Head in the clouds

Today’s guest picture shows my brother Andrew’s view of Buttermere which he visited earlier in the year.  He was much more elevated then than we were on our walk round the lake.  You can see the path that we followed by the lake shore.

And the Ramblers centre at Hassness beside the lake

The temperature had risen to a balmy nine degrees C by breakfast time today and a cycle outing beckoned.  Dropscone was unavoidably detained by a man putting in a new cooker and I was on my own.  It was very gloomy outside so I allowed some time for things to brighten up before setting out.

garmin 9 Dec 2013Dropscone had told me some time ago that a second new bridge had been built on the Lockerbie road  only a few days after the one that Mrs Tootlepedal and I visited while under construction so I thought that I would go and see it.

Although the tops of all the hills were wreathed in cloud, the head wind wasn’t enough to discourage me and I pedalled along blithely, slowly but blithely.

I had Pocketcam with me and stopped to mark the fall of a tree near Paddockhole.

Fallen tree
A home for many little beasts, a potential piece of furniture of just a pile of firewood?

Other trees nearby were still standing.

Trees near paddockhole

I found the new bridge and recorded this first visit.

New bridge near Paddockhole

Strangely, since both bridges will have been commissioned by the same roads department and they are only a few miles apart on the same road and  built in much the same style, they have been constructed from different stone.  I took a picture of the older of the two bridges on my way back..

westwater bridge
Curious.

I also stopped on my way back to catch the gloriously named Water of Milk as it tumbled over some rocks near Paddockhole.

Water of Milk

With the wind now behind me, I came home much less slowly and even more blithely.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work and being at a loose end, I went for a walk.  Once again I had Pocketcam with me and I was looking for fungus and lichens.

I bent my steps along Easton’s Walk beside the Esk.  In spite of passing many fallen trees, my eyes weren’t well enough trained to see anything more interesting than this miniature forest on a tree trunk.

lichen on a tree

It was trees again that caught my eye when I got to the top of Stubholm Bank.

trees

It was so pleasant that instead of walking back down the steps into the park, I kept going along Gaskell’s Walk.  I was going in the opposite direction to my last visit and I wondered if I would be able to find the fungi that I saw last time.

I found two of them but the few days since my last visit had drained the colour out of them.

fungus

fungus

I did see some black growths which I had missed last time round.

fungus

I stopped at the Auld Stane Brig to record a positive smörgåsbord of lichen on a fence post and then a moment or two later another feast on a gravestone in Wauchope Kirkyard.

lichen
Gravestone and fencepost offering a contrast in lichens

My last shot before getting back to the town was a glimpse of the complicated internal life of a roadside hedge.

hedge on Manse Brae

The clouds hadn’t lifted from the hills all day….

Caroline Street

…but it had been a very pleasant day for walking and cycling in December.

A look over the hedge as I got home showed the garden in winter mode.

Garden in December

Our daily newspaper had an article this morning reporting the findings of several studies, including the results of volunteers like our local bird ringer, Cat Barlow and members of the RSPB who have made garden survey returns like me.  It showed a marked decline in many species of British birds but it also reported a 109% rise in the goldfinch population nationwide.  I don’t want to claim all the credit for this but here is a snapshot of the goldfinch population of Wauchope Cottage garden goldfinch population today.

goldfinches

goldfinches

They were a bit of a novelty when I started feeding the birds a few years ago but they are very regular visitors now.

They weren’t mentioned in the report in the paper but I had to take one picture of the chaffinches just so that they didn’t feel left out.

Chaffinches
I like the one hiding behind a perch.

In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came round and yet again showed that he can practise to some purpose.  He told me that he had been playing his flute in the school band in a recent concert.  I was impressed that he had still had time to practise pieces for me.

After tea, Sandy arrived and we went over to Newcastleton in his car for a camera club meeting. The competition being judged was for monochrome photos and it was interesting to see what members had produced for this class.  I learned quite a bit just by looking at other people’s pictures and was pleased (and a bit surprised) to get a third place in the prints for this picture of the trig point on top of Timpen.

mist and trig point

I didn’t take it as a monochrome shot but it converted quite well.

The flying bird of the day in honour of their 109%increase is two goldfinches.

two flying goldfinches

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Head in the clouds

  1. It looks like a type of beard lichen on the tree and the rosy zoned bracket fungi look like turkey tails (Trametes versicolor), and very beautiful ones at that.
    It looks like some type of brown jelly fungus among the fern mosses, but they’re a bit shriveled. If you re-visit them after it rains they will most likely be plumped up a bit.
    You’ve got some excellent stone masons there. I wonder if they quarried the stone near the bridges they built. That was common practice here years ago.
    I like the monochrome shot. I haven’t ever posted anything like it, but I was playing around with one just today, coincidentally.

    1. The stone for the walls and bridge would come from our local quarries. It is mostly stuff called greywackie.

      I have found that monochrome is more difficult that you might think. I look forward to seeing your results if you ever think that they are worth posting.

  2. I’m afraid that the fallen tree has too much decay for use as furniture but many fine decorative objects could be salvaged from it.

    Congratulations on the third place prize!

  3. Mrs T has put the garden to bed impeccably. My mother used niger seed to attract the goldfinches – ruinously expensive. Hope your numbers make do with mixed.

    1. I used to use niger seed but Mrs Tootlepedal quite rightly objected to the huge mounds of husks underneath the feeder so now I use sunflower hearts which leave little or no mess and seem to be attractive.

  4. liked the judges, I admired your prize winning photograph, very interesting to look at. Great news about the goldfinches, you are plainly helping the population to swell.

  5. Enjoyed your post as usual, but I find it hard to believe the increase in goldfinch numbers. 10 years or so ago, I remember seeing flocks of them, in their 20’s or 30’s. Nowadays I occasionally see two or three, unless of course they’ve all moved north?

  6. Goldfinches were a real rarity when I was a child and I can’t say we really see them now but the bird population does seem to be changing. We see a lot more blue and great tits and magpies than we ever did and far less starlings and sparrows, come to think of it there have been less black birds this year too. The colour of your turkey tails is lovely, ours are very blue and green here.

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