Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal who used her phone to record the scene in our garden this evening.
You will gather from the guest picture that it has not been a warm day here in Langholm. The sun did come out from time to time but it stayed cold all day. It was too cold for coffee in the garden but it didn’t stop Attila the gardener from being hard at work outside after coffee indoors.
She had a useful friend with her as she continued re-modelling the front beds.
In spite of the sunshine, there were still patches of frost on the lawn at eleven o’clock when I checked on the birds at coffee time.
The birds were obviously in need of seed and the feeder was very busy.
As Mrs Tootlepedal had mechanical assistance in the garden, I was not needed.
I thought that it was too cold for cycling and went for a walk instead.
I set off at midday and the sun provided a little warmth, but I needed full coat, cap and gloves kit as I walked down to Skippers Bridge.
The sun picked out some ivy on a riverside tree and I picked out moss and lichen on the wall beside the road up to Broomholm.
Like yesterday, I found a fine show of daffodils along a drive.
My plan was to walk round the ‘back of Whita’ weather permitting, and in spite of a small flurry of snow as I went past the bird hide, I got down to the Tarras Water without undue excitement.
The river was running low and very clear…
…and when I had crossed it by the bridge at Rashiel, I had fun watching a pair of grey wagtails hopping from rock to rock.
They were playing that much loved game, “Annoy the Photographer”. They settled on a rock and waited until I had nearly got the camera in focus before hopping gaily onto the next rock…and the next…and the next. When one finally did stop long enough for a shot, it turned its back on me and then flew off laughing.
I shouldn’t complain though. It was lovely watching them even if I didn’t get a good picture.
I walked up through the old farm at Cronksbank and came back down to the river at Perterburn, where I stopped at the bridge for a rest and a snack.
Refreshed, I went to have a look at the ford across the river to see if the water was low enough to have let me walk across. It was lucky that I hadn’t tried as Great Big Billy Goat Gruff would have been waiting for me (and the water was too high anyway).
It probably wasn’t Billy Goat Gruff but just one of the wild goats which were grazing near the ford. Some walked in the woods…
…but most were grazing among the long grass and far too busy too look up as I went by.
Finally, one condescended to acknowledge my presence.
As I got onto the moor, I was hoping to see hen harriers but once again had to make do with fine cloudscapes…
…and passing snow showers.
I was lucky when what looked like quite a heavy shower went behind the monument and down the valley which I had just walked up. It did no more than sprinkle me with a few snowflakes on its way.
The lack of any water running through this substantial pipe under the road near Hen Harrier Corner, gives an indication of how dry it has been lately.
I was very happy that it stayed dry where I was walking as another snow shower passed to my left.
Once I was over the col at the White Yett, I could look down into the Ewes Valley and see the road which I cycled along yesterday afternoon.
It was never very warm during the walk, even in the sun, but it was getting decidedly cooler as I walked back down the hill. A horse chestnut bud might have made me think of spring…
..if the chilly wind hadn’t been making me think of winter.
I was very surprised to see lots of visitors’ cars on the Kilngreen and even more surprised to see Pelosi’s ice cream van in the car park too.
In fact I was so surprised that I went and bought a nougat wafer form the van and sat on a bench beside the Ewes Water to eat it. It was so cold that it didn’t have much flavour but I thought that enterprise should be rewarded and was happy to have bought it.
A well kent face thought that he might get a morsel of the ice cream too if he walked up very discreetly and gave me a hard stare.
On the whole, I thought that a nougat wafer was probably not good food for a heron, so I ate it all myself, leaving him doubtless feeling a bit grumpy.
My phone, which was keeping an eye on my walk, told me that I had done just over ten miles when I got home. My legs had something to say about overreach. I enjoyed a cup of tea when I sat down.
I had another look at the birds when I recovered but there were so many about that I couldn’t photograph one without another getting in the way…
Even a small snow shower didn’t deter them but after a quick trip to the garden to check on a spirea that Mrs Tootlepedal had transplanted while I was walking…
…and to note that the tulips are still biding their time, I stayed in for the rest of the afternoon and made some Garibaldi biscuits.
The heavy snow shower recorded by Mrs Tootlepedal rounded off the day, and snow is lying on the lawns as I write this post. The weather forecaster mentioned that temperatures are a bit lower than the seasonal average. This was an example of understatement.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, the only one of the day who found a little space for himself.