad as Storm Frank brought in 2015, here.

Pics © Skip Cottage

Thursday, May 04, 2017

Trains and boats ... and the garden

Carlisle Station last Saturday. When this image appeared in my camera viewfinder, it so reminded me of myself as a little boy, fascinated by steam locomotives. I don't know who the young man is, but I hope he was enjoying his 'trainspotting', as I was too that day.

He was at Carlisle's Citadel Station, as was I, to see Tornado pulling the UK Railtour's 'The North Briton' excursion. The locomotive is definitely one of my favourites, and it is always great to get up close to it.

Trainspotting aside, I took the chance of a dry day recently to explore the Trossachs again. I have fond memories of this area from when I lived and worked in Glasgow, back in the day. I had almost forgotten just how beautiful it is.

Last time I saw the SS Sir Walter Scott she had a coal-fired boiler. She has since had a major rebuild but retains her original Matthew Paul and Company triple expansion steam engine, but now has two Cochran Wee Chieftain boilers running on bio-fuel. She looks good for being more than 100 years old! Built by Denny Bros Ltd at Dumbarton, she was dismantled before being transported by barge to Inversnaid on Loch Lomond. From there, she was taken in pieces to Stronachlachar by horse-drawn cart, where she was reassembled and made her maiden voyage on Loch Katrine in 1900.

I look forward to a wee sail on Loch Katrine during the summer.

Skip garden is reflecting the changing seasons, and Rhododendron 'Elizabeth' has burst into bloom the past few days.

And the beech trees on the road near Skip are just beginning to get their 2017 leaves.

As a break from the gardening today, I walked over the field to catch the Duchess of Sutherland storming through Wamphray on the West Coast Main Line, at the head of today's leg 6 of the Great Britain X railtour, see here. And an impressive sight it was!

Pics © Skip Cottage