Seeing the country

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. Derby may not have great mountains and lakes but it does have sunshine and cabbages palms.

We had a pretty good day here today, not sunny in the morning, but much calmer than previous days. It was inevitable then that we had to drive to Dumfries for a routine hospital check up rather than cycle or garden while the going was good.

Fortunately, there was hardly another car to be seen on the road over, so we had a very pleasant drive. The medical staff were very efficient and coped well with us arriving twenty minutes early. By the time that we were on our way back, the sun was out and we chose to come home via the Nith Estuary. Whichever way you looked…

…it was a good choice.

Traffic was still pretty light on the way home and we were back in time for a late coffee which turned into an early lunch.

There weren’t many birds about in the garden but a few did show their faces.

The sun had brought a frog to the pond, put a bloom on the first daffodil and helped some very cheerful crocuses into full flower.

After several cycle outings in recent day, I thought that a walk would be in order today so I left Mrs Tootlepedal to slave away at her drive project and set off to go to the top of Timpen and along the ridge.

Early signs were that I had made another good choice as far as sunny views went…

…but clouds crept over me as I went up the hill and I was treated to a series of views with more cloud than sunshine…

…though there were some delightful effects…

…even if I wasn’t in the sunshine myself.

Sometimes, I did get a little sunshine where I was so…

…I wasn’t complaining when I was left in the shade.

I had a light jacket and a cap on with no need for woolly hats or buffs today and the ground was fairly dry, thanks no doubt to those days of brisk winds that had made cycling hard work. It’s an ill wind and so forth.

I walked along to the end of the ridge and got a surprise when I looked over into the next valley. An enormous greenhouse had appeared since my last walk here.

An enterprising local business is starting a medicinal cannabis business which is supposed to bring several much needed jobs to our area and I can only assume that this is the chosen site.

I turned along the ridge and went over the Black Knowe and then headed diagonally down past the top of this attractive little glen…

…a route that I had never taken before. Below me I could see Craigcleuch, a big house built by one of the early mill owners in Langholm…

…and above me, the wall on the ridge vanished into the distance.

By chance, I had chosen a very good route and the walking was excellent (and there were no cattle about today) as I headed down towards the road..

I stopped to enjoy the varied geometry of this sheepfold…

…and a rare pair of trees tucked into the shelter of the little stream that I had been following down the hill.

As I was in an adventurous mood, I crossed the road and took a track that I hadn’t followed before down towards the Esk. It was very good as far as it went…

…but I found that it didn’t go quite as far as I had hoped and I had to turn back and walk up to the road again and take that to get back to Langholm.

When I got to the edge of the town, I went down through the wood at Holmwood and crossed the Duchess Bridge. I was hoping to see interesting things and take a better picture of the tiny hazel flowers that I had seen on an earlier walk. I had seen a scarlet elf cup beside the road, and I saw a black headed gull with a full black head on the river and in between, I tried my phone macro on the hazel flowers.

While I was snapping the hazel flowers, I overheard a walker saying that there were dozens of them between the two bridges. Interpreting ‘them’ to mean oyster catchers, I finished my walk by going along the river and it was true, there were dozens of oystercatchers between the bridges. I counted at least forty…

…in three separate groups.

It was hard to stop taking oystercatcher pictures…

…even though the light wasn’t as good as it had been earlier. I noticed that the bird in the bottom left corner of the panel above was showing off its ringed leg.

I left the oystercatchers to it and got home after a really satisfying 7 mile walk in perfect time for a cup of tea and the last of the date rolls with Mrs Tootlepedal.

She had been hard at work on the latest slab while I had been wandering about, so after tea we were able to go out and drop it into position.

When we had done that, we decided that we had probably had enough fun for the day and sat quietly until it was time for our evening meal.

While I was preparing this post, I had a look to see if the full moon was visible. It was surrounded by clouds and looking quite dramatic…

…but it was not quite what I wanted, and so I had another look just before I finished. The clouds had gone.

This brought a very satisfying day to a close.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, standing up well to stiff photographic competition today I think.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Seeing the country

  1. Those are fantastic shots of the tiny hazel blossoms. I hope my camera can do as well when ours bloom.
    That’s a nice shot of the moon too. I’m glad the clouds evaporated.
    It’s amazing that they built such a large greenhouse so fast. Working in a greenhouse was always one of my favorite things to do, but I’ve never seen one that big. It looks like it will have quite a heating bill.

  2. The sheepfold is amazing – all those stones collected and put in place – what an enormous undertaking! The FBOTD is lovely.

    It looks like the lower windows at Craigcleuch are boarded up. Is it inhabited?

  3. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, though my favorites are the sun dappled hills. That is quite a convention of oystercatchers.

    It is overcast over here again tonight, so I am most appreciative of a view of the full moon. I hope the nighttime weather is being kind to the frogs and potential tadpoles.

  4. Splendid views throughout the day – and a very fine record of the oyster catchers. And an excellent picture of the moon too!

  5. The dappled sun on your hills is lovely. I have used your photos of that type to show my children what our area near New York was supposed to have looked like in the late 1700s, with hardly a tree to be seen. Now the only grass is in lawns, and every ridge is entirely wooded.

    I love the geometry of your sheepfold. They say there are oystercatchers here (though a slightly different species, I think) but I have never seen them. Beautiful birds.

  6. Very much enjoyed your rolling hills’ scenes, the way the sunlight and clouds casted over them. Fabulous scarlet elf cup sighting and all those oystercatchers, WOW! I’ve never seen so many together here in the U.S.

  7. Beautiful views on your walk with some handsome trees and an unusual sheepfold. Lovely to see all those oyster catchers they make such an interesting photo with their bright beaks and facing different ways. Pleased the clouds rolled away for you to capture the moon ..great photo.

  8. You might like that brief show I recently found, Walks in Devon and Cornwall, in the documentary section at HDClump. It reminded me of what it felt like to walk with free and easy youthfulness. I don’t think I’ve ever seen (from afar via photos) so many of your oystercatchers gathered together.

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