Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s recent encounter with the terrifying invaders of Derby.
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.
The Stubholm track had delights of various kinds.
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.
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)
I cut up hill off the track and was taking the direct route to the summit when I was halted by this obstruction.
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.
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.
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.
I took the track on my way back down…
…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.
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.
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.
Nigel and I were not the only ones enjoying the sunshine.
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.
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…
…and the Hollows Tower was tempting too.
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.
It is going to freeze hard tonight they say so I am glad that I got a tootle and a pedal in today.