Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She took this impressionistic study of moss in snow and sunshine in her garden.
We woke to another fine but chilly day here, very fine but very chilly. In spite of the sunshine, it didn’t get above freezing until ten o’clock and the average for the day was well below zero.
With that in mind, I was lucky to be able to download an entertaining music programme from BBC Sounds that lasted exactly an hour and kept my mind occupied while I spent another hour on the bike to nowhere after coffee. Mrs Tootlepedal had found an interesting shorter discussion on the Rosetta Stone to listen to while she did 40 minutes on her bike to nowhere after breakfast.
After cycling nowhere, I looked out of the window from time to time, while cooking some ill defined vegetable soup for lunch.
There were a number of blackbirds about.
Chaffinches kept a wary eye on the feeder…
…and sometimes actually landed on it.
There was a bit of a fuss when a greenfinch and goldfinch arrived at the same time…
…but a dunnock down below kept calm.
And a starling on our neighbour’s holly tree kept watch up above.
The soup was satisfactory. Along with a tomato and home-made Greek style cheese salad in olive oil, it gave me enough strength to contemplate a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal planned to do a little gardening so she let me go off on my own.
I decided to do Walk 8 of the Langholm Walks and soon found myself going along the Baggra…
…in glorious conditions. The track was frozen solid so there were no boggy bits or puddles to worry about and the wall was as interesting as ever.
I walked to the end of the track, went round the field edge and down across the Ewes Water at the High Mill Brig, and then followed the track upstream on the other side of the river. This track was pretty icy so I had to keep my eyes on where I was going and I didn’t life my head again until I was out on the open hill after I had crossed the Target Burn.
It was worth looking up.
The going up the hill was very good, with the frozen ground easy to walk on, and much less snow and ice about than I had feared. There were icy stream to negotiate…
…but going ‘up the wall’ to the road….
…was no problem.
At the end of the wall, getting onto the road itself up a very steep and snow covered bank was not a dignified affair and I was glad that there was no one about to see me reach the tarmac with an inelegant stagger.
I pulled myself together and headed up the road towards the car park at the MacDiarmid Memorial and then took the track up to the top of Whita Hill.
The light was a little flat, but the views were still very pleasing as I gained height.
Looking over Castle Hill towards the Ettrick Hills.
Looking up the Ewes Valley.
Looking across the Tarras Valley.
I had walked along that wall in the foreground on one of my recent outings.
After the rough ground and steep hill coming up to the road, the gently inclined and ice free track up to the the top of Whita was a treat, and I soon arrived at the monument.
…from where I could look back down and see the field that I had walked round before crossing the Ewes Water.
I sat on the bench at the monument to put on my Yaktrax. Once they were on, I felt brave enough to go straight back to the town down the face of the hill. I managed this without falling over, though I could not have done it without the aid of my two walking pole. They saw a lot of action on the steepest sections.
I stopped just before I got to the golf course to admire the sticking power of a gorse bush…
…and two contrasting bits of moss on the wall there.
The greens on the golf course were covered in snow but I stopped for chat with a golfer who was hitting a few balls on the practice area which was snow free.
After another stop to chat with an expert photographer beside the suspension bridge (he told me that the colour temperature was probably wrong at the moment for good landscape pictures), I got home in time for tea and toast.
Although I have only managed one cycle ride in February, thanks to the persistently cold weather, conditions have been generally not too bad for walking, and today’s five mile jaunt brought up 50 miles for the month so far. Combined with several goes on the bike to nowhere, I am keeping reasonably fit and avoiding the dreaded winter weight gain (so far).
In the evening, I made a pasta dish for our evening meal and a batch of Crowdie cheese, remembering to put all the ingredients in to the pan in the right order this time.
After that, I rang up Dropscone to see how he was doing, and was happy to find him in good spirits. He had even managed a chilly game of golf yesterday.
The flying bird of the day is another sunny chaffinch.