Rising to the heights

Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo in Manitoba. She tells me that she was doing an “Attila the gardener” on some Virginia Creeper when she found this nest. She quickly covered it up again.

We were subject to uncertain weather today, with brisk winds pushing clouds across the sky. The clouds broke up to give some good spells of sunshine in the morning, and we got out into the garden to get work done and flowers photographed.

The first of the overwintered dahlias has flowered, and it has come out to join the occasional calendula and our thriving roses. You can see the Wren and Special Grandma in the panel below.

If it is quantity that you like, then the Goldfinch rose and the orange hawkweed are for you . . .

. . . and though I like profusion, I like lovely single flowers lurking in the shade too.

Among the new flowers, we spotted some tiny nipplewort, and additional blooms on the delphinium. The eryngium gets more blue every day and the Rodgersia gets more extravagant.

The flower that summed a day of sunshine and showers best for me was this clematis.

We tentatively dug up one of the early potatoes, and found a good but not outstanding crop. We are perhaps a little early. All the same, when we had some for our lunch, they tasted delicious.

I took moments to check on the birds from time to time. It didn’t matter whether I looked out of the front window or the back window, there was often a blackbird to be seen.

At lunchtime, I found a chaffinch, a goldfinch and a parent and child greenfinch among the usual siskins.

After lunch, we considered our options and the weather forecast. Depending on which forecaster we looked at, it seemed that we might catch a shower or worse if we went for a cycle ride, and alternatively we might get out and back in the dry. We decided to be optimistic and set off to cycle up the hill and onto the moor on our e-bikes. (We took rain jackets just in case.)

In keeping with the variable forecasts, there were clouds and sunshine when we looked up the Ewes Valley while we pedalled up to the White Yett.

When we got to the moor, the Little Tarras valley was looking at its best . . .

. . . so we decided to cycle on down into the big Tarras Valley, and then up the other side until we got to the county boundary, six miles from home and 1100 feet above sea level.

We kept an eye out for raptors, and caught distant glimpses of action . . .

. . .and Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a goat watching us.

There were plenty of wild flowers beside the road to see, and we were very impressed by the number of orchids that we passed, though they all seemed to be of the same variety, probably marsh orchids we think.

There was a lot of wild mountain thyme beside the road too, with a little self heal, and some of those yellow flowers which are not dandelions.

The most conspicuous flowers were great swathes of bedstraw but I totally failed to take a picture of any of them.

We got to the county boundary but didn’t linger, because when we looked past Tinnis Hill, we could see a big rain shower looming up.

We took a moment to enjoy the expansive views across to the Lake District hills . . .

. . . and the mouth of the Solway Firth . . .

. . . and then headed for home.

We passed a different goat keeping a watch on passers by . . .

. . . and got peppered by a few threatening raindrops, which fortunately didn’t come to anything.

We flew down the hill to the bridge across the Tarras Water . . .

. . . and thanks to electrical assistance, we made very good speed going up the other side to the White Yett. We were a bit alarmed by a potential rain shower as we neared the top of the hill . . .

. . . but it was further away than it looked, and we got home unscathed after 12 miles of distance and 1400 feet of climbing. If we hadn’t got the electric bikes, we could have gone in the car. It would have been a lot less satisfying, and we wouldn’t have seen nearly so much on our way.

It did rain, but only after we were safely inside.

I made some macaroni cheese for our evening meal, and that rounded off a day which was better than we had expected.

The adult greenfinch is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Rising to the heights

  1. That black goat peering through the grass looks like something evil in a children’s fairy tale!

    It’s very true that you don’t see much when you whizz along in a car – you have the best of both world with your electric bikes.

  2. I enjoyed seeing all the colorful blooms, especially the marsh orchids. I have never seen anything like them here on this coast.

    The views are always breathtaking, especially the one of the Ewes Valley and its sun dappled hills today. You seem to have fantastic views in just about any direction.

    The goat watchers brought a smile, especially the second one. 🙂

  3. That’s a lot of new flowers blooming in your garden. 🙂
    Once more a lot of orchids in the fields, wow !
    Nice bike ride and the most important…. you stayed dry 🙂

  4. I have a fine crop of the yellow flowers that aren’t dandelions (hawkbit? hawkweed?) with a few of the orange ‘fox and cubs’ hawkweed, and an understorey of white clover. The local bee population are happy. The hawkweed are beginning to turn to seed, so will be mown shortly. I am confident there will be more in a few weeks though. This is in a London front garden!

    1. We have a lot of the white clover too. But we are still very short of bees which is disappointing with so many wild flowers in the garden for them to enjoy. Your front garden sounds interesting.

  5. The orchids could be Dactylorhiza majalis or Dactylorhiza maculata. As we are used to in your blog a fine crop of beautiful pictures.

  6. Lovely views seen on your cycle ride and good to know you missed the rain! It’s been a good year around here for orchids too. Love the peeping goats!

  7. Give me a cycle ride any day, far better than being stuck in the car. Even a bit of a downpour can’t spoil it for me. We’ve a had a couple of days of rain lately which led me to reminisce 🤔 how much I enjoy cycling in the rain. Though I can’t fully agree with the statement “there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear”, it is pretty close when riding a bike. Cheers.

      1. I wear an old fashioned cycling cap, the peak keeps the rain from my cycling glasses. Very much part of the joy of staying dry on damp days. Out there in the weather but not, if you see what I mean. My problems persist with my pedal assist SwytchBike. The eccentric pedal has developed a knock or slip when cycling up hill. So it needs to be checked out by an expert mechanic. It’s very frustrating. Plus my good/bad leg is giving me gyp. Seeing a physio face to face next Wednesday afternoon. Hoping she can shed some light on the problem. The RMT strike is still ongoing, but hampered by the distractions of who will be next PM. It definitely won’t come to an end quickly. Cheers.

      2. The government seems to be doing all it can to aggravate the strike situation and neither of the candidates give one any confidence that they know what is going on or what to do about it.

        I know what you mean about good cycling gear but I am still not keen on cycling in the wet any more. I used not to mind but I worry about skidding these days. I am sorry that your knee and pedal problems are persisting.

      3. The government wants to destroy the basic human right to be allowed to withdraw one’s labour. Both candidates have confirmed they want make it illegal for railworkers (and others) to strike. At the same time to reduce workers conditions of service to a bare mininimum. The government is in control of negotiations and is dictating what the employers can offer.
        Only problem with good cycling gear is it is so expensive. As I said my best bit of gear is my Gore cycling racing cap. My old bonce, at least, stays dry lol. Keep pedalling. Cheers.

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