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Posts Tagged ‘heather’

Today’s guest picture, taken by Dropscone while he was refereeing a golf tournament at Bruntsfield Golf Club last week, shows the trough where the carriages from the big house used to get washed.

coach washing pit

The forecast was unreliable and planning was difficult.  It had said that it was going to rain all day and since we had heard the rain pattering down as we went to bed last night, we feared the worst.

When we woke up though, the rain had stopped but the forecast now said that it was 90% certain to rain heavily at nine o’clock for an hour.

I was getting ready to spend the morning indoors but a quick look at the actual weather rather than the forecast made it plain that it wasn’t raining and didn’t look likely to rain for some time.  I put my cycling gear on and took a walk round the garden before setting off.

The poppies are rather scarce but good looking when they do appear.

red poppy with stamens

This one planted itself and is hidden behind the new bench

poppy behind bench

And this Icelandic poppy came with added insect.

hoverfly on icelandic poppy

It turned out to be an excellent morning for cycling with the temperature in the high teens and very light winds.  As a result, I was able to go round my customary Canonbie circuit in the quickest time of the year without having to try too hard.

I noted the fine heather beside the road at the Kerr Wood.

Kerr heather

And there were quite a lot of these about on that section of the ride too.

white wild flowers

I stopped for a quick breather at Irvine House and looked around.

irvine house wild plants

The view back towards the new road looked quite autumnal as the sky was cloudy but I was still more than happy to be cycling in my summer shorts.

Irvine house view

When I got home, the weather was still holding so I did a bit of dead heading and had another look at the flowers.

The Japanese anemones are starting to flower.

Japanese anemone

Mrs Tootlepedal cleared a lot of them off in the winter but she has left a few and more photographs of them will undoubtedly appear as I like them a lot, even if they do spread themselves around uninvited.

More poppies caught my eye.  This was the pick of them.

red poppy

And here is the dahlia of the day.

dahlia

I was trying to take a picture of this dahlia and bee but a little hoverfly got in the way.

fly and bee on dahlia

The most notable feature in the garden was a large flock of sparrows.  They were everywhere, much to Mrs Tootlepedal’s disgust as they eat her vegetables. I think that I can count thirteen of them here in the silver pear tree but there may be more.

sparrows in pear tree

There may have been a lot of sparrows around but once again there were very few coloured butterflies about.

butterflies

Whites are ten a penny.

I did see the first Red Admiral of the year in the garden but it got away before I could digitally immortalise it.

Mrs Tootlepedal made scrambled eggs with new potatoes for lunch and then we scrambled to get the washing in just before a sharp rain shower came on.

I am letting the scientific rain gauge (©MaryJofromManitoba) accumulate at the moment and it was showing 3cm or over an inch by the end of the day.

The rain stopped and I filled the feeder and put out some fat balls and stood back to watch.

The feeder was soon busy.

busy feeder sparrow

And the sparrows went for the fat balls in numbers…

sparrows on fat balls

…leading to some sparrow sparring…

sparring sparrows

…but the arrival of a group of jackdaws soon scattered the sparrows.

jackdaw closeup

The jackdaws very nearly polished off all the fat balls by the end of the day.

In the midst of all this activity, a very calm lone goldfinch arrived for a snack.

goldfinch

I put the bird watching camera away and as this seemed like a good time to be indoors in case the heavy showers returned, I put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.

The heavy showers did not return but my flute pupil Luke came in the early evening and we battled away at the art of counting and playing at the same time.

We are trying to master the art of not making mistakes in music that we know and should be able to play easily.  I am very aware that I always made mistakes when playing under pressure until I read the book, “The Inner Game of Golf” to try to help my wayward golf game.  It helped my golf quite a bit but it helped my music playing quite a lot more.  This was an unexpected bonus.

After Luke went, I got out a ladder and trimmed the climbing hydrangea which grows on the wall of the house.  It has a tendency to climb under the guttering and onto the roof if not checked each year.

The flying bird of the day might well have been a sparrow as I caught several in action this afternoon but I thought that I might go for a refreshing change.

Behold, the flying fly of the day.

fly hovering

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, from my ex-colleague Ada, shows a passing traveller whom she ran into (but not over)  on the road.

frog

The forecast said that it would start to rain at 3pm today and it was absolutely spot on which made it lucky that I had managed to get my day organised on that basis.

