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.