Clouded vision

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She wanted a socially distanced walk away from crowds earlier in the week, and was surprised to find she could have one along the canal at the Camden locks. In a normal year, this popular spot would be heaving with passers by.

We had a quiet, dry day here today with the temperature hovering just above freezing. As I am not going cycling until the thermometer hits five degrees C at least, this was another opportunity for a forty five minute session on the bike to nowhere.

Preceded by the crossword and followed by coffee, once again this took care of most of the morning. I did find time to check on the birds too.

Goldfinches arrived but preferred to remain anonymous.

The robin had another go at the peanut butter and seemed to enjoy it as it spent a few minutes pecking away.

Looking at the walnut tree, I thought that starlings might be starting to pair off…

…but when I looked again, they had rearranged themselves into a more separated system.

When the sun came out and crept round to the feeder…

…. it brought out chaffinches in enough numbers to make for a perch competition…

…and a small procession.

I was encouraged by the sun myself and went for a walk after lunch. I set off up the track to Warbla in the hope of getting some sunlit snowy scenes.

The outing started well with a fine clump of frozen moss on the park wall…

…and a frozen plant too on the shady side of the wall.

But the sunlit snowy scenery proved more elusive. I was in sunlight myself, but as I got onto the open hill and looked around, it became clear that there was a pervasive layer of low cloud and mist lurking on or just over the top of every hill round the town.

These clouds sitting on the tops of our hills have been very common lately and must reflect some temperature gradient, perhaps with cold air sitting in the valley bottom and warming as it rises and catches the sun. The sun is so low at this time of the year that it is often screened by the low cloud while there is blue sky above. That was the case today.

This was quite interesting but annoying and unclouded snowy scenes were hard to find…

I seemed to be getting into some sun as I walked up the snow covered track…

…but when I got up to the corner and looked back, it was the same story, mist and clouds spoiling the picture.

The blue sky overhead made this frustrating and I hoped that I might have better luck when I had got to the summit which looked promising…

…but it was not to be. The town was visible…

…but the view up the valley was still invisible.

I didn’t hang around on the summit, but went straight on and down the other side of the hill, across the tussocks and boggy bits until I got down to the river at Skippers Bridge.

In the absence of views, I took a picture of a frozen fern by a wall.

The views may not have been any good, but it was a grand day for a walk (as long as you kept your eye open for icy patches), so I decided to extend my outing with a walk along the river and then to come home by Jenny Noble’s Gill and the Round House.

This gave me the chance to admire the vast quantities of hair ice in the wood beside the road. I have never seen it looking quite so opulent.

I left the road and walked up the track beside the gill…

…and wondered if it had started to rain in spite of the sunshine as I was getting hit by little drops. A closer examination showed that frozen drops from the tips of branches above my head were falling from the trees, and when I looked down I could see that beneath my feet, tiny precious gems lay gleaming in the sun.

It may not have been a great day for views on the hill, but it was a lovely afternoon in the woods and I saw a tree creeper creeping about on a tree (too far away for a good picture unfortunately)…

…and I enjoyed the golden light from the sun filtered through the light mist in the valley.

I had to pay attention to walking as I went along because the track was alternately icy and ice free. Counter-intuitively, the icy patches were in the sunnier sections and the ice free spots were where the track was firmly in the shade of the trees. Once I had mastered this idea, I went along more securely. I suspected that it had snowed, melted and frozen in the open spaces and that the snow had never got to the ground in the shady parts.

I have walked along here many time in recent months so I kept my camera in my pocket and concentrated on not falling over. I managed this pretty well, and got home after five varied and enjoyable miles. Tea and ginger biscuits with Mrs Tootlepedal helped me to recover from what had been an energetic outing, and I was able to sneak in a little singing practice before Zooming with Mrs Tootlepedal and my siblings in the evening.

As Mrs Tootlepedal provided roast chicken and vegetables for our evening meal, I counted this as good day in spite of the absence of the sunlit snowy views (which weighed on my mind a lot, as the snow may be washed away soon).

A chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Clouded vision

  1. The snow covered hills are still beautiful even in low clouds.
    Ice pellets falling from the trees is a regular occurrence here lately.
    I love the shot of the gnarly tree bathed in golden light. Once the daylight lasts a while longer I’ll have to get out in the afternoon.

  2. The frozen mist covered mountains are beautiful. Moss and lichens take on a whole new look in their ice bead clothes. I agrees, the gnarly old tree in the angled afternoon light is a unique and interesting subject. And, it is good to see the birds at the feeder enjoying the sun.

    It was rainy and cold here today. I am glad I got some garden time in yesterday.

  3. The Tree Creeper is quite special. Your Robins always look so well-behaved and good-natured. I’m with you on the icy trails, be careful! The landscapes are still spectacular to me, even if the sky isn’t cooperating for you. 🙂

  4. Strange times…an empty Camden Locks and still with the locks on the fence! The snowy misty hills still look lovely but the sun shining on the remains of autumn colouring in the trees is preferable and brightens one up! That’s a lot of hair ice…must be perfect conditions for it. Good to catch a photo of a tree creeper- they’re quick movers…not like me!

    1. It makes you think about how many of the people thronging the streets of London are visitors to the city. You see busier streets in country towns at the moment.

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