I am still struggling to persuade my back muscles to relax on a full time basis so I went for a gentle 20 mile circuit of Canonbie on my bike after a leisurely breakfast.  I had time while I was getting mentally and spiritually prepared to pedal to walk round the garden admiring Mrs Tootlepedal’s packets of poppy seeds in action.

shirley poppies

Although she had to re-sow because of the poor weather and thus had to buy a second set of packets of seed, it still looks like good value for £15 (and quite a bit of gardening time) to me.

This was one of the few days when Dr Velo didn’t have a cure for feeling a bit old and tired so I let the wind and the hill discourage me for the first five miles but once I had first gravity and then the breeze helping me, I perked up a bit and got home safely.

I stopped three times, all on the first section of the ride, to take pictures.  The flowers on the rosebay willowherb beside the Wauchope road are going over but its red stems still give it a lot of colour.

rosebay willowherb

I stopped half way up the hill past the Bloch to admire the view….

Wauchope valley

…and the picture reflects the alternating sunshine and clouds that accompanied me on the rest of the trip.

I stopped again at the top of the hill when a mixture of heather and young trees in a replanted wood caught my eye.

heather and young trees

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal agreed that it might be worthwhile to take the car up on to the Langholm Moor to see if we could see birds or goats.

I had a shower and a light lunch and off we went.

We saw lots of birds but no goats.  I had my new lens with me and although the light was quite poor by this time, I made an effort to record a bird we saw hunting near the road.

hen harrier

It was too quick for my trembling hand and the autofocus

hen harrier

I did a bit better when it hovered.

We are not very knowledgeable bird watchers but we think this is a female hen harrier.

After watching the bird for some time, we  drove on up to the county boundary….

County boundary

…which is marked by a fence at this point, in the hope of seeing some goats but there were none to be seen so we turned for home.

We stopped here  and there on the way back for me to enjoy the views and Mrs Tootlepedal to watch raptors through binoculars.

I like the bubbling little burn that runs down the hill beside the road.

Langholm Moor burn

Even though it was a bit gloomy, I could see the Lake District mountains, which I had visited not so long ago, across the other side of the Solway plain.

Skiddaw

Nearer to hand, there was plenty of heather in bloom.

heather

And it is always a pleasure to up on the moor.

Whita

Especially when there is a nice bridge to be seen on the way.

Tarras Bridge

We stopped to look at gulls on the Kilngreen when we got back to the town…

black headed gull

…and got home shortly before the forecast rain started.

I had time for a quick garden wander.

rambler roses

The very last of the rambler roses on top of the arch

sweet pea

A sweet pea in the cage that is necessary to keep it safe from the sparrows when it is young

two cosmos

The only cosmos in flower yet

I tried to take a picture of one of the cornflowers among the poppies but I got distracted…

Heliophilus pendulas

…by a Heliophilus pendulus, one of the many hoverflies.  It really enjoyed the flower.

Heliophilus pendulus

For once I am fairly sure about the identification (so I am probably wrong).

It didn’t rain very hard and occasionally even gave up in a half hearted sort of way but the afternoon remained dark and gloomy enough to persuade us to find things to do indoors.

Sandy dropped in and kindly collected my entry form and fees to take down to the Canonbie Flower Show secretary.  He has been tiling in his new house and will be pleased when he has finished the job.

The flower of the day is a dahlia with its own internal illumination….

dahlia

…and the official flying bird of the day is one of the three black headed gulls that we saw on the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

 

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my son Tony.  He is the one on the hindmost of the two greys galloping along at the Lauder Common Riding. The photo was taken by ‘Lord Spencer-Taylor’, aka Robbie

Tony Galloping

We were expecting guests in the early evening so the morning was spent making ready for their arrival and after a fortnight of my solo housekeeping there was plenty for Mrs Tootlepedal to do.  I offered a hand where it was helpful but also found time to mow the drying green and greenhouse grass between showers.

We got a load of washing out onto the whirlygig in perfect time to catch a shower but the gap before the next one was long enough to get everything dry.

The flowers are still playing catch up as when the sun is not out between showers, it is still rather cool.

dahlias

Not all the dahlias have been nibbled

poppies

And the poppies are still attractive

There are lots of different shades to be seen…

hosta and ligularia

…even when the flowers are finished.

I found a rather unusually elongated radish and the first plum of the season.

radish and plum

I had the radish with my lunch but the plum has not been eaten yet.

I put the mixture for some soft baps into the breadmaker after lunch and went off for a pedal.  Mrs Tootlepedal was going to take the dough and shape the baps for me but my dérailleur malfunctioned and I had to make a repair stop at home after eight miles which coincided nicely with the moment to take the dough out of the machine.

