Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. You can see famous Glastonbury Tor in the background and reflected in the floodwater. Venetia tells me that flooding is very common at this time of year on the Somerset Levels. I suppose the clue is in the name.
We were in no danger of flooding here as we had another dry and sunny day. Once again, the clear weather had led to freezing temperatures so I was happy to idle away the morning with coffee, conversation and a crossword and occasional glances at the birds.
There were only occasional glances because there were only occasional birds. I am beginning to get a bit worried about the lack of garden birds as this should be a busy time of year. Today the roll call of visitors to the feeder was short…
…though blackbirds and a robin lurked about unsnapped.
I did see both our dunnocks at the same time and I managed to get a poor picture of them both before they flitted away.
When the sun eventually got round to the feeder, it was almost too strong for the camera to cope with.
The main business of the day was to get out and enjoy the blue sky and sunshine. Not long ago I had hoped to walk up Meiklehom Hill but had been thwarted by impending cattle. When I was on my walk yesterday on the other side of the valley, I had seen that the cattle on Meikleholm Hill were grazing away from the track so I decided to have another go today.
The cattle were nowhere to be seen when I got to the hill and the view back over the town showed that it was a good day to be out and about.
The lower slopes of the hill were snow free, and the snow on a neighbouring ridge almost looked as if it had been applied by an amateur cake icer.
As I got further up Meikleholm Hill, other hills came into view…
…some with better quality icing.
I put my Yaktrax on again today when I got to the steeper and slightly more snowy parts of the path and kept them on when I came to the walk up the fence to the top of Timpen.
The camera flattens out the slope and I was pleased to have good traction as I puffed up the hill to the trig point on the summit…
…where I enjoyed some splendid views with no encroaching mist today.
To the north, the bigger hills were snow covered…
…and to the south, Langholm lay snugly in its sheltering valley.
I headed along the ridge from the summit for a short while…
…before finding an easy route down the slopes to my right leading to the road near Craigcleuch.
With the assistance of my walking poles and secure footwear, I positively skipped down the snowy hillside (some slight literary exaggeration there perhaps), stopping to enjoy the views as I went, including this striking prospect of the Gates of Eden with the hills beyond..
Just before I got to the road, I came to a little burn tumbling down the hill…
…with an alder standing beside it.
I took my Yaktrax off and walked back towards Langholm along the road. It wasn’t as much fun as walking over the open hill but there were still things to see. I was surprised to find a large patch of little fungi growing in the verge. Further along I saw thet the scarlet elfcup had survived a couple of frosty nights and it was easy to tell where the new coping stones had been put on the wall at the Potholm road end.
It was still quite early as I hadn’t walked far, so I rang up Sandy and asked whether he would like to join me for the end of my walk. He was happy to be roused from his chair and I met him at his house and we walked together across the Jubilee Bridge and up the Lodge Walks….
…where we spotted a fine bracket fungus on a log…
…and then back to Holmwood over the Duchess Bridge and up through the wood.
As we walked along the river from the Duchess Bridge, we could see a mass of green shoots emerging from the damp earth beside the path. We picked a leaf or two and crushed them, and the smell told us that they were shoots of the wild garlic that grows in profusion here in the spring. Like quite a few other plants, the garlic has been confused by the weather and come out a lot too early. It will have to sit and wait for some time now.
I left Sandy to walk home through Holmwood and I took the direct way home, having done four miles with Sandy’s help at the end.
As we crossed the Jubilee Bridge, a familiar figure caught our eye. It was Mrs Tootlepedal out for a walk of her own round the Pheasant Hatchery. She had got home before me and we both felt happy with what we had done. And neither of us had fallen over on an icy patch.
I got news during the day that all my three older sisters have now had their first vaccination so it is good to find that the system is working in England. As the virus is spreading rapidly in the west of our region, we just have to hope that Scotland is well organised too.
A cup of tea and a small slice of Christmas cake was the reward for our walking activity .
I didn’t get an opportunity to take a decent flying bird picture today as the birds were so few and far between and I was going to use this inferior panel as a substitute…
…until a flying full moon of the day came to my rescue at the last minute.
I was very happy to see the moon even if it does mean another chilly day tomorrow.