A wet walk

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie, and shows dawn over Stockwell in South London today. Annie tells me that the Stockwell shepherds were cowering at this unexpected sight.

It was freezing when we got up today after a clear night, but a change in the weather meant that the thermometer rose steadily from 28°F (-2°C) before dawn to 49°F (+9°C) by the time that I came to write this post in the evening.

It felt perishing when Mrs Tootlepedal and I went off on our bikes for some varied shopping after breakfast, and we were happy to get back inside and enjoy a cup of coffee with our neighbour Margaret. By the time that she left, it had started to rain, and this persisted for the rest of the visible day. It may well have stopped by now, but I don’t feel tempted to go outside and check.

Mrs Tootlepedal had purchased an individual steak, mushroom and peppercorn pie for my lunch. It turned out to be so liberally peppercorned that I had to go out for a walk to cool down after I had eaten it, even though the conditions were quite uninviting.

I decided to do the five miles ’round Potholm’ for the first time since the visit of Storm Arwen.

The road to Bentpath is till closed according to the road signs, but this didn’t prevent a number of cars passing me in both directions.

The problem is not so much fallen trees across the road, as these have been cleared, but trailing phone and fibre cables, and the dangerous state of some of the bankings.

There are new poles waiting to be erected . . .

. . . but there are a lot of poles down all over the place, so it may be some time before the wires are lifted off the road.

It may take even longer to get all the Langholm Walks back functioning.

You can see a direction marker nearly hidden under the chaos here.

Wall menders will be in demand as well as foresters . . .

. . . though I was glad to see this pheasant carefully popping down behind a solid bit of wall as I could hear the sound of pheasant shooting nearby.

I left the Bentpath road and walked down the side road towards Potholm, grateful that I had a stout umbrella to shelter me from the rain.

It was not a day for views, unless you were particularly partial to low cloud, mist and rain.

And I mean very low cloud.

The mystery of why some exposed trees withstood the attentions of Arwen continues.

I expect that it is down to roots.

Once I had crossed the river, I found more evidence of the hard work that has gone into clearing roads and tracks after the storm.

A reader recently asked what was happening to all the timber that is being cut. At the top of the hill, I found one answer. A lot is just lying waiting to be collected.

A rough count of tree rings showed that one of these trees was about forty years old.

As I walked back along the Langfauld track, I could see more damage from the storm with trees felled in a neat row.

Very fortunately, although a lot more trees close to the track had been blown down, the wind had managed to blow them uphill and away from the track.

It was a bleak scene.

I saw that one tree had been growing on top of a substantial rock . . .

. . . and at times the roots of the casualties towered over me.

Not every tree along the track had been affected and once again I wished that I had an answer to the question of the question of why some survived when nearby trees were flattened.

I found more road clearing work had been done when I got to Holmhead . . .

. . . so I was able to drop down and take the low road to the Lodge and the Lodge Walks.

It had got very gloomy by this time, and I kept my camera in my pocket, until I was tempted by a gull in the river when I was nearly home.

Thanks to waterproof trousers and a good umbrella, I was fairly dry when I got home where a cup of tea and a slice of toast rounded off a surprisingly enjoyable walk. Mrs Tootlepedal had gone for a three bridges walk of her own while I was out, so we both felt that we had done well to laugh in the face of the weather gods’ efforts to keep us indoors.

We weren’t tempted to go out again though, and settled down to a winter evening in.

There were no birds at the feeder at all today, so the non flying bird of the day is a dipper seen right at the end of my walk.

Footnote: For those readers from overseas who might be wondering why shepherds in Stockwell (there are none by the way) should be cowering, there is an old saying here that red sky in the morning is a shepherds’ warning. This is because with the prevailing south westerly winds, such a dawn may well lead to rain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “A wet walk

  1. I’m not the least bit partial to low cloud, mist and rain, but the photo after you mention them is rather attractive. As for those huge felled roots, they look almost sinister.

  2. We had a similar day here but I didn’t go out in it. They say we’re in for a week of sunshine and near 50 degree temperatures.
    After seeing your photos though, I wish I did go out in it. I like that mist.
    We have trees with shallow roots just like yours and when they blow over they look the same. Wind gives them stronger roots but if the wind is blocked by hills or other trees their roots don’t seem to go very deep.

    1. Our trees are very liable to be blown over when trees between them and the prevailing wind are felled for timber. They plant them so closely that they don’t have space to develop strongly and all their growth goes straight up.

  3. The “red sky in the morning” warming is one we learned from our mother as children here. We are getting wind and rain here, sometimes quite gusty. I went out on errands today, and saw some trees and branches leaning on power lines. I would not be surprised if we lost power.

    1. According to Matthew 16:2-3, it was an established saying in New Testament times (except for the part about the shepherds). So it is a very old saying. I expect the prevailing winds have not changed.

  4. Good for you both to get out for a walk in such damp and gloomy looking conditions! We don’t get enough of it here, so I enjoy being in the mist. Those toppled over trees are awesome in the true sense of the word – perhaps I have said this before (it is a word so overused by the youth that it appears to have lost all meaning). I won’t say it is enjoyable to see all this devastation, yet it is interesting to see the aftermath of the storm – and what a storm it seemed to be. Barra must have been tame by comparison. The clearing up process is impressive.

  5. All the photos of the devastation left behind by Storm Arwen are quite sobering, and I am so glad you and yours are ok. Here in coastal New England we substitute sailors for shepherds: “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailor’s delight!”

  6. I hope the pheasant continued to evade the hunters. The first low cloud photograph is exquisite in its texture of trees barely poking through the mist. We had some recent devastation from storms too, not so close to home but one has to wonder how long before our luck runs out.

  7. The photos really show the power of the storm and the chaos it has caused. Those up ended roots made me shiver- they look frightening and menacing. Maybe the storm has frightened the birds too! You’ll have to explain about the red sky at night now!

  8. So sad to see all the felled trees from the storm. That must have been one helluva storm. I’m way behind and must have missed your post on it. Glad you and Mrs T are okay.

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