Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He had business in Banbury today which he combined with a walk along the canal there.
We didn’t have a freezing night which was welcome but the morning felt quite chilly in an easterly wind with light cloud cover. I had time to sieve some more compost before the arrival of a special treat at coffee time. It was Dropscone, who is always welcome, and even more welcome when he brings a batch of his excellent girdle scones with him, which he did today.
To make the morning even better, Sandy walked down to join us and we had coffee and conversation just like old times, except that we were in the garden with warm jackets on instead of being round the kitchen table.
Dropscone and Sandy were both well and both in need of a haircut.
After they left, the sun came out and I wandered about doing some daffodil dead heading and taking occasional pictures.
The cool weather has held everything back and developments are very slow but Mrs Tootlepedal did think that today was the moment to introduce her broad beans to the outside world…
…albeit with some personal protection from high tech mini greenhouses.
I went in for lunch and took a moment to look at the birds. A chaffinch and a siskin perched on the feeder pole, showing differing claw technique.
A female chaffinch preferred the fake tree for her waiting room while she weighed up her options.
Business was fairly brisk on the feeder itself.
After lunching on soup and a Scotch pie, I took advantage of the definite improvement of the weather which was now ten tenths sunshine and went for a walk.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to collect some more manure. Each to his or her own.
I walked up to the High Street and then took the Kirk Wynd towards Whita Hill, passing a few wild flowers on my way.
Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the tiny blue flowers are Speedwell but speed was the last thing on my mind as I went upwards…
…towards the open hill.
And a pause to look back when I got there was quite welcome.
It showed how dry the countryside is.
Still, the dry underfoot conditions made walking up the hill past cairns to my left and right very comfortable…
…and it didn’t take me too long to get to the monument and enjoy the views, though I had another stop along the way for a breather and a look up the Ewes Valley.
Once at the top, I looked in one direction over the moor behind the hill…
…and then down at the town below the hill…
…and finally, I took in the rest of the world that lies to the south.
It looked inviting, so I followed the wall and headed off down the slope towards Broomholmshiels and the bird hide.
There may be a path that goes the way that I wanted to go but I couldn’t find it so I ended up plodding over some rough country, past boulders and through heather…
…and dodging enormous mounds of moss..
…being grateful that the hill was so dry that the many marshy spots had hardened up and I could at least stumble around without getting soaked.
I came across an odd heap of stones that looked deliberate…
…and wondered who had put them there. A look on the map when I got home showed me that they had been grouse butts. I saw quite a few meadow pipits on my walk but didn’t hear or see a single grouse.
It took me as long to get down the hill over the rough ground as it had taken me to get up it but I finally made the road to the bird hide and was happy to sit inside and have a snack and a drink when I got to it.
There was a lovely willow tree nearby.
For my return trip, I had a choice of walking through the woods on a path or taking the road down to the river. I couldn’t make up my mind and ended up doing both, starting by going through the oak…
…and birch woods…
…and then cutting back down Jenny Noble’s to the road. On my way I passed this very bright protective shield round the field…
…and wondered what it was keeping in or out. A look over the material showed me that it was protecting dozens of little new planted hedge saplings. I hope that the hedge doesn’t grow too high as I love to look at this field and its fine trees.
It was a great pleasure to walk along the shady road beside the river…
…and a gravel bank island in the middle of the Esk showed just how low the water is at the moment.
Regular readers will know that it is against the law to pass Skippers Bridge on a fine day without taking a picture, so I took a picture.
I got home to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had been spreading manure over the garden in my absence.
At just under 7 miles and with 1000 ft of climbing involved, my feet were pretty happy when I finally sat down for a cup of tea and the last of the date rolls.
The regular sibling Zoom and some stewed rhubarb and custard for afters at the evening meal rounded off a very good day.
The flying bird of the day is an unusual view of a goldfinch.