Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone. He only has to go out of his front door to see this gorgeous autumn colour in his own garden.
We had another fairly calm but definitely grey day today, with occasional rain and fairly reasonable temperatures for the time of year.
We had a busy social morning and Sandy was our first visitor when he came down to enjoy a cup of coffee and a chat. It was gently drizzling but we sat on the new bench under the walnut tree, sheltered by privet and honeysuckle and kept dry enough not to notice the rain.
Sandy left, the rain stopped, and Margaret came round for coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal and me. There was a moment when a patch of blue sky appeared but it didn’t last long and the coffee meeting was both socially distanced and suitably dressed.
They were sitting near the last of our colourful corners, though this is foliage not flowers..
While we sipped and chatted, we admired the remaining flowers in the garden,. especially the fuchsia and the Michaelmas daisies…
…and we enjoyed the sparkle of raindrops on the plants.
I had a look round when Margaret left.
…and then did some supervising and occasional actual helping while Mrs Tootlepedal put another slab into position.
I paid a flying visit to the shop on my shopping bicycle, and then it was time for lunch.
I did have a look at the birds but there were very few about again today. There must be better food elsewhere. This siskin didn’t look very happy with his lunch.
My afternoon plans turned out to be very flexible.
Plan A was to get into my cycling gear and go for a pedal while Mrs Tootlepedal watched the Giro. I watched a bit of the Giro by accident before I got changed, and then sat down for a moment to see how things were going before I set off. Some time later, I got out of my cycling gear as it was now too late for a serious cycle ride, put my walking shoes on and adopted Plan B, a quick walk to the top of Warbla by the track and back again.
(I should say that the Giro stage was well worth abandoning a plan for. The commentator claimed that anyone who had watched it would never forget it for the rest of their lives. While this was classic commentator’s hyperbole, it was indeed a very exciting stage.)
I manged to get Plan B under way in spite of the attractions of switching to watch the Vuelta and set off to walk up the track to Warbla.
I may have mentioned that it was a grey day…
…and with the clouds sitting heavily on the top of Whita, I wondered if I would see anything at all when I got up the hill.
I was encouraged by some cheerful colour and good lichen on the wall as I walked along past the park…
…and some more colour and fine fungus as I went up the track at Stubholm.
I headed on up towards the hill, looking back from time to time to enjoy the trees behind me.
All was good.
This was as far as Plan B got though. When I reached the open hill, a group of moody looking cattle where standing on the track ahead of me.
I wasn’t going to risk wandering through the cattle, so Plan C came into action. This involved circling round the hill until I was out of sight of the cattle and then walking along a narrow and sometimes steep grassy path to the summit.
I soon got high enough to look over the trees and could see that the clouds had lifted from Whita. I took my metaphorical hat off to the dog walker lower down the hill who thought that it was a good day for shorts.
The going was soggy in places so I was glad to have brought my two walking poles with me to help prop me up as I staggered over ditches and boggy bits.
I was happy to stop for a breather from time to time too when I got to the steeper parts..
I saw plenty of fungus as I went up and found a bright red example right on the top of the hill.
The views from the top of the hill weren’t brilliant…
…but they were still good enough to make the climb feel well worthwhile, especially with the autumn colour below to help.
As I wasn’t going to chance meeting the cattle and the route that I had taken up the hill had been steep and soggy, I changed my return route and adopted Plan C. This was to walk down the other side of the hill across gently sloping boggy ground and come down to the river via the cattle sheds.
The ground turned out to be pretty wet so it didn’t take long from Plan C to go the way of Plans A and B as I took the chance to go down a shorter path which I had never followed before.
I was very glad that I had my walking poles with me as it was very steep in parts, and although it wasn’t boggy, it was still wet and slippery. I couldn’t look round as much as I would have liked but I still took a few pictures on my way down.
I was quite pleased to find myself on the flat when I got down to the Esk at Skippers Bridge.
Mrs Tootlepedal reckons that we get ‘peak autumn’ around 20th October and as she is
usually always right, I thought that I better take the traditional up and down river shots from the bridge in case things had gone downhill by the next time I crossed the bridge.
We have heavy rain and strong winds forecast for Saturday so the leaves might start to fall in earnest then.
My walk back along the town side of the river provided a real bonus as I found that the ‘October Daisies’ were still in full swing…
…and the views all the way up to the suspension bridge were most enjoyable.
Margaret had remarked to us over coffee that the leaves of the strikingly pretty tree at the suspension bridge were now almost all lying on the ground. She was right.
A portent of things to come.
I had timed my walk well as it started to rain just as I got home. The winter jasmine at the back door welcomed me in.
Mrs Tootlepedal kindly re-ran the last two kilometres of the Vuelta which she had been watching while I walked, so I was able to savour my second exciting finish of the day.
I am hoping to get out for a pedal tomorrow before that spell of wet and windy weather arrives, but the lesson from today is that the best laid plans often go astray, especially when there are two exciting cycle races available to watch in comfort at home.
I had a complete failure with the flying birds today, so a definitely non flying dunnock stands in.