With the baps rising, I went out again for another eight miles and stopped to take a picture or two on the way.

There was a pretty outbreak of ‘bonnie purple heather’ beside the road…

heather

…and plenty of yarrow to go with it.

yarrow

I went up the little road to Cleughfoot….

Cleughfoot road

…and stopped to check on the sloes.

sloes

The crop looks very good but a closer look…

sloes

…revealed ominous looking scabs on some of the berries.  I don’t know what has caused this but I hope it doesn’t spread.

I got home before the next rain shower and had time to look round the garden again.  It looked all white to me….

hosta

water lily

the first cosmos of the season

The bright berries if the rowan in the sunshine over the garden made a contrast with the grey clouds in the background…

rowan

…but luckily our visitors arrived before the rain did.

We had a cup of tea and then Sara and Janet agreed to stretch their legs before our evening meal.

They had had a very wet visit indeed to the celebrated garden at Glenwhan in the west of our region yesterday so they weren’t at all discouraged by another shower as we walked along the banks of all three of our rivers.

We nodded to Mr Grumpy as we crossed the town bridge…

heron

…and crossed the Sawmill Brig and the Jubilee Bridge before posing for a picture on the Duchess Bridge, the oldest cast iron bridge in Scotland.

Sara and Janet

Sara and Janet suitably dressed for high summer in Langholm

It wasn’t really a day for hanging about looking for photo opportunities but a bunch of fungus on a tree stump couldn’t be ignored.

fungus

The rain stopped before we got back and we were soon seated round the kitchen table enjoying an excellent meal, courtesy of Mrs Tootlepedal.

Sara sings with an Edinburgh community choir and we were able to sample some of their work very professionally presented on YouTube.  They sing unaccompanied which is very impressive but I think it would be too hard for me.

The flying bird of the day is an insect visiting the raspberries.  It looks a bit like a wasp to me.

insect

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from the sister of the Canadian lady, Lucie, who sent me a fine picture of a bison. Jennifer, the sister, lives in the Highlands of Scotland and sent me this picture of a view from Feabuie woods near Culloden Battlefield, across the Moray Firth to the Black Isle.

Culloden

We could have done with some of Jennifer’s nice weather here today as we had another mostly grey, mostly windy and often rainy day.  Currently any resemblance to summer in Langholm is purely accidental.

When I ventured out into the garden after breakfast, I saw that the three Shirley poppies were feeling much the same about the weather as me…

shirley poppies

…depressed.

There were other soggy flowers.

phlox and marigold

Blue phlox has come to join the pink and white

However I was cheered up when I went to the Welcome to Langholm office…

wtl

…and found that not only did we have enough photographs to make a modest exhibition…

camera club exhibition

A corner of the show

…but that several members had turned up to help so it didn’t take us long to get everything sorted out.

One of the helpers was Sandy and after we had finished, he and I went back to Wauchope Cottage for a cup of coffee and a Jaffa cake (or two in my case).

There are plenty of lettuces in the garden so Sandy took one away and I had some of another one in the form of a lettuce and marmite sandwich for my lunch.  A lunch fit for kings.

After lunch, I checked the weather and as it seemed to be likely to be reasonably fair for a while, I went off to see the the horsemen on the Castle Craigs ride out.  This is part of our Common Riding tradition and in a way, it is a rehearsal for the great day on Friday.

Horsemen career up the Kirk Wynd and onto Whita Hill (it is all men at the Castle Craigs ride out unlike the Common Riding procession, which is open to all riders) and I went some distance up the Wynd and waited for them to arrive.

The cavalcade is led by the cornet and so I was surprised to see his left and right hand men coming up before him…

left and right

…but the cornet was following close behind on his white horse.

cornet

I learned later that the cornet’s horse and its rider had had a difference of opinion about the route further down the hill but no harm came of it and he was soon back in his proper position at the head of affairs.

Mounted followers soon appeared in good numbers…

castle craigscastle craigs

… leaving sensible gaps between groups as they came.

They soon all disappeared up the hill….

castle craigs

…and I followed behind on foot, pausing to take in anything interesting that I saw en route.

hare bell and fungus

The horsemen go round the shoulder of the hill and assemble at the Castle Craigs where they get a group photograph taken.   I walked up to the monument and then down to the track  along which they would return and I had time to see that a good number of supporters had travelled up by car to greet the riders…

castle craigs

…and to position myself among the heather…

heather on the hill

First signs of flowers

…below the track and wait for the arrival of the horses as they came back from theCastle Craigs.

