Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Fairy Loup’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia.  She felt that as I had been a bit lacking of flying birds recently, she should help me out.  She visited RSPB West Sedgmoor on Saturday and saw a great many teal.

RSPB West Sedgemoor teal

My first picture of the day was taken very early in the morning indeed.  As I went to bed last night,  I was surprised to see that the moon was out and although it was lightly covered by a very thin cloud, I thought that I should celebrate being able to see it at all in the midst of our bad weather. This was six minutes after midnight.

full moon February

When I woke up this morning, the day was remarkably peaceful and dry.  After breakfast I got a call from fellow archivist Nancy to say that one of our microfiche readers wasn’t working and I was able to walk up to the Archive Centre without getting wet.

The Wauchope was unrecognisable from the river that we had seen on our way to church just a day ago and Mr Grumpy had found a quiet pool to stand in behind a bush.

calm after storm

After some head scratching and with a bit of a “let’s try that” technique, we got the reader to read again and I left Nancy to her work and walked home.  In spite of the improved weather conditions, the continuing brisk wind made me grateful for the warmth of my new coat.

In the garden I found the (small) host of daffodils had survived, a starling was doing some supervision…

in the garden after storm

…a first flower had appeared on the winter honeysuckle and Mary Jo’s rain gauge showed that quite a bit of rain had fallen.

The wind was no discouragement to the birds today though and enough goldfinches arrived to start a fight…

squabbling goldfinches

…though experience has led me to believe that sometimes two goldfinches are all you need to have a scrap.

Peace did break out and we got a collection of siskins and goldfinches that swapped places from time to time.

two triples on the feeder

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some business and shopping  and I made some lentil soup for lunch.

Fortified by the soup, eaten with bread and cheese, we drove down to Canonbie to have a walk.  There were spots of rain as we drove down but luckily, the rain stopped when we got to the Byreburn Woods, and so we started our walk.

Our plan was to keep among the trees for as much of our walk as possible because the wind was very cold and the excellent path took us along in the shelter of some very tall conifers.

Byreburn Wood walk 1

Here is Mrs Tootlepedal giving a sense of scale.

Byreburn Wood walk 2

When we came out of the trees, some well constructed steps took us the steepest part of the hill….

Byreburn Wood walk 3

…and a handy bench provided us with a resting place at the top.

Byreburn Wood walk 4

The path is part of the Council’s Core Path Network and is well signposted and well maintained.

As we got to the most exposed part of the walk, there was a hint of sunshine…

Byreburn Wood walk 5

…which was fully realised as we came out of the wood and walked down the road…

Going down to Byre Burn

…to the modest bridge over the Byre Burn.

bridge at top of Byre Burn

We crossed the bridge and took the track which goes back down the hill alongside the Byre Burn itself.

fairy loup track

Here we spotted the only fungus we saw all walk…

fungus fairy loup track

…enjoyed the glowing moss on the bank above the track being picked out by the sun…

moss in sun fairy loup track

…and listened to the music of the burn…

cascade fairy loup track

…as it chattered over the little cascades on its way to the Fairy Loup and the River Esk.

cascade fairy loup track 2

We had to stop to take the obligatory picture of the Fairy Loup when we came to it, although the view would be greatly improved if someone would come along and trim the trees in front of it.

fairy loup february

When we got to the road at the bottom of the track,  we crossed this much more impressive bridge.  It carries the road which used to be the main Carlisle to Edinburgh trunk route.

Byreburn bridge A7

We had done two miles by the time that we got back to the car.  Although this was not a long walk, it had had a lot of variety on the way which had made it most rewarding.

When we got back to Langholm on our way home, it was obvious  that it had been raining in the town while we had been away.  This greatly added to the pleasure that we felt from our walk through the woods.

In the garden, there were signs of things to come.

crocus and hellebore promise

Mike Tinker’s tea radar was finely honed and he arrived just as the teapot was put on the table and we a good chat.  The Langholm Walks Group is planning to add a route from Canonbie to Langholm to its collection of waymarked walks and he told us that one section of this will go through the Byreburn Wood.

In the evening, my friend Luke came round with his flute and we had a go at a Quantz sonata.  We haven’t played it for some time and although we played a couple of movements, it was clear that we will need to practise a bit harder if it is to go smoothly.

Storm Ciara has treated us very lightly considering what happened not far from us.  There were damaging floods in Hawick and Appleby, Carlisle had floods again and the west coast main line railway was closed because of floods.  Meanwhile, I have been able to get out for a walk every day even if it has been too windy to cycle so I can’t complain.

