Down in the valley

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and shows the famous flying dog of East Wemyss. (And the nifty pergola that Tony has just built.)

We had a cloudy but dry day here today, warm enough to sit out in the garden for coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal in our garden with our neighbours and I in Sandy’s garden where I had gone to see how he was doing.

Progress on his foot is slow but he is able to get about a bit more than of late and has gone for a short drive and mowed his lawn, and as usual, he was remarkably cheerful, all things considered.

When I got home, I sat for a while on the old bench until our garden coffee meeting ended, and then I gave the bench a good scrub as I am going to treat it with decking oil when the weather permits.

I walked round the vegetable garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and then round the flowers by myself…

…taking a closer look at some as I passed them by.

Then it was time to make lentil and carrot soup for lunch and eat it.

After lunch, I asked Mrs Tootlepedal if she would fancy a walk, and she rather surprised me by suggesting an eight mile walk round the back of Whita Hill, going in the opposite direction to our last excursion round the hill, and cutting a corner across rough ground on the way.

This sounded quite strenuous but I was up for it and we were soon on our way up the road to the White Yett.

There are plenty of wild flowers out beside the road at the moment but a lot of them have appeared on the blog already so I settled for this yellow rattle, which is just starting to become more widespread.

We got to the top of the hill after 600 feet of ascent from the town and promptly lost 300 feet by following this sign…

…pointing to a rough footpath descending into the Little Tarras Water valley. Our target was the farm which you can see in the distance.

The walk down to the Little Tarras Water was most enjoyable and we were serenaded by bird calls and surrounded by wild flowers as we went.

The birds remained invisible but we saw bell heather, moss, a lone orchid and lots of of tormentil…

…and some of the deep blue heath milkwort that we had seen on our Calfield walk.

It is a tiny flower and I would have had to lie on my stomach to get a picture to do it justice. As I might never have been able to get up again, I did the best I could, and we walked on.

The Little Tarras Water lived up to its name when we got there by being very little….

…but there was still a handy bridge to get walkers across it.

It is a lovely spot and after we had crossed the bridge, we paused to look round.

We saw an old sheepfold…

…and a wall striding up the hill which we had just come down…

…and the sometimes indistinct path that we were following…

….up another climb of 130 feet to get out of Little Tarras water country.

Then it was downhill again to cross the main Tarras Water by another bridge. Mrs Tootlepedal paused on both of the bridges to give an idea of the relative scale of the two streams.

On our way down to the Tarras Water, we passed a couple of the wild goats of the moor who stood and stared at us….

…before moving off politely.

We might have crossed river by the ford, but in spite of the dry weather there was still too much water for us to want to get our feet wet…

…so we crossed the bridge.

As we crossed it, we were pursued by the local farmer, Will Nixon, on his quad bike. He was checking his sheep and cattle but stopped to have a chat with us before going on his way.

There is a lovely meadow of daisies at the bridge…

…and a caterpillar had been very busy on the bushes beside the river.

We came up from the bridge to join the track to Cronksbank and then took the road down to the river, crossed the Tarras Water again and climbed up to the bird hide.

We had to go under this triumphal arch before Cronksbank.

On our way along the track and road we saw a fine rhododendron at Perterburn, horsetail beside the river, early thistles and any amount of grass swaying in the wind.

We also spotted a bird, busy pecking away at the bark on a old tree.

We think that it was a chiffchaff.

At the bridge over the river, we noticed some of the wild yellow irises….

…but there were not as many as I had hoped to see.

From the bird hide, we took the track from Broomholmshiels through the woods to get back to Langholm, and as I had already taken far too many pictures on the walk, I took just this one to prove that we were really there.

Apart from chatting with Will by the bridge, we didn’t stop for a rest and sit down on the way, and it would be fair to say that we were both quite tired by the time that we finally got home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had the strength to cook our evening meal but other than that, we had a quiet evening.

The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch, glimpsed through the window after we got home.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Down in the valley

  1. At least Sandy can get out of the house and I’d guess that must be a blessing.
    If the tree arch had a good trimming it would be amazing, but I wouldn’t want to be the one who had to do it.
    I saw some yellow iris along the river bank the other day and that was a bit unsettling because they’re very invasive here.

  2. Good to hear Sandy is slowly getting better.

    I enjoyed your walk with Mrs. T. and all the photos and views from your day. Your wild goats are a favorite of mine.

    Your yellow rattle sounds like it behaves much like yellow bartsia, a hemi-parasite of grass. We have a lot of bartsia here.

      1. Soil here ends up acidic at the surface due to all the rain in winter leaching minerals and nutrients and causing a pH gradient, yet grass normally grows with a vengeance. It does appear to be kept more in check where there is bartsia.

  3. This walk was a very good way to get tired. To show all the beauties the borderland has to offer in one posting will be impossible, but you came quite near to it.

  4. Another interesting walk and so loong! Lovely to see all the bridges, streams and plants up in those hills and the wildlife too! The walks are well signposted..well done to those responsible …not a good idea to get lost on the moors!

    1. The signs are most helpful in that they tell you that there will always be a way to cross fences and walls by gates or stiles. It is good to know that when you start out.

  5. I’ve been sat here for the last 30 minutes going backwards through your posts that I haven’t read these past few days or so, and I have to say enjoying every minute. This current post is a stellar effort, and the pictures are superb. One that really fascinates me is the stone wall sheep fold, I have never seen the like before. Here in Wales it is mostly sheep country, and I have seen sheep folds for gathering them in, usually a pair of dry stone walls running like a funnel into a fenced holding area or fold as you call it, made of wooden fences. Perhaps in the past there would have been a dry stone fold as well, but sadly lots of the old dry stone structures have been dismantled and the stones recycled by the sheep farmers or stolen. I will keep a look out for a stone sheep fold next time I am up on the moorlands. That was definitely a chiffchaff, lovely looking little birds. Your post nudged me to look up their habits, I was surprised to read they migrate from the Mediterranean and North Africa to summer here, amazing for such little birds. Cheers.

    1. Thank you for the chiffchaff confirmation, Keiron. I need all the help that I can get on migratory birds. There are a lot of stone sheepfolds about still though I don’t think many of them are still used.

  6. The triumphal arch is wonderful! Wishing our crew that comes along to clear the road of low hanging branches was half as artistic.

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