Two sociable outings

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair. He took his daughter Matilda to Jupiter Artland near Edinburgh where she found a friend.

I didn’t have time for any Archive Group work after breakfast today because I had arranged to meet my walking friend Mark to show him a route that he hadn’t taken before. He arrived bang on time with his dog Henry and we drove off up the Wauchope road in two cars so that we could leave one car at the finish of the walk and one at the start.

I was showing him the horseshoe route round the valley of the Glentenmont Burn with a diversion into the Logan Water valley to end the walk. To put it another way, we were walking round Westwater and back through Cleuchfoot.

It was a cool, calm and misty morning so there wasn’t much in the way of a view and the very large turbines of the Solwaybank wind farm were invisible when we looked back soon after we started.

But the skies cleared as we went along, and we could soon see our way ahead along the west side of the valley . . .

. . . and we not long afterwards, we could see the turbine blades of another nearby wind farm peeping over the top of the hill.

The valley has been heavily forested recently and the nature of the walk will change as the years go by and the views are lost behind taller trees.

It is still quite open at the moment and there are always things to see if the views fail. I like the variety of lichen to found on and beside the track, with different sorts on the west and east sides of the valley.

There is a prehistoric settlement marked on the map, and we think that these mounds may be part of it.

It is not the best walk for distant prospects but the company was excellent . . .

. . . and the valley is quite attractive even on a grey day . . .

We stopped for so many photo opportunities that sometimes Henry got a bit impatient.

As you get near to the grounds of Westwater itself, there are some magnificent old roses which have thrived on neglect. They were covered in luscious looking hips today.

The sun came out as we got near the end of our walk but I forgot to take any pictures to show this. With roadside ponds, fungus and some very fine sloes to look at . . .

. . . I couldn’t fit everything in.

Our walk was almost exactly 7 miles long, but Mark was excited by by the possibilities of linking it up with another walk that we did together recently to make a 21 mile round trip starting and finishing in Langholm itself with no driving involved. That might be step too far for me though.

We got into my car at the end of the walk and I drove Mark and Henry back to their car at the start of the walk. There we parted with thoughts of more walks to come.

I drove home and had a considerably shorter walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal before going in for lunch.

When Mrs Tootlepedal paused to dead head a great number of dahlias, I took a few flower pictures as she snipped away. I liked pink and red . . .

. . . of which there was quite a lot about, though I had to throw in an orange poppy to complete the second panel of six. I liked the back view of a dahlia looking almost as good as the front view.

When I looked at the front view of the dahlias beside the middle lawn, there were lots of bees to be seen again today . . .

. . . though I have to admit that one of the bees is a butterfly.

After I had taken the pictures for the panel, the butterfly moved carefully to the middle of the flower so I took a solo picture of it.

Then we had lunch.

While I had been out walking, Mrs Tootlepedal had spent the morning writing up minutes of a Langholm Initiative meeting so she was ready for some fresh air after lunch. We got out the electric bikes and had a very pleasant 14 mile ride round a shorter version of my familiar Canonbie circuit.

We looked about as we went and saw clover, ragwort, bright red guelder rose berries and deep black brambles.

The brambles were sweet and juicy.

When we got to the trees covered with red berries near the suspension bridge which I had mistakenly thought were rowans on a previous outing . . .

. . . Mrs Tootlepedal told me that they are whitebeam. I don’t know why the birds don’t like the berries.

I took another picture of the gentians in a pot when I got home as I didn’t think that I had done them full justice in a previous photograph. They are stunning little flowers.

I had picked a pocketful of hazelnuts while we were out on our ride . . .

. . .and Mrs Tootlepedal, who likes nuts, cracked and ate them after we had had a cup of tea. Not all of the shells had good kernels inside, but there were enough to make picking them worthwhile. I will keep my open for more. There are a lot of them about this year.

After what had been a busy day, we were content to let the rest of the afternoon drift comfortably away, though I did pop out to the garden again where I saw a blackbird sitting in the silver pear tree find a honeysuckle berry and eat it.

I hoped that it would pick more but it obviously didn’t enjoy the berry that much. As a result the flying bird of the day is a blackbird.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Two sociable outings

      1. My Goldfinch love beet greens and the wild turkey love to dust themselves in the raised beds I have a sign out front that says it all FOR THE BIRDS

  1. I had to look up whitebeam because I’ve never heard of it and I found that they are closely related to rowan trees and are even called mountain ash in some areas, so you were very close with your original thoughts. The leaves look nothing like our mountain ash trees but that doesn’t mean much.
    The dahlias are so beautiful I hope they’ll go on and on.
    That was another nice walk. I think 7 miles would be enough for me in hill country. Mark must be very fit.

  2. I’ve been writing “sloe” in crosswords for as long as I’ve done puzzles, but until today I had no idea that they were such a beautiful purple. I guess I have to get out more ๐Ÿ™‚

    p.s.: A 21 mile hike would have taken me about 2/3 of the way to work – can’t imagine walking it!

    1. I can imagine walking it but it would take me some time so it would have to be a very pleasant summer day with time for rests on the way before I took it on.

  3. I think the photograph of Matilda and friend is delightful. Like mj, I am always pleased to make the acquaintance of things that have become familiar through crosswords – hence I enjoy your photographs of sloes ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. You are right, the valley views are beautiful even on a grey day! I enjoyed your selection of photos, and found them uplifting, especially the peacock butterfly on the dahlia. That one is strikingly beautiful. The gentians are still joyously trumpeting.

    That is a sweet photo of Matilda and the statue.

    So you eat your hazelnuts green? I should try that. I may get more good kernels that way. Here we have a hazelnut moth that flies and lays eggs at the base of the developing nut in spring when the temperature is above 55 degrees.. The little worms can often be found wandering inside the ripe nuts. I may be lucky with such a long, cold wet spring.

  5. I went up the track starting just below Callister last saturday. Is there anybody staying in the tent at the start of the track?

  6. A full day…again with so much to see and enjoy. Love the panels of the colourful flowers still giving interest in your garden and the snaps of the blackbird choosing his tea!

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