A piece of cake

Manifold valley

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He likes to find interesting places to walk and this shows the Manifold River valley with a secluded magnate’s estate, seen from Ecton Hill in the Staffordshire Peak District.

Manifold valley

We had a much brighter morning than yesterday and I got out into the garden to sieve some compost and dead head some flowers.    With no frost forecast for the next few days, we are hoping to have quite a bit of garden colour still showing in November which will be a treat.

I was spoiled for choice when I fetched the camera out.


nicotiana and cosmos

Fuschsia, clematis and sedum

I looked at the birds when I came in.

plum tree
The plum tree was a popular spot for perching
goldfinch, great tit and greenfinch
It was a good day for birds beginning with ‘G’ – goldfinch, great tit and greenfinch

I didn’t go out on my bicycle because we had visitors, Melanie and Bill, who came for coffee and lunch.   Melanie sits beside Mrs Tootlepedal among the sopranos in our Carlisle choir and her husband Bill is intending to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats next year with Melanie driving their camper van as the support team.  As we did the same trip a few years ago, they came out to us to look at the route which we took and to see if we had any observations which might be helpful.

We had coffee while we talked over the route and the roads and then we sat down to a good lunch and put the world to rights.  The lunch was rounded off by an excellent apple cake which Melanie provided and we very much enjoyed the visit.  Bill is a keen cyclist and is expecting to do the journey in a week less than we took.

After they had left, I took a moment to have another look at the birds out of the kitchen window.  They were in a sideways sort of mood.

blue tit goldfinch and coal tit

Then we decided to make good use of a calm, dry afternoon by going for a short walk.  The days are drawing in now and the light was already beginning to fade but I took a camera or two with me in the hope of seeing something interesting on our way.

We drove up to Whitshiels and walked up the track through the woods and fields, went across the moor and then came back down the road.

Track from Whitshiels
The larches along the track gave our walk a golden tinge.

I did see things which I thought were interesting…

Stagshorn fungus and British Soldier lichen

…and with the sharp eyes of Mrs Tootlepedal beside me, there was plenty to look at.


Although it was quite gloomy by this time, it was still a pleasure to look back as we climbed up the track.

Whitshiels view

As we looked at the hill on the far right in the background, we noticed something strange about the four windmills of the Craig wind farm….

Craig Wind farm

…and when we counted, it was because there are now five and a half turbines and a crane, presumably waiting to put the blades on to the sixth tower.

Wind farm development is proceeding on several hills round us at the moment and it has to be said that there is plenty of wind to go around.

As we got to the sheep fold at the top of the track, Mrs Tootlepedal noticed a pheasant talking to a passing twig.


The track across the rough pasture was pretty firm after the recent dry spell but there was some colourful sphagnum moss beside it.

sphagnum moss

I had to use a flash for that shot which made the moss look paler than it really is so I had another go with the Lumix to try get truer colours.

sphagnum moss

We had a last look back….

Langholm in autumn

…before we went round the top of the wood and took the road back down to the car.

I really like the mixed colours which arrive in the planted woods when the larches turn and the spruces stay green, especially if there is some deciduous colour as well.  Even though the light was pretty poor as we walked up the hill and  came back down the road, the views were still a joy to the eye.

Behind Langholm Mill

We had time to note a very large set of polypore fungi and and a vibrant bramble stem…

polypore and bramble

…before we drove home.

There is only one more day to go before the clocks go back and walking in the afternoons will be severely curtailed so I was very happy to have had the friendly weather for such a pleasant stroll in such good company.

I looked at the Met Office website this evening and saw that the humidity for today was well over 90% (it is going to be 95% tomorrow) so it is no surprise that the flower of the day,  a delicate pink tinged poppy, is slightly soggy even though it didn’t rain today.


The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch rising above it.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “A piece of cake

  1. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost November and there are still so many beautiful flowers left in the garden for you to photograph so well! I also loved the views of the scenery from your walk in the afternoon, it must have been heavenly to be out in such wonderful surroundings this time of year.

  2. Great colours in your garden and on your walk. Had a giggle at your sideways birds and your grumpy greenfinch! Favourite is the pink poppy hanging on until November….hopefully.

  3. I was pleased to recognise the view of the Manifold Valley taken by your brother as we walked there last year. You managed to find plenty of interesting things to photograph on your walk.

    1. Reading other people’s posts and particularly the New Hampshire Gardener’s instructive offerings have made me learn to look about a lot more than I used to. (I also walked faster in those days.)

  4. The sideways birds appear to be showing off for the camera. The gardens still have plenty of color left, and I love how you frame groups of photos, especially the moss and fungi. They are quite striking, and I am particularly fond of mosses.

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