Lining up a new route

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She found a very elaborate tree on one of her local walks.

After a night of rain, we woke to a morning of rain. To show how one day runs almost invisibly into another during lockdown, when I was considering yesterday’s post I completely forgot that I had been to the dentist in the morning and failed to mention it. Sadly, there was no such entertaining diversion this morning, so in spite of the usual footering about, I had no alternative after coffee but to embark on the bike to nowhere for fifty minutes.

I might have spent some time watching the birds too but they seemed to have been discouraged by the weather and I saw a lot of this…

…and very little of this.

There was one moment of difference though when a chaffinch was as surprised as I was to see a dunnock on the feeder.

The forecast suggested that there might be a small window of opportunity for a walk in the afternoon so when I had finished my lunch, I put on my coat and hat and went out. Mrs Tootlepedal looked at the weather and thought that she had better things to do,.

The overnight rain had washed away almost all traces of snow in the garden but there was still some left on the upper slopes of Whita.

I had expected to see the river running high with rain and melting snow, but it was nothing to write home about at all.

I had intended to walk up the road to Broomholmshiels and return through the woods, but as I walked along the road beside the river, I came up behind Nancy who was walking in the same direction with her friend Kate. It turned out that they had the same route in mind, so rather than walk in front of therm and then get in their way when I stopped to take pictures, I turned off and took the track beside Jenny Noble’s Gill first. The gill was chattering down the hillside.

As I walked up through the woods beside the gill, there were various fungi to be seen, big polypores at the bottom of the hill..

…and decorative frills at the top among the oaks.

When I came out into the open, I could look back and see that there was no snow left on the top of Warbla where I had dropped my camera yesterday. I had to look further up the valley to higher hills to see any white blanket, and even that was thin.

I passed Nancy and Kate, now going in the opposite direction to me, and walked through the farm buildings at Broomholmshiels and down to the road. I was at a col and instead of turning right and walking back down the hill to the Esk, I turned left and walked down the hill to the Tarras Water instead. I was hoping that I might see some scarlet elf cups, as this is a place where I have seen them before, but there were none to be seen. I will look again in springtime.

In place of fungus, I saw sheep among the trees…

…a tree among the gorse…

…and variations in the way that roadside fence pipes were joined together.

There is no end to the excitement that can be had on a walk in our area.

I went as far as the bridge over the Tarras Water…

There was a gang of tree planters getting into their vans at the bridge, ready to go home after a hard day’s work. They had been planting birches and alders. To my surprise, I found that this was not new planting, but that they were replacing trees that had failed to grow in the plastic tubes that young deciduous trees are planted in these days. The foreman told me that they might visit a plantation two or three times after it is first planted to make sure that there are viable trees in every tube. I was impressed.

The bridge was my limit for distance so I turned for home, climbing up the hill that I had just come down.

Some might think that going back by the same road that you came down could be dull work. It is not necessarily so, as you get different views and even on a gloomy day like today, you often see things that you missed on the outward trip, like this moss covered ivy putting its arms round a tree.

All the same, I didn’t go all the way back down to the road that I had walked along before, but turned on to the old railway track at Broomholm.

It doesn’t look much like an old railway track when you first get onto it but that soon changes…

…and it provided me with another fine set of fungus.

The railway took me back to Jenny Noble’s Gill..

…and I crossed the gill and walked up through the birch woods…

…to join the track to the Round House. It rained gently for quite a lot of the walk but it was warm enough as long as I was out of the wind. From the Round House, I went back down to the old railway and then took this steep path….

…down to Skippers bridge…

…from where it was just a hop and a skip (or in my case, a groan and a stagger) back to the town.

I was greeted by this cheerful stone as I crossed the Park Brig.

Following quite a severe outbreak of the virus in the town, a number of these stones have appeared with the joint purpose of persuading us to be sensible and optimistic at the same time.

As I got to our back door, I took a picture of the Sarcococca there.

Mrs Tootlepedal has brought a few twigs from it into the house and they smell delightful.

With impeccable timing, I got home after completing six miles in perfect time for tea and toast.

In our sibling Zoom later in the day, I showed some old photographs of a holiday we had at my sister’s house in Greece. We could have done with some of that glorious sunshine here today.

Almost inevitably, a chaffinch is the flying bird of the day. I had no choice.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

24 thoughts on “Lining up a new route

  1. I was interested to watch a programme on BBC4 this evening which, aming other things, told of archaeological diggings at Burnswark (sp?), not too far from you, the site of a Roman siege. I think it was probably a repeat.

  2. The dunnock looks equally as surprised to see the chaffinch flying in at speed. I enjoyed seeing the sights along your walk in the grey and wet. You encountered some fine fungus.

    It was a dry, partly cloudy but nippy day here, feeling much colder than indicated by the thermometer. Our high was somewhere in the mid 40s.

  3. The mossy rocks along the stream were pretty things.
    You saw some colorful fungi. It must be nice to be able to find them at any time of year.
    I hadn’t heard of the Sarcococca so I was surprised to find that it was a box shrub. Apparently it will grow here.

    1. It is a good winter plant for us and although you can’t get much from it when it is outside, once it has been brought in, it has a delightful scent.

  4. I was very fond of the embracing ivy. I’m also wondering what the lichen (script lichen?) in the header was growing on that was so corrugated-looking. I’ve only ever seen it on relatively smooth bark.

  5. Like you, I was impressed by the care taken with the tree planting. Enjoyed the pictures of Jenny Noble’s gill chattering away.

  6. A Dunnock on a feeder – something you don’t see every day. The stone was the highpoint of the walk for me – nice and cheerful and showing there are still people doing things for others.

    1. The dunnock on the feeder was rare, you are right. I think that it was there because there had been so few other birds at the feeder dropping seeds for it to harvest down on the ground.

  7. A long walk considering the weather and the slippy conditions but well worth it for the range of great photos. Love the photos of the sheep- they made me smile! Such an expression on that face and the rear ends of the three climbing the hill muttering some awful words about the conditions underfoot! The different tracks through the woods offer lots of interesting things to see especially the fungus. Love the view of Skippers Bridge.

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