This may change though, as the forecast for the week ahead is very uninviting and next weekend is due to bring us another very deep Atlantic depression.  The Norwegian forecast for our area is once again slightly better than the BBC’s so I think we will settle for the Norwegian arrangement and keep our fingers crossed.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, probably looking for a fight.

flying goldfinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from Stephen, my Australian correspondent.  He says that it is easy to see the effects of the bush fires raging in the Blue Mountains while walking the streets of Sydney, especially as the sun comes up behind the haze at dawn.

sydney ash

We were hoping for some sun here today and we did get a slightly warmer day but sunshine was strictly rationed and we got only a very small glimmer now and again.  In spite of the grey skies, our visitor Patricia thought that a walk would be useful after her long sit on the train yesterday so we got in the car and drove down to the Hollows where we set out on foot to visit the Fairy Loup.

This 1.7 mile circular walk starts by going along the old A7, which was closed to traffic after a landslip about 40 years ago. One half of the carriageway remains and it is used occasionally by a local farmer as you can see from the tracks between the layer of beech mast which covered the rest of the road.

old a7 Byreburn Mrs t and Pat

There was interest along the way, with a flourishing crop of vetch and some colourful bramble leaves…

vetch and bramble

…as well as a selection of mosses on a wall….

moss on A7 wall

…and ferns and script lichens as well.

fern and script lichen

The winter months are the best for actually seeing the waterfall at the Fairy Loup but even without the leaves on them, the tree branches are growing so much that a clear view is impossible.

fairy loup November

We have had a dry spell lately and there was really very little water going down the Byreburn.

above the fairy loup

We passed a sensational crop of fungus on a pile of wood chippings.

fungus beside byreburn

Our direction of travel round the walk was well chosen because when we came out of the shelter offered by the Byreburn valley, we found that the nippy wind was behind us as we walked back down the road to our car.

There was even a little sunshine to light up the gates that we passed…

two gates gilnockie

….though it came and went and the clouds were back as we walked through these well clipped beech hedges near the old station.

neat hedge gilnockie

The sun came back to light up the last few yards of our walk and picked out some broom…

broom Gilnockie

…and the trunks of the trees beside the road…

trees byreburn wood

…as well as a thin string of ivy climbing a substantial tree…

ivy byreburn

…and the white lichen making a twisted tree trunk positively shine.

tree byreburn

We didn’t go directly home after our walk but stopped at the Buccleuch Centre for a light lunch in their excellent foyer coffee bar.

I had a look at the bird feeder when we got back after lunch, but there was very little avian traffic and the light was poor again, so I put my bird camera in the bag on the back of my slow bike and pedalled down to the river to see if I could see a bird or two there.

I saw several gulls perched on the electricity wires beside the Esk but they stayed stubbornly put as I watched so I left them to it and cycled over the bridge and on to the Kilngreen.

gulls on wire

There was  more movement here.  A large flock of ducks came rushing down the river towards me as soon as i got near the river, mistaking me perhaps for someone with bread in his pocket.  When no bread was forthcoming, they circled around and headed back up river muttering morosely.

ducks hoping for bread

One late-coming duck flew up at great speed.

swift duck

There were plenty of gulls about and they lifted themselves off the rocks where they were perched and took to the air from time to time.

two gulls

It was chilly so I didn’t spend too long watching them.

When I got home, I put on my cycling gear and went out into the cold garage and cycled on the bike to nowhere for half and hour.  Listening to the radio helped to lessen the tedium of looking at this view.

garage view

In the evening, I took Patricia and Mrs Tootlepedal out for a meal as a premature celebration of my birthday which is tomorrow.

As I have had a persistent feeling all year that I am a year older than I actually am, tomorrow is not going to be a big day as nothing will change….except of course that I might then start to think that I am another year older than I actually will be. For the record, I will be 78 tomorrow and I only hope that if I live to be 90, I will still be able to walk round the Fairy Loup with as much zest as our 90 year old guest Patrica demonstrated today.  She is a wonder.

The flying bird of the day is one of those Kilngreen gulls looking for a handy rock.

gull landing

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony’s partner Marianne.  She shared her enjoyment of a view over the river Tay at Perth with some jackdaws.

birds on Tay

I realised when I came to put this post together that I had included far too many pictures in it by accident so I apologise in advance and recommend that busy people give today’s effort a miss.

