Making use of some sunshine

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s recent encounter with the terrifying invaders of Derby.

derby militia

We had a really good sunny day today and with nothing on our calendar, I tried to make good use of it.

The down side of a bright and sunny morning at this time of year is that it tends to be pretty chilly and that was the case today.  Although it wasn’t freezing, it was only just above zero so I decided that a morning walk was a better bet than a cycle ride.  Having hit the deck last winter after meeting unexpected ice on a ride on a cold but sunny day, I am going to be more cautious this time round.

The moss on the wall at the park was gently sighing as I went past on my way to the top of Warbla.

breathing moss

The Stubholm track had delights of various kinds.

fungus and robin stubholm track

When I got out on to the open hill, I could look across the Wauchope valley towards the recently felled Becks wood.  The plastic tubes show that they are planting deciduous trees there rather than replanting the conifers.   I shall be interested to see what sprouts out of the tubes in the course of time.

new planting in becks wood

You don’t have to go far up the track to the modest summit of Warbla (275m) before you are rewarded with splendid views. (A ‘click on the pic’ should bring up a larger version)

panorama from Warbla

I cut up hill off the track and was taking the direct route to the summit when I was halted by this obstruction.

warbla web

I carefully made my way round it and was soon beside the mast looking down towards England where the mist was rolling along one of the river valleys.

mist in Engalnd

It was altogether more cheerful to look towards Whita and the town and I tested out my new phone on the bigger picture.


Looking down at the New Town with the Lumix in hand again, I could see the Kirk Wynd heading uphill from the centre of the town.  This was the route that I had taken on our last sunny day.

View of kirk wynd from Warbla

I rang Mrs Tootlepedal to tell her, “I made it,  top of the world, Ma” but it was no good waving as our house is in the part of town that is tucked under the hill out of view.

View of town from Warbla

I took the track on my way back down…

track down warbla

…and was surprised to find that it was still reasonably firm under foot in spite of the rain.  It was slippery in places though and once again, I was glad that I had taken my walking poles with me.   They are helpful going up hill but indispensable when going down wet grass.

track down warbla with tree

Once again, I looked across the valley to the Becks Wood and could see a major operation in progress as a digger was lifting up great chunks of cleared brashings and dropping them into a large chipper from which they were being taken up a conveyor belt and fed into a lorry.  It was a noisy business.

jenkinson timber lorry

I decided to come home  by a different route and left the track and dropped down onto the Wauchope road where I was hailed by a passing cyclist who stopped for a chat.  It turned out to be my old friend and ex colleague Nigel, who was also enjoying the good weather.  He was on an electric bike and told me that it was going to let him go up hilly routes which he couldn’t have managed under his own steam as he has not been in the best of health lately.

He thought that I might rather scoff at an e-bike but I am totally in favour of them as they extend people’s cycling life and range.  Which is better: getting a little help or sitting at home wishing that you were out on a bike?   It is as they say, a no brainer.  I wished him well and he went off to climb the steepest hill that he could find.


I walked home past Pool Corner where an elegant set of catkins caught my eye.

catkins pool cornee

Nigel and I were not the only ones enjoying the sunshine.

two sunny goldfinches

greenfinch in plum tree

The temperature was not exactly climbing to the heights as it was still a meagre 4°C when I got back from my walk but as there had been no sign of ice anywhere, i decided to have lunch and go for a bicycle ride in the afternoon.

It took a bit of time for my legs to throw off the morning walk (going downhill really tests them) and to get used to the chill but after a few miles I began to enjoy myself and cycled happily round my standard 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I had already taken 50 pictures while on my walk so I didn’t stop too often to add to the total as I pedalled along but these two belted Galloways were irresistible.

belted galloways

Shortly after I passed the cows, I encountered Nigel on his way home from his hilly ride,  Considering that he had been out for well over two hours, he looked very cheerful.

