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.