Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew’s walk up Blencathra last week. He got this splendid view of the Lake District as he climbed.
We were promised a chilly day with a brisk north wind and we got it. Luckily we got some very bright and cheerful sunshine for most of the day so as long as you were out of the wind, life was sweet.
I was out of the wind for two hours in the morning but out of the sunshine too as I was sitting in the Welcome to Langholm office, catching up on putting the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database (now at over 80,000 entries). I did welcome the occasional visitor too so it was time well spent.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got back and I had a look at the azalea, which has survived a couple of chilly mornings very well….
…and one of the developing fantastical tulips….
…which is unfolding very slowly. I just hope that another chilly night tonight won’t discourage it entirely.
I went in and made some sweet potato soup for lunch and then ate it. While the soup was cooking, I watched some appalling behaviour outside.
It was too windy for an enjoyable cycle ride so I went for a walk with nuthatches in mind. Sadly the nuthatches didn’t have me in mind at all and were conspicuous by their absence. I was cheered up though by the appearance of the running rails for the Castleholm horse racing track which have appeared…
…and are waiting to be erected.
Having failed with the nuthatches, I thought that I might have a look for a dipper at the Sawmill Brig and this time, I was luckier. It wasn’t plain sailing though as the dipper was living up to it’s name…
…but it did pause for a breather on a rock once or twice.
The rock was a bit too far away for a good shot but I had a lot of fun watching the dipper dipping.
Further downstream, after pausing for a cold ice cream from the Kilngreen van, I crossed the town bridge….
…..and was entertained by birds flying rather than swimming.
Large numbers of swallows and martins were swooping up and down the river. I panned the camera vigorously in trying to get a shot or two of them in the air as they passed me and an interested onlooker might well have thought that my underwear was on fire as I twisted and turned violently.
You have to be really lucky or skillful to get a good picture of a flying swallow! I did my best.
An oyster catcher was a more available target for my lens.
I walked on down the river, stopping to admire the cherry blossom….
….and crossed the Kirk Brig and walked through the park and then along the river through the woods.
As I went along, the plaintive quacking of a duck could be heard.
There were half a dozen tiny ducklings scooting about in all directions paying no attention to the quacking duck. I wondered if something had frightened them.
I wasn’t really looking for ducks though. My target was early bluebells…
…on the banks above the river. I found some.
They are not fully out yet but there were enough to make a pretty picture or two….
I was rather surprised to find that I was walking in broad sunshine and light snow at the same time as I went along the Stubholm track but the snow faded away and the sunshine persisted so I continued my stroll by going along Gaskell’s walk.
In spite of the cold wind and the flurry of snow, it felt like spring in the sunshine.
The countryside is definitely beginning to look greener now…
…and my walk was very green.
The bare trees will soon be covered.
I got home and then immediately went out to collect our car from the garage where it had been serviced. To my relief, no major faults were reported and I drove it home in a good frame of mind.
I got home in good time because not long afterwards, I looked out of the window and a snowstorm was raging. Luckily, it was a storm in a teacup and was soon past.
My flute pupil Luke came and improved the day even more as he worked very hard and listened very carefully. I am expecting good progress over the next month or so.
In the evening, I rounded the day off with a meeting of the Langholm Camera Club where we were treated to a very interesting demonstration of photo editing techniques by an ex professional photographer who has recently joined out group. He had much sound advice to impart and I only hope that I will be able to take it on board and improve my pictures.
I often put not very good pictures on the blog just to show things that I have seen rather than for the quality of the photographs but there is no doubt that I should set myself some targets to improve the quality of shots where I do have time to worry about settings and composition. I hope that readers will see the results in time.
The flying bird of the day is a study in yellow.