Smashing puddles

Al, me and matilda

Today’s guest picture was taken yesterday by my neighbour Gavin, who was walking behind us back from the Market Place after the band had played.  He describes what he saw as ‘a rose between two thorns’.  Rather rude I thought.

Al, me and matilda

We had another lovely sunny day today but with added ice…

icy puddle

…which we haven’t seen for some time.

The wind was light though and Alistair, Matilda and I went to visit the park again.  The play equipment was too iced up to play on so we did walking instead and after some initial wariness in case of slipping, Matilda took to breaking the ice in any puddle we met with great gusto.

Sadly the fun had to go unrecorded as I failed to put a card into my camera.   There were hundreds of puddles so we had a busy walk.

We got back in time for a quick look at the birds….

Dappled goldfinches

….followed by lunch and then all too soon, it was time for our visitors to go back to Edinburgh.  We waved them goodbye and went inside sadly and then a few minutes later, we waved them goodbye again when they had come back and collected a forgotten item.

Although the walk yesterday and two days of grandparenting had both been fun, they had also both been quite hard work and the thought of a quiet sit down was quite attractive.  On the other hand, the weather was so good that a walk seemed almost compulsory.

I rang Sandy and soon afterwards, we drove down to the Hollows in his car.

On one side of the river, Hollows Mill was looking impressive…

Hollows Mill

…and on the other, the little wood where the original tower once stood was looking lovely.

Hollows Bridge wood

Sandy noticed a most unusual bird in one of the trees.

owl at hollows

We parked at the gate to the old road…

Old A7 hollows

…and walked the two  mile circuit along the road, up the Byre Burn track past the Fairy Loup and back down the road past the old station.

The wall along the old A7 was full of interest…

Pixie cup lichen
The biggest and greyest pixie cup lichen I have ever seen
Colour among the moss
Colour among the mosses

…but it was nothing compared to the unexpected appearance on twigs all the way up the Fairy Loup track of any amount of ice hair.

It was everywhere.

ice hair at Byreburn

I couldn’t find a perfect picture opportunity but this was my favourite today.

ice hair at Byreburn

The Byre Burn at the Fairy Loup was running quite calmly…

Fairy Loup

It is very annoying for a man with a camera that there is no view of the waterfall that doesn’t have a branch in front of it. Unfortunately the bank is too steep for an old man to climb down it with a saw in his hand.

The same might be said of the bridge over the burn at the top of the track.

Byreburn bridge

I have never seen a bridge with so many branches in front of it – whatever side you view it from.

We were struck by a rather haunted looking tree in the wood beside the track as we came up to the bridge…

Gothic tree
We didn’t get too close in case it reached out and grabbed us.

…and we liked the ice rimmed leaves of a bramble as we walked up the hill away from the bridge.


Just as we got to the top of the hill at Gilnockie School, there was a tremendous amount of mewing from a buzzard (or two).  It sounded very close but I couldn’t see a bird. Then  the sharp eye of Sandy spotted a buzzard on a telegraph pole in a field.  It flew up onto a tree on the far side of the field and posed.

The Lumix zoom at its full extent.

We walked along the road to the station looking straight into the sun….

Gilnockie road

…hoping that any cars would be able to avoid us as we wouldn’t be able to see them coming.  The camera saw much more clearly than we could.

Once we had dropped back into the woods as we got near the car, the light was kinder and when we got down to the old road again, it was positively golden.

Old A7 hollows
Straight out of the camera, no processing at all.

It is going to be hard for the rest of 2107 to live up to the first two days of the year as far as good walks and fun with family go.

Sandy came back for a cup of tea, a cake and a crumpet and then it really was the time for some serious sitting down.

I sat down seriously.

The flying bird of the day really is a bird today.

flying chaffinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “Smashing puddles

  1. A wonderful 2 days with Matilda and her parents, a beautiful walk on a sunny day and many interesting photos. That will be hard to beat! I love your moss and lichen dripping trees. They could be right out of our own Cascade foothills. I have often thought Tolkien must have developed the Ent characters in The Lord of the Rings from observing such trees.

    I will go looking for ice hair here over the nest week, as the cold weather is forecast to remain with us for a while now.

    A few attempts at sun here today, but mostly overcast and a few snow showers.

    1. You seem to need a frost over night and then a slight thaw in the morning with some sun to warm up the twigs. You also need the fungus Exidiopsis effusa as key to the formation of hair ice. See this article.

  2. I used to like smashing the white ice on puddles because of the tinkling sound it made. I wonder if that was what Matilda liked about it.
    You must have perfect conditions for the hair ice to grow. I never see it here.
    The waterfall and haunted tree were a real treat.

    1. It was a perfect hair ice day from just below freezing to just above and some sunshine too.

      Matilda liked the way the water welled up when the ice was squashed.

  3. …in jumping in frozen puddles…that little creak they give out before cracking and the prettiness of the shards. You certainly nevergrow out of it and it’s always more fun with an enthusiastic offsider!

  4. It was fortunate you had the energy to go for a walk in the sun after your previous energetic two days. Beautiful golden light, and a fine display of ice hair.
    Glad Matilda enjoyed jumping on all those icy puddles.

  5. What splendid photos to enjoy on a cold and frosty morning. Love the golden light scenes, the lichen and that amazing ice hair. Pleased I’m not the only one who forgets a card in the camera!

  6. What a beautiful start to the new year. We had bright, cold sunshine too, but yours looks infinitely better to me. Beautiful water falling and chaffinch flying.

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