They were preceded first by a quad bike and then by the editor of our local paper….

castle craigs

…but they didn’t keep me waiting long.

castle craigs

There were over eighty horsemen picking their way carefully along a very rough track along the hillside.

castle craigscastle craigs

castle craigs

A study in concentration from horse and rider.

They passed me and turned down the track towards the road at the White Yett where the cars were waiting…

castle craigs

…and we could see the whole troop of riders in a line as they headed off towards Cronksbank….

castle craigs

….where they would stop for refreshments before returning to the town.

I left them to it as I had got a very kind offer of a lift back to the town from the editor who was going to drive through the town and round to Cronksbank from the opposite direction, intending to arrive there before the horses.

I was glad that I got out in the High Street and didn’t go with her,  because the cornet’s father, when I met him on the return of the horsemen, reported that it had been very wet and very cold while they were there…and very, very wet, he added just for emphasis.

I was happy to sit at home and watch the time trial from the Tour de France which was following roads in Marseille very familiar to us from our holiday there last year.  I could swear that I did almost exactly the same course as the cyclists did although I was on a tourist bus.

I went out to see the horses and riders on their return from Cronksbank, pausing to enjoy the crocosmia and hosta beside the dam as I went.

Crocosmia and hosta

Adding much needed colour to a rather grey day

The cavalcade parades round the town when it come back, preceded by the Langholm Pipe Band, seen here about to cross the Langholm Bridge…

Langholm Pipe Band castle craigs

……followed by the riders dressed for the weather.

castle craigs

The Front Three

Those who had hired their horse for the day went off to the Kilngreen rather than cross the bridge but the rest followed the cornet down Thomas Telford Road.

Castle Craigs

I was going to follow too but it soon started to rain again so I went home.  I found a moment to look at the privet flowers which are beginning to fall like snow….or possibly like pasta on a closer look.

privet

Needless to say when all the excitement was over and the soaked riders had got home, the sun came out and we had a beautiful evening again for a while.  It does this sort of thing on purpose.  It did mean though that I could pick some peas to have with an omelette for my tea.

There was a spot or two of feeble  sunshine while I was walking up the hill in the afternoon so I looked at my favourite view…..

Ewes valley

The flying birds of the day are either standing around or about to go swimming.

blackbird an duck

 

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Today’s guest picture shows what is needed to stop erosion at a very popular hill top.  My brother Andrew visited the  summit of Mam Tor in the Peak District and took this striking picture on the way.

Mam torAs the main roads are generally free of lorries on a Sunday, I used to go up and down the A7 quite a lot on Sunday mornings while Mrs Tootlepedal was singing in the church choir.  This year, because of the recovery from my knee operation and the persistently miserable weather, I haven’t had many opportunities so I was really pleased to find a Sunday morning and some good weather arriving at the same time today.

Thinking of the wind direction, I headed south, hoping for a breeze behind me on my way home.  The wind was light enough not to be a problem either way though and I made good progress down to Longtown and then to Newtown on the Roman Wall. The fairly speedy bike stopped there and took a selfie at its favourite bench….

Newtown bench

No puddles under benches today

…while I took the chance to eat  a banana before turning to complete the twenty miles back home.

Although the wind wasn’t quite as helpful as I had hoped, I was a little quicker going back than going out but in spite of trying quite hard, I arrived back two minutes later than I would have wished.  Still 15.9 mph is nearly as good as 16 mph. (No, it isn’t)

I took a walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal when I got home.

yellow crocosmia and lily

We noticed two new arrivals

But couldn’t ignore the latest poppies.

poppiespoppiesI don’t think that we have had poppies with so many layers before.

There are two clematis entwined in a philadephus next to the pond…

clematis…at least, I think it is two different plants as they have six and four petals respectively but they look remarkably similar.  Can the same clematis have different numbers of petals?  These are self sown so Mrs Tootlepedal could shed no light on the question.

After lunch, we sat and watched the final events of the World Athletics Championships and then went off for a walk as it was still a very fine, dry day.

We went along to the Becks burn again, passing through the woods there…

Becks wood… but this time, instead of turning back to the town when we emerged from the trees, we turned towards the hills.

Becks viewThe road was lined with flowers old and new….

wild flowers…and one which caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.

Wild flowerI had seen some of this beside the road at Gair earlier in the week but nowhere else.  They look like a seed heads at first sight but a closer look shows that they are flowers.  I have no idea what they are and would welcome suggestions.

Our walk continued along the ‘Crab Apple Loaning’.  The are reasons for the name of this lane.

crab apples

And here they are.

