Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who, for her permitted exercise, walked up to the top of the hill and looked down on London .
We had another bright and sunny morning, perhaps not as cold as yesterday. I was able to walk round the garden in shirtsleeves to admire the zing of the tulips after breakfast.
The sun lit up everything, potentillas, aquilegias against the back wall of the house, the lamium and some freshly flowering bed straw in the back border.
My morning favourite was this shot of the rhododendron in sunshine and shadow.
The street coffee morning did not take place today as one member was waiting for a phone call, another wasn’t there, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a WhatsApp visit to Matilda and her parents in Edinburgh at coffee time. They seem to be doing very well and Clare is developing their small garden to grow as much as is possible. She was happy to take some advice from Mrs Tootlepedal. The call ended with a display of dancing from Matilda, who is keeping very active.
After the call, I checked on the bird feeder to find a dunnock just checking out….
…and then a visit to the garden revealed our resident blackbird trying to look like a pelican.
I was just wandering about when a tiny glimpse of orange and white caught my eye. You may be able to see it in the dead centre of the picture below.
It was an orange tip butterfly. As I had nothing better to do, I followed it round and round the garden as it fluttered about trying to find the best plant for a visit.
I was beginning to think that my pursuit would be fruitless, when the cow parsley caught its eye and I managed to get two flying shots of it as it flitted from flower to flower.
You can see from the bottom two pictures in the panel above just how hard it was to spot the butterfly when it closed its wings among the flowers as the orange tips only show when the wings are open.
Luckily for me, it settled on a flower at the very end of a stem and I was able to take a picture of the beautifully marked underside of its wings.
I went in to fetch Mrs Tootlepedal out to see the butterfly and very fortunately, not only was it still there when she came out, but it opened its wings just enough to show her the orange tips…
…and then shut them again so that she could see the decorated undersides too.
This put even the arrival of a flying bee at the lamium into the shade.
A lot of watering was needed and while Mrs Tootlepedal lent the plants a helping hand, I became involved in the eccentricity of the euphorbias and the beauty of the bluebells.
Mrs Tootlepedal had obtained some leeks from our local butcher so I made leek and potato soup for lunch and we enjoyed it with bacon butties on the side.
After lunch, I went for a walk. The sun had gone behind clouds and there was a brisk wind blowing but the forecast was good, it was pleasantly warm, and I went off still in my shirtsleeves.
I headed along the river, past the wild garlic and the bluebells…
…walked along the Murtholm track and then took this delightful path….
…up the hill and out into open country. Still climbing gently, I soon had a good view behind me.
As the track dwindled into rough and sometimes confusing paths, I found useful signposts to keep me right.
I was following the route of Walk 11 of the Langholm Walks Project.
The route took me along the side of the hill, giving me good views over the Esk Valley and the main road south…
…as well as the River Esk itself.
I cam to Old Irvine and followed the old green road up the hill towards the Kerr Wood.
This is now a well surfaced forestry track as there has been a lot of recent tree planting here. There were yellow wild flowers (unknown, dandelion, tormentil and birds foot trefoil) to keep me interested….
…as I battled up the most boring part of my route, a mile long, dead straight track, uphill and into the breeze. I was more than pleased when I got to the top of the hill to be able to look back down it.
In the end, the track met the road which I often cycle along when I am doing my Canonbie circuit and the difference between cycling and walking was made very clear to me when I saw the signpost at the junction.
The five miles home, downhill and downwind, would take me less than 20 minutes on my bike but it was a different matter when I was on foot.
Still, you see a lot more when you are walking and the sun had come out and even for a walker, having the wind behind is a good thing, so I wasn’t at all unhappy.
The commercial foresters have to plant native trees as part of the license to grow conifers. They use plastic tubes and this little plantation on the very top of the hill, certainly needed protection from the wind.
I enjoyed older trees too.
When I got down to Wauchope Schoolhouse, I had a choice of following the correct walk route over more rough ground and tracks, or heading straight home down the road for a cup of tea and a Garibaldi biscuit or two.
I went down the road. I was a bit sorry not to go the full route but my feet weren’t sorry at all, and the way home was enlivened by more wild flowers, lots of lichen and interesting grass seeds.
The final stage was very colourful with a good patch of ivy leaved toadflax on the wall at Pool Corner…
…and a stunning display in a front garden on Buccleuch Terrace.
I hadn’t checked the length of the walk before I set out and was quite surprised to find that I had walked nine and a half miles by the time that I got home.
An added bonus to taking the direct home from Wauchope Schoolhouse was that I arrived in time to take part in the daily Zoom meeting with my brother and sisters. My brother had been for a three hour walk too.
Today has been a big day for Mrs Tootlepedal, as the project for the community land buy out has reached the crowd funding stage. Anyone who wants to find out more about the project and perhaps help by making a modest contribution to the purchase fund should visit the Langholm Initiative website where everything is very well explained.
Mrs Tootlepedal cooked an excellent meal of mince and tatties for our tea and after tea, I sat at the computer and knocked off six items from a to-do list for the day of six items. This brought an excellent day to a very satisfying conclusion.
The flying bird of the day is a passing jackdaw.
Footnote: Having all the time in the world on my hands is leading to too many photographs but kind readers have said that I can’t have too many pictures in a post. I hope that was true of this rather overloaded effort. If not, I am sorry but it may well happen again if the fine weather holds.