Head in the clouds

Today’s guest picture comes from our older son Tony.  As he was busy house hunting, he sent me this charming squirrel portrait in lieu of a Father’s Day card.

ant's squirrel

The Muckletoon Adventure Festival had a better day for their events today.  The road cyclists were offered 30, 60 or 90 mile sportives and I would have liked to have had a go at either the 60 or the 90 but there were too many steep hills involved for the well being of my tin knee so I got up promptly and went for a gentle 45 mile ride instead.

I chose quiet and gently contoured roads for my trip…

road near KPF

…and once again slipped into England before crossing the border on my way home.

welcome to Scotland

It was a grey, cool and breezy day and I needed to be home for cooking duties so I didn’t stop to take any more pictures on the way.

Mrs Tootlepedal was home from church when I got back and needless to say, was hard at work in the garden.

I had a look round and the sun came out to brighten up the roses.


I went in to make a stew for the slow cooker and kept an eye on the birds while I did so.

Once again, the feeder was busy….

goldfinches at feeder

…and there was keen competition for perches.

goldfinch and siskin

After lunch, a small flock of greenfinches turned up.

greenfinch posing

It may have been a family because there was certainly at least one youngster in the plum tree looking for food.

greenfinch and young

…and occasionally getting it.

greenfinch feeding young

Mrs Tootlepedal did a little more work in the garden while I looked for new flowers…


…and found this blue campanula.


The hydrangea seems to have an endless supply of pollen because it was still buzzing with bees today.

This one has a stripy jumper on.

We didn’t spend much time in the garden though as I wanted a walk and Mrs Tootlepedal wanted to go somewhere different so we got into the car and drove over the hill to Newcastleton.  We went through the village and up the hill on the opposite side of the river where we found a Forestry Commission car park.  We parked the car and went for a walk in the forest there.

There was a selection of routes to choose from and having made out choice, we strode bravely off along this track…

Newcastleton forest

…which turned out to be the wrong direction.

However, more by luck than good judgement, we managed to finally get back on the right track and had a most enjoyable stroll.

We passed spacious forest planting…

Newcastleton forest (2)

…some very impressive ferns…


…and any amount of wild flowers.

Ragged robin, tormentil. marsh thistle and ajuga
Foxglove, dock, red clover and birds-foot trefoil

Many interesting creatures

A slug, an unknown moth on a grass and another on Mrs Tootlepedal’s boot which Anna Marett tells me is appropriately called a Red-necked Footman.

And several mountain bikers.

mountain biker
The two in the background were pushing their bikes up the hill.

There are some well used mountain bike routes in the forest and the Forestry Commission has gone to some lengths to provide good facilities for cyclists and walkers, planned so that they don’t get in each others’ way.

The second half of our walk, once we had found the right way to go, was on a neatly mown grass path.


And this led us safely back to the car.

We will definitely return to this area as it was a pleasure to walk there.

Our timing was good too as we got back to Newcastleton village in time for a cup of tea and a fancy at the Olive Tee cafe.  Our more usual outing policy is to arrive at cafes just after they have shut.

The drive home over the hill wasn’t quite as good as the rest of the outing though as it was raining and the cloud was so low that we had to put on our fog lights on the single track road.  No chance of any scenic views.

Still, we made it home and the slow cooked stew went down very well so it was a good day all round.

The flower of the day is a Martagon Lily, still carrying a little of yesterday’s rain.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “Head in the clouds

  1. What an energetic day you had, it makes me tired to read all that you did. I loved all the flowers, both those in your garden and the ones you noticed on your walk.

  2. That was a fine walk. The evenly spaced forest seemed appealing I’m sorry to say.
    Many of your flowers are ahead of ours, like foxglove, thistles and lilies.
    I have a blue campanula but it isn’t as dark as that one. It’s a beauty.

  3. Places shutting just before you arrive to enjoy what they offer. An example of perversity that seems to increase as we we accumulate years. Fortunately, Tootlepedal blogs invariably raise at least smiles and frequently, chuckles.

    1. Our good fortune was balanced by the complete lack of views on the scenic route home. But as they often say, “You can’t expect everything.”

  4. Lovely walk, we do that when we go to newcastleton for our new year break, although we walk up from the campsite. Beautiful roses they don’t grow very well here the ground is very free draining.

  5. Well… a long ride and then a drive and then a scenic walk – a very well spent day and lots of interesting picures to show for it.

  6. Yes, what an energetic day. The evenly-spaced forest is visually appealing and very different from the one behind our house, where everything grows helter-skelter. Still, the jumble has its own mysterious beauty. Glad the cafe was open. Always so disappointing when they are closed.

      1. Except for growing Christmas trees, I don’t think we have anything like that in Maine.

  7. I’m feeling tired just reading what you achieved in a day. Looks like a lovely outing in the forest with a tea break to end..sounds perfect. Love the balletic flying of the birds.

  8. You pack more into a day than any one that I know, a 45 mile ride, and a walk, along with the gardening and cooking. As some one else said, it makes me tired just reading about it all. I did like the flowers, especially the roses, as I love roses of all kinds. The walk through the woods looked inviting also.

  9. Amazing assortment of wildflowers, and I love the Greenfinch feeding picture. Your birds must be quite accustomed to your presence, to carry undisturbed.

  10. That slow cooker of yours seems to get quite a workout. They are rather wonderful at providing lovely meals with not a lot of fuss and bother. Seems as though your quite handy with yours- leaving Mrs T to produce all those stunning flowers!

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