It was fairly dry after all the rain….

Crab apple loaning…and very restful to stroll along.

Crab apple loaningThings changed with a vengeance when we got to the open hill at the end of the lane.

We hadn’t reckoned on just how wet the hillside would be and crossing the trackless waste was really hard work.

The track to GlencorfOne moment Mrs Tootlepedal was there….and the next she had disappeared into a bottomless bog.

I exaggerate a bit.

But not much. In the mile or so until we got to the Cleuchfoot road, we hardly took two steps without having to hop from tussock to tussock, suck our feet out of a squelchy bog or leap across a marshy rivulet.  It was harder work than we expected and there were moments when we felt that we might have bitten off more than we could chew.

We finally arrived at the Glencorf Burn…

Glencorf burn…and struggled along it until we hit the road.

The three miles back home along the Wauchope road were blessedly easy walking but felt quite a long way.  We had things to look at as we went along though.

ruined cottage

Hard to beat as a picturesque location but needing some work done as they say.

Bonnie purple heather

Bonnie purple heather

interesting flower

And another interesting flower, unknown to us.

We were more than pleased to get a sit down and a cup of tea after our hard working six miles but we didn’t have long to relax before it was time to go out again.  This time we were headed for the Buccleuch Centre and a concert.

There was a small but select audience to hear Jeff Barnhart, an excellent jazz pianist, give us an enjoyable selection of eclectic Americana with his wife Anne pitching in with some decidedly hot flute playing and good singing.  This is the third time I have heard Jeff and his infectious good humour, combined with a wide repertoire and some adventurous improvisation always makes him good value.  Anne displayed some ferociously impressive ‘blue’ flute technique and together they rounded off our day in fine style.

In all this, my opportunities for catching a flying bird of the day were limited and this chaffinch turned up after the light had gone.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture shows the audience at the reconstructed Globe Theatre in London.  It was taken yesterday by my sister Mary.  She enjoyed a performance of Richard II there.

Globe TheatreWe enjoyed a non stop performance by the sun today.  Although it was none too warm in the morning, by the afternoon there could be no complaints about the warmth at at all.

I started the day with a wander round the garden to see what caught the eye.  Poppies did…..

poppies… as did cornflowers or bachelors’ buttons as I have been told they may be called.

cornflowers

An excellent packet of seeds.

Then I went for a cycle ride.  I have been taking advantage of the recent good weather and my legs rather felt that I had been taking advantage of them too and refused to contemplate anything speedy today.  This gave me the opportunity to pop off the bike twice and look at a couple of bridges on my way.  The first was near Waterbeck.

I hopped over a gate and walked along the banks of the Kirtle Water…

Kirtle water…until I came to the bridge over which I had just cycled.

Kirtle water bridgeLooking at the work that went into building this fine bridge for a very small back road, I am always amazed at the amount of money that was spent making the roads of Dumfriesshire.  There must be over a hundred  such bridges I would think.

My second bridge was the one spanning the River Sark, which marks the border between England and Scotland at Corries Mill.

Sark bridgeI didn’t dally long in England and was soon back in Scotland and on my way back.

I went at a very gentle speed but was anticipating a good rush home downhill over the last few miles….

View from the Bloch…but the wind got up for the first time on my journey and between recalcitrant legs and the breeze in my face, the last few miles were quite hard work.  (Details of the course may be seen here.)

I got back in time for lunch and had a moment to watch some very busy sparrows….

sparrows….before a spell in the tourist office in the early afternoon gave me the chance of a good rest.  I wasn’t much bothered by tourists, although one or two did seek guidance about the best way to leave the town.

Sandy came to join me and we arranged to go for a walk.  I went back to the house when the office had closed and then joined Sandy in the High Street.  It was a gloriously warm day by this time and the steep climb up the Kirk Wynd at the start of our trip was taken at a suitably sedate pace.

Our route was lined with bold wild flowers, daisies on one side and rosebay willowherb on the other….

wild flowers…and more delicate ones too.

wild flowersNear the top of the lane, we passed one of my favourite gates, this one leading onto the golf course.

gate onto golf courseWhen we did get onto the hill, it was far from peaceful, with bees buzzing on brambles and the gorse bush seeds crackling like popcorn….

bees and gorse…but we soon left this behind as we walked along the track to the quarry.

