Today’s guest picture comes from Sue Bourne, who I met on my walk yesterday. She kindly sent me this striking picture of cladonia lichen which she had seen at Caulside in Canonbie.
It was slightly cooler in the morning today when we got up but it was still quite humid. I felt pretty tired and didn’t expect to do much even on a fine day. I had intended to go for a cycle ride but I mentally postponed that indefinitely.
However, I still got going quite smartly after breakfast and mowed the front lawn before coffee. I even had time for some dead heading and a look at flowers before it was time to make the coffee.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite flower is still the pretty iris…
…and who can blame her when new flowers keep coming out and looking like this.
I think my current fancy is the Queen of Denmark….
…though the profuse Goldfinch roses, turning from yellow to white as they age, run her close.
Our regular socially distanced street/garden coffee mornings have been very good value during the lockdown and we have never been short of things to talk about. I would say that they have contributed a lot to our well being over the past three months. Today was no different, with both Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz reporting that they had recently sighted orchids on the hill. I will have to get out with my camera to have a look.
After coffee I did the crossword and then pottered round the garden, doing a little shredding as Mrs Tootlepedal tidied up a bed or two, and picking some early gooseberries to ease the strain on the well loaded gooseberry bush branches.
I also looked about. Particularly at foxgloves.
A wasp was looking at a foxglove too.
A Large White butterfly settled on a melancholy thistle.
In the end, we went in for a lunch of lettuce and tomato sandwiches, and then I spent a moment bird watching. The were a lot of birds happy to be watched….
…even if they were not always happy with each other.
Wise birds were keeping their eyes open for potential trouble…
…and they were fully ready to meet it when it arrived.
We thought that we ought to give our little car the chance to take some exercise as it has hardly been out of the drive for the last three months, so we considered where we might drive locally to go for a different walk to our usual routes. In the end we settled for the top of Callister, five miles away, where we could walk along a forestry track above Westwater.
We have walked on this track a couple of times in colder weather, but have never gone far along it. We thought that we might go a bit further today.
We parked the car and immediately got a treat when we found the track lined with wild flowers.
It was an amazing and unexpected sight. We think that the flowers might be Cat Ear but there are so many of these yellow hawkbit like flowers that it is hard to tell. Whatever they were, they lined the track for a good distance, and we saw more of them scattered about as we went along.
It was a beautiful day for a walk, the track was well surfaced and the trees young enough to let us still get some good views over the top of them.
We were walking along the west side of the Westwater valley and we began to think that it might be the day to walk in a horseshoe round the whole valley and then get back to the car by walking up the Callister road. We weren’t absolutely certain that the track went the whole way round so we were pleased, if rather surprised, when we saw two people coming down the track towards us from the opposite direction.
You can just see them in the distance in the picture above.
We were even more surprised when they got close and turned out to be Dropscone’s sister Elizabeth and her husband Peter.
We paused for a chat and a catch up as we haven’t seen them for ages, and were greatly reassured when they said that all we had to do was to keep following the track that we were on, and we would come down to the road at Westwater.
We did exactly that, following the track round the head of the valley….
…and walking back down the east side, admiring the buttercups there as we went along.
The road we were walking along had been built for the forest planting when the sheep farm was sold, so it wasn’t a shock that we could see plenty of conifers….
….but we could get some good views down the valley…
…and there has been a lot of planting of broad leaved trees on the lower slopes of the valley.
When we got to the end of the forest planting, the forest road became a farm track. As it was still well surfaced and dry, and by this time we were walking downhill for the most part, we were enjoying ourselves a lot.
Much to our surprise, we suddenly came upon some huge rose bushes which we think marked the start of the grounds round the house in the old days. They were very popular with insects.
We were also surprised to find some fungus growing in the middle of the track nearby as well as two more beside the road at the end of our walk.
As we got near the end of the horseshoe, we joined the track that comes over into Westwater from the neighbouring Logan Water valley and we were able to look down at Cleuchfoot Farm for a moment.
We were in more domesticated country now…
…and although the track down to the main road was not very interesting, we got down it quickly and were soon able to look back at the valley from below.
The walk up the road back to the car was enlivened by a steady stream of cars in both directions and we got quite adept at jumping into the verge as they passed by. There was a fine alkanet plant at one place in the verge.
A look on the internet tells me that it is called Pentaglottis sempervirens, the green alkanet or evergreen bugloss. They don’t seem to have noticed that it is blue.
After six and a half miles of almost non stop walking, we were very happy to sit in the car while it conveyed us home at a gentle speed, getting us there in perfect time to join my siblings for the usual Zoom.
As far as walks go, this was theoretically quite a dull walk, just a walk on good tracks with no great climbs or impressive hilltop views, but we found it really interesting with a range of wild flowers, different trees, rich in bird song, with buzzards soaring above us, and with a pleasing difference of feel between the walk up the valley on one side and the walk back down on the opposite side. And we saw dozens and dozens of small heath butterflies.
I had just enough strength left to mow the middle lawn after tea. I stewed the gooseberries that i had picked, and although I added ample amounts of sugar, I still found them pretty tart when I had them for an evening snack.
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow discussing life and everything with a greenfinch.