Cold and clear

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie. She took it to show that the sun shines on our children wherever they are, though it did take the sun quite a long time to get to London today.

The promised change in the weather duly arrived, and we woke to a cloudless sky and a temperature of -2°C. I went out after breakfast to test the chill and found a good set of ice crystals on a fencepost at our gate.

As there was very little colour in the garden, I went back in to capture the only flower of the day, a striking astrantia from Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday bouquet.

We had coffee and gingerbread with Margaret, and from time to time during the morning, I kept an eye on the bird feeder. Sometimes the sun shone on the back border but left the feeder in the shade . . .

. . . and sometimes it shone too brightly on the birds for comfort . . .

. . . but sometimes, it was just right . . .

. . . and the chaffinches were glowing.

The mystery flying bird turned up again.

Fired up by some sardine pate on home made bread for my lunch, I set out to do the traditional walk that I should have done on New Year’s Day to start the year off. It had been too wet and windy on January 1st for me, so this seemed like a good time to make amends for missing out.

The route follows the eight mile course of the Doctor’s Run, a midsummer running event organised by our local doctors many years ago which took place for many years. In later times, it reappeared as the ‘Whisky Run’ held on January 1st. It was very popular with local runners and walkers, but thanks to the pandemic and the retirement of the organisers, it has not taken place for the past two years.

Some brave walkers took part unofficially on Saturday, but I think that I was wise to hold off until today.

The clean up after the storm is still taking time, and I found that a lot of the phone lines beside the road to Bentpath are still lying on the ground.

The road itself is clear, and it was surprisingly free of ice for the most part. There were enough icy patches here and there as I went round to make me glad that I wasn’t cycling, but it was fine for walking . . .

. . . and for views.

I liked the way that the bend in the River Esk mirrored the shadow cast by the hills over the valley.

Like curves in a railway track, there is something seductive about the curves on a horse racing track, and that applies to the training track at James Ewart Racing too.

My route took me round the outside of those curves, over the river at Burnfoot, and along the road beneath big rhododendrons on the other side.

I had been mostly in the shade of the hills up to this point, so I was glad to get up the hill past Douglen Cleuch, and out into the sunshine.

It was a perfect day for a winter walk.

I enjoyed the views.

Once I had got to the top of the hill and walked round to the start of the track back to Langholm, the hard work was over, and it was mostly downhill from there.

I had worried that when I left the roads and took to the tracks, I might find that things were more icy than was comfortable, but my fears were groundless and the the ground was generally iceless.

The sun was beginning to slip behind the hill , so I didn’t dilly dally on my way back. I was detained by some hair ice . . .

. . . a view back up the valley . . .

. . . and a last look at the sun . . .

. . . but in general, I scooted on and arrived back in Langholm just as the very last rays of the sun settled on the wall beside the sawmill Brig . . .

. . . and picked out the trees on the Castleholm.

In my dreams, I had imagined doing the walk in under two hours, but that was only a dream. With ten minutes of stops for a chat with our ex minister Scott and his wife whom I met on the way, many photo opportunities, and break for a quick snack, it took me two hours twenty minutes to do the the eight and half miles.

I hadn’t got a lot of energy left for anything very demanding when I got home, so that was the end of my active day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch in the morning sun.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Cold and clear

    1. It was a good walk and I don’t want to be ungrateful for the fact that I can still get out and about but I can’t help thinking back to the time when I could have run round it in under an hour.

  1. A lovely walk – the greens are very cheering (after a one day respite from the evil red band on the weather forecast that announces an extreme cold warning, it’s back . . .). I especially like the sunny view of the hill past Douglen Cleuch – beautiful!

  2. By far the best circuit for a road race in the borders, but maybe I’m biased. Lovely walk Tom. Thanks for the views.

  3. I’m glad you saw some sunshine. Spring isn’t too far off now so it will be getting stronger.
    I like the ice on your fence post. It looked furry. Good to see more hair ice too.
    They don’t seem in any hurry to get the telephone lines back up. There must be quite a few people without phone service.

  4. I trust there are no after effects from such a good walk. There are many good photographs, but I think the drama of the the first bird feeder pic makes it my favourite

  5. I was in mid-Wales over the NY weekend (blog yet to be done!) and saw some phone lines down, like yours. They were tied back with blue rope, and I would guess were still working.

  6. That was a beautiful day there from start to finish! I enjoyed all the photos, but those views are always something special to see. It is always good to see the birds. Your feeders are as busy as an airport.

      1. I am glad activity has picked up, but that is sad news that traffic is less than in previous years. Things are not going well for birds everywhere these days, it seems.

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