Today’s guest picture comes from Jenni, my Highland correspondent. We have been having some good sunrises here and may be there is something in the air at the moment because she had a spectacular one too.
It was another cold day with the thermometer hanging about the 5 degree mark at best but a nipping and an eager air made the wind chill factor a neat zero.
Under the circumstances, I was pleased to get out on my bicycle, if not early, then at least before I had sat down to waste time over coffee and a biscuit, my usual delaying tactic.
I took a simple out and back route to avoid any long effort cycling straight into the chilly wind though I did take a short diversion up to Cleuchfoot…
…where I stopped to take a picture of a tiny valley that runs down to the road. It looks as though it might lead somewhere exciting but in fact it only leads out onto a boggy and featureless moor. Once I was back on the Lockerbie road, I was very pleased to see men and machines hard at work at the site of the recent landslip.
No one had expected work to start so promptly.
I passed them and cycled on to the top of the hill at Callister where I was passed by half a dozen quarry lorries who were busy at the site of the new wind farm there. There is no sign of the turbine towers yet so they are either improving the access road or building the bases.
I stopped at the road works on my way back and was very impressed by how well they have sorted the problem.
I was curious about the black plastic pipes sunk into the surface of the works and one of the men told me that they are going to be holders for the new fence posts. He said that he thought that the repair was sound and would last well and as he turned out to be one of my ex-pupils, I have every confidence that he will be right.
On my return to Langholm, I cycled through the town and out of the other side and since the sun was now fully out, I stopped to record my favourite view up the Ewes valley….
…and the neighbouring farmhouse.
I clocked up twenty miles and was quite happy to stop before I got chilled.
I had a quick look at the birds and was shocked to see a male chaffinch being beastly to a female…
…but pleased to see that our lone siskin was back again.
I made some soup for my lunch and while it was cooking, Mrs Tootlepedal headed off to catch the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda.
Fuelled by the soup and a couple of tomato rolls, I went out for a walk.
I started off along the riverside path and then headed uphill through the Kernigal wood. There has been a lot of wind blow lately and it was good to see that someone had been out with a saw and done some tidying up.
Perhaps this is because I was walking along the track you can see on the right of the picture below which is much used by local mountain bikers.
It is very welcome for walkers as it provides a good path through a tangly bit of forest.
I came out at the top of the wood and walked back down the track towards Skippers Bridge. I didn’t have my thinking head on when I chose my route and I was rather upset to realise that if I had been walking on the other side of the valley, I would have been enjoying a sunny day.
In fact when I looked around, I found that almost everywhere was bathed in sunlight except where I was walking.
When I got down to the main road, I found that winter had cleared enough foliage away to give me a view of the large bridge for a small stream which almost all motorists probably pass over without noticing as they leave the town for the south.
I didn’t dilly dally on my way home as it wasn’t getting any warmer but I did stop to check out the black smudge on the fence at Land’s End which turns out to be this very attractive lichen, still in excellent condition…
…and to see if the fungus on the tree at the Co-op had survived the cold weather. It had and was even bigger than when I saw it last…
…and it too looked to be in good condition.
As I walked back along the river bank, a glimpse of brightness among the gloom on the far bank caught my eye. It was an old friend disguised as a twig.
Back in the garden, I found a little remaining colour on the leycestaria…
…but there was nothing else of note so I went inside and did the crossword.
As Mrs Tootlepedal had taken our car away and my friend and customary chauffeur Susan was on holiday in Glasgow, I had no way of getting to Carlisle and back for the monthly meeting of our recorder group. They are kind people though and on the Mohammed and the mountain principle, since I could not get to them, they came out to me and we had a most enjoyable evening of music making.
We were just having our post-playing cup of tea and biscuit when Mrs Tootlepedal returned safely from Edinburgh and that rounded off a cold day very warmly.
I didn’t find a moment with both good light and a flying bird in it so that is the reason for a very scrappy flying bird of the day picture.