Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony who looked across the Forth from East Wemyss.
After a spell of wet and windy weather, we woke to a complete contrast today with blue sky and a a cheerful sun to greet us. The price to pay for this was a near freezing temperature, but as there was very little wind, it didn’t feel as cold as it might have.
After breakfast Mrs Tootlepedal got some more work done on her drive project. I took getting going for the day at a very steady pace, and only surfaced just in time to make coffee for a garden coffee meting with Margaret. She had taken some time to recover from her flu jab but was fit enough to sit in the sunshine chatting with us and ignoring the cold.
After coffee, I walked round to the shop so that I could enjoy the river in the sunshine on my way.
Bright sunshine doesn’t always make it as easy to take bird pictures as you might think, with heavy contrast between sun and shade often taxing my camera skills….
…but I persevered for a while. This would have been a cracking picture if the blue tit had been in focus rather then the feeder pole.
After yesterday’s rush in the rain, it was quiet again at the feeder and chaffinches were the flavour of the day.
Sometimes landing was a problem…
…and at others, it was a piece of cake.
Sometimes they were nearly landed…
…sometimes they stood and watched…
…and sometimes they went flying past.
I filled the feeder and a goldfinch posed.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had business to do in the afternoon, so I went for a walk by myself.
I drove up the Wauchope road nearly to the top of Callister and then did a six and a half mile tour of Westwater. It came in four parts, a walk back down the road from my parking spot, a walk up the valley, a swing round the top of the valley, and finally the walk down the other side back to the car. You can see a shot from each section in the panel below, going clockwise from the top left.
The green in the final panel is entirely moss.
It is an enjoyable walk, with good variety of views but I had to press on because at 3°C, I didn’t want to be wandering around in the gloom when the sun went down and getting chilled.
When I had walked to the bottom of Callister and looked up to where my route would take me, I couldn’t have asked for a better November day for the outing.
Westwater is an old sheep farm that has been taken over by commercial forestry and there were plenty of conifers to see as I walked up the hill…
…though, as you can see, the foresters have planted some deciduous trees as well. I passed a man piling a heap of old plastic tree shields onto a trailer to take away for recycling.
He has got a big job ahead of him if he is going to collect them all.
In spite of the trees, there are still plenty of views on the walk…
…but it will be a forest walk before too long.
A small walled enclosure has been left in the middle of the planting…
…and it looked rather lonely, I thought.
Other gaps in the trees could be seen where little burns ran down the hillside.
The sides of the track up to the head of the valley were rich in moss and lichen but there was no fungus about.
The trees are planted with military precision…
…and you may feel that they are going to march down the hill and overwhelm you.
But they stayed in their place today and I circled safely round the head of the valley and headed for the car.
Some thin cloud had arrived and covered up the sinking sun so I could begin to feel the cold as I passed this pond beside the track.
…but you can see how still the day was, especially in the shelter of the trees.
Near the end of the walk, there are some splendid panoramic views but sadly, it had got too dark by this time to do them justice, so I contented myself with peering up a forest ride at the thin cloud…
…and appreciating a long view over the trees, through the new wind farm, over the Solway Firth and towards the Lake District hills.
My walk took me two hours to the very minute, and I was pleased with that because I got home at exactly the same time as Mrs Tootlepedal, and at a perfect moment for a cup of tea and a slice of toast. A lazy morning over the newspapers, a coffee and a chat, a visit to the shop and then lunch and a walk before afternoon tea – an attentive reader may see a certain pattern in my November days under semi lockdown. Our government has just announced that we are not allowed to go to England now, so the pattern may well continue!
If it gets a bit warmer and stops raining, I will mix the walking with cycling, but although it is supposed to get warmer again tomorrow, it is also going to start raining again. Ah well.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch which I caught just before it stopped being a flying bird.