Getting my goat

With another grey day on hand here, I needed colour for my guest picture of the day, so I was happy to look in my files and find this portrait of Tony’s dog Milo enjoying the sunshine in East Wemyss not long ago.

There was a sprinkling of snow of the tops of the hills round the town when we got up. There was not enough to make a photo opportunity though, and what snow there was had disappeared by coffee time, even though the thermometer had only risen to a meagre 2°C.

There was quite gusty wind too, and the birds were few and between on the feeder. There were moments when some chaffinches dropped in . . .

. . . and a lone coal tit joined them.

We had an early lunch of soup and cold cuts, put on some extra warm clothing, and went out for a drive over the moor and down to the Tarras Valley. We had two aims in mind. We were hoping to find a glove that I had lost when we were last up on the moor collecting our Christmas tree, and we were hoping to see some of the wild goats that roam the hills and valleys.

The glove proved elusive, but we were more fortunate with the goats, and we saw this fine specimen grazing near to the road.

There was a young goat nearby . . .

. . . so I left the car and walked up the hill for a few yards to see if there were any others about. There was a small group of them, and there were not at all bothered by me. Unfortunately, they were grazing among some very long grasses though. After lifting their heads to check me out, they went back to grazing.

I left them to it, and we drove on down to the car park at Tarras Lodge.

There were some very large molehills there.

We buttoned up our coats (it was 1°C by this time), and walked along the road for about a mile, hoping to see more goats and possibly a buzzard or two. We didn’t see any goats or buzzards but I was able to get views of the many little cascades that the Tarras steps over on this section of its course.

The valley opens up as you walk along, and I could see a little snow on the distant hills ahead.

We didn’t venture far along the road though, as we were very happy to find that we were really well sheltered from the wind in both directions.

On our way back, I was keen to visit another cascade, where I had seen people swimming in the summer . . .

. . . and when we had gone a little way further on, we saw another goat standing on the hill on the far side of the river. When I say that we saw it, I should say that Mrs Tootlepedal spotted it with her binoculars, and the little Lumix extended its Zoom as far as it could to help me see it too. Scanning around, we could see two other goats in the grass a few yards away.

There was one last cascade on my wish list . . .

. . . and as we walked towards it, we could see that the male goat was walking down the hill towards us, obviously keen to see what we were up to. He came close enough to make sure that I got a good portrait of him.

Considering how cold it was in the wind, our sheltered walk felt remarkably warm, and we got back to the car in a contented state of mind, having enjoyed the exercise, the views and the wildlife.

We drove over the bridge and back up the hill . . .

. . . noting the wind blown trees lying beside the road as we went.

We did stop at the White Yett on our way back, but the brisk wind on the open hill did not encourage loitering, so we were soon back in the car and heading for warmth, a cup of tea, and a mince pie with cream and brandy butter.

We got home in time to enjoy some excellent horse racing from Kempton Park, including the King George VI chase, which we once watched at the racecourse itself many years ago.

There are a lot of old favourites available on the telly and Netflix over the holiday season, so we found no difficulty in doing some sofa surfing to fill in the long dark hours of the late afternoon and evening.

As far as hours of daylight go, today was only a minute longer than five days ago at the solstice, but we will gain five whole minutes of daylight over the next five days, and after that we really will start to notice an improvement. Mrs Tootlepedal gave me some very useful gloves for my Christmas present . . .

. . . and I hope to put them to gardening use tomorrow, in preparation for the coming season.

We were visited by Liz, a professional gardening friend today. She came to give us some advice on a project that we have in mind, so we have definitely started to think ahead to the excitements of another year in the garden.

We ended the day with a late unscheduled Zoom with my siblings. This included one of my nephews as a bonus guest.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch, yet again.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Getting my goat

  1. Your Christmas present looks like they involve physical work hmm..
    I hope some cycling gloves were made available to.😊
    Hope you had a nice relaxing Christmas Day.

  2. That’s a very impressive collection of wild goats! (Perhaps one of them ate your missing glove?) Your new gloves are very colourful, so that should help you locate them if they go missing.

  3. That does look like a nice stream to swim in on a hot summer day.
    It looks like the moles brought up some rich soil. No wonder everything grows so well there.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the new gardening changes. Those gloves make it look like a lot of work is heading your way.

  4. I enjoyed all the photos, especially the goats. They are quite unique.

    Snow came during the night, and some during the day. We got about 2 inches, and I was glad to have finished the trench yesterday. More snow on the way tonight and sub-freezing temperatures down in the lower 20s forecast for the morning. I set up a heater in the well house for tonight, and insulated to exterior water spigots on the building. The weather does make some wide swings here.

  5. I look forward to your next year garden projects. Allan got work gloves for Christmas, too. Do those goats ever butt hikers? I had some trouble with a goat at once of my jobs years ago…was warned never to turn my back on him..made weeding a bit complicated. 😹

  6. The goats are magnificent. Lost gloves are annoying – what to do with the remaining glove – but gardening gloves have a way of staying the course. I thought it was my imagination but thanks for confirming: I also noticed the slightly longer daylight today.

  7. So the glove problem is solved thanks to the present you got 🙂
    I love the goats, their horns are really impressive.
    Have a nice day and warm greetz from Belgium.

  8. A lost glove is annoying so your new ones arrived just at the right time. Great goat photos – they have such magnificent horns and look as though they have attitude too! Such a tease …wonder what the new garden project is going to be!

  9. Such lovely cascades and the goats added some pizazz to the scene. What a handy Christmas present you received. It seems to me that we barely add a minute of daylight at this end of the solstice, but that should increase as time goes on. (I hope! 😯)

  10. I remember my Latvian folks talk of how they started dreading the coming of winter at midsummer when the sun barely set at all. I’ve often wondered if perhaps those long, dark winter nights weren’t what created that grumpy nature… I’m actually savoring every added second of daylight.

    1. I must say that we start talking of going downhill as soon as the summer solstice arrives. I am sure that long nights do create a national gloominess.

  11. I wonder if those goats in the Borders with you are the same breed as those that roam Snowdonia and the Lleyn peninsula in North Wales. They were introduced to control the vegetation, though with the lockdown they became a nuisance in the villages, having come down off the hills to eat the vegetation in back, front gardens and parks. Cheers.

    1. Our goats are the remnants of cottagers’ goats who were left behind years and years ago when the cottagers moved (or were moved ) into the town to become weavers.

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