Today’s guest picture comes from Mark’s marathon walk over the twelve hills round the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve last Sunday. It shows the party at 5am in Langholm at the start; on top of Tinnis Hill (the first hill) at 8.30am; on the high point of the walk at Roan Fell cairn (the fourth hill at ) at 12.13pm; then on the final leg (passing the eleventh hill) at 17.50pm; and finally on the top of Whita (the twelfth and last hill! ) at 18.15pm, before getting back to their starting point after 27 and a bit miles at 18.54pm. The dogs thoroughly enjoyed the walk too.
I started the day with some more Archive Group work after breakfast. Realising that three pages a day would not make a dent in the backlog of entries for the database, I upped my game and put in six. I was very pleased to find out from Sandy when he came down for coffee, that he had put in a lot of pages over the last week, so between us, we are probably catching up.
I filled the bird feeder and was pleased to see a chaffinch take up the offer of free seed.
We have had a good response from camera club members about restarting the monthly meetings of the club, and Sandy is going to make enquiries about booking the hall. It will be good if we can get going again.
Margaret joined our coffee meeting, and we had a good chat. When our visitors had left, I went on a butterfly hunt in the garden.
I found that there were more than usual about. I took pictures of a red admiral, a small tortoiseshell and a peacock.
Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a painted lady, but it flew off before I could get my camera out.
I had time to admire some flowers too.
Finally, I ended the morning by strimming some of the long grass along the back wall of the house beside the dam. Mrs Tootlepedal had already done half, so I had a go at the other half. I managed to get the strimmer jammed up with twisted grass stems so it didn’t go as well as I hoped.
After lunch, I did a little work at the computer for the church choir, and then I went for a walk. It was a fine day, and I thought that there might be some fine views from the top of Timpen. I set off to climb Meikleholm Hill which lies in front of Timpen.
Rosebay willowherb is seeding furiously.
When I got to the hill, I found that the gate was wide open, a welcome sign that there were no sheep or cattle on the hill. I chose the track that contours round the hill . . .
. . . and found that, with no sheep to munch them, the ground was liberally sprinkled with wild flowers. I spotted lots of the little yellow things that aren’t dandelions, eyebright, tormentil and nipplewort.
There was a positive carpet of scabious, and one small patch of sneezewort.
It doesn’t take much climbing up Meikleholm Hill to be rewarded with good views of Warbla across the Wauchope.
When I got to the col between Meikleholm Hill and Timpen, I could get a taste of the views to come . . .
. . . and thanks to the very good going underfoot in the dry conditions, it wasn’t long before I was enjoying the full view from the top of Timpen.
Looking to the north, my phone saw a slightly more dramatic scene than my camera did.
My camera looked west and south.
I went back to my phone to take a picture of the trig point itself and the extensive view over the Solway.
I had intended to walk along to the end of the ridge before coming down to the road, but the sight of cattle in the distance persuaded me that a more direct route down might be a good idea. It turned out that there were cattle on both sides of me, but I found a route between them and they grazed on peacefully and I descended undisturbed.
I could see Tinnis, the first hill on Mark’s marathon walk in the distance.
Below me stood Craigcleuch.
Visitors to the area can now get self catering accommodation in a wing of the big house. An ex-member of the Archive group has just stayed there.
As I came down the hill, sunlight and clouds . . .
. . . gave an ever changing light to the Gates of Eden.
Once I reached the road, the way home was direct and easy, but there were still plenty of distractions on the way.
I had to keep stopping . . .
. . . but I got home in the end.
It was only a short walk of four miles, but as I may have said before, the great thing about the area round Langholm is how much variety you can get in a short walk.
An excellent evening meal of eggs, gammon and bubble and squeak rounded off a well filled day of activity.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.
Footnote: if you got this far, well done. I am sorry about the amount of photographs but it was a great day for taking pictures and I couldn’t stop myself.