Today’s guest picture comes from camera club member Simon. He was taken for a walk on our local hills by a friend. They walked yesterday morning before the storm came. A good choice.
The storm arrived with some force yesterday evening, and we had a rather restless night as the wind howled round the house and rain hammered on the windows. We opened the curtains with some trepidation this morning but everything still seemed to be there so we breathed a sigh of relief.
It became clear that there had been quite a lot of rain though when we went to church.
As it was still raining hard when we went in, we did offer a small prayer that we wouldn’t need a boat to get home.
In fact, it had stopped raining by the time that we came out and although the Wauchope still looked high, a glance at the tidemark on the river bank showed that the water level had already begun to drop.
While Mrs Tootlepedal went home to make a pot of coffee, I walked up to the Kilngreen to take a contrasting picture…
…to the one that I took yesterday morning at very much the same time of day.
When the River Esk is high, I always wonder at how much the bridge acts as a dam to the flow with the river level on one side of the bridge being a good two feet higher than the other.
I got home and enjoyed Mrs Tootlepedal’s coffee. The wind had calmed down a lot by this time and the rain had kept away so I was able to spot a few birds on the feeder.
A greenfinch arrived and thought that it would prefer the perch above it, occupied by a siskin. A siskin is feisty but no match for a determined greenfinch so an exchange was negotiated.
In spite of the slightly better conditions, Mrs Tootlepedal and I were in two minds as to whether it would be sensible to drive to Carlisle for our afternoon choir as there were reports of flooding on the road. Discussion was cut short though when we read an email from the choir saying that the practice had been cancelled anyway. A good decision, we thought.
A few more birds caught my eye both on the feeder…
The robin wanted to make sure that I got a close shot.
A check with the forecast suggested that we were in for a spell of sunshine and showers with wind gusts at no more than 40 mph so I decided that a walk would be in order, hoping to get more sunshine than showers.
There was remarkably little debris about and the flow of the Wauchope under the Auld Stane Brig was nothing like the storm last year where the level was so high that the trees washed down the stream couldn’t get under the bridge and ended up on the bank above the bridge. The roots of one are still there.
I walked up the Becks road and took the path down to the bridge across the Becks Burn. Mrs Tootlepedal had been mildly worried that the burn might pose a threat to an elderly walker, but by the time that I got there, the sun had come out and the water was running at a comparatively gentle rate.
I crossed the bridge and walked back to the town along the track in pleasant conditions.
In fact conditions were so pleasant that instead of going directly home, I walked through the Galaside wood and round the Scholars’ Field…
…and over the Jubilee Bridge.
A glance down from the bridge reminded me that it hadn’t been so pleasant a few hours ago…
…and although the path round the bottom of the Castleholm looked inviting….
…frequent puddles had to be navigated…
…and the river was not far away.
When I got to the Kilngreen, the waters had dropped far enough for an oyster catcher to perch on a fence post in safety.
As I walked back past the church, a small flock of oyster catchers swirled through the sky above my head.
I got home from a three mile walk which I hadn’t expected to be able to take let alone enjoy and then sank into sloth for the rest of the day. Mrs Tootlepedal did get out to do a little gardening so the day wasn’t entirely wasted.
We have been lucky again as there was enough water at Hawick 20 miles up the road to seriously damage a building beside the river.
Looking at the forecast now, it seems that the worst may well have passed us by and we can expect some damp and windy weather for the next couple of days but nothing worse.
We are grateful.
The flying bird of the day is that greenfinch avoiding the first siskin that it met..