I spent the morning down at the community cafe at Canonbie Church with fellow camera club members Stan and Sandy helping to put up our camera club exhibition there.  It takes longer than you might think to hang thirty photographs so that they look inviting and well balanced even with the expert help of Archie and Beverley from the cafe.  The finished set up looked good and it is ironic that I should have forgotten to take a picture to show the exhibition in place.  I hope to cycle down to Canonbie soon and take a picture when I am there.

When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal sitting on a garden bench looking intently at one of the flower borders.  She was watching our local pair of partridges and they kindly waited long enough for me to get out a camera before they marched off over the lawn, down the drive and away.

the partridge

While I had the camera in my hand, I noted some daisies…

daisy

…the first open tulip of the year…

open tulip

…and the unnamed little white flower which Mike Tinker told us last night is a cardamine, so it is no longer unnamed.

cardamine

The feeder was empty so I filled it up and in no time at all, the birds were back in business.

busy feeder

Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy while I was down in Canonbie and had discovered that the brick foundation which she had excavated yesterday ran the whole length of the bed that we were cultivating.

It would be too hard to remove it so the trench will be filled in and potatoes planted and then next year, it may all go down to grass.

trench in potato bed

Speaking of grass, I pushed my light mower over the drying green but grass was in very short supply and most of the area is covered in spongy moss with the occasional blade of grass sticking through.

moss on drying green

After lunch, I suggested a walk and Mrs Tootlepedal thought that that would be a good idea.  There was a light drizzle in the garden so we decided to go down to Canonibie in the hope that it might be drier down there.  It had been sunny there while we were putting up the exhibition in the morning.

It was rather grey when we got there but we parted the car at the bottom of the Byreburn wood and went for a walk anyway.  Mrs Tootlepedal spotted a fine display of wood anemones not many yards away from the car so that was a good start.

wood anemone

Our walk took us through the oldest part of the wood where there are many fine old conifers, including one of the earliest Douglas firs to come to Britain.

big trees byreburn

Although there are not many larches in this part of the wood, this one stood out with its fresh green growth.

latch buds

As we went along, the wood got younger…

byreburn wood trail

…and we finally emerged into an area that has been felled.  Here the path took a turn up a steep but short climb….

path through uphill byreburn wood

…which gave us a look back over the sawmill below.

canonbie sawmill

Luckily, the path makers had thoughtfully provided a place of rest for the elderly walker at the top of the hill.

bench in byreburn wood

We now walked along the edge of the wood beside green fields as we headed up the Byreburn valley…

Windy Hill

…passing this interesting tree on the way.conifer at Windy Hill

We got to the spot where a great railway viaduct spanned the valley in days gone by…

Untitled-1

Photo from the Langholm Archive collection

…but it was demolished in 1986 and there is no sign of it all now.

view of burebrun from old viaduct spot

We continued on until we came to the road and then walked down to the Byreburn itself.  The willows have been outstanding this year and we thought that this showed how well they are doing.

fat willow

We crossed the Byreburn by the road bridge and walked down the track on the far side of the stream, stopping at the Fairy Loup to record a clump of ladybirds on a fence post…

clump of ladybirds

…and noting the very gentle trickle of water over the waterfall after a good few days without any rain.

fairy loup trickle

This was a coal mining area once and an old engine house can still be seen.  It pumped water out of the workings beside the burn.

old pumping house

We were out of the woods now and walked back along the old A7 towards our car.

Just past the engine house was a patch of grass which was full of lichen.  It makes a change from moss.

lichen at byrebrunfoot

We were on the flat beside the river Esk and the farmer had been out rolling his pasture which gave the fields a very well tended air.

 

 

fields at Canonbie

Then there were just a few celandines…

celandine beside old A7

…a patch of blackthorn hedge…

balckthorn at Byreburn wood

…and a horse chestnut bud to record….

chestnut bud

…before we got into the car and drove home, having enjoyed a walk, some of which Mrs Tootlepedal thought was entirely new to her.  It certainly had a great variety of surroundings and interest for its modest two and a half mile distance.

Not surprisingly, we were quite happy to sit down and have a quiet cup of tea and a rest when we got home.  It had been a strenuous day for Mrs Tootlepedal in particular with a lot of digging and delving in the morning.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who was more adventurous than me and went for an outing in the rain.  His reward was a picture of the Byreburn in full flow over the Fairy Loup. (I have put a little video that he took at the bottom of this post for those who like loud noises.)

fairy loup

As you can see from Bruce’s picture, there was a lot of water about today.  It had started raining before two o’clock in the morning and it rained until it got dark in the evening.  At that point 35 mph winds started to blow so it wasn’t in general a very pleasant day.

