Today’s picture was taken by my neighbour Liz last month on the top of Castle Hill. She has got many fine pictures on her phone but we have only just managed to show her how to get them off it. It was full to bursting when she took this one so she couldn’t get a another shot.
We had a pretty nice day here today if you could ignore the sub zero temperature in the morning and the chilly wind all day. At least the wind had dropped a bit after recent days and it didn’t blow right through you and out the other side like it has been.
Dropscone had been up to Jedburgh very early in the morning and was back just in time to have a cup of coffee. He brought with him two very tasty apple turnovers which he had purchased (at full price) in Hawick on his way back home. They were well worth it.
After he left, I went out into the garden to break the ice on the pond and was amazed to see that in spite of the freezing temperature, there was enough heat in the sun* to bring the crocuses out in force.
*My botany skills are not good enough to tell whether it is heat or light that makes the petals open.
The birds were out in force again but I thought that I had illustrated this quite freely enough recently and limited myself to a chatty blackbird.
And one of a pair of robins which I saw on the same bush. The other one made off before I could get a picture of the two of them together.
I must learn to tell robins apart.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been to get her hair cut and styled and this had obviously gone to her head because she agreed to come for a walk up a hill after lunch. We chose Warbla because it has a nice track all the way to the top.
There were plenty of pieces of evidence as we went along that in spite of the sun, it was still pretty cold.
However, it was pleasant enough for our walk and we were able to get a splendid view of the town from the top of the hill.
To my surprise, we were also able to get a great view over the Solway Firth of the Lake District Hills on the English side. I was so delighted that I took too many pictures and I have put a few more than I should on here because it is so rare to get such a clear day.
The mast that you can see on the left of the picture is at Caldbeck and communicates with the mast on top of Warbla just where we were standing to bring us our TV signal.
The pictures don’t do justice to the splendour of the view but they give a flavour of it.
Looking north-east, the hills on the far side of the Tarras valley had more snow on them than ours did.
So cheery had the view made Mrs Tootlepedal, that she suggested returning by a circular route walking down the other side of the hill.
After a last look back at the steep side of the summit which we had just left….
…we ploughed on across the trackless hillside. The ground was well frozen which made walking on the tussocky and boggy ground easier than it would have been normally but it was it was still hard work.
We stuck to the high ground until we reached this sheep fold where we turned down the hillside.
It was hard going on old knees until we hit the track at the bottom of the hill and we were grateful for some level walking on a good surface. We said hello to these traditional farmhouse geese…
…before coming down to the banks of the Esk and walking home along the Murtholm. As we walked through the park past the church, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the hole on the bark of a conifer that acts as a refuge for a tree creeper.
She herself had learned about this from Cat Barlow, the moorland project education officer. I was amazed. I liked a nearby tree which was trying to pretend it was a stone wall.
We were very glad to get home. The walk was only four miles but 700 ft of climbing and hard going underfoot had taken its toll on our joints and a cup of tea with our neighbour Liz was more than welcome.
In the evening, Susan and I went to Carlisle to play with our recorder group. She has been a bit poorly lately but was much recovered today and we both enjoyed our playing a lot. We are practising three pieces which we are going to play at a concert given by the church choir in Langholm in April but we had time to play lots of other music as well.
A brambling got into the frame as flying bird of the day today.