Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. A week or so ago, before the current London lockdown, she went down to the river and took this view of the access to the new footbridge across the Thames. The most remarkable thing about the picture is the almost complete absence of any people on a bridge which is usually packed with tourists every day of the week.
We had another cold (21°F) morning but another sunny day. With things being pretty icy outside, I was happy to while away forty five minutes on the bike to nowhere before coffee. After coffee, I walked up the High Street, only to find that the chemist was shut. I might have realised that it would be shut before I went, but the situation is so odd these days that I had forgotten that we are on a holiday weekend.
I had a look at the birds when I got back and was happy to find one of our dunnocks back at the peanut butter jar. It had a look round…
…and then tucked in.
Up above, the feeder was in the shade….
…but Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree was still catching the sun.
Although there were always spare perches to be had as chaffinches flew up to the feeder…
…some chaffinches just couldn’t resist an argument.
I stopped watching the birds and made some lentil and carrot soup for lunch. Then I went for a walk.
After yesterday’s eight miles on the road, I wanted something a bit softer under foot today, but not too icy, so a trip to the open hill was the answer. I set off to Timpen by way of Meikleholm Hill.
I did this walk only a few days ago so I didn’t want to take the same pictures all over again (though it was a temptation) and kept myself to a favourite tree on Meikleholm Hill…
…and a note that there have been so many walkers about since last March that formerly inconspicuous paths are starting to look like motorways.
It was a pretty clear day, and as I got to the top of Timpen, I got an unusual view back over Whita and the Langholm Moor to Tinnis Hill,
Although our snow has all but disappeared, to the north the bigger hills there are still white.
Looking across the Esk, I could see the results of some very selective felling on the lower slopes of Castle Hill.
I walked over the top of Timpen and continued along the undulating ridge.
Looking across the valley, I could see the shadow cast by my ridge falling on the hill on the far side of the road.
The striking black line in the foreground is my shadow. I hoped that I might be able to see my head sticking out on the hill opposite, but even when I blew the picture up, I was too insignificant in the scale of things to register.
When you are up on the ridges, there are many ways to go stretching out in front of you….
…and as we live in Scotland, it is our right to walk (responsibly) wherever we like on open ground so the world was my oyster.
However, as the days are short, my legs are part worn and the ground that I had walked over so far was quite testing…
…I kept my enthusiasm in check and stayed on the ridge that I was on. I enjoyed the views in front of me…
…and the view behind me over Warbla and towards England too.
This was the first time that the English hills have emerged from the mist and cloud for several days.
I got to the Black Knowe at the end of my ridge and looked at the next tempting ridge along to Craig Hill with a ready made track along it….
…but when I pulled the zoom back in, it seemed like quite a long way to the end…
….so I contented myself with walking back along the ridge to Timpen, enjoying the fact the chilly wind was now behind me.
There was another splendid view towards Tinnis ahead of me as I went…
…and a look down towards the Esk and Potholm Farm on my left….
…so I wasn’t bored.
The ground was well frozen and I was able to walk happily across many boggy bits which I would have had to detour round on wetter day.
I met two couples who were outward bound on their walks as I went back over Timpen and Meikleholm Hill and hoped that they were well dressed for cold weather as the sun was sinking as I neared the end of my walk. The low sun did provide some very golden light though as I came off the hill.
And some long shadows.
I found myself back on a slippery path when I had gone through the gate off the hill, and I was striding out confidently in my Yaktrax when one foot slipped ominously. I stopped and checked and found to my great annoyance that one of the sets of springs had come off my shoe and was lying somewhere on the hill. I was only semi protected.
I went back on to the hill and retraced my steps but the ground was rough and I couldn’t be sure of exactly where I had gone. Also I didn’t want to go too far and then have to come back over slippery ground with one foot unprotected, so I gave up and hopped home on one leg.
It was only a four mile walk, but it was quite hilly (1000 feet of climbing) and over some testing ground so I was very pleased when Mrs Tootlepedal made me a reviving cup of tea when I got home. She doesn’t like walking on icy ground at all so she had done more painting of walls in the hall today.
I hope that some kind person might find my missing Yaktrax on the hill but I have ordered another pair as the forecast says that there may well be lots of need for them in the coming days. I will put some home made straps on them when they come.
A couple of days of indoor cycling and outdoor walking left me feeling a bit tired in the evening but I built my strength up with mince and tatties followed by semolina for our evening meal and I should be ready to face tomorrow when it comes.
Unsurprisingly, as they are the only visitors to the feeder just now, the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.