Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. It shows a delightful vegetated shingle beach where she took a seaside walk today.
We had another day with rain and thunder in the forecast, but happily, there was no sign of either as we cycled off to sing in the church choir in the morning. In spite of a rather indeterminate sort of service, I thoroughly enjoying the singing. There were only five of us in the choir so there was a question as to whether we added much to general gaiety, but we did our best.
We got back in time to have coffee in the garden with Margaret, and then we got busy on some more hedge trimming. When we had finished a section of the box hedge round the front lawn, Mrs Tootlepedal set about some chicken topiary while I went in and had an early lunch.
The reason for the early lunch was the forecast which was now saying ‘rain later’. I reckoned that there would be time for a walk and set off to go up Meikleholm Hill and then Timpen.
There is a lovingly and carefully curated ‘wild flower’ garden beside the track past Holmwood, which a local gardener has made for the pleasure of passers by. I was very pleased by it.
When I got to the hill, the temporary absence of livestock meant that there were wild flowers to be seen everywhere. The hillside was carpeted with bedstraw, tormentil, buttercups and clover and there were many orchids to be seen too, along with yellow rattle and foxgloves.
The flowers had encouraged various butterflies, but I only managed to get rough pictures of a meadow brown and a small heath as the others would keep flitting about.
There was a hint of sunshine on Warbla across the valley . . .
. . . and another hint up the Esk valley when I got to the col between Meikleholm Hill and Timpen.
. . . but it was generally cloudy, and when I looked to the south, I could see some really dark clouds
It was still dry when I got to the top of Timpen and looked around . . .
. . . but there was now definitely rain on the way when I looked back towards Whita Hill.
I went on along the ridge for a few minutes, looked up the valley again . . .
. . . weighed up the amount of cloud versus the little rays of sunshine and decided to take a fairly direct route off the hill and down to the road. This decision may also have been influenced by seeing grazing cattle further along the ridge.
The ground is still very dry, so the walk down the hill was enjoyable, with little danger of slipping, and I was soon down by the wooded stream near the road.
I went down to the gate onto the road and was pleased to see that the cattle down there were securely behind a fence on the other side of the road.
The road verges have not been mowed and they are full of wild flowers . . .
. . . and lush grasses.
I got to the Potholm road, a mile away from home, and had a triple choice. I could go straight home along the road, take the more adventurous path down to the Duchess Bridge, or take the long way round and go back via Potholm.
It was a very good day for walking, warm and with light winds, and there was no sign of rain as I got near to the junction . . .
. . . and it looked as though the darks clouds might have passed overhead.
I decided to take the long way round, turned off towards Potholm, got about ten yards down the road and then felt the first drops of rain.
It wouldn’t last, I thought, and walked on. It was still raining quite steadily when I got to Potholm Bridge after a mile. However, it was warm, I had a light rain jacket in my bag, and the rain was persistent but not heavy so I was quite happy in my decision. By the time that I had crossed the river and got to the top of the hill past Potholm farm, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out.
And it stayed out for most of the rest of my walk.
In the rain, I had passed some cattle sitting in a field which had been mowed for silage.
By the time that I had walked along the Langfauld and got to the Castleholm, it was a really lovely afternoon . . .
. . . and a game of cricket was in full swing at the cricket club.
I walked round the ground and saw that they have mowed the race course in preparation for a horse race meeting later this month.
I had been thinking that it was about the time when I ought to be able to see hedge woundwort, so I was happy to see some beside the Langfauld track, and at other times on this section of my walk, I saw a wild rose, even taller grasses and fine cones on the Noble fir.
We can’t complain if it rains, because some rain is sorely needed as this shot of the very low water at the Langholm Bridge shows.
I was nearly home by this time, but there was still a chance to see melancholy thistles beside the Ewes Water, the two hills that I had walked up earlier, an oyster catcher on a rock beside the Esk, and some very blue forget-me-nots on the riverside path.
In spite of the rain shower, I was in a very cheerful mood when I got home after seven and half miles of very varied and enjoyable walking. The sunshine had pretty well dried me out and my camera had recorded over a hundred pictures. There must have have been a lot of interest on the way.
My feeling of well being was enhanced when I found that I had got back early enough to watch the final kilometres of todays’ stage of the tour.
After the stage had finished, we went out into the garden and I was able to admire the Wren and Lilian Austin roses again, along with a perky Sweet William and Mrs Tootlepedal’s topiary chicken.
It started to rain so we didn’t stay out long and when I went in, I had a look at the birds on the feeder. There was a good selection today, with siskins, goldfinch, sparrow and chaffinch all present.
We went back out into the rain to dig up some more new potatoes to have with our evening meal, and that rounded off what had been a much more satisfactory day than yesterday.
The flying bird of the day is one of the siskins.
Instead of a flower of the day, I have put in a map of my walk. I went round clockwise.