Today’s guest picture, especially for people of a certain age, shows the Ferry across the Mersey. It was taken by my brother Andrew.
The gales of yesterday had abated by this morning and there was some welcome sunshine too. In spite of dire warnings of icy conditions, it was a mellow 6°C so Dropscone and I set out on the road to Waterbeck for our morning pedal. The gales may have abated but there was still considerable strength left in the wind.
The run to Waterbeck is roughly split into five miles uphill followed by five miles downhill and of course the return journey has the same shape. The five miles downhill into the wind on the way out were accomplished at a painfully slow 12.8 mph and the five miles up the hill on the way back were accomplished at a speed of 12.3mph which gives a fair reflection of the strength of the breeze.
The rate for the last five miles, downhill and with the wind, was 23mph and that was with us not even trying very hard. I won’t say what the speed for the first five miles uphill and into the wind was but it only required a single figure to record it.
Still, the effort gave us a sense of achievement and the traditional Friday treacle scones were consumed with quiet satisfaction all round.
The light was good after coffee and I enjoyed watching the birds for a while. The chaffinches had taken over the siskin’s role as chief troublemakers of the day.
The goldfinches and siskins were just flying about.
The wind was strong enough to ruffle a few feathers and birds had to hang on tight when perching.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been working in the morning and after a short break, she was going back for more in the afternoon so I opted for a walk.
I went by car to the Whitshiels, stopping at the Kilngreen on my way out and my way back. This gave me the opportunity to exchange a speaking glance with a mallard…
…spot two sort of wagtails in the distance….
…and watch an oyster catcher on land and in the air.
When I started out, the sun was shining but shortly afterwards, a terrific hailstorm enveloped the town. Luckily I was sitting in the car on the Kilngreen at the time and it soon passed over and I was able to start my walk.
I took a familiar route up through the wood, across the fields, onto the open hill and back by the road. This gives me several different environments in the space of a couple of miles or less.
Among the delights of walking round Langholm are the many little chattering streams that flow off the hillsides that surround the town. I crossed one of them at the start of my walk.
Soon I was out of the woods and the sun was out from behind the clouds.
Looking in the other direction, I could see that the sun hadn’t reached the monument in spite of some blue sky.
But I was in the sun and enjoying myself.
I passed a tree of which almost every inch was covered by a feast of lichen.
Other trees were less encumbered.
After a quick look back at the view up the Ewes Valley….
…I left the open country and took the road back down the hill.
The first part of the road is full of interest with a quarry on one side….
…and a wall full of exciting things on the other.
After the wall runs out, there is a neatly cut but rather boring beech hedge…
…which soon led me back to the car.
As a varied short walk it must be hard to beat and I certainly enjoyed it enough to make sure that when I got home, I had to spend quite a lot of time deleting pictures from my camera card. A little bit of sunshine certainly stimulates the shutter finger.
In the evening, we were visited by Mike and Alison and a day that had started with a pedal, ended with a tootle (Hook, Woodcock, Handel and Finger among others). Considering that there had been a walk in between, what more needs to be said?
The only downside is that the temperature is dropping and the rain is dropping too as I write this.
A swooping goldfinch not in the usual hovering mode makes flying bird of the day today.