A crowded day

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…

…and far.

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “A crowded day

  1. It’s looking very springlike, all of a sudden. Though we will have to see what Tuesday looks like before I decide on that. Dippers are good – I didn’t realise they had an underwater eyelid.

  2. Some lovely close-ups at the feeder. The female chaffinch is a very pretty wee thing.

    All the green showing throughout your walk is very heartening.

    1. I know it will seem like tropical heat to you but we would like at least a day or two above 7 degrees C just to remind us what a warmer day might feel like.

  3. Amazing photos of the moon. This is the Wolf Moon and very early this morning, with the snow on the ground, it was almost as light as day. The sight of the lovely snowdrops was very cheering as we are promised-25C overnight not counting any windchill. Brrrr…!

  4. That’s another great shot of the moon. I’ve really got to do it again.
    Loved seeing the snowdrops too. At first glance February looks to be snowy here.
    The chubby robin and the landscapes were my favorites. I might see a robin but it’ll be a while before I see green.

  5. I didn’t know you could get a kit to make cheese, but that’s what your gift sounds like from here. I have an acquaintance who makes delicious creamy cheeses and have been thinking of looking into how to.

    The mossy wall is beautiful and he snow drops are indeed promising. I wish we had walks like that from our house. There is a lake to walk around but it hasn’t much to offer except for some lovely swans in winter, and there is a very straight uphill start to a walk that goes to the beach in a mile or two but I’ve always been nervous to walk it alone because there might be a cougar….which is silly, because cougar attack are rare, but still.

    1. The kit just provides salt, citric acid and rennet along with some cheese muslin and a couple of small shaping baskets, all of which I am sure you could buy on the open market. What you are really paying for is an excellent book of instructions, very clear and very methodical.

  6. I had to look up crowdie cheese. It sounds very good!

    I enjoyed all the photos from your day. You had some nice weather there for biking and walking. The birds and commentary brought a smile, and the FBOTD was a nice catch with two of them flying opposite directions.

  7. ‘The way the curds suddenly appear as you gently stir the milk is very rewarding.’ – the best one yet 🙂 You have also made good use of the clear light. That bridge looks dicey

  8. I enjoyed your bird pictures today. The one you described as ‘shaking its head’ made mr laugh iut loud and the flying birds of the day was also a prize winning photograph.

  9. Great shot, looking up at the trees, Tom! And lovely to see all these scenic views. I cant’ even find our garden path at the moment as it’s under more than a foot of snow.

  10. Amazing photos of the Wolf moon and the interesting info. below. Countryfile followed your lead on dippers! Your photos are great…I didn’t know about their eyelids but it makes sense. It’s lovely to see the sunshine in your photos – promise of more to come.

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