Selective snowing

Today’s guest picture is needed to brighten up a second wet and grey day in succession here. Needless to say, it is from Tony in East Wemyss. He took it last week.

We woke to a day of two halves here, up and down. Looking down on the garden all was green, but looking up at Whita behind the house, all was white.

Connecting the up with the down was a steady fall of precipitation, changing from snow to rain at about 150m above sea level.

Looking at the steady rain made getting on the bike to nowhere seem quite an attractive proposition and I managed 45 minutes before cracking and taking to coffee and chocolate biscuits. These gentle morning indoor pedals are not doing much positive for my fitness, but they are keeping my legs moving and stopping me getting totally unfit so they are worthwhile.

I read a couple of local bird lovers on social media complaining that there is not much traffic at their feeders so I am not alone in wondering where the usual birds are. They were certainly not in our garden today and a pair of doves high above…

…and a few chaffinches down below…

…were all that I saw when I looked. The light was so poor though that flying birds were hard to catch, and only posing birds were fairly clear.

Mrs Tootlepedal has acquired another ham hock so we had a very tasty bowl of ham broth for lunch, and with that inside me, I felt strong enough to face the rain and go for a walk.

I put on my waterproof coat and trousers along with my wellies, and went off to see if I could find some snow.

I got a very early bonus for facing the elements in the form of a dipper in the Wauchope near the Kirk Brig. It was standing facing me as I approached…

…and very kindly turned to give me a side view before flying off.

I crossed the suspension bridge and the High Street and headed for Whita Hill. As I walked up the side of the golf course, the rain turned first to sleet as I passed the third fairway…

…and then to a thin, damp snow as I got to the top of the course.

It was a few degrees above freezing and even in the snowier parts of my walk, everything felt rather wet. There was none of that delicious crunch that fresh snow sometimes brings with it.

As I always do, I had a look at the lichen on the wall beside the gate onto the open hill and a few yards further on, a bright jelly fungus on a branch caught my eye.

The gorse flowers had been discouraged by the frost and snow so this fungus was one of the only two patches of bright colour on my whole walk.

I walked up to Whita Well…

…and decided that the snow was too wet to make climbing further up the hill to the monument much fun. Instead I went along the side of the hill to the road over the moor. I liked this work of art which I met on my way.

When I got to the road, it was a lot more snowy but a lot less icy than when I had last walked up it.

I followed the road up for a short while and then cut across the rough pasture towards a field…

…and followed the fence down to the track to Whitshiels. The rough ground was still frozen hard enough to making walking across the boggy bits very straightforward.

I stopped and looked back up to the monument….

…and was quite pleased that I wasn’t up there.

It was more sensible to walk down through the shelter of the woods, pause to look at the selection of lichen and moss on a gate beside the track,,,

…and enjoy the ice free descent to the main road.

The little burn that runs under the track near the main road was flowing freely today.

On my way home, I walked over the Sawmill Brig and took the new path round the bottom of the Castleholm. Looking across the river to the Kilngreen, I could see the Covid testing team.

Unfortunately, we have a lot of cases in the town at the moment but this didn’t seem to have brought on a rush of people wanting to be tested.

When I say that I followed the path round the Castleholm, I am using the term lightly as it was often more like a lake than a path at times.

As it is due to freeze over the next couple of nights, we may well be back to having icy fun on the pavements again.

Further round the path, a new branch on a beech tree displayed the second patch of colour on my walk.

It continued to rain, so I got home rather damp but quite cheerful as the rain, sleet and wet snow had been more persistent than heavy, the wind had been very light and my new coat is excellent.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I polished off the last of the Christmas biscuits with our afternoon cup of tea, and as is rather the habit in these dark days of winter, the rest of the day faded gently away.

This is where we miss the choirs, clubs and societies which meet in the winter for the specific purpose of providing entertainment for the daylight deprived, not to mention films and concerts at the Buccleuch Centre.

Still, mustn’t grumble. Everyone is in the same boat but we are lucky to have the hills around us to walk in.

