Uphill work

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon. He has been taking walks round Canonbie during the lockdown and wonders why anyone might prefer city life to scenes like these.

It was not a promising morning today here in any way, being windy and wet from the start. I did pop out into the garden when the rain was very light and have a look around. Mrs Tootlepedal has a choisya which she doesn’t think is looking well but it is producing flowers to join the ranunculus…

…and a Rodgersia which is is looking healthy. Just to prove me wrong, the clematis by the front door has produced more flowers but it is hiding them behind its leaves to annoy.

The original flower is going over in style.

I didn’t linger long and was soon back inside wasting time on trivial but time consuming activities. Once again, we felt grateful that the weather has been fine for most of our lockdown as two months of wet and windy weather would have been very hard to bear.

I did spend some time trying out Google Meet with my sister Susan but it didn’t work satisfactorily so we will probably stick to Zoom for our regular meetings.

When I stopped doing the trivial things, the birds were there to keep me entertained.

The feeder was busy all day and new birds were constantly arriving to the disapproval of the incumbents…

…and this led to some collisions and cantankerousness.

I think that my current favourites among the visitors are the redpolls in their spring get ups.

We have many young sparrows in the garden but I haven’t seen many young blackbirds. I wondered if this was a teenager. It looked as though it wouldn’t mind being fed but no one came.

We had planned to go for a walk after lunch but the rain persisted and we didn’t start until after three o’clock in the end. We went out with some trepidation as there was still a light drizzle and the wind was boisterous to say the least.

A trail of leaves littering the track up to the Stubholm told the story of how strong the wind has been.

We met some friends at the Stubholm and they told us that they had abandoned their intention to walk up the Warbla Track because of the strong wind and advised us to keep to low level sheltered spots.

We were headed down to the Murtholm and Skippers Bridge so we were able to follow their advice without changing our plan. We passed this fine tree on our way.

We crossed the bridge and walked along the road beside the river as far as the track that leads up Jenny Noble’s Gill. A movement ahead caught our eye and we spotted a grey squirrel, and it froze for a moment as it climbed a tree.

Lovers of red squirrels have been trying to keep grey squirrels at bay for some years but I fear that they are fighting a losing battle as I see more and more greys all the time.

The walk up the gill among the birch trees was lovely….

…and the seed heads of the grasses were whispering to each other as we passed.

The track back to the town was as delightful as ever, even on a dull grey day….

…but it didn’t seem as windy as it was when we set out so we left the track and ventured out of the woods onto the open hill…

…and after passing through some bluebells, we soon enjoyed good views over the valley and town below us.

The church stands out now that it has been released from the shadows of the trees.

The golf course is waiting for the arrival of keen golfers like Dropscone as soon as the traps are opened in a day or two.

Dropscone is looking forward to it in spite of his advanced age. (He advanced another year yesterday and is now officially older than me for the next six months.)

As well as the views, there were other things to look at as we went along.

We saw wild strawberries, small cow wheat (not a thing that we have seen before), a patch of white flowers which Mrs Tootlepedal told me “is that weed which grows on your lawn”, and a bunch of smiling buttercups.

An old leafless tree caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

We had had to climb up a pretty steep hill to get above the golf course and we were happy to have reached a point as we passed that tree when it was all downhill on the way home.

We walked past Whita Well and pressed on until we reached the Newcastleton Road. This let us descend gently back to river level and we walked back to Langholm along the main road from Whitshiels.

I noted some of the points of interest that we saw on our way: exuberant crosswort, fresh green hazel leaves, herb Robert and a real novelty these day, an actual puddle.

As we crossed the Castleholm towards the Jubilee Bridge and home, the sun actually came out…

…and just as promptly, it went in again and we had to increase out pace as a light rain encouraged us to get a move on.

It had been a strenuous five mile walk and never has a cup of tea and a slice of cake been more welcome.

That finished the day off for us as we had not an ounce of energy left for anything else except a small plate of rhubarb and custard as a late supper.

The flying bird of the day is one of the young sparrows who frequent the garden at the moment.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Uphill work

  1. Too bad to have wind strong enough to strip new leaves off trees. Your trees seem to be really taking a beating.
    Your cow wheat is much more yellow than ours. Ours is fairly common.
    I can see why that tree caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye. It has a lot of movement even though it’s still.

  2. The wind must have been quite strong to strip new green leaves from trees like that. Fortunately we have not had that kind of windstorm come through here this year, yet, but June is around the corner.

    We see grey tree squirrels here, but not so many in my immediate area (except for my immediate neighbor’s walnut tree), which could have something to do with all the various species of predators about. Some neighbors seem to have problems losing chickens, and occasionally I find the remains out back, being cleaned up by turkey vultures. I have seen more ground squirrels out here on larger farms with extensive pastures, and took one in for rehab once, a squirrel I accidentally hit with my car. From the squirrel’s point of view, it was the classic UFO abduction. One is minding their own business, and suddenly a large object comes out of nowhere and knocks one senseless. After being beamed up into the craft, one is whisked away across the galaxy to a facility where procedures are performed under bright lights. A month later, the same craft dumps one off in a field near their burrow, where the wife believes none of what one has told her about the long absence.

    I enjoyed all these flowers, birds and views from your day and 5 mile walk with Mrs. T. The redpolls are a nice addition to the regular cantankerous feeder crew. I am not surprised you were tired at day’s end, and left it at rhubarb and custard for a late dinner.

    1. I like your UFO squirrel story. I think that the recent frost might have helped the leaves on their way off the trees. The wind was strong but I was still surprised to see leaves on the ground.

  3. A pleasant pastoral scene to begin the post followed by equally lovely photos of pretty flowers, colourful birds and pleasing views and to finish it all off beautifully …rhubarb and custard for the walkers…perfect!

  4. Your guest picture from Simon is excellent, a lovely scene. Thanks for a lovely read these past few mornings, cheered me up no end after my recent travails. Keep blogging, you seem to have mastered the block editor, no problem. Cheers.

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