Hitting my target

Mr G's cousin posing, metropolitan style

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She caught Mr Grumpy’s London cousin pretending to be a statue.

Mr G's cousin posing, metropolitan style

I think it may be true to say that we have already had more frosty days this winter than we had in the whole of last winter which was exceptionally wet and mild…and our winter hasn’t really started yet.

It was another bright and frosty morning today and the thermometer outside our window never reached 3°C all day with the result that the ground stayed frozen and untreated roads tended to be slippery in places.

Under the circumstances, cycling was out and I was more than happy to welcome Dropscone (and scones) for coffee.  The minister’s scone radar was working well and he dropped in to join us with perfect timing.

It took until after midday for the sun to creep far enough round to shed a little light on the feeder area.

The garden was full of blackbirds.


And robins.


In spite of the cold, there wasn’t a great deal of traffic on the feeders and I didn’t get many chances to see a flying chaffinch…

flying chaffinch

…and when I did, there was always a shadow in the way of a perfect picture.

We keep hoping that we will be visited by waxwings and there is a large flock of them thirty miles away to the west.  They must be going to have eaten all the berries over there soon and should head this way next with luck.  All I saw today was an occasional goldfinch.


After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Lockerbie to catch the train to Edinburgh and I went out for a walk.

I started out by visiting the river to look for black headed gulls.

Black headed gulls
There is always one contrarian.

Then I decided to walk along the track to the High Mill Brig and consider whether I had the time and energy to cross the Target Burn and walk up the hill when I got there.

The track to the High Mill Brig was very soggy in parts but did have a friendly face on the way…


…some excellent views…

View of Whita

…and a delightfully wooded ending.

Pathhead track

On the way, I passed several tempting meals for waxwings.


I walked down through a field to the High Mill Brig, which was looking very cheerful in the sunshine…

High Mill Brig

…and decided that I did have enough energy and the day enough sunlight left to make the Target Burn walk a good idea.

The track along the bank of the Ewes to the junction with the Target Burn was decorated with puddles full of ice designed by Picasso…

Picasso puddles

… and I soon passed the remains of the targets which give the burn its name.  The targets were used for rifle practice in years gone by.

I crossed the burn and took to the hill.  Any  colours other than brown were conspicuous by their absence…

Target Burn walk

…though if you lifted your head high enough, there was a distant prospect of fields and hills with some green about them still.

Ewes valley

It was another day with hardly a cloud in the sky and it was great to be out and about on the open hillside in such crisp weather.

The Target Burn route follows a wall across the moor….

Wall target burn

…and I can tell you that the last part of the climb is a great deal steeper than it looks in the picture.  I was pleased to reach the easier surface of the road and decided that there was not enough time to complete the walk by going up to the monument on the top of the hill.

I walked back down the road for a while and after a last look up the valley…

Ewes valley

…I left the road, took the path across the hill and walked back to the town down the golf course.

The course was looking in very good condition in spite of the cold weather…

Langholm Golf course

…but I was surprised to see a hardy golfer with a few clubs in his hand heading up the third fairway, trying to squeeze a hole or two in before the sun set.

Down below in the town, someone had lit a fire.

Smoking chimney

When we first came here, forty years ago, the whole town would have been covered by chimney smoke from coal and peat fires on a still day like today.  The building of the pipeline to bring North Sea gas to the town has given us a much cleaner environment these days.

By the time that I had reached home, the sun had sunk behind the hills and it was very chilly and grey in our garden.

I made a cheerful smoked sausage risotto for my tea and was ready for Susan when she came to pick me to go to Carlisle for our usual recorder group meeting.  All five of us were present for the first time for a few weeks and we had a good evening of playing.

It was -2°C as we drove home but Susan took great care and we arrived safely.  I was pleased to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had successfully driven home from Lockerbie too.

I didn’t find a leaf of the day today but one of the black headed gulls left its perch for long enough for me to get a flying bird of the day.

black headed gull flying



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Hitting my target

  1. Perhaps Mr. Grumpy’s London cousin is suggesting something for the fourth plinth at Trafalgar Square? Amazing how their necks can appear out of nowhere!

  2. Your puddle ice is much more artistic than what I saw recently and the view of the hills and green fields is beautiful. I don’t remember ever seeing it here before.
    It’s nice to see the robins with all of their different expressions and degrees of puffiness.

    1. I think you are right and that is the first time that I have taken that particular view. It is only since I got my new knee that I can do that walk and it is not often that the light is just right.

  3. As some one who hasn’t seen even the hint of sunshine for the past week, I loved the landscape photos that you shot while on your walk! The ice on the puddles images were very artistic, as other have said, and the flying gull was fabulous as well.

  4. A lovely walk on a beautiful day with wonderful landscape photos to enjoy. I really like the ice puddles, the bridge and the track through the woodland glade.

  5. Beautiful Robins and the Black-Headed Gull flying shot is also lovely. As for the fire, from time to time people still seem to burn leaves which was very common when I was growing up but now it always takes me by surprise. Nice to see the fields are still alive.

  6. The robins look less cheery in the cold, although the sunshine must be welcome to them.

    Glad the environment is cleaner than back in the old days of peat fires and coal. On many days here in our area I can see smoke from chimneys going sideways instead of up. The town does place restrictions on outside brush and trash pile burning during certain weather conditions, although many locals ignore them.

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