A big surprise

Today’s guest picture is another from my daughter Annie and shows two of her friends deep in conversation in her Brixton garden.

parakeetsThis weekend the Muckletoon* Adventure Festival is in full swing with a cycle hill climb yesterday, mountain bike rides, guided walks and trail running today and 30, 60 and 90 mile cycle sportives tomorrow and a host of other supporting events as well.  In previous years I have done the 60 mile sportive while Mrs Tootlepedal did the 30 miles, taken part in the cycle hill climb and rushed about taking photos but this year I decided that I would take a break.  I was due to take some pictures of a bird ringing session tomorrow but this has been cancelled due to the threat of rain.

A forecast of wet and gloomy weather had helped me make up my mind and it was soggy when we got up.  Still, it was warmer than we expected so we put  rain jackets in our bags and set off for a very gentle ride far from the energetic competitors of the main events.

We were keeping an eye on the roadside  verges and Mrs Tootlepedal reckons that if you go over 9mph, you can’t check them out properly so, by and large, we maintained a modest pace.

It paid off.

Our route took us up quiet back roads…

Barnglieshead…past belted Galloways, our local breed of cattle….

belted galloways…and through many displays of red campion, geraniums, geums, trefoil, cow parsley, silverweed and…

two clovers
….two sorts of clover
rattle and bedstraw
…and rattle and bedstraw

We were just at the highest point of the 14 mile ride and on our way home, when Mrs Tootlepedal said, “It’s starting to rain.” It was.  Two minutes later, I said, “The sun has come out.”  It had and greatly to our surprise (and delight), the rain vanished and the sun remained out for the rest of the day.

It was warm and the garden looked fresh and welcoming.

lupin and anemone
Colours shone in lupin and anemone
astrantia and rose
Understated class
frog
Frogs basked in the sunshine

After lunch, I mowed the middle lawn in celebration and Mrs Tootlepedal continued planting out the flowers that she has been raising in the greenhouse.  In the end, I decided it was too good a day not to go for a walk so, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal slaving over a hot trowel, I set off to visit the top of Warbla to enjoy the views.

It was a beautiful day, warm but not too hot and with a cool breeze in my face.

Pool CornerMy route took me past Pool Corner where I stopped to check on the slow worms.

slow worm
They were enjoying the warmth too.

I had taken a picture of a geum in the garden before I left and I found a wild one in the hedgerow as I walked up the Manse Brae.  The contrast between the two shows the skill of the plant breeder.

geumsI crossed the Auld Stane Brig and turned up onto the hill.

WarblaI was soon looking back down the hill, first to a lovely wood on the side of the hill….

warbla wood…and then down into the town from the top of the hill.

LangholmAt the very top of the picture of the town, you can see the rugby ground which is the headquarters of the Adventure Festival.

I looked up the Ewes Valley…

Ewes valley…and took a small panoramic picture of the view north from the hill which Photoshop kindly stitched together for me from two photos.

Langholm panoramaWarbla sits on the edge of the hills above the Solway Plain with extensive views to the south, east and west but the view to the north is the best.

There were other things to look at as well as the views.  I saw quite a few butterflies and even managed to photogrpah two of them, a painted lady and an orange tip.

painted lady, orange tip butterfliesThere have been reports of an invasion of painted ladies this year so I was very pleased to see one fluttering about on the very top of the hill, impervious to the brisk breeze.

There were birds singing galore and one hopped down the track ahead of me as I left the summit.  It kept a few yards in front of me so I suspect that I must have been near a nest.  I am not very knowledgeable about birds but I think that this one is a lark.  It kept just out of range of a clear picture.

larkThere were sheep grazing on every side and a mother and child posed for their portrait as I passed.

sheep and lambIf I was a poet this account of my walk could correctly be described as a pastoral idyll.

Warbla TrackAs I neared the end of my walk, I was intrigued by a little bird popping about on a fence beside the track,  I took several pictures and I thought that I was always looking at the same bird but….

bird on fence…the two pictures here look rather different.  Can any expert tell me what the bird is?  And are both pictures of the same bird?

Nearby, an old stable was in danger of being swamped by buttercups.

stableWhen I got home, the early evening was so beautiful that Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a cup of coffee out into the garden to sit and drink while Pocketcam scurried off to take our picture.

TootlepedalsI finish the post with a double picture, the soggy iris taken after breakfast and the hosta taken in the evening sun.  I think that they sum the day up pretty well.

iris and hostaIn spite of the excitements of the ride and the walk, the flying bird of the day is a domestic sparrow.

flying sparrow*Muckletoon: The ‘big town’,  Langholm of course.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “A big surprise

  1. Belted cows are so striking! I saw a few brown and white ones while out the other day on a ride, they were rather friendly as well 🙂

  2. I’m glad the weatherman was wrong in a favorable way for a change.
    The landscapes are beautiful as always. That pasture full of buttercups is a nice to see but it will probably never see a cow or sheep. They’re very toxic to animals and humans.
    I like the portrait on the iris bench!

  3. I like the animals in this post: we have nothing at all like those dapper belted cows, and the ewe and lamb are gorgeous. Glad to see that the wobbly bench held for the portrait!

  4. I’m sorry, I can’t help with the identification of the birds in question, I have enough trouble with the birds of North America, I haven’t delved into those of Scotland yet, other than through your blog. But, to me, it looks as though the two on the fence are a male and female of the same species, but I could be wrong.

    I’m glad that you had a good day of weather, the landscapes were great, and I really liked the photo of the sheep.

  5. A wonderful series of photographs, starting with the fine green friends in London.
    The mother and child portrait is excellent and so is the one that pocket cam took of you and Mrs T having a well-earned rest.

  6. Such a pleasure to follow you on your outings and see all those lovely photographs, my favourite being the one at Pool Corner. Nice also to see the old people enjoying a spot of leisure!

  7. It was so lovely to see you and Mrs T relaxing and enjoying a cuppa in the sunshine. What a lovely day and your pictures are delightful, especially the mother and child one. Occasionally I see belted Galloways here and they certainly attract a lot of attention. I hope more sunshine comes your way in the next few days.

  8. Love the pictures of pairs of parakeets, people and livestock.
    So Andy’s decided he’d quite like to play again today.

  9. Very tentative identifications of your two birds: one of that difficult-to-distinguish pair, chiffchaff and willow warbler; and meadow pipit. But very tentative, as I say.

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