Blown off course

Smoo cave

The guest picture of the day is another from Dropscone’s highland adventure.  He and his daughter visited the celebrated Smoo Cave which is near Durness in Sutherland.

Smoo cave

Strong winds and occasional showers kept me off my bike again in the morning and between the weather and the holiday, my September mileage is going  to be disappointing and I will have to rely on some good weather in October to help me reach my target for the year.

Meantime though, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and this means that for the first time for a month or two, I have been pulling my weight in this department.  Sandy has shouldered most of the work while I have been having my break.

I did find time to look at the garden birds and saw two less photographed birds near the feeder.

dunnock and chaffinch
Dunnock and chaffinch

I don’t know what has happened to all the chaffinches as we have had flocks of them all the time in years past.  I don’t know whether the poor spring harmed their breeding or whether they are finding food elsewhere.  I hope they return as they are my favourite birds for catching in flight.

I did get out into the garden once or twice to do some much needed dead heading…

The marigolds still needing the treatment

…and pick up the windfalls from the espalier apples.  Many of the apples had fallen behind the trees and as recovering them meant bending down a lot, I called in Mrs Tootlepedal to do the low level work.

In her role as Attila the Gardener, she has greatly reduced our sedum plants which were running riot but she has left one or two and as they are just coming into flower….


…I am hoping to see bees and butterflies on them if the weather is good enough.

The Virginia creeper is acting as an advance guard for autumn in a very showy way.

Virginia creeper

In the afternoon, we drove over to Lockerbie and caught the train to Edinburgh to see Matilda and her parents.

The sun came out as we walked down from the station and it made the bar at the end of their road into a thing of beauty.

Artisan Bar

Matilda was in good form and we formed a plan to take her out for a walk.  Unfortunately she doesn’t like strong winds very much and just as we were half way down the steps from her front door, a savage gust blew her hat off…

Matilda in the wind

…and she downed tools and went back inside.

I badly needed a walk so I left her and the others indoors and strode off down the road to Holyrood Park.

As well as the hill known as Arthur’s Seat, this royal park contains a huge expanse of very green grass…

Holyrood park

…perhaps so the Queen can have fun mowing it.  It seems to serve no other purpose.

I crossed the grass and followed one of the paths that lead up into the hills.  The whole site was formed by volcanic action and the results can be seen on all sides.

Holyrood park

My phone found the fading light a bit of a trial so I apologise for the quality of the pictures.  Of course this didn’t stop me taking a lot.

Arthur's Seat
Arthur’s Seat itself; the summit is at 822ft

There are crags and slopes wherever you look.

Arthur's Seat

Along with picturesque ruins…

Arthur's Seat

…and a small loch or two.

Holyrood park

It is a wonderful place to find slap bang in the middle of a city and a great choice for a quick and energetic .walk.  You gain height easily and are rewarded with fine views over the city, the Firth of Forth and on to the Kingdom of Fife on the far side of the water.

Firth of Forth

Looking back towards the city centre, I could see Holyrood Palace and the monuments on Calton Hill.

Calton Hill and Holyrood palace

The threat of rain and the promise of pizza for tea made sure that I didn’t stay out too long but I got full value for a walk of less than an hour.

The pizza was good and Matilda polished off more than her fair share….


…and kindly posed for a picture.  We thought that her new hairstyle suited her very well.

We avoided a shower of rain which had passed over while we ate and walked back to the train in the twilight.  It was quite dark by the time we got to Lockebie but the rain had passed over there too and we got home safely, although the road was quite wet in places.

The cloud had completely cleared when we got home and we spent a moment looking up in wonder at innumerable stars and the Milky Way.

The flower of the day is a fruit….


…but the flying bird of the day is a flying bird.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Blown off course

  1. Great pictures of, and from, Arthur’s Seat.
    And a lovely picture of Matilda with her new hair style.

  2. Wonderful photos of a surprising part of Edinburgh! The volcanic rocks are something special. Hope all our birds settle soon-maybe they are all moving around and finding the best places to hunker down for winter.

  3. The photos are beautiful, I would not have know they were taken with a cell phone. Such beautiful country you live in, even if the winds are a bit gusty and wild.

    Matilda is growing fast! Love the photo of her catching her hat before it blew away.

  4. I think your phone camera landscapes are better than the ones I take with my Canon. Also, I do think Matilda’s hair style is rather adorable. It must have been quite a contrast to come back from Marseilles to Langholm weather but you always seem to make the best of it and find interesting and attractive shots to share, Tom.

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