Hitting the target

German birds

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.

German birds

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….

blackbird

…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….

Glencorf Burn

…on my favourite short stretch of road to admire the little streams that keep me company as I pedal.

Logan Water and Glencorf Burn

And an alder standing beside the stream.

Alder

I caught an early glimpse of the shy and retiring ‘often spotted gardener’ hard at work when I got home…

gardener

…and she drew my attention to some very encouraging signs of spring which had been brought on by the sunny morning.

Potential hellebore….

hellebore

…actual crocuses…

crocuses

…and some splendid snowdrops in full flower along with…

daffs and snowdrops

…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.

winter aconite and lilac

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.

moss on wall at Ewesbank

A curtain of catkins on the way up to Pathhead.

catkins

Then we followed the track to the north above the rugby ground…

Pathhead track

…checking out a tree in the field below Castle Hill…

Tree below castle Hill
It looked as though it was throwing its arms up and dancing a Highland fling.

…and taking a look at the woods across the Ewes water…

Whitshiels wood

…until we dropped down to the High Mill Brig…

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….

Sandy crossing target 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…

Ewes valley

…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.

sun and clouds

There were still things to see…

lone tree target burn

…but we had reached the part of our walk where walking rather than looking around was the main business….

Target Burn walk

…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…

trees on Whita

…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.

flying chaffinch

 

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Hitting the target

  1. Annie spotted two carrion crows (Corvus corone) in Berlin. They come in this light version as well as in a dark feather. I suppose on your isles the darker version is more common. Our snowdrops have finally made it in warmer corners of the garden, but the rest of early flowers are still in the making.

  2. I thought they were Hooded Crows too. I saw them in Ireland. Your chaffinch flying is simply amazing. And what a beautiful day you had. The light is changing, and it is glorious. The track to the north above the rugby ground looks like a dreamscape to me.

  3. It’s great to see all the flowers and the path above the rugby ground is one that I couldn’t resist.
    The catkins were beautiful in the sun and are something I’m looking forward to seeing in a month or so.
    With weather like that I wouldn’t doubt that the trees felt like dancing.

  4. The birds are Hooded Crows. I saw some in Argyll and Bute last year. They are common in the north of Scotland – Highlands and Islands.

  5. I loved the signs of spring appearing in the garden as well as the images that you shot while walking. I would also love to walk along the little stream that keeps you company as you’re riding, that a perfect example of the little streams that I love most of all.

  6. Surely Spring has come- such an uplifting post with delightful photos of all things that to love! Little streams, flowers, lone trees, stone walls, sunbeams, tunnelled tracks- no wonder you like walking and cycling so much seeing these scenes.

  7. Thanks everyone for the crow info, they were quite disconcerting for someone who has only every seen black crows. Sort of half crow half pigeon…

    What a good walk and lovely photos.

  8. The light at the beginning of your walk was just stunning on the moss (I thought it was dogwood stems when I first glimpsed it), the catkins, and the enticing road.

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