Up and down (and round)

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan again. It shows the fine bunch of flowers that my sister Mary brought with her on her last visit for lunch. Susan has been self isolating after a successful minor operation, and this was a celebration to mark the end of that.

After the merest sprinkle of overnight snow, we woke to another cold and reasonably sunny day.

The first business of the day after breakfast was to engage in an online chat with a representative of our boiler insurance and maintenance company who were trying to overcharge us for our annual renewal. An exchange of messages caused fifty pounds to magically disappear from the bill. This was simultaneously quite satisfying and very annoying, but it is the way of the world just now.

I went and had a cup of coffee (with unsurprising cheese scones) and and then did an hour on the bike to nowhere to cheer me up and work off my annoyance.

Then I had a look out of the window at the birds before lunch.

The robin was looking out of its window too.

Chaffinches were flying in…

…sometimes to the surprise of sparrows who were trying to fly in at the same time.

A blackbird stood by to watch the fun…

…and the wren appeared again.

As a reader pointed out, the cold weather must be making it very hungry as I usually hardly catch a glimpse of it all. It is a tricky bird to photograph and both the bird camera and the Lumix had a go today at different times with varying success.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal hosted a business Zoom meeting and when it had got going, I left her to it and went out for a walk.

After yesterday’s long, low walk, I went for something shorter but steeper today. I was well wrapped up as it was cold and a nippy easterly wind was making it feel colder still. The forecast suggested a sixty percent chance of snow showers, and I did see one or two on distant hills but they left me alone today for which I was duly grateful.

I took some early photos as I went up the hill while the sun was out…

…just to show what a nice day it was…

…and in case it started to snow later!

The cattle on Meikleholm Hill were grazing quietly a few hundred yards away from my route, and I went over the top of the hill and through the gate onto Timpen without disturbing them.

To give myself a breather when I got to a steep bit, I looked back over the town…

…before pushing on to the summit.

The weather looked a bit threatening for a moment when I got there and only Clark Fell was in the sunshine…

…but it was a clear day and I could look twenty five miles across the Solway plain to see the snow covered northern English fells.

Looking to the south west, there was plenty of sunshine on the Solway Firth itself, as it sparkled brilliantly in the background behind the new Solwaybank windfarm.

Turning to get the sun behind me, I could see an impressively snowy landscape…

…though there was very little snow at 1000ft where I was standing. We have been on the very edge of the weather over the past two days. Our sons who live further east and north have been getting much more snow than us.

There were plenty of good views to be had today while the clouds came and went and I liked these three ridges getting progressively higher…

…and I liked the lower views too.

However, the brisk and biting wind didn’t let me stand around for too long enjoying them and I soon left the summit mound.

I did think of walking right along the ridge from the top of Timpen, but Mrs Tootlepedal’s stern advice not to fall over and have to call out the mountain rescue echoed in my head so I stopped about half way along…

…and went down the side of the hill towards the road below.

The going was remarkably good, with the top of the ground just soft enough to take a boot, but the underlying ground frozen hard enough still to stop me sinking in. I was soon safely on the road and heading back to Langholm.

After negotiating steep slopes and tussocks, I welcomed the smooth ice and snow free surface of the road and strode out to stretch my legs a little, only stopping for a really fine peltigera lichen among some moss (taken with the macro setting on my phone)…

…until I got to Holmwood, where I left the road and went down through the sunlit trees…

…crossed the Jubilee Bridge and walked round the bottom of the Castleholm in the hope of seeing interesting birds.

A robin posed for me…

…but the only other thing of note that I saw was the gritter parked at the Kilngreen on the other side of the river.

They are obviously expecting another cold night and probably some more snow.

The Town Bridge was casting a shadow on the wall…

…and there is an ever growing pile of old trees and branches waiting to be swept down the river by the next big spate.

I met several interesting people but no interesting birds as I walked beside the Esk and Wauchope on my way home. Once again, I had timed my walk perfectly to arrive home just in time for afternoon tea and toast.

Strangely, after an hour on the bike to nowhere in the morning and a five mile walk in the afternoon, I was quite happy to do nothing much at all for an hour or so before preparing our evening meal.

The flying bird of the day is a very aggressive chaffinch putting the hex on another chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Up and down (and round)

  1. Your call with the boiler insurance people sounds like the one I just had with my telephone and internet provider – they must have a club. I would imagine it’s worth their while because many people likely just grumble and don’t call.

    The view in the header photo is wonderful. Sun and green are a good combination! And lovely shots of the robin and wren.

    1. It seems a bit like a crime to me to offer to charge people a sum which you know is not fair or justified. I take the view that business laws are very behind the times and need a lot of redrawing.

  2. Some great landscapes today,especially Clark fell,what a difference some sun makes.
    Like your architectural shot of the wind farm.
    Your wren is fast becoming a minor bird celebrity ,but has a long way to go to equal the robin.
    An hour on the static bike takes some doing,bet you needed some fresh air afterwards.😉

    1. I am out in the garage with the temperature pretty well the same as the garden so I don’t get too hot by any means. I am going to have to train the wren to stand still.

  3. That’s an excellent phone camera macro. It was shots like those that made me buy the one I have.
    The snowy hills were beautiful. The single hill lit by the sun was unusual, I would think.
    I’m hoping the wren will spread its tail so we can see what it looks like. It seems too small for the bird.

    1. The whole wren seems to be a curious design but it has all had to be packed into a tiny body.
      I was very pleased with the lichen shot and I give you the credit for giving me the idea of using the phone macro function.

  4. Those expansive vistas are breathtaking, and I enjoyed the lichens and mosses, the very small, as well. A nice selection of birds, and I especially enjoyed the cheery robin looking out his window.

    Possible snow here in the forecast this week.

  5. I love the shadow of the bridge and your Peltigera lichen. What are the little buildings along the wall in your shot as you set out on your walk? Garden sheds? shelters of some kind?

  6. The header photo is a delight and it’s followed by many more lovely photos. The wren is sharing top spot with the robin now and all the flying birds! The hills are beautiful with their smattering of snow- they look colder than when they are totally snowed under. Pleased you listened to Mrs T’s advice and Winnie the Pooh’s: “Always watch where you are going. Otherwise, you may step on a piece of the forest that was left out by mistake!”

  7. Borders weather is, currently, very similar to here in the Vale of Neath. Her indoors got “needled “, yesterday and I am up for the jab tomorrow. The inoculation process, though we had to travel 20 miles plus to get it, was extremely professional for herself, needled and back in the car within 15 minutes. I hope it is the same for me, at 13.40 tomorrow. Worst time of the day, as far as I am concerned, I am definitely a morning person, get out and get it done early, that’s my motto. Suffice it to say, I enjoyed my daily read from tootlepedal, cheers.

      1. When Chris Packham rubs his thighs? Ha ha. I had to look up why he does that. It is pretty sweet to sit here watching an old episode of Monty Don “Real Gardens” online just now and get to say to Allan, “Meanwhile in Scotland, Mr T is working on his blog!”

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