Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone. He suggested that this stretch of road north of Eskdalemuir was one that I might want to avoid when out cycling. I will take his advice.
It was another grey and gloomy day here today, but it was brightened up by the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal was able to join the downstairs world today, and even ventured out into the garden once or twice (not to garden, just to look). The trick now will be to manage the recovery and not do too much too soon. As she is a very sensible person, I expect that things will go well.
I had a quiet time after breakfast doing the crossword and watching birds.
Among the usual chaffinches, there were a couple of greenfinches…
…and several goldfinches, spraying seed about as they chatted.
After coffee, I checked on the frogs…
…and was pleased to see the hellebores trying their best to add a bit of colour to the day.
Then I went up to the High Street to visit the chemist. The clouds were down on the hills and my phone makes it look a much brighter day than it actually was.
On my way back, I called in at the corner shop and then finished off the morning by making vegetable soup for lunch.
Although there had been a few raindrops about, the forecast didn’t look too bad for the afternoon, so I put on my waterproof socks (much needed as one of my waterproof shoes has a hole in it!) and went for a walk. The weather gods will have their little laugh, and it started to rain almost as soon as I had set off. They soon relented though, and it stayed dry for the rest of the walk.
There was plenty to see as I walked along the river between the bridges and then along the Kilngreen but the light made things hard to photograph. I was especially pleased to see a pair of grey wagtails, but especially annoyed not to be able to get a good shot of them.
I took the upper road to Holmhead and was as delighted as you can imagine that I might have been when I was told by a couple passing the other way that if only I had taken the lower road, I would have seen many, many frogs. I consoled myself with the snowdrops which were superb.
The clouds had lifted off the hills, so my plan was to walk along the track to Potholm, and when I had crossed the river and got to the end of the road, to see if the weather was kind enough to allow me to walk back home over a hill rather than down the main road.
It wasn’t entirely a grey day as I spotted a pheasant as I left the snowdrops behind…
…and the track to Potholm had some of that winter colour about it…
…and since I was well sheltered from any wind, it was a pleasant stroll. All the same, it wasn’t a day for scenery so I didn’t take any other photos.
After I had crossed the river at Potholm, only some colourful lichen on a wall caused me to get my camera out…
…until I got near the end of the road and checked to see how the clouds were doing. They were clear of the mast on Warblaw…
…and I could clearly see the hill that I wanted to climb hiding behind an artistic tree and ruined wall…
…so all looked good for a lofty return journey. I walked up the road past the quarry and got onto the hill through a convenient gate.
I have walked down from the top of Timpen in this direction quite a few times but I haven’t walked up in the opposite direction for a long time, if ever.
I crossed Green Syke…
…and found a faint path to follow up the right hand side of the little valley that runs up to the ridge.
The going was good underfoot but it was steep enough to make me glad of the excuse of stopping to look at the view behind me.
The clouds seemed to have changed their minds and were settling back over the hills, closing the Gates of Eden in the distance.
I contoured round the top of the little valley and hit the ridge and felt the wind at the same time.
The clouds were settling over Timpen ahead of me but I wasn’t worried about navigation as the fence along the ridge was a reliable guide, taking me straight along and down the other side of the Timpen.
The wind was a different matter and I realised just how sheltered I had been on the lee side of the hill. I jammed my cap firmly on my head, grasped my poles with a strong grip and plodded upwards, swaying from time to time as extra strong gusts hit me.
The trig point at the top of the hill was almost hidden in the clouds (the camera could see it better than I could)….
…but the fence was still my friend.
I was at 1000 feet above sea level at this point in my walk and feeling quite adventurous, but it only took 100 feet of descent before my phone could see its way clearly…
…and it looked a very different day.
It wasn’t long before I had crossed the wall in front of me and I was taking the well defined path down Meiklehom Hill…
…towards a nice cup of tea and a slice of date loaf.
The date loaf was a gift from our friend Alison Tinker, and it went down exceedingly well after my walk.
Because I had downloaded it when I temporarily lost my bike computer a couple of days ago, I was able to use an app on my phone to track my walk. Now I can say with some confidence that I had walked 7.18 miles and ascended 1,008 feet in a moving time of 2 hours and 8 minutes. The app is very polite and looks away when I stop to take pictures and doesn’t count that time. (I spent 10 minutes taking photos, it tells me.)
I did well to get my walk in because as I write this in the evening, the rain is pattering on the windows and the wind is sighing gustily round the house.
For our evening meal, I cooked pan fried trout with sautéed potatoes for me and microwaved trout with mashed potatoes for Mrs Tootlepedal. That brought an unexpectedly good day to a conclusion. We were both a bit tired though.
The flying bird of the day is a grainy goldfinch shouting at a siskin in the morning murk.