Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who found that his local river, the Derwent, had got a bit too enthusiastic yesterday.
The first picture in the post today looks a little out of place, but honestly, it was nearly today when I took it when I went to bed last night. I looked out of the window and to my surprise found a full moon floating in the night sky. It was a fine sight so I went back downstairs and fetched up my camera and took a couple of shots from an upstairs window. I cropped the second picture in the panel below to show the craters. It is amazing to me that my camera has such wonderful eyesight.
(For those interested in that sort of thing: The left hand panel: f/6.3 1/320 sec ISO 160 Focal length 600mm and the right hand panel: f/14 1/640th sec ISO 160. focal length 600mm (heavily cropped and a lot of brightening in the editor.))
Having seen the moon afloat in the clear sky, it was a pleasant surprise to find when we got up that it hadn’t been frosty overnight and the ground was ice free, although the thermometer was only showing a miserly 1°C.
Normally, I would never have contemplated cycling at that temperature but the forecast was good, even offering a glimpse of sun towards midday, and my monthly mileage is terrible, so after the crossword and a coffee, I got my bike out and set off up the Wauchope road.
But I watched a few birds before I left.
Another siskin turned up.
Otherwise, it was mostly chaffinches once again. A male loomed up and a female politely asked him to find another perch…
…but he was a male and thus entitled to any perch he wanted in his view.
You can only shake your head at such behaviour.
I put the camera down and picked up my bike.
I knew that there would be a brisk wind about and I opted to start with the wind behind me today. Shortly after I had set off, I met another cyclist coming back into Langholm. He groaned theatrically and said, “Strong wind against coming this way, ” so I decided not to go too far!
To vary my route and the breeze, I took two side diversions when I got to Wauchope Schoolhouse, the first up to Cleuchfoot and back…
…and the second up the opposite side of the road past the Bloch farm for a mile to the cattle grid. This gave me a view over the Solway to the English hills, which for once were not covered entirely by cloud.
As I came back down to the Wauchope road, there was a hint of that promised better weather ahead.
I turned left when I got back onto the main road and headed up to the top of Callister, and then a little down the other side, just so that I could enjoy a bit of blue sky and get a views both near…
The cloudscape was very odd.
I soon found out that that passing cyclist had been telling the truth and I had to pedal pretty hard even to get down the hill from the top of Callister, so I was quite pleased when I got back to Langholm. I had thought that I might not be so happy when a flurry of snow came out of nowhere when I was still three miles from home, but it disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and it was sunny enough to tempt me to add a couple of miles to my trip to make up a standard twenty mile outing.
That twenty miles took me just over 100 miles for the month, almost as far as I have walked. It was not what I would have hoped for but it was not too bad considering the very cold weather that we have had.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was keen on a walk, so we wrapped up well and set off towards the river to see if we could see a dipper. We saw two on the Ewes Water, but one instantly flew off and the other dived under the water and disappeared, so there was no chance of a picture.
We headed up the Lodge Walks where we passed Sandy out for a walk of his own.
Once we had passed the Lodge , we took the top road towards Holmhead…
…where we stopped to look up in wonder at the very tall and straight trees that line the road.
We cut up towards the top track just before we got to Holmhead. The snowdrops there are looking promising…
…but a little warm weather to bring them on would not go amiss.
It was a treat to stroll along the top track…
…and as long as we kept out of the wind, it was generally a very good day for a walk. The bridges were not up to much though.
At the end of the rack, we got a good view of Whita…
…and passed a sunlit mossy wall…
…on our way back to the river in pursuit of more dipper sightings.
There were none on the Ewes Water, just some ducks in the low sunshine…
…but we did see one on the Esk and one on the Wauchope before we got home. The one on the Esk was too busy ducking and diving to pose for us, but the Wauchope dipper was more polite. You can see the white spot of its underwater eyelids in the first panel.
We got home in good time for tea and toast and then we set about making a second cheese from our gift pack from our daughter Annie. We have nearly finished the goat’s cheese so this time we made a crowdie, a Scottish cheese. It is resting overnight in the fridge as I write this post so we won’t be able to test it until tomorrow, but it looks all right so we have got our fingers crossed.
The way the curds suddenly appear as you gently stir the milk is very rewarding.
The moon was out again tonight when I looked, but this time it is going to freeze overnight so January is bidding to go as coldly as it came in.
Two sparring chaffinches are joint flying birds of the day.