Up hill and down dale

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony and goes to prove that not only does East Wemyss have sea and sunshine, it has woodland walks too.

After a chilly night, we had another very lovely spring day here, although it took a bit of time to warm up and it was cloudy in the morning. Our local weather station tells me that it was only a little above freezing in the early hours but that it nearly touched 60° F (15° C) in the mid afternoon.

As I was looking after my back, I was happy to have a quiet morning in though I did manage to do a little supervised gardening.

We had ordered a blackberry plant which was due to arrive soon. This required a hole to be dug and then filled with compost, manure and bone meal ready for planting. As I had already dug out a Virginia Creeper which the blackberry is going to replace, the earth was soft and the task was not too demanding. The blackberry arrived later in the day and we will plant it tomorrow.

I also clipped another branch off one of the buddleias and enhanced the fake bush by the bird feeder. The birds were grateful and it was used by a chaffinch…

…and a goldfinch…

…among many others.

I checked out the frogspawn which is not developing noticeably yet…

…but there are still plenty of frogs about…

…adding to the stock…

…so it is early days yet.

Two greenfinches were having a ‘who can look most miserable’ competition on the bird feeder…

…but there was good business from more cheerful birds too.

…with obviously interesting things to look at in both directions.

As the sun came out, so did bees. Once again, the hellebores were a target. New miniature daffodils are out and the first of the ‘main crop’ larger ones has joined them but they don’t seem to attract bees as much.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a delicious arborio rice and squash soup for lunch, and fortified by a bowl of this, with bread and cheese on the side, I decided that a gentle bike ride would be good for my back. Or perhaps, it might have been that I decided that a lovely sunny afternoon was perfect for a bike ride and I hoped that it wouldn’t do my back any harm.

I looked down on the bird feeder while I was getting my cycling kit on. A goldfinch studiously ignored a chaffinch.

Another took more interest in a siskin.

And a chaffinch found an empty perch to aim for.

As there was a light northerly wind blowing, I headed out up the A7 to the north of the town with the intention of getting to Mosspaul at the top of the hill ten miles away and then being blown home.

The views as I pedalled calmly up the Ewes Valley were delightful,. This is one of my favourites with the gentle rise and fall of the summit skyline.

The east side of the road is a little more craggy and indented…

…though it has smoothly rounded little hills as well.

A little further up the valley, I passed Mosspeeble…

…which Mrs Tootlepedal tells me is on the market at the moment. You can snap it up if you have two and half million pounds to spare.

On my left, I saw a bird hovering over the ridge. A closer look showed that it was a buzzard. The little Lumix did a great job considering how far away the bird was. I have had to crop the picture a lot!

When I got to Mosspaul after ten miles, the day seemed too good to waste and since my back was quite happy, I added another five miles down the far side of the hill to my outing. This took me to Falnash where I met a nice little bridge…

…saw a wildflower (hooray)…

…and a striking memorial to a local poet H S Riddell…

…and finally, some outstanding wall geometry, with added tree.

I had a Medjool date or two with me and I took the opportunity to fuel up with a couple before I set off home. The five miles back up the hill to Mosspaul were made a pleasure by the good road surface and the helpful wind. The first twenty miles had taken me 100 minutes, but the last ten miles back down to Langholm took me thirty two minutes and were just what the doctor ordered.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal watching the racing from Cheltenham on the telly when I got back. She is behaving very sensibly indeed and making good progress.

The lovely day morphed into a chilly evening while I enjoyed a sibling zoom and a mushroom omelette. Although I got a painful twinge in my back by mistakenly thinking that a cushion on my chair might be a good thing for a Zoom meeting, I am still better off than I was yesterday evening so I am not complaining (much).

Only four more days until the spring equinox!

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Up hill and down dale

  1. You piqued my interest and so I had a good look at Mosspeeble online – it is a little large for me :). I really enjoyed the different perspective of the birds at your feeder as seen from upstairs.

  2. I’m glad to hear the back is better. Cycling must be doing it some good.
    Nice to see the marsh marigold (?) They are few and far between here.
    I love the treeless, rolling hills. If I had a two and a half million kicking around I’d have them as a daily view.

    1. I think that it was a celandine just because they appear earlier than the march marigolds. You can buy a house very cheaply in Langholm and get the same views at less cost (thank goodness).

      The back is very here and there and I haven’t got the right system for it at the moment.

  3. I was also wondering if the yellow flower was a marsh marigold. There used to be many where I grew up back east.

    It looks like you had a beautiful sunny day for cycling, and did not waste it. The flowers, birds and frogs are always a treat. Some of those eggs look slightly out of round, and hopefully we will see those developing tadpoles before long.

  4. Mosspeeble looks just right for this welshcyclist, I’m sure I could find a flat gentle circuit to pedal round there. We are seeing lots of buzzards and red kites locally, using the thermals to circle up and down the valley. Really enjoyed your pedal, cheers.

  5. Wish I had a couple of million to buy that property in such wonderful surroundings. The views on your cycle ride were lovely as usual. I learn many things when reading your posts and today I found out about the poet H R Riddell via a new website for me : Wikivisually… a really interesting website!

  6. The Ewes Valley view is very lovely and the photo of the buzzard is an interesting one; not the usual soaring on a thermal type. I am sorry your back is taking longer to ease than you had hoped.

  7. Tony takes wonderful pictures, just like his dad. Love the frogs – and everything else. Thanks for reminding me about the medjool dates in my refrigerator. I should eat them.

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