Hidden delight

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is visiting the Glasgow area and found himself at the start of the West Highland way in Milngavie.  He is not going to walk it though as it is 96 miles long.

west highland way start

I have always believed that the autumn equinox came on the 21st of September so it was rather a disappointment to find that this year, it will not arrive until Monday 23rd.  Today would have been a wonderful day to mark the end of summer, as the sun shone from dawn till dusk and there was not a cloud in the sky all day.

It was quite windy though so I was more than happy when Mrs Tootlepedal suggested an outing and this gave me a good excuse to leave my bike in the garage.

After a quick look at a couple of sunny flowers in the garden…

nastutium and gladiolus

…we set off in the Zoe to go to the ‘Hidden River Cafe’.

We had only quite recently heard about this place although it has been open for some years, so it has definitely been quite well hidden.

It  is not far from Longtown but the last few miles were done at a stately pace as we got behind a tractor on a very narrow road.  This was not as troublesome as it would have been if we were still in our old car.  One of the benefits of the electric car is that it is a pleasure to drive at any pace.

We found the cafe and enjoyed a coffee and a delicious slice of cake while sitting in the sunshine on their outdoor terrace.  We asked if we might take a walk round after we had finished and they were happy to let us explore.  Basically the the site is home to six log cabins for holiday lets.  They are well spread out on  the bank of the River Lyne and we walked along the access road.

hidden log cabins

If you want a holiday with full time peace and quiet, this is the place to go.

The cabins are substantial and made of big logs!

log cabin

One of the staff kindly showed us round a cabin and it was impressive inside.

This was the view from its patio.

river lyne

The site is part of a working farm and although we were serenaded by buzzards as we went along, and passed an oak tree laden with acorns…

log cabin wild life

…there were no wild flower meadows and no birds singing, just an occasional fungus and some straggly ragwort.

The lack of flying insects all around our area is getting worrying, perhaps caused by the the lack of wild flower .  This in turn may be causing a shortage of birds.  I wish that I knew more about what is going on.

Still, it was a beautiful spot and we are told that the cooking at the cafe is very good so we were pleased to have finally discovered it.

We took a diversion on the way home to visit a garden centre where Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a painted lady on the merchandise and I bought some sand to treat the lawns at home.

garden centre butterfly

We got home in time for lunch and then we went out into the garden to make some use of the good weather.

We had plenty of butterflies about but oddly enough, there were no peacock butterflies to be seen today when I was looking.

three butterflies

The sedums are the centre of attention just now as the buddleias are almost over.

bees in sedum

The orange hawkweed is in fine fettle…

orange hawkweed sept

…and the mountain of sunflowers seems to be getting bigger every day.

massed sunflowers

I did some more dead heading but my chief business was getting the grass cut before the rains come next week.    It was time to raise the cutters to their autumn height but looking at my records, this is easily the best the lawns have looked so late in September.

middle lawn equinox

I may have mentioned before that though it has been a funny year for weather, it has undoubtedly been a very good year for grass,

front lawn equinox

I take my hat off to the makers of the moss eating lawn fertiliser too as it has worked very well.

I mowed the green house grass but it has a different mower and is cut to a rougher standard.

green house grass equinox

The  I sieved a little compost from Bin D…

compost sieving

…and then, because it was really quite hot in the sun, I went in and had a sit down.

After a cup of tea and two iced buns, I had got enough strength back to try out my new shoes on a walk up a hill.

Once again, there was not much in the way of things to look at beside the track but I did see a pale fungus on a moss covered tree trunk and a lonely scabious.

fungus and scabious

I chose the track up Warbla for my walk as it has a gentle gradient and a good walking surface on a dry day…

Warbla track

…and some splendid views.  This one is looking up the Esk valley towards the Gates of Eden

warbla view gates of eden

…and this one, from the summit, is looking over the Solway plain towards the English hills in the distance.

solway plain from warbla

As Mrs Tootlepedal was busy cooking our evening meal, I didn’t hang about on the summit and after a look down over the town…

Warbla view of town

…I took the track back down the hill, turning off to cut down to the road at the Auld Stane Brig and passing this fine burst of haws on a hawthorn tree just before the gate onto the road.

hawrthorn berries

It was a three mile walk and my new shoes worked very well and my feet gave me little trouble.

I met my occasional neighbour Ken as I got home.  He is the same age as me and has at least as many, if not more, medical problems than I have, but all the same he tells me that he is getting near to 5000 cycling miles for the year so far, twice as many as me.  I shall have to stop complaining  all the time and get working.  He is an example to us all.