A very ill focussed chaffinch in the rain is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “Selective snowing

  1. I hope your snow melts quicker than ours has. The snow that fell two weeks ago has turned to ice and is still with us.
    I like the shot of the fence and the snowy hill in the distance.
    Those are nice shots of the lichens too. I wonder if you still use your phone for such shots? I ask because I just got a new phone that has quite a camera on it.

    1. I used the camera for those shots but I do use the phone a fair bit for macros as it seems to focus better than the LUMIX. The downside of the phone is that I have to take my gloves off to use it and that can be a nuisance on a cold wet day.

      1. I am thinking of getting a pair of those fancy gloves which have special fingers so that I can use a touch screen with them on.

      2. I put a case with a wee hole (Allan may have added the hole) on my phone and attached a lanyard so I can’t drop it. Taking off gloves to use it can be tiresome when gardening.

  2. Like you I count my blessings that I have the moors on my doorstep,even on as inhospitable as today,with sleet and a cold wind they are a blessing.
    Another ride to nowhere,your keeping it going well👍
    You can of course make your ride as hard or easy as you like..but you need a plan to make it sustainable..something I for one still haven’t got round to doing..I just ride hard for a minute or two and then slow down for a minute,then keep repeating for around 45 mins..It can be quite tiring and wether it offers much benefit I’m not sure..but it has to be better than nothing.
    Your COVID testing centre looks eerily quite 🙄

    1. The COVID testers have been coming every week for ages and I think that I have only ever seen one customer. You have to make an appointment and can’t just drop in.

      I have got quite a good routine for when I do the indoor cycling but I have no coherent plan for what I do. I would worry about doing myself a mischief if I did one minute on and one minute off reps. If I am feeling keen, I do one minute on and five minutes off. 🙂

  3. I do like your photo of the snow covered fence that disappears over the hill and away. It’s very striking, with the stark black and white fading away to green, and then white again.

  4. Your winter scene is often what we seem, white at higher elevations, green where we care. Your mosses, lichen and fungi put on a spectacular show, and I enjoyed seeing your obliging dipper. I hope you are able to solve the mystery of the missing birds.

    We had another nice day in the lower 50s here again, and a beautiful sundown. I was able to get in a bit more garden and planter cleanup done this afternoon. Tomorrow we head back into rain.

  5. Sorry that you have a lot of cases in town. Cases in Maine have risen, too. Lots of things to miss during this time. Glad you have so many beautiful places to walk.

  6. As you said, it’s quite nice having a walk right outside your door. I must be content with walking circles in my mobile home park or get in the car and drive several miles to a regional park or drive even further to a botanic garden or the beach. I’m glad at least to have those options and to not live in a crowded apartment in the big city. It’s a daily reminder to feel glad for what I’ve got and that none of my family has caught Covid.

    1. We are barred from driving more than five miles from our home at the moment so walking locally is our only option until we get some reasonable cycling weather. We can cycle a good distance as long as we start and finish in the same place.

  7. Those are excellent Dipper shots and some of the others are very good too, though fungi and chaffinches are less demanding as subjects. The Dipper provided a cheery note in an otherwise dull day, so thank you for that.

  8. My compliments for Tom’s picture on top. Nice to read about your walk. You had a lot of snow and rain, as I can see on your photos. Covid is a real pain in the ass…. here in Belgium the contaminations are going up again 😦

  9. Good ol’ East Wemyss for coming up trumps ( shouldn’t use that word now!) and bringing good cheer! Love the photo of the snow covered fence and the pine trees against the snow…an of course all the other lovely photos too. Funny how these Christmas biscuits taste so good in January..we’ve finished all ours now…sadly!

  10. Snow really is the icing sugar on the cake of nature. Beautiful photos as ever. We’ve just finished the Christmas Quality Street, so it is back to harsh reality again, should have kept the decorations up until Candlemas …

  11. Brrrr….

    The Covid testing site is startling to see in the midst of all that beauty, so sorry to hear your area has lots of cases now. I have a few friends who’ve caught it despite the utmost precautions. So it is a slithery beast.

    1. I should say that while all those friends were fairly miserable for ten days or so, only one has had a severe case and is turning out to be one of the long-haulers.

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