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.
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.
Dropscone 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.
Other trees nearby were still standing.
I found the new bridge and recorded this first visit.
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..
I also stopped on my way back to catch the gloriously named Water of Milk as it tumbled over some rocks near Paddockhole.
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.
It was trees again that caught my eye when I got to the top of Stubholm Bank.
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.
I did see some black growths which I had missed last time round.
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.
My last shot before getting back to the town was a glimpse of the complicated internal life of a roadside hedge.
The clouds hadn’t lifted from the hills all day….
…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.
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.
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.
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.
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.