Blown off course again

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie and shows a fig from her garden.

We had a day without rain today and very welcome it was too. Sandy came down to join us for coffee, and thanks to the very strong wind, we had a morning coffee meeting inside, the first time since the lockdown began. It felt most unusual.

We were joined by our neighbour Liz and I burdened her down with rhubarb before she left. While I was out by the rhubarb patch, I noticed that a better looking red admiral butterfly had discovered the buddleia.

And I discovered that the cornflowers have started to come out.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with community buy out work, so I did some gardening on my own account with breaks for flower shooting.

In between dead heading and admiring poppies…

I pruned the last of the espalier apples, trimmed a short hedge and mowed the drying green and the vegetable garden grass….

…and the front lawn too.

It is hard to ignore the dahlias at the moment. They seem to get more beautiful each day.

I filled the bird feeder and went in to watch the avian action from the sitting room window. I saw a sparrow sandwich…

…and a greenfinch vs siskin melee…

…which ended with the greenfinch in command of the perch.

I had been hoping to get out for a cycle ride since it was a dry day, but as we were eating our lunch, a fierce gust of wind sent garden chairs cartwheeling along the drive so I thought again, and decided that a walk would be a better idea. Somehow, walking in a strong wind is not so discouraging as cycling into one is.

Leaving Mrs Tootlepedal crouched over her computer doing more community buy out work, I set off to walk round the ‘Whisky Run’, a walk that I last did on New Year’s day. It involves walking up the Esk valley on the road north out of town, crossing the Esk by way of the Burnfoot bridge and then coming home on the other side of the river along a track (after a little climb up a hill on a back road).

The first mile, along a tree lined road, doesn’t have any views, so I took a picture of a fine lichen and some herb robert…

After that, it is a very open walk with views almost all the way, including one of my favourite views, ‘The Gates of Eden’.

It was a day of sunny intervals, as the weather forecasters say, and occasionally I got a sunny view like this one of the Esk and the road that I would take on my way back on the other side of the valley. (It passes the white cottage.)

The Burnfoot Bridge always seems to be a bit grander than the narrow road on which it lies deserves.

Still, I crossed it when I came to it and walked up the hill on the other side. There has been recent felling here, and the rosebay willowherb has leapt into life in place of the trees.

More views were available when I got to the top…

…before taking the track back home.

This is what the Gates of Eden look like from up close.

The road just squeezes through the gap between the hills.

There were cattle on the hill beside the unfenced track when I left the road, but they were only mildly curious as I walked past them and soon went back to grazing. I didn’t stop to take any pictures of them though and was happy when I reached the comparative safety of sheep.

I kept going for five miles without stopping for more than a moment or two to take pictures, so when I came to this bench above Potholm…

…I was happy to have a short sit down and a snack.

After I left the bench, the track was tree lined for a while, and I kept an eye out for wild flowers in the absence of a view….

…but soon I was at a place where more recent tree felling has opened up views for walkers.

A look at a field across the river…

…showed clear evidence of our recent rain.

The rain had encouraged some fungus to grow on a bank a bit further down the track.

The forecast had suggested that there was a fair chance of some rain in the late afternoon, so I stopped stopping to take pictures and concentrated on getting home from this point. There were one or two faint spells of drizzle (or spells of faint drizzle) but I completed the eight and a half miles without getting wet. In fact, the sun was shining brightly when I got back to the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal was still hard at work on her computer when I got home, but she came out into the garden where I picked beetroots and turnips and she collected courgettes for our tea.

In spite of the occasional blue skies, it was not a warm day with the temperature once again only just creeping over 15°C/60°F. As a result, it was a perfect day for walking and I really enjoyed my outing. I have been trying to get a walk or a cycle ride in every day during the lockdown to avoid boredom as much as anything else, but the effort has been very satisfactory from a fitness point of view.

All the same, I was quite tired after a fairly active day and the flying bird of the day reflects this. It is having a quiet moment too.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, novice photogrpaher

32 thoughts on “Blown off course again

  1. A very good distance, and amid such beauty – you are a lucky man, Tom. The dahlias are amazing – there are so many different kinds, and they are all so striking. Annie’s fig is a wonder – it’s extremely rare to find fresh figs in stores here, and impossible to grow them. I am very jealous – I came to fresh figs late in life, but have embraced them with great enthusiasm – they’re one of the first things I look for on a visit to London (sigh).

    1. I love fogs too but for old people’s dental reason, the pips make them an utter nightmare now and I can’t eat them. I am sorry about the travel restrictions.

  2. I’m forever astounded by the beauty you’re able to walk out your own door and engulf yourself in. I can only dream of those views as I walk down a very dull, crowded residential street from my home.

  3. The perfect day for a walk! I’m very jealous of your talk of beetroot, courgettes, beans, etc. We’ve now reached the “if I see another pumpkin…” stage of proceedings on this side of the planet and the thought of a courgette fritter and salad is almost too much too bear. And as for Annie’s fig foto…words fail me😊

  4. The Gates of Eden make an impressive view. I, too, am astounded by the beauty one can see on foot so close to your home. I enjoyed all your photos, especially those radiant dahlias. The birds never disappoint. The sparrow sandwich was a nice catch. I found myself flinching looking at that one. Those little talons must hurt. 🙂

    1. There is a good variety of countryside at hand whihc makes life very good for a local walker. There are hills, valleys, open moor, woods both conifer and broad leaved, and paths everywhere.

  5. Wonderful dahlias and lovely cornflowers keeping your garden bright and beautiful. Enjoyed your walk through the hills and dales and seeing all those stunning views makes me want a hill walk too! The fig looks so tasty!

  6. It’s good that the flying bird gets a peaceful rest now and then. That first dahlia is most definitely a stunner. I must mention that you have the most wonderful views on those hikes of yours. I believe this might have been one of the best.

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