Up the wall

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  Photo opportunities are scarce in lockdown London but she captured this squirrel with her phone on her short local walk today.

mary's squirrel

It was another chilly and mostly grey day here but once again it was dry and the rain gauge has been stubbornly recording no inches of rain for what seems like weeks now.

I went to the shop to top up on essential supplies and on the way out, I admired the fine show of daffodils along the dam at the back of the house…

daffs by dam

…and on the way back, I saluted the waterside birds standing loyally at their posts.

osyter catchers and gull esk

When I got in, I had a second go at making ginger biscuits, and thanks to taking a great deal of care with the weighing and measuring, they came out pretty well this time.

genuine ginger biscuits

The moral seems to be, don’t bang yourself on the nose with a short plank when you are going to cook biscuits.  Wise words indeed.

The continuing cool weather has left the garden in a state of suspension and the appearance of a tiny Brunnera flower was the only novelty today.


Mrs Tootlepedal is continuing to tidy things up, and with some help from me paving stones were revealed that probably haven’t seen the light of day since Mary Queen of Scots was on the throne.

paving revealed

Actually that last comment may have been a pardonable literary exaggeration because in real life, the grass grows so quickly that the paving stones get covered up in a remarkably small number of years.

We had a meat and lentil soup for lunch, made with the gravy from last night’s brisket dish, and it made a tasty change from our usual vegetable soups.

Fortified by the soup, I went out for my permitted walk.

With the permission of the minor deities in charge of old people having fun, I set out to do the walk that hail and strong winds had persuaded me not to do the other day.

On my way, I passed a sparrow singing strongly on a bush beside the Kirk Brig….

house sparrow kirk birg

…and I was lucky to spot a pied wagtail standing uncharacteristically still on a rock at the Kilngreen.

pied wagtail

I followed the old road north.  It is shown on the map of 1864 so many people must have walked along this track before me.


Now there is a handy gate at the end of it to let ramblers like me into the field that leads back down to the Ewes Water.

walk eight gate

I crossed the High Mill Bridge and followed the east bank of the Ewes Water.  It hasn’t been a good year for catkins yet, but there were plenty on this particular tree as I passed.

catkins by ewes water

I got as far as the old bridge at the Target Burn.  I didn’t cross the bridge when I came to it….

ewes water bridge

…but turned away from the river and headed up through the wood, leaping across the raging burn when the path came to it, and heading on to the open hill across a stile.

walk eight taget burn

I was very happy to see fresh shoots on the larch trees as I went through the wood.

new larch

Once out on the hill, I could enjoy the views.

view from walk eight

There was a slight dip as I went along a well used track before I followed the wall which you can see going up the hill in the background of the picture.

walk eight dip

The walk along the wall is across rough ground, with no clear track and plenty of moss…

moss on walk eight

…and even on a dry day before the grass and bracken have started growing, I was happy to pause when I got near the top to draw breath and feel some modest pride in getting up the steep climb.

walk eight wall

The wall is exceedingly straight and must have been built by a man with a good eye for a straight line or perhaps the owner of a very large ball of string.

As well as keeping me on the right line, the wall was playing host to some handsome but tiny lichen.

lichen on walk 8 walkk

I was following the route of Walk 8 in the Langholm Walks booklet and to complete the route when I got to the road at the top of the wall, I should have continued upwards to the monument.  I could have got to the monument but the direct route down the face of the hill is too taxing for my knees these days so I headed back down by the road.

Taking time out to admire the view up the valley.

view up ewes from whita

I didn’t go right down the road but followed the line of pylons across the lower slopes of Whita Hill until I came to Whita Well.

Here I could look down over the town across a sea of gorse bushes in bloom.

gorst whta well

I walked down to the town across the golf course and was taken aback by the colour of the fifth green. golf green treatment

Dropscone tells me that although the course is closed to players, the greenkeeper is allowed to work to keep the course in good order for when play is resumed.  He must be very happy about this because nothing annoys a greenkeeper more than golfers walking all over his course and hacking great lumps out of it with their golf clubs.  I hope his drastic treatment on the greens works out well.

It was only a four and a half mile walk but we are very fortunate in having country round us that offers so much variety of hill and valley on a relatively short outing.

I passed two families out for a stroll on my walk and otherwise I enjoyed glorious solitude.  The town was pretty well deserted when I got back to it.  We are living in very quiet times indeed.

The evenings are even quieter than the days.

The non flying bird of the day is our resident blackbird.  It was interested to see what I was doing behind its back.

resident blackbird hedge

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

41 thoughts on “Up the wall

  1. Grass and paving stones do the same here. We have more than a few to dig out, too. 🙂

    We are having some very cold wet weather just as the plums, pears and cherries are about to bloom. I could send you some rain, if you would like. 🙂

  2. Those ginger biscuits look professional, and no doubt taste better.
    As for the greenkeeper saying his greens would be perfect but for the golfers, isn’t that just the case of all enterprises – better without the humans for whom they were intended as they just mess them up?

  3. I’m glad you finally found some hazel catkins That was a good amount on one bush.
    I like how you found the old walk. Like having an archaeological dig in your own yard.
    That walk was well worth the effort with such beautiful views. My favorite was the one from the hill.

  4. Your biscuits made me want to pick one of the tablet screen,and well racked up in rank and file as any good baker would do.
    Scrumptious indeed.

  5. Love the pied wagtail. Very stylish and elegant.
    Particularly lovely walk, this one, I think.
    Thanks to you my husband is looking up ginger cookie recipes as I write this.
    Thank you for putting that lovely and scented thought in his head.

  6. I liked the larch shoot shot…very arty! Things are definitely quieter in human terms but the wildlife is loving it…the frogs at our place are singing their hearts out each night!

  7. We have the grass and paving problem but with trees and brambles. It’s lovely when the brambles are cleared and huge trees are released from decades of obscurity. The lockdown is having a good effect on our land.

  8. Beautiful sights of your beautiful landscape. Especially liked the view of the town over the blooming gorse. Seems to be a good year for mosses to overgrow pavement as we have here the same problem.

  9. As you say you are very fortunate to live in such a lovely place with so many different paths to take on your walks. Lovely views of hills, trees and walls and photos of the pied wagtail, sparrow, oyster catchers and blackbird ticked all the bird boxes! Best were the biscuits- yummy!

  10. Those shoots on the larch trees are interesting and unique. They almost look like they could be used as brushes. Are they soft and pliable, or stiff? I’ve never seen them. I don’t think we have many (any?) larches around here.

  11. What an interesting squirrel color. It has the head of a chipmunk and the body of a squirrel in a color I don’t see very often.

  12. I enjoyed your description of the walk you took and imagined you as a Scott hero as you leapt the raging burn. I could see how fast-flowing it was from your photo! Take care, Tom.

  13. What a wonderful walk, especially that old road and the stiles. That bridge looks almost too mossy to be solid.

    I will suggest the making of finger biscuits to Allan. Although I am sure we lack the ingredients …although maybe I did not eat all the crystallized ginger as a snack.

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