I forgot about a flying bird of the day while I was preparing this post so there isn’t one.  It has flown.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s meal was worth hurrying down the hill for.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Hidden delight

    1. As I cycle and walk around, the lack of birds is very noticeable. It is not easy to see that anyone with power is going to be interested enough to worry about it at all.

  1. Glad to hear the new shoes are working, and you are walking without much trouble again. The view from up the track are lovely! Our day here was also bright and sunny, and pleasantly warm. Rick harvested a lot of pickling cucumbers this morning. The tomato forecast is not as good, and the wine forecast is dismal. Wasps went after even unripe pinot grapes, and I will probably end up making wine from our Cascade grapes, which the wasps have just located. I would like them a bit riper, but may not get the opportunity.

    It is always good to see the bright face of a nasturtium. 🙂

    1. Our plums were briefly threatened by wasps but then they disappeared and we got a good crop. I am sorry that the weather is playing fast and loose with your harvests.

  2. You seem to have the knack of packing a lot into a day. And a very nice day it seems to have been too.

    We need some new laws in this country (by which I mean the UK, in case those of you with separate systems should be wondering). All new buildings to have solar panels and water harvesting systems for gardens. All councils to plant wild flowers on wasteland and in verges,/central reservations – some do it so why not all? Public shaming for people who wash their cars with hosepipes – and set the gutters running with their waste water. We have several round here who do it and it always makes me think of African kids walking miles for water. If you are caught wasting water like that you should have to spend your weekend transporting water in a bucket balanced on your head. Ten miles balancing a bucket will give them a new perspective on water waste.


    1. A quality rant, fine muttering and excellent fulminations. The failure of the government to amend building regulations to deal with energy conservation is quite baffling, a triumph of either lobbying or ideology over public interest.

      1. Lobbying, stupidity and bribery would be my preferred options. For politicians that is. Obviously if it was me I’d favour bribery. I’m not sure they have ideology these days.

      2. I am perfectly sure that the present government is driven by ideology, though I agree that bribery is an attractive theory. I think that they have fundamentally misconstrued the point of the parable of the talents. Who is the hero in that story?

      3. Even after re-reading the story I’m a little confused, though the concept of giving more to people who have plenty does seem to be a theme with many of our politicians through my lifetime.

      4. The point as I understand it is that the rich businessman and the two servants who made him money were all breaking the Jewish law in a big way. The only man who didn’t make money at others’ expense and stuck to the law, was cast out. The lesson is that if you want to be honest and law abiding, you may not get to be rich or popular.

  3. thank you for the orange hawkweed. I have seen it while in Scotland but never knew what it was called.
    I was thinking today about how few flies are about. When I was a child there were always flies everywhere in the summer and we had fly papers hung up to stop them in the pantry. Now there are hardly any. worrying indeed

  4. Excellent day out and love the new cafe and log cabins. I enjoyed reading all the comments above too- what a splendid lot of readers of your blog you have… maybe they could all form a sensible political party !

    1. I often reflect that when media commentators reflect on the evils of comments on the internet, they obviously haven’t met the same people as I meet.

  5. Your lawn looks wonderful! I am pleased the shoes are helping you walk without pain and that the new café is a success. I have been noticing fewer insects for some time and living in an area of high intensity agriculture I have assumed it is mainly due to insecticide and herbicide spray.

    1. That may well be true. It seems to have got a lot worse in the last few years. I used to swallow a lot of insects while cycling (by accident, not on purpose) but this year, it has not been a problem.

  6. I’ve been following your blogs for some months now..and being a lover of all fauna and flora found them tremendous..I look forward to them everyday.
    I’m also an ageing(70) fareweather cyclist but can only manage a paltry 50 mls a week.
    Your mileage is quite impressive and spurs me on to making more of an effort.
    Thanks paul

    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment Paul. It is much appreciated. 50 miles a week is more than most 70 year olds attempt so I don’t regard it as paltry at all.

  7. Ken is indeed an example to us all, and so is your car. Loved, loved, loved this observation: “One of the benefits of the electric car is that it is a pleasure to drive at any pace.”

  8. I think they must mow their lawns too much at that resort. Or rather, their mowed areas are maybe too big. Yours are the perfect size and look like velvet.

    I appreciate being able to ogle your fine compost and your compost sifter. I have never seen anything like it before. Is it a standard piece of kit over there? It looks nifty. I just use a square wood framed screen that sits on top of my wheelbarrow and I shove the stuff around with my hands, which can be a bit painful when I hit a hard stick.

    1. I have never seen another in use and I was rather sceptical about it when it came but it has worked well on our small scale composting set up.

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