Climb every mountain

Today’s picture shows a fine patch of bluebells on the Lodge Walks.  Spring really is here now.  The bluebells make it official.


In a foolish moment last night, I said to Sandy that if he woke up early he should give me a ring and we would have a quick expedition.  He woke up early and he gave me a ring.  It woke Mrs Tootlepedal and me up.  She was very calm about this.

The reason for the early call was that Sandy was going off later in the morning for a weekend of wedding festivities for the daughter of his oldest friend.

While I was waiting for Sandy to arrive, I watched a number of sparring siskins.

sparring siskins

We didn’t have much time for our jaunt so we took a quick trip up to the nuthatch nests sites.  At our first site, we were rewarded.  A nuthatch arrived and slipped into the nest before we get focussed but after a while its partner arrived and indicated its presence.

nuthatch nest site

The first bird emerged and then flew off….

nuthatch nest site

…leaving the other one looking after it.

nuthatch nest site

Soon they had both disappeared and we walked along to the other site.  Here we had no nuthatches to look at but as a consolation, the fresh green  leaves on the tree were quite enough of a treat in their own right.


A path goes right past the nest site but the nuthatches in general don’t seem to be bothered by the passing traffic.

As good a place as any to stand for a while.

We soon headed back to the Kilngreen where getting food for the young was the order of the day and a thrush and a blackbird were finding a good crop of worms.

thrush and blackbird

We returned to Wauchope Cottage for a coffee and a biscuit and then Sandy had to go off to get ready for his trip.

It was a lovely sunny day as I wandered among the tulips…

tulips seen from the side
Tulips seen from the side…
tulips seen form above
…and above
A lone example…
pair of tulips
…and a pair of friends

All the tulip pictures were taken within an hour.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s little hedges offer some nice shady nooks for a photographer on a bright day.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and I transcribed another of the flute band tunes.  This is taking me longer than I expected mostly because I can’t remember  what we used to play well enough and I have to keep going over it in my mind to make sure that I have got it right.  I have done four tunes and have six to go.

I stopped after a while and went out into the garden to watch the birds.

This redpoll watched me back.

I spent some times rather pointlessly trying to rake some of the moss off the front lawn.  My difficultly here is that if I rake all the moss off, there won’t be any lawn left so I am trying to strike a judicious balance between destruction and conservation.  It is a losing battle, I fear.

I wondered if the blackbirds were still sitting on eggs in the nest under the roof of our shelter at the end of the house.  They weren’t….

young blackbird nestlings

…for the very good reason that they were out collecting food for the youngsters that have hatched.  The mother soon returned and it became clear that there were at least four young chicks in the next.

blackbird feeding young

The father helped out too.

mamale blackbird feeding young

Like me, he finds that ceilings can be a bit too low.

In between watching the feeding, I saw a siskin dropping into the dam behind me…


..and a starling glistening in the sunshine on a tree in our neighbour’s garden.


Mrs Tootlepedal came back from work and I almost  immediately went out to lend a hand with the Muckle Toon Adventure Festival.  (Langholm is commonly known as the Muckle Toon because it was a thriving town in its textile heyday.)

This is a new event started by some keen youngsters who enjoy cycling and running and my sportive on Sunday is part of it so I thought I should help when asked.  The event of the evening was a short but hard hill climb from the Whitshiels to the White Yett.  There were only two of us to record the times at the finish and as it turned out, this was one less than was needed as the riders flashed over the line with their numbers hidden on their backs and then lay on the ground 100 yards down the road too puffed to tell us their number or name.  We did the best we could but the results sheet would not have stood up in a court of law.  Still, it was the first time for the organisers and we know now that we need at least three people to man the finish next year.

There was a good entry of about 35 riders and the townsfolk had turned out in force to cheer them up the hill.

at the top of the hill

I had hoped to be able to take some photos but I was too busy with the times.  I took this one just before the last riders arrived at the summit.

There are some running and mountain biking events tomorrow but the weather forecast is horrible so I may not get much opportunity for snapping away.  The forecast is better for Sunday when the road cycling is on.  I am keeping my fingers crossed.  Mrs Tootlepedal is doing the thirty mile course and she says that she is not going if the weather is foul.  It’s supposed to be fun.

The flying bird of the day is a siskin, taken from the garden rather than through the kitchen window this time.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Climb every mountain

  1. Thanks for a glimpse of spring in Langholm. The “cratties” up the Lodge Walks are a favourite memory. I also loved the photo of the pair of tulips. I didn’t realise that the Flute Band had ten tunes in their repetoire !! One of the best sounds of the Common Riding though.

    1. The bystander only hears one or two tunes before the band passes on. When I played in the town band I used to think that everyone listened to us all the time but when I left it, I realised that most people just stop their conversation for a moment or two as we passed before getting back to their talk.

  2. There are ways to kill moss-you can use a fertilizer that contains iron compounds. The fertilizer gets the grass growing while the iron kills the moss. BUT, you have to be very careful with it because the iron will stain just about anything it contacts, like a walk or a foundation.
    There are also moss killing soaps and other concoctions that work well, but it’s really better to correct the lawn problems that caused the moss in the first place. Shade, poor drainage, not enough fertilizer to keep grass growing and acid soil are all culprits. Drainage can be greatly improved by aerating with the type of aerator that cuts plugs out of the lawn and then liming and fertilizing regularly will help. Shade is a bit more difficult unless you own the tree that is creating it.

    1. The shade is from our neighbour’s house. I have asked her to move it but she is unwilling to do so. I do use moss killer but the problem is that after a couple of dismal summers, there is now so much moss that killing it might leave me with a bare patch. I am pondering my options. Thank you for yuor advice. I have tried hollow tining the lawn without much difference from using the garden fork and sanding. I might use a bit more lime.

  3. The blackbird nest photos are a treat to see, especially the hungry, open-mouthed chicks.

    The Muckle Toon festival seems like good fun. When reading that part I momentarily thought I remembered a song called “Muckle Toon” but after a bit of thought I correctly remembered it to be “Sleepy Toon”.

  4. Your lawn sounds rather like mine, more moss than grass. Can’t be helped here with nothing but clay for soil but I daren’t remove too much moss or there’d be nothing but a few odd tufts of grass.

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