Dropscone arrived with bonus scones as he had left his hat and gloves here yesterday  and we had a cup of coffee before we went off with them firmly in his grip.

While we were sipping, there was a mass flight of birds from the feeder and when we looked, we could see the reason for the excitement.

sparrowhawk in plum tree

The sparrowhawk lurked in the plum tree for some time but no little birds were foolish enough to come back to the feeder and it eventually flew off.

As it had been raining for 8 hours by the time that Dropscone went off to do some shopping,  I walked down to the river under a capacious umbrella to see if the water was high.  It was surprisingly low…

Wauchope fairly full

…and you can see from the grass on the far bank that it had been higher yesterday after a much shorter but much heavier shower.

Two goosanders found it calm enough to paddle about.

goosanders on wauchope

…and I noticed the usual autumn outbreak of fungus around an old tree stump next to the church wall.

church mushrooms

The rain started to come down a bit more vigorously so I went home and looked at the birds as there was nothing much better to do.

Although the rain was very persistent, it was quite light at times and the birds didn’t get as soggy as they sometimes do in the wet.

I don’t know if we just have one coal tit who visits a lot or several coal tits who come one at a time but I never see more than one at the feeder though I do see it/them a lot at present.

coal tit paying flying vivit

We had a good number of greenfinches today and at times they dominated the feeder, shouting at sparrows…

greenfinch being rude to sparrow

…and grumbling at other greenfinches.

greenfinches squabbling

Between the greenfinches and the sparrows, goldfinches could only sulk in the background.

goldfinch sulking

Some sparrows tried enchantment to get rid of a fellow sparrow on a perch…

greenfinch witching

…while others took a more direct route to eviction.

sparrow kicking sparrow

A greenfinch…

greenfinch on arch

…and a goldfinch rose above the bad behaviour.

goldfinch on arch

A touch of class was brought by the arrival of some collared doves…

collared dove

…but sadly, in a sign of the times, even the doves fell to fighting each other.

fighting doves

I couldn’t look any longer and went off to put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practise some singing as I will have two choirs tomorrow.

Since it was still raining in the afternoon, I went down to look at the rivers again but although the water in the Esk was high, it was still lower than it had been yesterday.  I was surprised…

esk fairly full

…but it shows how well our rivers drain the rain away. There was plenty of water going under the bridge…

town bridge with water

…but not enough to wash away a tree which has been stuck under one arch for some time.

I passed another very similar crop of fungus on a different tree stump on my way home.

more fungus

And that more or less completed the events of the day though I did have some stewed apple and custard for my tea which was quite exciting.

The flying bird of the day is one of the greenfinches…..

flying greenfinch

…and the flying water comes courtesy of Bruce and the Fairy Loup.

 

Read Full Post »

We had such a grey day here that I badly needed something bright for the post so today’s guest offering is another of Tommy cycling in the South African sunshine.  Lucky chap.

tommy in SA

The only colour in the garden today was provided by a few stubborn daffodils who defied the cold and the wind.

daffs

It was very depressing after having had a few nearly decent days to go back to mean, cold and nasty weather again.

The birds had to hang on to the feeders…

_DSC2319

…and take great care getting on  to the perches.

_DSC2323

The encompassing gloom was cheered by the arrival of Dropscone with treacle scones and Sandy to help eat them with our morning coffee.

We were also pleased to see the return of the dam bridge repairers with the new railings, ready to be installed.

Sandy and I arranged to go for a walk after lunch and he duly arrived and drove us down to Canonbie where we parked at the Hollows and walked along the road to the Byreburn bridge.

In spite of very poor conditions for taking pictures, the wall along the old road provided us with plenty of temptations to get the camera out.

fernsmoss on lichengorsemoss and fern

When we got to the Byreburn bridge, we left the river Esk and followed the track beside the burn…

Byreburn track

…with plenty to see as we walked up to the next bridge.

P1080197

A hint of the coal seams which were mined in days past

fairy loup

The Fairy Loup

fairy loup

The Byreburn

byreburn bridge

Here we left the shelter of the woods and took to the road to make a circular route back to the car.

Once again, there were things to look at as we went along…

gate at Claygate

Gate of the day being threatened by encroaching hedges

gilnockie schoolhouse

Snowdrops at the old school house

Near Gilnockie station

Neatly trimmed hedges, often a feature of our back roads.

…and things looking at us…

mean sheep

…with a very hard stare.

