Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. A day or two ago, she found himself walking along a canal on what she described as a dull day.
We had a grey and windy day here today, theoretically quite warm, but feeling rather chilly in the brisk breeze. Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning writing up minutes and catching up with other Langholm Initiative business. I perfected my idling skills.
In the end, I had an early lunch and went out for a walk before any forecast rain arrived. As far as the weather went, I hoped for the best and dressed for the worst. This turned out to be a reasonable plan as it rained a bit but not much, and the wind turned out be quite biting when I got up on the hill.
For a change from my usual local walks, I drove up to near the top of Callister, left the car, and walked round the Westwater circle. This walk involves either a mile down the road at the start, or a mile up the road at the finish. I opted for the easy start today, so I left the car at 720ft above sea level and whizzed down the hill to 520ft in three quarters of a mile, stopping only to admire the lichen and moss on the wall beside the road.
When I got to the bottom, the view of the rest of my walk looked inviting . . .
. . . and I went rather more slowly but still enthusiastically up the hill towards the larches . . .
. . . passing some exciting moss on another wall on my way.
My route skirted round the bottom of the larch wood and I was soon walking through the narrow entrance to the broader valley beyond.
There was any amount of small brown fungi on and beside the track, and I was pleased to see a tiny rowan tree growing in the middle of the track, although it doesn’t have much of a long term future there.
I came to the end of the deciduous planting in the valley bottom above the house . . .
. . . and found myself in the world of commercial forestry for the rest of my walk.
Among the small brown fungi, I found one larger, paler specimen and an unexpected carpet of pixie cup lichens, growing among the moss and gravel of the track.
As I climbed higher up the valley, the clouds came down lower, and soon we met together. I had to put my hood up against the persistent light rain. This cut down the views . . .
. . . and whenever I looked up a gully among the trees, the clouds were hanging there.
The track loops round the head of the valley at just under 1000ft and heads back to the main road along the other side of the Glentenmont Burn which runs down to Westwater House.
This part of the walk is not so varied as the outward section, so I kept my head down against the wind and the rain and noticed passing lichens beside the track.
I was spoiled for choice.
Fortunately the rain stopped and I was able to look back to see the clouds gently rising . . .
. . . though they hadn’t risen high enough to let the Ewe Hill turbines get their heads into clear air.
The light rain had not been a great bother, even in the brisk wind, as I was very sensibly dressed, but it had made the stones in the track very slippery. In an unguarded moment, I let my concentration lapse and my back foot slipped, and my other knee over extended.
Considering that my foot had only slipped a few inches, the pain in my other knee was quite disproportionate, and for awhile as I limped along, I wondered if I would have to ring the Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service and get a wheelbarrow to cart me back to the car. Things weren’t as quite bad as that though, and I pulled myself together, stopped limping, and pottered gently along the track back to the car.
All the same, I was pleased to see the Solwaybank turbines, showing that I only had a mile left to go . . .
. . . and even on a gloomy day with a sore knee, my spirits were lifted by the brilliance of the moss carpet on the track as I came down to the car.
The circular walk is six and three quarter miles, and in spite of the slow finish and quite a few photographic stops, I got round in just under two hours, so I felt that I had had a good outing.
It was getting pretty gloomy as I drove home, and I was surprised to see a walker coming up the road towards me at one point. I was even more surprised when it turned out to be Mrs Tootlepedal who had walked a mile out of town to meet me. I graciously gave her a lift home, and we enjoyed a warming cup of tea when we got there. She had lit the stove in the front room, and we were very snug as the light faded away entirely.
Our friend Mike Tinker dropped in and had a cup of tea to. That rounded off the day very nicely.
My knee is still quite sore I write this post in the evening, and I may have to seriously curtail cycling and walking activities for a few days unless a miracle cure is available. We will see what a night’s rest can do. I feel pretty stupid having said to myself, “My, this rain has made the track slippery,” and then promptly slipping. There is no fool like an old fool.
Talking of old fools, I had a very poor day for bird watching because firstly, there were very few birds about, and then, even when I did get the camera out for a couple of birds, I had the settings still in moon spotting mode. The results were not satisfactory at all. I had to work hard in the photo editor to get any recognisable bird, let alone a flying one.