As we are going to visit her in London tomorrow, my sister Mary has sent me a guest picture of the day to remind me what a big city looks like. She was passing the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square..
More poppies have arrived in our garden, mostly opium poppies but with one new Shirley poppy too.
The bees were up early and enjoying the privet.
I took the poppy and privet pictures after breakfast and as you can see, we had a perfect summer day today so naturally it was my turn to do a couple of hours in the morning indoors in the Welcome to Langholm office. I did welcome a few people to the town and I also made good use of my time there by putting two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.
When the next welcomer arrived to relieve me, I pedalled home and combined having coffee with mowing both lawns and the greenhouse grass. This was necessary as the visit to London will last three days and the warmer weather is making the grass grow at last.
While she is in the south, Mrs Tootlepedal is going to stay with her mother for a week or two so she was pleased to have got the last of the hedges trimmed.
After mowing and a late lunch of tinned sardines with potatoes and beetroot from the garden, I thought of cycling but there was a very brisk wind blowing so I got in touch with Sandy instead to see if he was available for a walk.
He was and at his suggestion, we decided to visit the Winterhope Reservoir which lies about six miles to the west of Langholm where it impounds the head waters of the Kirtle Water.
Sandy drove and once we had parked, we were able to enjoy a selection of wild flowers….
…as we walked up to the foot of the dam.
It is an impressive structure but fortunately there is friendly set of steps to get you to the top and a splendid view to greet you when you get there.
There is a rather old fashioned looking control house on the dam….
…and we walked along the top of the dam and past the building to start our walk on the east side of the water.
I was distracted by ducks and concrete loving lichen as we went across.
There is no track on the east side of the reservoir so we had to plod over some tussocky ground but there were always lovely prospects to give us pause…
…and smaller details as well.
We were in open fields and we were slightly nervous about the prospect of meeting cattle but although we did see a couple of cattle collections, the first stared at us without moving from the top of the hill and the second moved away politely leaving us plenty of room to get past.
There should be more cattle like this.
The reservoir is about 500m in length so in spite of the rough ground, it didn’t take us long to get to the far end…
…which these days is overlooked by some of the big turbines on the new Ewe Hill windfarm.
Walking down the track on the west side of the reservoir, we could look back at the fields we had walked through on the far side.
It is a supremely peaceful spot.
When we got back to the dam, we spent quite a lot of time leaning on the railing and looking at aquatic plants….
…which created a little waterscape of their own with islands, promontories, bays and headlands. I don’t know what these are and hope that some kind reader can enlighten me.
It wasn’t only the plants that kept us leaning on the railings. There were a great number of blue damsel flies about and large quantities of little fish darting around and occasionally leaping from the water.
We went to the far end of the dam to get another look.
The damsel flies were too far away and flitting about too vigorously for me to get a good picture but you can see five of them in this shot.
The shoals of little fish were easier to spot, though the contrast on the camera shows them much more clearly than we could see them in real life.
In the end we left the damsel flies and fish to it and walked back down the side of the dam….
There was more to see beside the track back to the car…
…but before we could get to the car, we were waylaid by Jean and Wattie, who live below the dam, and regaled with refreshing cordial and rich tea biscuits accompanied by tales of all the wildlife they see.
It was a good way to end a lovely walk.
Sandy and I picked some blackcurrants for him when we got back to Wauchope Cottage but there are still plenty left for me to make more jelly.
All this had taken some time so it was soon time for tea and we had a second helping of the slow cooked stew, this time with fresh carrots from the garden.
We are off to London for a few days to see my sisters, spend a day with our daughter and celebrate my brother-in-law’s birthday and I don’t know whether there will be an opportunity to post anything other than the briefest efforts until I get home again.
I did get some contrasting flying birds of the day though as a great flock of crows got up from the trees beside the reservoir…
….and this plane flew low over the garden twice this afternoon.