As we got down the hill back towards the Hollows, Sandy noticed a tree beside the road which looked as though it had been the victim of a very bad sewing job by some dendrological Dr Frankenstein…

tree with ivy

…and I enjoyed the sight of a clump of hardy trees hanging by their toenails to the bank high above the river Esk.

Hollows Bridge

We had thought that we might get blasted by the cruel wind as we walked back along the road but by happy accident, the wind was directly behind us and the whole walk was remarkably comfortable considering the conditions.

The Hollows Bridge is hard to see from the road so the best that I could do was to peer through the trees…

Hollows Bridge

…but the consolation was the sight of the little stone carvings which keep appearing on the wooded knoll beside the river.   This set were new since I had last been here.

Hollows Bridge statues

When we got home, the bridge railings had been installed but not quite finished so I took a temporary shot of each side…

dam bridge repair railings

…and then forgot to come out later to take the finished article.

I will try again tomorrow.

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went out to a concert in the Church which was raising funds for the restoration of the church organ and the refurbishment of the social club in the town.

The concert featured brass and pipe bands, guest singers from Hawick and a fine selection of local talent.  I am not an out and out fan of pipe bands playing indoors but the concert was thoroughly enjoyable all the same and only the attendance was a bit disappointing.  I hope that those who couldn’t come had something better to do for they had missed a treat.

On a grumpy note, it went on too long.  Two and a half hours sitting in a church pew is enough to let the iron enter anyone’s soul.  I may have remarked before that I have never heard anyone come out of an amateur concert saying, “That was too short.”

Still, it proved that we are not short of musical talent in the town.

The flying bird of the day matches the weather.  Rather a poor effort.

_DSC2326

The weather is due to get worse.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture was taken yesterday by my neighbour Gavin, who was walking behind us back from the Market Place after the band had played.  He describes what he saw as ‘a rose between two thorns’.  Rather rude I thought.

Al, me and matilda

We had another lovely sunny day today but with added ice…

icy puddle

…which we haven’t seen for some time.

The wind was light though and Alistair, Matilda and I went to visit the park again.  The play equipment was too iced up to play on so we did walking instead and after some initial wariness in case of slipping, Matilda took to breaking the ice in any puddle we met with great gusto.

Sadly the fun had to go unrecorded as I failed to put a card into my camera.   There were hundreds of puddles so we had a busy walk.

We got back in time for a quick look at the birds….

goldfinches

Dappled goldfinches

….followed by lunch and then all too soon, it was time for our visitors to go back to Edinburgh.  We waved them goodbye and went inside sadly and then a few minutes later, we waved them goodbye again when they had come back and collected a forgotten item.

Although the walk yesterday and two days of grandparenting had both been fun, they had also both been quite hard work and the thought of a quiet sit down was quite attractive.  On the other hand, the weather was so good that a walk seemed almost compulsory.

I rang Sandy and soon afterwards, we drove down to the Hollows in his car.

On one side of the river, Hollows Mill was looking impressive…

Hollows Mill

…and on the other, the little wood where the original tower once stood was looking lovely.

Hollows Bridge wood

Sandy noticed a most unusual bird in one of the trees.

owl at hollows

We parked at the gate to the old road…

Old A7 hollows

…and walked the two  mile circuit along the road, up the Byre Burn track past the Fairy Loup and back down the road past the old station.

The wall along the old A7 was full of interest…

Pixie cup lichen

The biggest and greyest pixie cup lichen I have ever seen

Colour among the moss

Colour among the mosses

…but it was nothing compared to the unexpected appearance on twigs all the way up the Fairy Loup track of any amount of ice hair.

It was everywhere.

ice hair at Byreburn

I couldn’t find a perfect picture opportunity but this was my favourite today.

ice hair at Byreburn

The Byre Burn at the Fairy Loup was running quite calmly…

Fairy Loup

It is very annoying for a man with a camera that there is no view of the waterfall that doesn’t have a branch in front of it. Unfortunately the bank is too steep for an old man to climb down it with a saw in his hand.

The same might be said of the bridge over the burn at the top of the track.

Byreburn bridge

I have never seen a bridge with so many branches in front of it – whatever side you view it from.

We were struck by a rather haunted looking tree in the wood beside the track as we came up to the bridge…

Gothic tree

We didn’t get too close in case it reached out and grabbed us.

…and we liked the ice rimmed leaves of a bramble as we walked up the hill away from the bridge.

bramble

Just as we got to the top of the hill at Gilnockie School, there was a tremendous amount of mewing from a buzzard (or two).  It sounded very close but I couldn’t see a bird. Then  the sharp eye of Sandy spotted a buzzard on a telegraph pole in a field.  It flew up onto a tree on the far side of the field and posed.

