A diversion

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s recent Highland holiday and a reminder of the good weather he and Marianne enjoyed while they were there.

We could have done with a bit of that good weather here today, but instead we got another day of rain showers. I filled the feeder and had a look at it before coffee. A greenfinch loomed up . . .

. . . and took control.

There was a moment of sunshine in the morning when I got out to look at the garden after we had had coffee with Margaret . . .

. . . but it had disappeared before I had got half way round.

Still the flowers looked quite good even without the the sun, I thought.

The Archive Group treasurer, Nancy, came round on group business, and I showed her a letter from our bank saying that they would close our account soon as we hadn’t given them all the information that they had asked for. We had given them a lot of information already and they didn’t specify what information was still needed. They had just sent us the same set of forms that we had previously filled in. This is the sort of thing that makes strong people cry. Luckily Nancy was on the ball. She rang the bank, found a sensible person who found out what exactly was required, and Nancy was easily able to provide it. The sensible person even apologised for the unhelpful letter. We breathed a sigh of relief.

Before lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and I both went off to do a little shopping on our bikes. I was luckier then she, as I got home before the next heavy shower of rain arrived.

Another look at the feeder while I was waiting for her to come back showed that a siskin doesn’t bother a greenfinch but a sparrow is a different matter.

The birds on the feeder drop a lot of the seeds, so I have employed a gang of pigeons to clean up after them. They are very efficient.

The rain stopped after lunch, so I decided to go for a walk to get up my walking fitness a bit after a month of cycling.

I decided to walk ’round Potholm’ but with a diversion half way up Castle Hill first before dropping back down through the woods to the usual track.

I saw a wagtail on a tree branch on the Kilngreen. There must be more insects about than I thought. It had found quite a few.

I puffed my way up the lower (steep) slopes of Castle Hill, happy to stop and admire the view back over the town . . .

. . . before taking a track along the side of the hill and looking at the hills to the north.

It was my intention to follow the track for a while, and then drop down through a clearing and join the Langfauld track near the North Lodge. However, the sound of a tree falling as I came to the start of the woods made it clear that active forestry was on the go. I walked along the track . . .

. . . and found a notice telling me that my intended route was closed for forestry works, I was a bit at a loss, but in the end I continued to the end of the track, enjoying the view up the Esk valley as I went . . .

. . . and hoped to find a way down past the working area. To my surprise, when I got to the end of the track, I found that the mountain bikers had created a bike track down the hill in exactly the right place for my purposes. Although it was alarmingly steep in places, it brought me down to the Potholm track well past the forestry works.

The rest of the walk was straightforward, and I was able to enjoy the sights as I went down to Potholm Bridge and back along roads to Langholm.

I passed fungus, honeysuckle, harts tongue fern, and dock . . .

. . . was surprised by how many insects had assembled on a single flower head. . .

. . . and loved the lichens on a wall.

I passed a lot of goose grass, sometimes called Sticky Willy, growing in the hedges on my walk. When we found some in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that it has really tiny flowers. She is right, as they are about the size of a pin head.

As I walked along the road, I could look over the river to see the forestry works which I had had to avoid earlier on.

Nearer at hand, I found a bull observing me with an old fashioned look.

There were more wild flowers; meadowsweet, vetchling, two sorts of thistle, an umbellifer with a visitor, and even a perfectly formed wild strawberry on a wall.

I ate the strawberry.

The most unlikely thing that I saw was this plant beside the road.

Mrs Tootlepedal reckons that is is an escaped agricultural crop, perhaps oats.

I might have extended my walk a little, but it started to rain when I was a mile out of Langholm so I put on my rain jacket and headed straight home, satisfied to have done five and half mile without getting too wet.

A fine plant at our neighbour Liz’s gate greeted me when I got home.

The day was rounded off with a family Zoom and an evening meal of fishcakes with new potatoes and spinach (and a bit of tennis watching).

The flying bird of the day is a siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “A diversion

    1. It was a very striking beast and looked quite threatening even though it was sitting quietly.

      The forecasters keep threatening us with thunderstorms but they haven’t arrived yet. There are two forecast for tomorrow.

  1. That bull looks like quite the unit – I wouldn’t want to irritate him.

    I like the term “escaped agricultural crop”!

  2. I liked the picture of the bull taking it easy in the field. Not so sure about employing the pigeons to clean up. In my experience they leave more mess than they’re worth and are difficult to discourage once they decide to make your garden their home.

    1. People don’t like pigeons it is true but they don’t try to feed from our feeder and they do a very good job of tidying up so I am happy to see them.

  3. So many things of interest! The hart’s tongue fern was a particularly nice find. I have never seen on in the wild. Congratulations on finding a luscious strawberry to eat.

    I agree with Mrs. T., that does look like it could be an oat that sprung up. Oats and wheat are grown in our area, too, and we see them spring up in odd places time to time.

    The views are always a treat. I could walk right into that photo overlooking the hills to the north and spend days walking about there.

  4. Just out of interest which part of Scotland is called The Highland please? Lots of interesting photos on your walk and such variety: all the wild flowers, the lichen and those amazing views . The flying siskin ends an enjoyable read

      1. Thank you for that- it’s good to know where these places are. Our daughter is going on holiday to Fyvie Castle soon which I suppose could be called in the Highlands but it’s not as far north as John o’Groats. Scotland is so much larger than I thought!!

    1. We got the rain in the nick of time but there still has not been very much except for one heavy shower. It was raining hard twenty miles away yesterday but not here.

      1. I know the feeling. We keep getting skipped by the rain clouds. It’s as if they take one look at how dry we are and say “not much going on here” and avoid us. But we did have a good rain last night and there’s a lot more in the forecast. Time will tell.

  5. Mountainbikers creating a new track brings out my curmudgeonly streak big time I am afraid. They are the bane of the countryside, illegally and completely without thought for others or wildlife. They are destroying the high moorlands and the forest tracks. They seem to believe they have a right to roam and destroy. Glad to hear you had a great day walking. Cheers.

    1. Our tracks are modest and don’t spoil the countryside. You might not even notice them sometimes if you weren’t looking for them. I don’t grudge the bikers their sport but I do think it is too dangerous to be interesting for me.

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