Hitting the target

Today’ guest picture is another in the recent run of family sunsets. After London and Derby, here is our son Tony enjoying a delicate East Wemyss sunset today.

We didn’t have much in the way of sun here but at least it stopped raining and that was very welcome.

It was raining in the early morning but it had stopped by the time that Mrs Tootlepedal paid a visit to the High Street. She was pleased to get home still dry. I must have done something in the morning but it was so unimportant that I have forgotten what it was. Oh, I remember now. I read an article in a magazine on the development and nature of the European Union. It was so long and dense that I had to read it twice before I could get a grip on it. However, it was very interesting so I am glad that I made the effort. I hope that I can remember what it said. If not, I can always read it again. I have time on my hands.

I did get a look at the birds too. In spite of the loss of one of their flock to the sparrowhawk yesterday, the goldfinches were back again and we had a full house today…

…though they sensibly had one of their number acting as a lookout.

Half an hour later, chaffinches had taken over…

…though they mostly came two at a time.

The forecast spoke of hail and there was a brisk wind blowing so I thought that it might be more fun to go for a walk after an early lunch rather than risk cycling and getting battered and soaked.

In the end, the weather stayed dry and I had a most enjoyable hike, especially as I chose a route that had a good bit of shelter in its first half.

I headed up the main road to the High Mill Brig and then took the track along the bank of the Ewes Water that leads to the Target Burn. I passed a slightly sinister looking pair of mossy stumps on my way.

It was lucky that I had my wellies on as there was a fair bit of water coming down the Target Burn….

…and I might have had a hard time trying to jump across it.

I was walking up through the wood on the other side of the burn when a flash of silver caught my eye. It looked very strange at first sight but it may well have been nothing more exciting than a bit of foam caught behind a stone.

I was following walk eight of the Langholm Walks Project and there was a convenient stile to let me out of the wood and on to the open hill, and another one to get me off the hill and on to the Newcastleton road when I got to it.

When I had crossed the first stile, I could look up to the monument, the highest spot on my walk today.

My route was going to take me up the shallow ridge to the left of the monument and then back down the steeper face of the hill back to the town.

But first I had to get up the hill to the Newcastleton Road.

It has been wet and grey lately but there were still some delightful spots on the way…

…although this shot, a few yards further on perhaps showed a slightly more truthful picture of the conditions.

I didn’t go through the gate but followed the wall up the hill. There was a moment when the sun almost came out…

…but it didn’t last. The last few yards up on to the road are very steep and I was happy to take a breather while I looked back down the wall. It is amazingly straight considering the rough ground and steep slope up which it was built. It is a tribute to the drystane dykers’ skills.

My little photographic rest meant that I had no need to make use of the seat beside the road which you can see in today’s header picture. This was perhaps just as well, as the seat is looking in need of repair.

I walked the short distance up the road to the White Yett and then took the easy track up to the Monument. The sun made another effort to come out….

…but all the view was behind me.

I got the top of the hill and once again, as on my last cycle ride, I could see that the sun was shining on the Solway Firth in the west and not where I was.

Living as we do in a town where the weather from the western seas meets its first hills, we often get cloudy or wet days when the sun is shining not far away. But we do get to walk in the hills so there are compensations.

If I had not had my two walking poles with me, I wouldn’t have attempted the steep and slippery path down to the town from the top of the hill. I took great care over the first steepest and rockiest section, and then with a sigh of relief, I paused to take in the view and promptly proved the truth of Newton’s observations about gravity.

I suffered nothing worse than the baker’s curse* and a loss of dignity but I took even more care for the rest of the way down the open hillside.

On my way I saw algae on the monument. and then gorse flowers, jelly fungus and pixie cup lichen near the top of the golf course.

When I got back to the High Street, I was able to appreciate the moderately festive scene there.

The lights were showing up a lot better an hour later when I drove back through the town to go shopping with Mrs Tootlepedal.

I was waylaid in the fresh fruit aisle by some out of season Spanish raspberries. As they may either be more expensive or unavailable by next month, I wasn’t too unhappy to let them sneak themselves into my basket.

By sheer co-incidence (perhaps), I had finished the last of my home made raspberry jam this very morning so the alien raspberries soon found a good home when I got back.

We had two lightly boiled eggs for our tea.

The flying bird of the day is unexpectedly numerous.

*A soggy bottom

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Hitting the target

  1. I was going to say that I hoped you had walking poles with you as you crossed the Target Burn, but I don’t need to in the light of your mentioning them later.

  2. The algae was like none I’ve seen. Those here are usually watery and will flow.
    The straightness of the stone wall is amazing. I wonder if there was a landowner on each side making sure it was right.
    I’m glad you had a light fall. It’s an easy thing to do, more so each year.

  3. And I thought “soggy bottom” just referred to a fictional blue-grass band. Now I learn it’s a technical baking term.

  4. I like the levitating goldfinch! Glad you had more of an “unexpected sit-down” than a tumble. Lovely looking jam.

      1. That sounds like my policy when I used to downhill ski! I wiped out on some ice today, and didn’t have any choice about how I went down – luckily the first point of contact was a well padded area . . .

  5. I am glad the sun emerged and you could take a good walk. The stone wall was very impressive. I have a tremendous amount of respect for stone workers.

    The birds and commentary did not disappoint, and I am glad the sparrow hawk did not pay a visit today. I have seen quail here post one of the males up on a fence post top, keeping an eye out for predators.

  6. Well done completing such a hike in poor conditions but worth it for seeing those views, the lichen and the wonderful workmanship in that straight wall. Sorry about the trip and at least you can enjoy a well deserved jam sandwich now.

  7. Glad a soggy bottom was all you suffered! If I hadn’t watched The Great British Baking Show, I wouldn’t have known what you meant. We don’t really discuss soggy bottoms over here. 😉

  8. Soggy bottom, haha. Something I’d not heard of before becoming addicted to the Bake Off! Your photos are the very definition of a “light around the edges” sky, and the flying bird photo should be a prize winner.

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