More complaints from the knee department

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “More complaints from the knee department

  1. Sorry about the knee – I hope rest and stretches do the trick. It doesn’t take much for a slip to affect a joint or a back. My bugaboo is pushing off on an icy surface and messing up my back – usually after thinking that there’s likely to be ice under the snow . . .

    1. At the moment, touch wood and fingers crossed, my back is not too bad. I try to keep it that way by regular exercises, and as you know, a back affects everything else, so I hope that it keeps feeling good.

  2. I’d never have thought of moss as being exciting,but in close up it’s actually a very nice looking plant indeed👍
    There were some lovely quiet tracks on your walk today,and with not another soul in sight a slip can be quiet serious,glad to hear you weren’t badly hurt. I’ve slipped on wet stones a few times recently,but have so far escaped with only my pride I has made me extra cautious,but they are tracks I know very well,so I know the little tricky areas.
    I’ve never made marmalade,but totally agree things often taste better with the satisfaction of knowing you made it yourself. Of the bought variety’s frank coopers “vintage orange marmalade “is one of the best imo.
    Hope your knee feels better tomorrow,you’ve already reached your cycling goal for the yearalready,so stick to walking.for a few days.
    Apparently they are expecting temperatures of 17c in Aberdeen tomorrow who’d have ever thought it.
    We’ve had a little issue our bird feeders outside the kitchen window have attracted rats below the feeders eating the seed which the goldfinches mainly scatter around below.
    The only solution is to completely relocate the feeding stations for a few weeks,rats will only stay where there is a constant supply of seeds,
    I suppose all animals have to live,,but we don’t like seeing rats outside the kitchen window,,any ideas ?

    1. I agree that seeing rats is too high a price to pay fr having a bird feeder. We have been lucky so far and keep our fingers crossed. There are a lot of good quality commercial marmalades about, I agree so making my own is just a matter of enjoyment rather than a superior taste.

      Moss is very exciting!!!

  3. I hope the knee feels better in the morning. It’s very easy to slip like that.
    At least you got some nice shots on your walk. The lichens were nice to see. I’ve got to start looking at them soon.
    My favorite shots are of the wind turbines in the distance and the mossy road.

  4. I agree with Musiewild, 6.75 miles in under two hours is a very respectable time. I’m sorry to hear about the knee problem. Not just knees, but all joints get a bit tricky as we age. I’ve experienced that myself. I wish you a good recovery.

    I wonder about the plantings of conifers you picture in today’s walk. I assume they are commercial plantings, meant to be harvested, probably by clear-cutting when they reach the right size. Also, I assume that one could not go walking through those stands of conifers, probably because they would be too close for comfortable walking, and also because they are on private land with no public access. Is this correct?

    1. They are commercial plantations and a bit too densely planted for enjoyable walking. Even though they are on private land, in Scotland we have the right to access all land, public or private as long as we are not doing any harm or interrupting legitimate use for tree felling say. It is one of the glories of our country.

  5. Your positive take on life’s calamities is admirable. How good to meet Mrs T on your way home where a warm fire was waiting – along with tea. I enjoy the lichens.

  6. Thank you for the additional views of the tree farms. They do look fairly extensive, about as much as they are here. I am sorry to hear about your knee injury, and hope it heals up soon.

    We had a male golden-crowned kinglet bird conk itself on my office window yesterday. I went out and retrieved him, warmed him up and got some good ID photos while he recovered. He flew off before too long.

  7. Knees seem to be the one thing we never got right when we climbed out of the trees. I’m so sorry you slipped and fell; I can feel that pain along with you. In spite of your fall the photographs are beautiful. I’m especially fond of the lichens and moss.

  8. The weather would have put many off going for a walk but so pleased you did! Love the pathways through the bracken, the mist views and all the lichen especially the pixie cups. Hope the knee gets better soon…..maybe an extra marmalade toasty would help and a glass of something on the side!

  9. It is so easy to let one’s attention wander when out walking. In fact, that is one of the perks of a good walk and it is unfortunate that you now have a sore knee. I hope it gets better soon. I like all the different lichen you found on your circuit.

  10. I’m wondering if it was the artificial knee or the original knee? Anyway, I am so sorry. I’m reading an interesting and witty book called Evolution Gone Wrong about many of our human physical problems. Of course, it has a whole chapter about knees (also feet, eyes, back…so far).

  11. That has to be my worst nightmare, slipping while walking. I hope a good night’s sleep did the trick.

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