Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She felt that as I had been a bit lacking of flying birds recently, she should help me out. She visited RSPB West Sedgmoor on Saturday and saw a great many teal.
My first picture of the day was taken very early in the morning indeed. As I went to bed last night, I was surprised to see that the moon was out and although it was lightly covered by a very thin cloud, I thought that I should celebrate being able to see it at all in the midst of our bad weather. This was six minutes after midnight.
When I woke up this morning, the day was remarkably peaceful and dry. After breakfast I got a call from fellow archivist Nancy to say that one of our microfiche readers wasn’t working and I was able to walk up to the Archive Centre without getting wet.
The Wauchope was unrecognisable from the river that we had seen on our way to church just a day ago and Mr Grumpy had found a quiet pool to stand in behind a bush.
After some head scratching and with a bit of a “let’s try that” technique, we got the reader to read again and I left Nancy to her work and walked home. In spite of the improved weather conditions, the continuing brisk wind made me grateful for the warmth of my new coat.
In the garden I found the (small) host of daffodils had survived, a starling was doing some supervision…
…a first flower had appeared on the winter honeysuckle and Mary Jo’s rain gauge showed that quite a bit of rain had fallen.
The wind was no discouragement to the birds today though and enough goldfinches arrived to start a fight…
…though experience has led me to believe that sometimes two goldfinches are all you need to have a scrap.
Peace did break out and we got a collection of siskins and goldfinches that swapped places from time to time.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some business and shopping and I made some lentil soup for lunch.
Fortified by the soup, eaten with bread and cheese, we drove down to Canonbie to have a walk. There were spots of rain as we drove down but luckily, the rain stopped when we got to the Byreburn Woods, and so we started our walk.
Our plan was to keep among the trees for as much of our walk as possible because the wind was very cold and the excellent path took us along in the shelter of some very tall conifers.
Here is Mrs Tootlepedal giving a sense of scale.
When we came out of the trees, some well constructed steps took us the steepest part of the hill….
…and a handy bench provided us with a resting place at the top.
The path is part of the Council’s Core Path Network and is well signposted and well maintained.
As we got to the most exposed part of the walk, there was a hint of sunshine…
…which was fully realised as we came out of the wood and walked down the road…
…to the modest bridge over the Byre Burn.
We crossed the bridge and took the track which goes back down the hill alongside the Byre Burn itself.
Here we spotted the only fungus we saw all walk…
…enjoyed the glowing moss on the bank above the track being picked out by the sun…
…and listened to the music of the burn…
…as it chattered over the little cascades on its way to the Fairy Loup and the River Esk.
We had to stop to take the obligatory picture of the Fairy Loup when we came to it, although the view would be greatly improved if someone would come along and trim the trees in front of it.
When we got to the road at the bottom of the track, we crossed this much more impressive bridge. It carries the road which used to be the main Carlisle to Edinburgh trunk route.
We had done two miles by the time that we got back to the car. Although this was not a long walk, it had had a lot of variety on the way which had made it most rewarding.
When we got back to Langholm on our way home, it was obvious that it had been raining in the town while we had been away. This greatly added to the pleasure that we felt from our walk through the woods.
In the garden, there were signs of things to come.
Mike Tinker’s tea radar was finely honed and he arrived just as the teapot was put on the table and we a good chat. The Langholm Walks Group is planning to add a route from Canonbie to Langholm to its collection of waymarked walks and he told us that one section of this will go through the Byreburn Wood.
In the evening, my friend Luke came round with his flute and we had a go at a Quantz sonata. We haven’t played it for some time and although we played a couple of movements, it was clear that we will need to practise a bit harder if it is to go smoothly.
Storm Ciara has treated us very lightly considering what happened not far from us. There were damaging floods in Hawick and Appleby, Carlisle had floods again and the west coast main line railway was closed because of floods. Meanwhile, I have been able to get out for a walk every day even if it has been too windy to cycle so I can’t complain.
This may change though, as the forecast for the week ahead is very uninviting and next weekend is due to bring us another very deep Atlantic depression. The Norwegian forecast for our area is once again slightly better than the BBC’s so I think we will settle for the Norwegian arrangement and keep our fingers crossed.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, probably looking for a fight.