Going round in circles

Today’s guest picture is another from my friend Mark’s Cairngorm adventure. His dog Henry is no mean mountaineer himself.

We had another cold night with the temperature bottoming out at -6°C. It was creeping up to zero when we got up and reached a heady +4° during the morning.

I would have happily spent time watching the birds while it was chilly outside, but once again there were no birds to watch and the feeder hung silently from its pole. We had a double coffee morning as first our neighbour Margaret came round, and then, almost as soon as she had left, our neighbour Liz, freshly back from visiting New Zealand, came round to share photographs and tales of her adventures with us.

After that excitement, I cycled round to the corner shop for milk and then sieved another load of compost, this time to add to a flower bed. Mrs Tootlepedal had made some ham broth for lunch and it was only after lunch that I got a camera out and went on a flower search in the garden. The early daffodils are seriously depressed, but I did find one bunch of cheery crocuses.

In the absence of birds at the feeder, I had a look for passing birds and saw a bunch of jackdaws flying overhead and three starlings settling on the holly tree. The starlings looked as though they had been drinking, I thought.

It was too cold for cycling, but it was another good day for walking. I picked up my walking poles and headed for the hills while Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to do some work in the garden.

I walked up our nearest hill, Meikleholm Hill, and as I took the contouring path round the hill, I could see the Crab Apple Loaning beyond Becks Farm stretching through the fields and into the distance.

It was a day of sunshine and shade again today, but with more shade than sunshine as I walked up Meikleholm and then on to the top of Timpen, enjoying the contrasting views to the north and the west and avoiding any icy patches.

In the chilly north-easterly breeze, it was too cold to hang about enjoying the views from the summit, but I had my warm coat on so I decided to head along the ridge and make my mind up about where to go when I got to the end of it.

The ground was dry and the going was good, so when I got to the fence at the Black Knowe, I decided to make good use of the stile provided by the Langholm Walks Group and turn left and follow the circular route round Calfield Rig. I was quite close to the Craig wind turbines and the huge greenhouse below them which is a medical cannabis factory.

As I walked along towards Calfield Rig, I could see the sun now shining in a most annoying way on the ridge that I had just walked along and some dark clouds looming ahead. Fortunately the clouds were being blown away in front of me.

Once you get on to Calfield Rig itself, you find yourself on the very edge of the border hills. I could see Criffel on the other side of the Nith Estuary to the west, and the Lake District hills over the Solway Firth to the south, with Langholm tucked away to the east.

The Calfield Rig circle is not a long walk, and it does not scale great heights, but it has a wonderful selection of views as you potter along that makes it well worth while at almost any time of year. And I didn’t meet another soul today. If wandering lonely as a cloud is your sort of thing, I can thoroughly recommend this walk.

When I came down off the ridge, I walked back towards Langholm along the Crab Apple Loaning which I had seen from Meikleholm Hill at the start of my walk. Sadly, most of the crab apple trees have been cut down.

The sun came out as I strolled along, in no hurry to catch up with the muck spreader going back to the farm for a fill up.

From Becks Farm, I followed to road down to the Auld Stane Brig and then instead of going straight back along the Wauchope road, I crossed the bridge and came home by way of Gaskell’s walk. I thought that this might give me a few interesting things to look at on the way. I found some things that were interesting to me at any rate.

Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her gardening by the time that I got back from my 6 miles outing and we were happy to spend some quiet time round the kitchen table.

I did get out of my chair for long enough to look out of the window and spot the only bird of the day that I saw at the feeder. He had plenty of seed to choose from.

After three very good days for walking, we are being offered even lower temperatures and much stronger winds for the next two day, with an added hint of snow thrown in. I am very pleased to have made good use of the start of the week. I did finish putting a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database after my walk this afternoon. It looks as though there might be an even better opportunity to make a dent in the backlog tomorrow and on Friday. Still, the forecast tends to be on the gloomy side, so there might be some sort of a walking opportunity too.

The non flying bird of the day is that lonely chaffinch, now on the other side of the feeder.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Going round in circles

  1. Henry does look like a good mountaineering partner.

    It was cold there, but still so beautiful. The views are quite impressive at any time of year. The Solway firth shines like a bright silver ribbon in the background of the wind farm. I looked up firth. It seems to be what we call an estuary here.

    Those three starlings do look like they had a hard night. 🙂

    1. You are right, the word firth is generally used for large estuaries in Scotland. Our son Tony lives on the shores of the Firth of Forth which is a lovely name, I think.

  2. A very good shot of the the lonely Chaffinch, what beautiful colouring he/she has, such a vivid brown and orange, not to mention the markings of blue, black and yellow.
    It must be nice to know you are heading home as you cross the bridge. It will be great to see the trees around the bridge in spring.

  3. The weather gods are not favorable to us for the coming days, not at your place, but also not here in Belgium. We have to make the best of it. What I do think is that I would be more motivated to get outside where you live than to go for a walk in (or around) the city where I live in such weather.

  4. Another wonderful walk with all those amazing views to enjoy. Those starlings do look a bit worse for wear! The chaffinch in contrast looks smart and sleek.

  5. More nice cloud shadows. I’m glad you’re getting some storm free weather.
    I don’t know if I’ve seen that red mushroom before. It looks like a big one.
    The snowdrops still look good from a distance. I saw a dandelion in bloom today but no snowdrops yet.

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