Best foot forward

Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone.  On one of his permitted walks, he found a friend.

deniis rabbit

As far as light for taking photographs went, it was a day of two halves with some good sunshine to start off.  This brought the best out of the tulips…

tulips and azaleas

…and got us quite excited about the coming of the age of azaleas.

In a break with tradition, the street coffee morning never got going as our neighbour Liz was out on a longer walk than she had intended and Mrs Tootlepedal was on a conference call regarding the proposed moorland buy out.  (There will be no living with her now that she has been on a conference call.)   I chatted with Margaret, the other participant for a while, and then we gave up.

As well as colour in the garden there are promising green shoots too.  The hostas are coming, the ferns are chatting and the alliums are getting ready to burst out.

three green garden things

I sieved some more compost.  I am reaping the benefit of trying to cut things up well before putting them in Bin A last year and doing my best to layer green and brown materials.  The present material in Bin C and D is the easiest to sieve that I have ever achieved.  (The dry spell helps too.)

I then scarified the front lawn and managed to take some pictures to record the results.

A run over the lawn with the electric scarifier left a lot of loose moss on the surface.  I raked it up into two heaps of a good size and Mrs Tootle[pedal took the moss away and made use of of it….

scarifying the front lawn

…leaving the lawn still looking rough.  I ran over it with the mower and collected another wheelbarrow load of moss which went in a bin.  The process left the lawn looking like this.

scarified lawn

(I mowed round in ever decreasing squares until I met myself coming back in the middle.)

There is still plenty of moss left in the lawn….to say the least.

I had time to appreciate the apple blossom…

apple blossom

…before going in for lunch and a chance to watch the birds at the feeder.

A rook was a surprise.

rook on bird feeder

…and two argumentative goldfinches were a delight.

super goldfinch

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal persuaded me to accompany her on a circular walk round Whita Hill.

This is Walk 10 of the Langholm Walks Project and the website says: It is on road and good tracks. Boots not needed in dry weather.  It adds: A long circular walk round Whita Hill. It is pleasant walking with a good variety of environments as you go round. At the far corner of the walk there is a real feeling of remoteness.

This is all true.

The only potential fly in the ointment was the appearance of some dark clouds in sky as we set off.

blossom and clouds esk

They held off as we walked up the track to Broomholmshiels and as I have walked this way a couple of time recently and put a lot of pictures in posts, I held off taking any pictures on this part of the walk….

…except this one.  The light was right.

yellow nettle

…oh, and this one too.


When we got to Broomholmshiels the clouds were covering more and more of the sky…

clouds over whita

…and by the time that we got to the bird hide, a few hundred yards up the road, the sun had gone for the day and it turned rather gloomy.

The larch trees at the bird hide have been felled and the hide looks rather lonely now with a forestry track where the glade used to be.

bird hide trees felled

However, the road down to the Tarras Water from the hide looks as inviting as ever and we continued our walk.

road from bird hide

We walked through a delightful wood on our way to the bridge over the river and having crossed over, we passed a small forest of horsetail and a boulder well covered with lichen…

birch horsetail lichen

…on our way up to Cronksbank.

As we went up the hill, we looked left over the Tarras Water to Rashiel and Whita…

view of rashiel and whita

…and straight ahead up the Little Tarras Water Valley…

little tarras valley from bottom

…before coming to the well sheltered farmhouse at Cronksbank itself.


We followed the track to Peterburn where we had a choice between crossing the Tarras Water again by a bridge or using the ford.

We chose the bridge…

perterburn bridge

…which was just as well, as the ford would have entailed us getting very wet shoes or taking  our shoes and socks off and paddling.  The water has not warmed up yet!

perterburn ford

Once across the water, we got to that remote corner of the walk….

view of the moor from middlemoss road

…and had to walk up this steady hill track to get to the road back to Langholm.


road from Middlemoss

We had an excuse to stop for a breather when we met the local farmer on his quad bike on his way to check on the lambs.  He was in a very cheerful mood as the recent spell of good weather has been perfect for his lambing season.

