Uphill work

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s permitted walk today.   He was pleased to see such cheerful blossom.

blossom andrew

We had cheerful flowers in the garden here today.  They were pleased to see the sunshine on another rather chilly day with an east wind sweeping down from the far north.

two tulips

I went out to view them after my standard start for the day (another good crossword helped pass the time)

Mrs Tootlepedal enjoyed a coffee and some of my ginger biscuits in physically distanced but socially integrated conversation with our neighbours, while I did some daffodil dead heading in the garden.

Later on, I clipped and sawed the remains  of the pruned lilac and added the logs to our tidy log store.  I didn’t go so far as to wash the bricks again today (though they needed it) but contented myself with a gentle brush.

And of course, I kept an eye open for birds…

dunnock blackbird goldfinch

…and bees.

red tailed bee

The daffodils are fading but the trout lilies are taking their place with some verve.

daffodil and trout lily

The star of the garden today for me was this freshly flowering Amalanchier.

Amalanchier

Seeing the ducks in the dam behind the house, I put a little bird seed into the flow and this attracted their attention.

female mallard dam

Mrs Tootlepedal made some tasty green lentil soup for lunch with chicken stock from the recent roast chicken.  There is no doubt that real stock is an improvement on commercial stock pots but we can’t eat chicken all the time just to make stock.

After lunch, I idled round the garden a bit and then went for a walk.

In spite of the nippy wind, it was a good day for a walk and as I wanted to get in a view or two, I resolved to walk  up to the monument on top of Whita Hill.

My route took me onto the golf course where I found an old friend.

oyster catcher on golf course

It wasn’t a brilliantly blue sky day but the light was interesting…

view of ewes valley from golf course

…and although there were plenty of clouds about, I seemed to walk under the sun the whole time.

two trees from golf course

I got on to the open hill at the top of the golf course and took the track up the Birnie Braes which is followed by the horses on Common Riding day.

It was very dry and peaceful today.

birnie braes path

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that is it described as a road 20 feet wide in old documents  but the road has has fallen into disuse and the current path goes to one side of it.

I took this route as it offers a gentler gradient as it goes diagonally across the contours rather than the direct path which goes straight up to the summit.  When it gets to the shoulder of the hill, it joins the vehicle track from the road to the monument and a handy seat has been placed there.

The seat is modest…

seat on whita track

…but the views for a person who sits on it are magnificent.

views from seat on whita track

Looking down to my left, I could see a glimpse of the road up the Wauchope valley which i had followed on my walk on Tuesday.

view of wauchope valley from whita

I arrived at the top of the hill (355m) and paused to enjoy the view…

view from monument

…and inspect the monument, which has some fine algae at the bottom but is pretty clean further up.

monument views

The keen wind made sure that I didn’t hang around too long and I was soon on my way down again, going towards the road and enjoying the contrast between pastoral land on the left of the wall ahead of me and old grouse moor on the right.

view of grouse and sheep moor

I didn’t take the vehicle track back down but followed a charming path through the heather, used by mountain cyclists.

path down whita

There are plenty of cairns to be seen all over the hill and I have put three of them here and a look at one page of the MacDiarmid memorial too.

three cairns and a memorial

When I had passed the MacDiarmid memorial, I followed the road down to the bottom of the hill, passing this unusual tree…

tree copshaw road

…and a delightfully sinuous wall…

sinuous wall copshaw road

…on the way.

On approaching the  town, instead of taking the direct route home, I crossed the Sawmill Brig and headed across the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge in the hope of seeing interesting birds.  I heard a lot of tweets but didn’t see any birds, interesting or otherwise.

However, I was rewarded by this refreshing sight so I wasn’t complaining.

Castleholm trees

My walk ended up at just under five miles and was very satisfying, a joy to the eye, a tonic for the spirit and some healthy exercise too.  Who could ask for anything more?

The mince and tatties made a welcome second appearance for our tea and as I went out and pulled some rhubarb, stewed it and made some custard, we ate like kings and queens to round off as good a lockdown day as we could wish for.

The flying bird of the day is a passing gull.

flying gull

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Uphill work

  1. Those stone walls are well kept up! The views from the hills are certainly worth the hike and time sitting on the bench.

    We cook a lot of chicken for the eight cats (all indoors). I take the bones and make bone broth, using it to make assorted soups and stews we affectionately refer to as “cat food by-product”. 🙂

      1. All are rescues. We live in a rural area, and there are feral colonies about, as well as irresponsible people who do not neuter and spay their, and dump the offspring. The oldest is 18, the youngest are 7. We are all aging along with the port in the cellar.

  2. I’m waiting impatiently for our own native Amalanchiers, called shad bush here, to bloom.
    The cloud shadows on the hills is a great photo. I like seeing it happen in person but it doesn’t happen often enough. I’d love to sit on that bench and watch.
    I also like the sunshine through the trees. We’re having some cold days and that photo looks very warm.

  3. The first view of the valley is very, very beautiful, with the lines of the stone wall and fence set against the rolling hills.

  4. Ah, tatties and mince. My maternal grandmother used to make that for me. And for several years, I put mint sauce of the mince . . .
    And her soups were wonderful. Made from a previous day’s chicken or ham meal. All ingredients came from the farm she and my grandfather worked.

  5. A lovely walk with those beautiful views as a reward for climbing so high! Rhubarb and custard- reminds me to make some- can’t wait now!

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