Not a cloud

Mull of Kintyre

Today’s picture, sent to me by my friend Bruce, shows the view across the sea to the Mull of Kintyre, with not a mist covered mountain in sight.

Mull of Kintyre

There were no mist covered hills here either today as we enjoyed a cloudless sky from dawn until dusk and beyond.  There was a little more breeze about so I was glad to have got my cycling done yesterday.  Today, I took things more easily.

After a late breakfast, I went out to commune with the tadpoles…


… tidy up a rather ragged blackcurrant bush and pick the first rhubarb of the season.

Then Dropscone and Sandy came and we enjoyed scones and coffee before Sandy went off to do a short spell in the Information Hub and Dropscone retired to get his mental preparations for playing golf in order.

I went out to join Mrs Tootlepedal who had been gardening away all morning.  Together we emptied and moved a long term compost bin.  Mrs Tootlepedal was fettling up the gooseberry bush and its bed so I provided her with a barrow load of rough compost.  Bin D is emptying rapidly and it will soon be time for another burst of compost shifting.

The bright sun had persuaded the tulips to put their whole hearts into opening up to salute it…


…and it was positively warm outside at last.

After lunch, Sandy came round again and we drove down to Gilnockie Hall…

gilnockie hall

…and embarked on a walk of just under two miles.  Sandy is recovering well from his operation and this was a test for him which he passed with flying colours.

Before we had even got going, we were very interested to see a (very) early small tortoiseshell butterfly visiting a dandelion beside the hall.

small tortoiseshell butterfly

Our walk took us through the North Wood and down onto the old railway line..

Claygate walk delightful conditions.

The old railway line sometimes runs on embankments and sometimes through cuttings…

old railway at Gilnockie

…but we were quite surprised to see that this section…

old railway at Gilnockie

…which looks unremarkable, crosses a handsome bridge which we had never noticed on previous outings.

You wouldn’t think that you could miss a bridge of this size.

old railway bridge at Gilnockie

We had to scramble down the banking to get to the track below but we thought that the effort was worthwhile.

The little tunnel was beautifully constructed….

old railway bridge at Gilnockie

…and is a tribute to the workmen who built the railway line without the aid of modern machinery over 150 years ago.  It was home to a magnificent colony of spleenwort.

There were other things to notice too.

Strange plants were nosing up through the earth.

giant northern horsetail

I think that this is a giant northern horsetail, described as a living fossil as it has been on the go for more than a hundred million years (according to Wikipedia).

Some more modern plants were available too.


We passed interesting equines in a field belonging to a livery stables.



And there was evidence of the old railway to be seen…

gilnockie station

…as we passed the old platform, the site of the level crossing and the station house, now a private dwelling.

As we walked back along the road to Sandy’s car, we noticed a magnificent dandelion in the verge


We felt that, although short, the walk had been very good value.

When I got home, I mowed the greenhouse grass and and put a dose of buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn while Mrs Tootlepedal got the strimmer up and neatened up the edges of everything she could find.

There was time to look at a flower or two.

forsythia and violet
A bold forsythia and a shrinking violet

By the way, did I mention the the tulips were out?  They really were.


Then it was four o’clock and time for tea and a sit down all round.

In the evening we went to our Langholm Choir and a had a good time singing a madrigal and three songs from the great American songbook.

It was such a glorious and cloudless day that I thought that I ought to show that the sky was still clear at ten o’clock in the evening.


The flying bird of the day is a regulation chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Not a cloud

  1. Three thoughts: (1) “Mull of Kintyre” has such a ring to it. If it isn’t a fiddle tune, it should be. (2) The name tortoiseshell butterfly seems inappropriate for such a feathery-like back. (3) Horsetails always evoke prehistoric times for me and I would love to see a truly giant one. Sorry for the numbering, I’m getting organized tonight. Lovely post.

  2. I’m seeing plenty of dandelions but none have had a beautiful tortoiseshell butterfly on them, unfortunately.
    I like the railroad bridge and tunnel. Small bridges and stone culverts seem easy to miss sometimes.
    That’s a nice shot of the moon.

  3. The bridge/tunnel is certainly an example of the pride of craftsmanship that people used to take in their work, no matter how mundane it seemed.

    I’m loving the tulips and other flowers, please keep them coming!

  4. I really liked the butterfly – I don’t recall ever seeing one quite like it. You’ve got me thinking about bridges, too. I wonder what the oldest bridge in Antrim County would be . . . not 150 years old most likely.

  5. The tadpoles are coming along nicely. That looks like a beautiful walk on such a nice day!

    I got to see the full moon on its first night, but it has been obscured by clouds and rain since. Temperatures have dropped back into the 40s today, and I saw a report of a possible overnight low of 35 coming up. Some change from mid 80s (daytime) the previous week!

  6. Such a lovely walk you’ve taken us on- the bridge is particularly splendid and great photos of flowers, butterfly, tadpoles, birds, donkeys, moon…name it …you’ve tagged it! Thank you again.

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