Eyes down

Today’s guest picture shows Queentown’s harbour taken in the evening by my brother Andrew when he visited the town earlier this month..

Queenstown Another windy day discouraged me from going cycling and I was secretly quite pleased as I am going through one of those periods when I am feeling a bit tired.  Doing nothing more strenuous in the morning than entertaining Sandy to a cup of coffee, making some sourdough bread and doing the crossword was just what the doctor ordered.

After lunch though, Sandy and I agreed to go for a short walk as the weather looked a little brighter.  No sooner did we put the phone down than it started to rain so Sandy came down and we put a week of the newspaper index into the database while we waited for the rain to stop.

It did stop and we went to Whitshiels in his car so that we could do one of my favourite short walks.  We were determined to try to use our eyes as much as possible as we pottered up the the hill.

Waterfall
It wasn’t too hard to see this little cascade at the start of our walk.
wild flower
A tiny pink wild flower stood out against the green background.
Moss with raindrops
This spiky moss was sparkling with raindrops.  It is amazing how such small spikes can such large drops of water.

I knew in advance that I might find some interesting lichen and moss on a gate beside the track and I wasn’t disappointed.

gateMy real target were these striking but tiny red dots.  I needed the camera to bring them up to a size that let me see them properly.

lichen
British soldier lichen

There were other items on interest (to me at least) on the way up the track.

fern spores
The underside of a fern
nettle leaf
And a nettle leaf

We went only as far as the top of the track as the fields were soggy and we weren’t wearing heavy boots but when we were there, relentless detective work was rewarded by some fine birch polypores of all ages.

birch polyporesJust how hard they were to find is illustrated by this picture of Sandy searching in vain for them.

Sandy and the polyporesWe were intrigued by a strange growth on some old trees nearby.  Is it a fungus, a lichen, a slime mold?  Surely some knowledgeable reader can help us out here.

Tree growthIt was quite large,  The central coloured section is as a large as a hand.

It wasn’t really a day for taking landscape pictures but I was quite taken by two views which I thought showed the characteristic colours of the hills at this time of year.

Across the EskTimpenWe normally do a circuit and return by the hill road when we do this route but today, in honour of my dicky knee,  we simply retraced our steps back down the track.

We rejoined the track at this leafy corner.
We rejoined the track at this leafy corner.

 Rather soberingly, we saw quite a few interesting things on the way back that we had missed on the way up.

toadstool
How could we have missed this?  Sandy spotted it on the way back.
fungi
And these?  I saw some of these and Sandy saw the others.

The track itself looked more interesting when seen on the way down.

Whitshiels trackAt the bottom, I paused to take a picture of a leaf which the nature writer in my morning paper today had described as ‘unattractive’.

leafPerhaps it is when found in great heaps but it looked very nice to me, lying in solitary splendour.

We were soon back at the main road with half a mile or so to go to get home.

A7I cooked a pan of roast vegetables for my tea.  My daughter, who rang up while I was getting things ready, asked if I was using a Mediterranean vegetable selection.  Sadly, I don’t think that swedes, turnips, carrots and potatoes are Mediterranean but I did put half half a red pepper in it.  And once again, I used very expressive hand gestures while I ate it so I tried my best and I was at least eating a lot of things from our own garden which must be a good thing.

In the evening, Sandy came round again and we went up to the Archive Centre.  We put in an hour and a half of solid work and rewarded ourselves with a glass of wine afterwards.  Interestingly, in light of the current Ebola alarms, the Langholm local authority in 1888 was meeting to discuss the best ways of preventing a smallpox outbreak spreading.

I didn’t spend much time looking at the birds on account of the gloomy weather but by dint of putting the ISO up to a heady 4000, I was (just) able to catch a flying goldfinch of the day.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Eyes down

  1. I think that root vegetables roast better than the “Mediterranean vegetables” because they have a bit of sugar in them and they carmelize on the edges. Use balsamic vinegar for a dressing and “Voila” you have Mediterranean. Of course, it’s the hand gestures that do it! (smile)

  2. It was a worthwhile walk, even though it was a short one. The moss with the water droplets looks like one of the haircap mosses, possibly Polytrichum commune.
    That’s a great shot of the fern sori. I know how small they are and it isn’t easy to get a good sharp shot of them.
    I think that might be a slime mold because of the way the edges look, but I’m not sure which one. It would be interesting to go back in a day or two and see if it has moved or has changed in any way.

  3. A fine collection of fungi, lichens, and who knows what other than Allen. 😉 It was also interesting to see many of the same subjects as shot by Sandy on his blog.

    I’m not trying to be a smart Alec, but do you use a walking stick to help take pressure off from your knee? It helps a great deal, not so much because one puts their weight on the walking stick, but so that it helps you to not twist or over-extend your knee. I have a monopod that doubles as a walking stick, and when my knee was really bothering this spring, using the monopod helped a lot.

    1. I use two sticks if I am just going walking ( and if I remember to get them out) but if I intend to take a lot of pictures on a short walk, I just stagger about as the sticks are just too much to manage with the camera/s. Thanks to all the cycling, my muscles support my knee pretty well if I don’t twist and turn. Being helpful and being a smart Alec are miles apart and your concern is much valued.

  4. Excellent lichen photos, that looks like a really good short walk. Well done Sandy for finding the polypores!

  5. I have a picture in my head of you “conducting” your veg to make them Mediterranean . . . makes me smile!

  6. Exquisite photographs of the lichens and fungi. I know nothing about mushrooms or fungi and so far have resisted the temptation to acquire tomes to identify the far fewer I encounter. But you may have pushed me over the edge.

  7. Splendid photographs from Queenstown’s Harbour, right down to the bottom.
    Amazing lichens, and an interesting shot of the rain drops on the spiky moss.

  8. Your delightful path looked very much like some of our trails in the northwoods, which was a surprise to me. Unfortunately, we don’t have any pleasant cascades on our trails.

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