The picture of the day shows Dropscone hurtling down the hill at Callister full pelt this morning.
It was another distinctly chilly day but with the temperature only two degrees above freezing we were happy to find the roads frost free and a morning pedal available, Dropscone duly appeared and we set off. We hadn’t gone far before we started to see mist ahead. I wasn’t keen to breathe in lumps of very cold air while puffing up a long hill so when we got to Callister, I left Dropscone to go on ahead while I kept to more flattish terrain by cycling back home and then out to meet Dropscone on his return. This meant that I avoided a double climb of the Col du Callister.
Things worked out well and I met Dropscone at almost exactly the same place where we parted, he having done eleven hilly miles while I had done a more gentle ten. I caught the picture above as he flashed by and then I followed him back to Langholm and we enjoyed our coffee and scones as usual after this rather non standard pedal.
After coffee, Dropscone went off to play golf and I went up to collect the car. It had passed its MOT but it needs a new fan belt and some work on the brakes so it will have to go back into the garage again in a fortnight. While I was up in the town, I checked that the Eskdale Hotel was still expecting 12 people to arrive for the annual archivists lunch on Saturday and paid for two bags of coffee beans from Peru and Ethiopia.
When I got back, I checked on any passing garden birds….
It had got rather gloomy in the town after a bright start. Mrs Tootlepedal was working all day and so after lunch, I took the car out and drove up the hill to Whita Yett into dense fog. It was thick enough to make driving on a single track road quite alarming but I got safely to the car park at the McDiarmid Memorial and got out to look around. I had not driven through the low cloud as I had hoped.
I had brought the tripod with me as I was hoping to park at the car park, put up the tripod and take many sunlit pictures. It was not to be. I hadn’t brought my hat and gloves with me but it didn’t seem to be all that cold, perhaps because it was a very still day so leaving the tripod behind, I started to walk up the track to the monument. I was by no means sure that I could get above the cloud and things didn’t look too promising as I climbed upwards. I nearly stopped and went back to the car.
However, eternally optimistic, I kept going and as I progressed upwards, the clouds above my head began to thin, a watery sun appeared and soon I was clear of the surrounding mist and able to peer over the top.
Words cannot convey the eerie beauty of the scene that greeted me when I got to the summit of the hill and even the camera can only show glimpses of the prospects that lay around me.
Once again I can only advise those who don’t care for clouds and hills to look away because there are even more misty pictures than yesterday. They are a tiny fraction of the pictures I took during the next thirty minutes. I am going to put them in without much comment as I think that they speak for themselves.
The mist rose and fell like a feathery ocean.
It was oddly like looking at a great seething sheet of ice and looking up the Esk valley had the feel of a glacier.
I was joined on the summit by a young fellow armed with a GPS whose unlikely task was to walk along pre-determined transects across the moor to record any dead grouse that he found. This was part of the work of the Moorland Project. He too was bowled over by the beauty of the scene which he described as food for the soul. As we stood and watched, the tide began to turn and the mist rolled up towards us.
I packed up my gear and set off back down the track and was back in the mist after only a few yards. Half way down, I turned back to look at the view behind.
The sun was doing its best but the mist was too strong for it.
I got back to the car and drove carefully down the fog shrouded road until I got through the layer of mist and arrived back in a very gloomy Langholm. The whole experience from leaving the car at the car park until I got back in to it had taken exactly an hour but it must have been one of the most enjoyable hours you could possibly wish for on the top of a hill in January with the temperature at 2° C. The contrast between the scene above and below the cloud was striking in the extreme.
Mrs Tootlepedal returned from work and after we had had our tea, she went off to be a singing in nun and I went with Sandy and Jean to the Archive Centre. We got started and were soon joined by Jean’s son Niall and his wife Elspeth who have come back to live in Langholm. They are going to come and work with us soon but they are globe trotters and before they start, they are going off to Australia tomorrow where they have another home. It seems a long way to go for a bit of sunshine but they like it.
I found time in the morning to catch a flying goldfinch.