We were able to look back down the Little Tarras Water Valley towards Cronksbank as we walked along the road to the White Yett …

little tarras valley from top

…but the light was very poor by now and I couldn’t do the landscape justice.  Mrs Tootlepedal was hoping to see hen harriers in the sky on this section of our walk but although we saw several grouse and two curlews, we didn’t see any harriers.

We walked back down the hill enjoying trees, lambs and tiny bridges…

trees lambs and mini birdge

…and then turned across the hill to get to the top of the golf course and the Kirk Wynd.

A burst of white blossom among the gorse just before the gate was a pleasant surprise..

gorse and blossom

…but the Wynd itself has been so savagely cleared of growth of all sorts, that it is rather dull to walk down.

The steep slopes back into the town slowed us down as we find going down more troublesome than going up these days, but we finally made it to the suspension bridge where we were greeted by the welcome sight of swallows, both perching on the electric wires…swallows

..and flashing to and fro under the bridge as we crossed it.  I will have to come back with my bird camera to try to get a picture of them in better light.

This was a nine mile walk with a fair bit of up and down in it, the furthest we have walked for many years, so we were more than pleased to sit down to a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit or two when we got in.  We had a feeling of a job well done.

Between us, we had enough strength left to cook and eat an evening meal but we may well be a bit creaky tomorrow.  As it is due to rain at last, this may not matter too much.

The flying birds of the day are two goldfinches going this way and that.

two flying goldfinches

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

36 thoughts on “Best foot forward

  1. Well done both of you. Walk 10 is an excellent walk and can be tough in places and of course it’s 9 miles long so quite strenuous.

  2. All the dogs and owners seen recently walking along my road have gone back into the woodwork. It’s been raining pretty well all day – excellent for gardens and much needed, especially by the neighbours who have taken over part of mine to grow vegetables.

  3. That’s a fair old trek by anybody’s standards,making your well deserved tea and biscuits all the more enjoyable.
    Your fiercesome looking rook is beginning to give me nightmares 😉

  4. Thanks for such a look at your beautiful countryside. It is amazing how remote it looks, but you seem to live not that far away. Those views would inspire anyone to take up tramping or cycling. You must have felt great afterwards.

  5. I do like to see photos of your formidable rook. He’s a very handsome fellow, even if he does look a bit odd perched on a feeder. Also nice to spy the master gardener hidden in one of your photos – did you not give her time to run out of the shot?! 🙂

  6. That’s an amazing amount of moss, especially since you’ve already done it at least once before.
    Great to see azalea buds again. It’ll be a while before we see them here.
    That’s quite a long walk so you both deserve congratulations. I’m not sure if I could do it anymore.

  7. The bridge was a wise choice. Your lawn work takes me back to Newark where just cutting the lawns took 3 hours a week – and that doesn’t count the time spent digging out lengthy dandelion roots. I’m impressed with your results.

  8. Lovely long and beautiful walk! The goldfinches are handsome. I’ve been longingly researching the Antonine Way…for when it’s feasible to cross the pond again in the future.

  9. A fantastic walk, are those the first swallows you’ve seen this year? No sign down here yet, I’d have thought they would turn up here first. There was a report in the papers of a cuckoo with a transmitter attached travelling over 4,000 km or miles, I’m not sure which, in a mere seven days because of good tailwinds. Perhaps your swallows had the same benefit, we never get tailwinds down here. I’ve just struggled home into yet another headwind after riding in to a just as severe headwind this morning? I must be a headwind compass. Looking forward to seeing some swallows down here, and your next post. Cheers

    1. That elusive tailwind! I have met the both direction headwind many times. There have been a few swallows about for some days but that was the first time that we saw a lot. I hope you see some soon.

  10. A nine mile walk with all those lovely views you both deserved a well done treat! Maybe seeing the swallows and the views were treats enough but then you topped it all by having ginger biscuits too…very spoilt but well earned.

  11. No swallows here yet, either! I was sent an update on the Langholm buyout recently and applaud all the work your wife and her team are doing. Walk 10 looks a corker with wonderful views. Such a pity the poor larches succumbed to disease and had to be felled.

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