Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She was in a local botanic garden and was surprised to find a plant full of snails.
Our spell of fine weather came to an end this morning and Mrs Tootlepedal and our neighbour Liz went on a post breakfast cycle ride in a light drizzle. They battled up to Wauchope Schoolhouse against the wind, and came whizzing back at great speed.
While they were out, I completed the Langholm Initiative newsletter and mailed it out to the 700 plus members.
I had a walk round the garden when the drizzle stopped and found plenty to look at . . .
. . . including a new orange hawkweed, a new very red rhododendron, the first of what will be a flood of big daisies (and some old favourites).
It wasn’t very warm so we had coffee indoors with Margaret, which made a change.
After coffee, I went round to the shop and stopped on my way to watch a busy wagtail at the waterside.
The chap who is mending the church has a good head for heights.
When I got home, I dedicated the rest of the morning to turning compost. First I moved what was left in Bin B into Bin C and then I moved almost all of Bin A into the now empty Bin B. Because of the mostly dry weather, the compost has got a bit dry too and it has not rotted down quite as well as I would have liked. I can see that more shifting will be in order, and Bin D will probably be called into action soon.
I had a late lunch, checked the bird feeder . . .
. . . and then considered my options.
It was dry and a bit warmer by this time, but there was a brisk wind blowing so I opted for a walk rather than a pedal. I haven’t been up a hill lately because of my slightly suspect knee, but I felt that it had improved enough to give it a hilly test today, and went off up Meikleholm Hill.
It is not a severe climb but it does go up 500 feet in the first mile and there are sections at 15% to 20% so it was a good test.
I found a rabbit in my way when I got onto the open hill. . .
. . . but I went boldly past it.
My walk was considerably brightened by the many hawthorn trees in blossom on the hill . . .
. . . and if I had stopped to photograph all the ones that stood out . . .
. . . I would still be there now.
Since my knee had passed the Meikleholm test, I carried on and took in Timpen as well. It was so windy on the top that I had to nail down my cap for fear of it blowing away.
It is always worth going to the top of Timpen just to enjoy the views.
The cloud was beginning to break up and it had turned into a good day for a walk, so I headed along the ridge to the Black Knowe before turning back downhill towards the road.
The ridge was shimmering in front of me as bog cotton tossed and turned in the breeze.
From Black knowe, I looked along the ridge to Craig Hill . . .
. . . and wished that I had had the time and the legs to walk the whole way along it.
As it was, I sloped off to the right, and edged my way down the hill towards the square sheep fold above the road.
This was another good test for my knees, with gradients again reaching 20% at times. Elderly walkers will appreciate that going down hill these days is a much tougher task than going up hill.
I noticed a group of hill cattle over to my right . . .
. . . but they were more alarmed by me than I was by them, and they drifted off up the hill, leaving me a clear route down to the gate onto the road.
The going on the hill had been very good as it has been dry enough to harden up the boggy bits, and the road felt very hard under my feet when I got on to it.
The wild flowers in the verges took my mind off any little aches and pains though.
And some had company.
As I had my walking poles with me, I got off the road as soon as I could and took the steep path above the river down to the Duchess Bridge.
I looked at things as I went along . . .
I couldn’t miss the wild garlic which was everywhere. The little yellow flower is an avens of some sort, I think, and it is possible that the plant with the big leaves might be knotweed. If it is, that is very bad, as it is most invasive. I would be pleased if a knowledgeable reader can keep me right.
The path along the river bank before the Duchess Bridge is a delight. . .
. . . but there is so much leafy growth now, that it hard to see the bridge itself. My best chance was to see it reflected in the clear water of the river below.
I was pleased to get home after five quite strenuous miles, and my knees were even more pleased when I sat down for a cup of tea.
I had time for a last look at the bird feeder for the day. . .
…and a much needed shower as it had got quite hot by the end of my walk.
I then settled down to go through the day’s pictures (too many again!), because the day was to end most unusually. My Somerset correspondent, Venetia, is working her way north en route to a wildlife holiday in the north of Scotland. She had got as far as Langholm today and very kindly invited Mrs Tootlepedal and me out to an evening meal in the hotel where she is staying.
Were are pretty sure that this was our first meal out since March last year, and as such, it was a great novelty. The food was good and the conversation was interesting so it turned out to be an excellent re-introduction to real life. We can only hope that the government is paying attention to what is going on, and that this won’t be our last meal out for another year.
The flying bird of the day prefers to remain anonymous . . .
. . . and the flower of the day is an Icelandic poppy.