More than a breath of fresh air

Today’s bright guest picture comes from my friend Simon. After sampling the sunshine on England’s northern fells last week, he went off to Europe to see what they could do there this week.

We had another grey day here, slightly warmer than yesterday but much windier, especially in the afternoon. Mrs Tootlepedal went off on Langholm Initiative business after breakfast, and I needed no excuse to idle around reading the papers and doing the crossword while she was gone.

I got dressed in time for a cup of coffee with her when she got back, and then I finished off putting a week of the local newspaper index for 1902 into the Archive Group database.

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping, and I shifted about half of the compost in Bin B into Bin C. It has rotted down quite well, and we should be well supplied with garden compost when the gardening season starts again.

It was a very quiet day for birds in the garden. A few chaffinches were all that there were to be seen.

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal got back to work on her curtains, and I went for a walk. I was going to drive up the Wauchope road to try out a new route, but in the nick of time, I remembered that the road is closed to cars, and chose a familiar route round the town instead.

I started by walking up to the Stubholm, and then down to the Murtholm. I had met a man on my last walk along here who told me that he was going to clear the trees from the path along the river back to the park. For one reason or another, this has not happened . . .

. . . and the path is still thoroughly blocked.

I took pictures of ash buds . . .

. . . and a friendly horse . . .

. . . as I went along to Skippers Bridge. I just managed to restrain myself from adding to the many Skippers Bridge pictures on this blog, mainly because the light was terrible.

I walked along the road beside the river until I came to the path from Jenny Noble’s Gill up to the oak woods.

Even in the dim light, the oak trees in the wood were impressive.

When I got to the Round House, I took the track up the hillside to the stile over the wall just below the quarry.

One of the benefits of our comparatively small but steep hills is that it doesn’t take you long to get an airy feeling . . .

. . . and I could soon look back down on the track on the left of the river that I was walking on thirty minutes earlier.

The climb to stile from the Round House is only half a mile, but it gains 450ft so I was happy to rest under a pylon for a moment to get a breather on my way up.

There was a brisk wind helping me up the hill, and it made me very glad that I hadn’t gone for a cycle ride. The stile, which marked the highest point of my walk, was welcome . . .

. . . as was the bench on the other side where I took time out to enjoy the views (which were too gloomy to photograph) and have a snack. Fortified by my snack, and being given a hefty shove in the back by the wind, I ignored my original plan to come home by the Kirk Wynd, and walked along the track past Whita Well and the golf course, and continued along the grassy path . . .

. . . which took me to my favourite set of pines at the road above Hillhead.

I paid the price for this extension, as the walk back down to Whitshiels and the main road was a battle into a now ferocious wind which was accompanied by a light drizzle. However, unlike cycling where pedalling into a strong wind is deadening, walking into a brisk breeze is quite invigorating, and I was in fine form when I got down the comparative shelter of the valley below.

Although there was still half an hour to go before official sunset, it was getting very dark by the time that I got home. I was a bit disappointed at the poor light on my walk because the sun had come out just before I left. However, as the sunny interval only lasted twelve seconds, I suppose that I should have known better.

We are promised slightly longer sunny intervals tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal came down from her curtain making, and after restorative tea and ginger cake, we watched Monty Don’s programme on Greek gardens on our new TV. It was quite impressive. I wonder how long it will take before have got so used to the new screen that we will take it for granted.

We had a sibling Zoom in the early evening where the photographic contributions from my brother and sisters included early flowering garden plants, an Anglo-Saxon cross, a Franz Hals portrait and some incomprehensible modern art. Our zooms are rarely dull.

Waiting around for a flying bird to turn up on cue was not a profitable occupation today, so the flying bird of the day is not flying.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

40 thoughts on “More than a breath of fresh air

  1. I recall a weeks ago your bird feeders (for whatever reason) we’re low on customers.
    Well we’ve had the same thing this week,but the culprit has been found by my eagle eyed daughter who’s spotted a sparrow hawk perchedq most of the day on our neighbours only moved off when mobbed by a pair of magpies.
    My horse owner daughter says that’s a really nice specimen of a horse,I’ll take her word for it 😊

    1. It looks like a fine horse to me too, not that I know a lot about horses myself. The birds are still scarce and although we do a get a hawk passing through from time to time, that wouldn’t explain the almost total absence of siskins.

  2. You often comment that it was grey or miserable and it doesn’t really look that way when you post about the day. Today, though, did look a bit on the gloomy side to me. The shot looking down at the river path you’d just walked truly shows the steep grade you had to climb – no surprise that you took a breather under the pylon!

    We enjoyed another of those mystifying temperature fluctuations that have been happening this winter. It was 0ºC today after being -30ºC yesterday. Even though it risks icing everything it’s a treat to drop a few layers, if only for a short while!

    1. Jumps of thirty degrees are amazing. Do they know why this is happening?

      As far as miserable days not looking too miserable goes, I have to admit to using the photo editor to bump up the exposure of the pictures. I left these ones a bit more gloomy but they were still a lot brighter than the images that came out of the camera.

      1. Sometimes it’s due to catching the tail end of a Chinook, which brings spring-like melts to the western prairies. Other than that, not really!

  3. I like the ash buds. So black they look blue.
    The horse looked like it was hoping for a nice carrot to chew on.
    Looking up into the pylon was a different perspective. I can’t think of any here that I could get close to. They mostly use poles.

  4. Lovely walk tom. Was a favourite run of mine. Always needed to take my time getting over the stile tho 😉

  5. You found many interesting things on that dark and misty day walk. We are having another subfreezing but sunny morning here. The forecast is calling for low 50s by afternoon.

      1. It is beautiful here, low 50s and sunny. I did find the lichen to photograph, and anotehr interesting lichen and fungal community. I think I missed the hazelnut blooms for photography this year, though I did see one a couple of weeks ago.

  6. The ash bud looks pretty threatening up close and the oak tree doesn’t look too friendly either! The walk certainly gives you a good work out with those steep hills no wonder you are so fit.

    1. BTW, I just learned from you what those monstrous metal contraptions carrying communication wires are called. I’d have called it a wire in my bird on the wire series. ha

  7. I am glad I didn’t miss that portrait of the first oak tree. It reminds me of the Ent creatures in the Hobbit books by Tolkien. That is truly a marvel. It sent the imagination soaring.

  8. We enjoyed that Monty Don series very much. Had to watch it online as it hasn’t made it to BritBox yet. There is a site that somehow acquires British shows we want to see called (one word) HD Clump. I was distressed that Winterwatch wasn’t here yet but it starts tomorrow on BritBox finally!

    I just finished a book called To Speak for the Trees. The author writes about the Brian Boru tree, a giant old oak in Ireland, so I was pleased to see a majestic oak in your blog today.

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