Today’s guest picture came from our daughter who is at the Berlin Film Festival. She saw these birds and wondered what they are. They look a bit like crows to me.
My day started slowly and continued at that pace but it was not dull or empty. The sun was out but the east wind was blowing so I was happy to have coffee with Sandy while the thermometer crept up a degree or two.
When he left, I watched the birds for a short while….
…although there were not many to watch.
Then I had a couple of slices of bread and paté, got my cycling gear on and set off on the same plan as yesterday, keeping out of the wind as far as possible by staying in the valley bottom. As I was a bit pushed for time, I limited myself to twenty miles today.
The wind had shifted slightly and was not as gusty as yesterday so I had a more relaxed ride and was able to go downhill faster than uphill. I stopped once or twice….
…on my favourite short stretch of road to admire the little streams that keep me company as I pedal.
And an alder standing beside the stream.
I caught an early glimpse of the shy and retiring ‘often spotted gardener’ hard at work when I got home…
…and she drew my attention to some very encouraging signs of spring which had been brought on by the sunny morning.
…and some splendid snowdrops in full flower along with…
…enough golden daffodils to qualify as a small host.
There was even a winter aconite and a definite hint of promise in a lilac bud.
It was all very heartening.
After a cup of tea and a tangerine, Sandy reappeared and he and I drove to the Kilngreen and set off on a walk.
As long as you kept out of the wind, and we did, it was a glorious day for a winter walk. We had to ration our stops to take pictures or it would have been dark by the time we had got half way round.
These are some of things that I saw near the start of the walk.
Moss on a wall at the Estate Offices glowing in the sunshine.
A curtain of catkins on the way up to Pathhead.
Then we followed the track to the north above the rugby ground…
…checking out a tree in the field below Castle Hill…
…and taking a look at the woods across the Ewes water…
…until we dropped down to the High Mill Brig…
….which we crossed.
We turned left immediately after crossing the bridge and followed the track up the river until we came to Far Whitshiels Cleuch, more commonly known as the Target Burn because in times past, targets were set up at the foot of the burn for rifle practice.
We boldly crossed the burn….
…and walked up through the woods until we came to the open hill.
At this point, the only disappointment of the day came because, more or less exactly as we hit the open ground, the sun began to disappear, taking the views with it…
…although to be fair, it was rather hazy anyway and they might not have been very good if the sun had stayed out.
The sun was soon reduced to peeking through small holes in the cloud cover.
There were still things to see…
…but we had reached the part of our walk where walking rather than looking around was the main business….
…and we plodded over rough ground and followed the wall until it met the hill road.
By the time that we had got to the road, the light was beginning to fade so we settled for the most direct way home and followed the road down the hill.
There was just enough light for a black and white picture of the tree(s) of the day…
…but by the time that we had got back to the car we had exhausted both the available daylight and our energy and we were pleased to sit down.
At just under four miles, it was not a long walk but the terrain was testing and the views varied and interesting throughout so we had a real sense of achievement, a feeling that we had just done something good. We had done a shortened version of Walk 8 of the Langholm Walks Project which offers many walks that I can thoroughly recommend to any blog readers who have not already tried them.
I was more than ready for my tea when I got home but the lamb stew perked me up enough to give me the energy to have a sing through one of our choir songs with Mrs Tootlepedal after the meal. I have almost learned it.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch at full stretch.