Buzzard

The Lumix zoom at its full extent.

We walked along the road to the station looking straight into the sun….

Gilnockie road

…hoping that any cars would be able to avoid us as we wouldn’t be able to see them coming.  The camera saw much more clearly than we could.

Once we had dropped back into the woods as we got near the car, the light was kinder and when we got down to the old road again, it was positively golden.

Old A7 hollows

Straight out of the camera, no processing at all.

It is going to be hard for the rest of 2107 to live up to the first two days of the year as far as good walks and fun with family go.

Sandy came back for a cup of tea, a cake and a crumpet and then it really was the time for some serious sitting down.

I sat down seriously.

The flying bird of the day really is a bird today.

flying chaffinch

 

 

Read Full Post »

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s portfolio of London’s parks.

regent's park

With the thermometer at 2°C, it was warm enough for yesterday’s snow to be melting slowly but cold enough to keep me off the roads on my bike.  As a result, I girded my loins and did ten very boring miles on the bike to nowhere in the garage.

I am using a low cost magnetic resistance trainer on top of which the back wheel of my slow bike sits.  On the plus side, this gives me a sensible riding position but on the minus side, there is no inertia at all and as soon as you ease off the pressure on the pedals, it slows down instantly.  It is like pedalling through porridge.  There is no free-wheeling and none of the helpful spinning of a flywheel which you get with a gym model.  The result is like cycling constantly uphill and it makes an hour seem like a lifetime.

I was pleased to get off and look out of the kitchen window.

chaffinch

Chaffinches looked down….

chaffinch

…and up

chaffinch

…and all around

You can see that by lunch time,  it had started to rain and sleet.  This didn’t make the siskins any more well disposed to other birds than usual.

siskin

It eased off not long after it started though and that was a blessing even if it left things looking distinctly soggy.

chaffinch

By the time that we had finished lunch, it had stopped entirely and after going nowhere in the morning, we thought it would be nice to go somewhere in the afternoon.

We combined the need to put a little petrol in the car and get some shopping done with an excursion to Canonbie for a walk on less snowy tracks.

Though it is only six miles away, the path through the Byreburn wood was almost snow free…

Stream at Hollows

…though the lack of snow was made up for by plenty of water.

The walk up past the Fairy Loup and back down the road turned out to be a sociable occasion as we met the owner of the Archimedes Screw at the Hollows Mill on the way.  He was walking with his wife and tiny baby but was happy to stop and tell us about the workings of the Screw.  He invited us to come and have a view and we will certainly do that at the first convenient time.

There was plenty of brown water rushing over the waterfall at the Fairy Loup…

Fairy Loup

Further up the track, we met two more friends, parents of children at Canonbie School when I was teaching there, and we had another good chat with them.  Their daughter, a grand athlete in her primary school days, has taken to running very seriously and ran 1500 miles in the course of last year.  It made my knees hurt just to hear about her efforts.

We walked on beside the leaping stream….

byreburn

…until we got to the top of the track and then we headed back to the car by the quieter road.

For a day that looked quite cold….

ice

… and grey….

Hollows hill

…the walking was very kindly.  The unusual absence of anything but the lightest breeze made for perfect conditions for a January stroll.

We filled the car up on the way out and managed our shopping on the way home . When we got back, we enjoyed a welcome cup of tea and a sit down.

We didn’t have all that long to wait though before we were off again.  Our target this time was the Buccleuch Centre, where the RNSO were presenting a New Year Viennese Gala.

The hall was packed and so was the stage, with 60 musicians ready and willing to give us a seasonal treat.  There was nothing unexpected in the concert but the sheer delight of having 60 accomplished musicians playing live music in a good humoured way to an appreciative audience banished any thoughts of rain and snow completely.

As a bonus, there was a sparkling soprano too and when she sang Vilia, Oh Vilia as an encore, you could almost hear the physical and mental strain of the many amateur opera singers in the audience trying desperately not to sing along with her.

The RNSO, our national orchestra, is on a new year tour of some of the most notable towns in Scotland outside the big four cities.  They are visiting Dunfermline (pop. 50,000), Inverness (pop. 46,000), Stirling (pop. 36,000), F0rfar (pop. 14,000) and Langholm (pop. 2,301).  It’s hard to work out but we don’t ask, we are just grateful.

There was a flying bird in action during the morning snow today too.

flying chaffinch

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »