Today’s guest picture shows what can only be described as a host of golden daffodils. They were spotted by my sister Mary on a walk through St James’ Park.
My first walk was round the garden of course. There were new flowers.
The pond is now so full of frog spawn that there is hardly any room for the frogs.
Later in the morning, I gave my new knee and dodgy ankle a test by ascending on foot to the summit of Warbla. This is not quite mountaineering as it only involves a gentle one and a half mile stroll up a very good track….
Still, it was the longest and highest climb that my new knee has tried and I was very pleased to find that it didn’t mind at all and worked perfectly both on the way up and coming down. I have been doing calf stretches on the advice of my physio and these seem to have been very helpful for my ankle which had no complaints either.
Thanks to the high pressure and the winds from the east which have been keeping our weather fine and dry, there is quite a lot of air pollution about and in spite of the fine weather, the views were distinctly hazy but I snapped away regardless.
The view from the summit is generous.
There is a TV mast and various telephone dishes at the summit of Warbla which account for the good track. There was a new device which I hadn’t seen before on this visit and it is shown alongside the oldest piece of technology up there, an Ordnance Survey trig point, now no longer in use..
I could have shown you a lot more very interesting views of hills if Sandy hadn’t rung up and suggested an afternoon walk.
We left Mrs Tootlepedal knocking up a pair of net curtains and went down by car to Hagg-on-Esk where we took a stroll along the banks of the river up to Irvine House and back.
I took many shots of the river but this one will have to represent them all.
It was a delightfully tranquil walk and we were rewarded with sightings of dippers, oyster catchers, grey wagtails, pied wagtails, mallards, goosanders, blue, great and long tailed tits and a pair of buzzards.
The light was playing tricks and was often too bright at crucial moments so the photographs don’t match the pleasure of the walk. I put them in for the record.
The dippers were even more difficult to catch.
It is hard to put into words the pleasure of sitting on the banks of the river watching dippers, goosanders, oyster catchers and wagtails flitting up and down past us. It was very soothing to the soul.
There were other things to divert us too. We wondered if a tree has ever had more catkins to the inch than this one.
Although our walk was only just over a mile and a half, there and back, it took us the best part of one and a half hours which shows how much there was to stop and watch along the way. I hope that Sandy will post some pictures from the day in his blog in the course of time, as it will be interesting to see what he made of it.
We had a cup of tea when we got home. The builders have finished wet dashing the new wall.
After our cup of tea, Sandy suggested a drive up onto the Langholm Moor to see what we could see.
He went first in his own car and I followed on in ours with Mrs Tootlepedal, who had finished her curtain making. When we joined him, he said he had been watching a short eared owl and sure enough a minute or two later, we had a splendid view of one as it flew along the hillside. I was in bird watching mode and had my binoculars out but I dived back into the car for my camera and tried to get a shot before it disappeared over the hill.
Mrs Tootlepedal caught a glimpse of a hen harrier as we drove home but I had to keep my eye on the road.
All in all, I couldn’t have asked for a better day than this one to celebrate the vernal equinox. The only downside was finding about 200 images on my camera cards when I put them in the computer in the evening. It has hurt my head getting them down to my regulation maximum but as the photography was not in the same class as the actual walks, the discarded 180 are no great loss.
The flying bird of the day is a grainy shot of the short eared owl taken as the light faded.