I was so pleased to be out on  a familiar route that I took a picture of my old friends at Grainstonehead…

three trees grainstonehead

…and the Hollows Tower was tempting too.

Hollows tower

The sun gets low really early now so I couldn’t hang around and pressed on home, feeling the chill when I entered the shaded road along the banks of the river Esk as I headed back into town.

A cup of tea and a slice of toast were just the thing to revive me and after a shower, I sat down at my computer and checked out a set of pictures which I am showing at a lunch in the Buccleuch Centre tomorrow.

I finished that just in time to welcome Luke for our weekly flute session.  Once again, we had an entertaining time playing duets and we worked at getting a little more speed into our playing.  I don’t know if it is helping Luke but all this work is certainly helping me.

The usual Monday evening trio playing was on hold this week and while I always enjoying playing with Mike and Isabel, I was quite pleased to have a quiet evening in as after having had the whole of November off, I am finding that walking and cycling are harder work than they used to be.

I tried to find a flying gold or green finch of the day but I couldn’t get anything nearly as satisfactory as this chaffinch so once again a chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

It is going to freeze hard tonight they say so I am glad that I got a tootle and a pedal in today.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Making use of some sunshine

  1. That’s an amazing crop of mushrooms for December. I think this is where we get much colder than you much earlier.
    Nice shot of the spider’s web.
    I don’t think I’d have known you used your phone for that photo, It does a great job on landscapes.

  2. Oh, how I have missed the larger view[s] your blog always gets my day off to a positive start. I often think while being concerned about the ” bigger” concerns we often forget the incredible pleasure and beauty of the smaller simpler natural things. your blog is a perpetual reminder THANKS

  3. I love those sunny crisp mornings – though the windchill can be a little nasty. Thanks for the belted galloway picture…we are seriously contemplating adding a couple to the homestead….so pretty

  4. Glad you made it out for a ride on a sunny day, and I totally agree with you about Nigel’s e-bike. The views from the top of your world are impressive, and always a welcome sight. I love that long, low white sitting over the land. We see those in winter a lot here, and makes interesting driving conditions. Your friends the three trees are also a favorite.

    I wonder if Beck’s Burn is being replanted with poplar trees? They are another major commercial tree here, and are planted in large stands. A tree farmer friend says what one can plant for trees is in good part determined by the type of lumber mill nearby. The mill has to be of the correct type to process a particular wood.

    Three fungus photos and a robin make an interesting winter panel.

    1. I think it is unlikely that poplar trees are being planted. The likelihood is that there are grants for planting native hardwoods and we may see oaks and birches but time will tell.

  5. Love the photo of the spider’s web set amongst those colourful stalks and of course all the lovely views around your hills. Hope those soldiers have found their way back to Scotland now!

  6. Thank you for reminding me what a sunny day looks like, as they’ve been almost as rare as hen’s teeth around here this fall. The views from your walk were just as good as ever, and your phone does very well for landscape images.

  7. What a charming coincidence. I’ve been reading a book I chanced upon at the library. It’s “The Debatable Land” by Graham Robb (The Lost World Between Scotland & England). I’m enjoying the book and have this sneaking suspicion it’s referring to your neck of the woods. Seeing your shots of the countryside helps to bring the descriptions from the book to life for me. I’m not certain, but it seems the author mainly features a town from the next valley over.

    1. He is writing exactly about our neck of the woods though he is based in Liddesdale and not Eskdale which are on opposite sides of the debatable lands. I am not entirely convinced by the arguments which Mr Robb advances but it is good to get a fresh view on the place where you live. I have cycled along that cycle path which he describes as the narrowest he has ever seen

      1. I’m barely 100 pages into the book. It’s proving to be quite helpful to send me off to sleep, so the going has been a bit slow. I wish this old brain was better at remembering place names, but I was quite certain of your Langholm town that he mentions now and then. I’m not entirely certain, but I believe he may have described an outing to the Hollows Tower, too. You photos help bring his narrative to life for me! 🙂

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