It was almost impossible to stop taking pictures on such a lovely day and I have had to discard most of them.  I kept a few to put in here though.

golf course

A view of the golf course (especially for Dropscone)

sheep and thistle down

Two woolly objects

sandy and a butterfly

Two resting moments

stile

Our way down the hill

Langholm

Looking back over the town

Although there was not much of it about, the heather was looking good.

heatherWhen we got off the open hill, the shade of the woodland path was very welcome.

Round house pathAs we came to the end of the path, we met a horse and rider just about to set off on their jaunt.

horse and rider

The horse was keen to have her picture taken

We walked through the town and then parted on the High Street as we took our separate ways home.

Such a splendid day almost made me forget the miserable summer so far…..almost but not quite.

After all this activity, I was happy to have a quiet evening in and a brief post.  A shy siskin is the flying bird of the day.

flying siskin

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In the absence of any guest pictures, I am repairing an omission for which I was rebuked by a reader after my Common Riding post. This is a shot of the Chinook helicopter which flew low over the town to check what was going on in the middle of the proceedings yesterday .

chinookLife was at a rather slower tempo today after the excitements of the Common Riding but we didn’t entirely waste a day of pleasant sunshine.

I started off by going to the monthly producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre and stocking up with fish, meat, cheese and honey.  I was surprised to get the honey as I thought that our local beekeeper and her bees might have been struggling in the recent poor weather but she had plenty of fresh stock and was in a cheerful mood.

There had been some tremendously heavy showers of rain as I went to bed last night and I fully expected to see the flowers in the garden battered to the ground this morning.  Apart from the David Austin roses and the delphiniums, which were definitely the worse for wear, other flowers were still standing up well.

lilies and nasturtiums

poppyNext, Mrs Tootlepedal and I went up to Eskdalemuir to collect the pictures from our photographic exhibition at The Hub there.  On a sunny day like today, it is hard to distinguish Eskdalemuir from Shangri-La…

Eskdalemuir…but on a more normal day (when it it raining and the wind is blowing) there is no such difficulty.

We collected the pictures (and the money for several that had been sold) and stopped for a coffee.  A group of Harley Davidson riding motor cyclists from Yorkshire on a tour were also having coffee and they allowed me to take a picture of one of their beautifully shiny machines.

motorbike at the HubAs The Hub had already catered for a large party of cyclists on a 300 km Audax ride from Galashiels to Alston and back, they were having a busy morning for a place in the middle of nowhere.

Because it was such a nice day, I persuaded Mrs Tootlepedal that a walk through the woods to Bessie’s Hill forts would be a good idea.  I visited this spot with Sandy in spring but Mrs Tootlepedal has never been there.  It is one of the sites on the Eskdale Prehistoric Trail.

By a stroke of good fortune, the Forestry Commission had sent someone out very recently to strim the trail through the woods….

Bessie's hill…so the going couldn’t have been better.

The short walk through the mossy woods was delightful…

Bessie's hill…and the view from the top was as good as ever.

Bessie's hill viewThere are two forts and from the surrounding mound of the upper fort you can get a good view of the lower one.

Bessie's hill fortOddly enough, when you walk onto the summit of  the lower fort, which we did, you don’t get any feeling of being above the ramparts and ditches or of the shape of the ground at all.

As well as the forts, there was much else to enjoy on the walk.

Bessie's hill nature

There were elusive butterflies and tiny moths everywhere we walked

Bessie's hill nature

There was moss in clumps and in mounds

Bessie's hill nature

And sprouting

Bessie's hill nature

The first signs of heather coming into flower

Bessie's hill nature

Insects of all sorts and lichens too

Mrs Tootlepedal’s sharp eyes spotted fungi, some quite large and some really tiny as we neared the end of the descent back to the car.

Bessie's hill fungusWe took a last look back up towards the ramparts of the lower fort…

Bessie's hill fort

You would have to be a fit person to attack up that hill.

…and drove quietly home.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal got stuck into the garden and I sieved some more compost, did some shreddding and a little tidying up under the bird feeders as well.  The mess that the birds make, especially the siskins who perpetually drop seed onto the ground, is the downside of the pleasure that I get from watching the birds feeding.

I walked round with my camera too.

phlox and buddleia

A variegated phlox and the new buddleia were glowing.  No butterflies on the buddleia yet though.

After that, my legs started complaining so I went inside, leaving Mrs Tootlepedal still working, and enjoyed what I thought was a well earned sit down.   Later in the evening, I converted a couple of pounds of our blackcurrants into a few pots of blackcurrant jam.  There are a lot left on the bush so if everything goes well, I shall make some blackcurrant jelly next.

All in all, I didn’t get much time to look out of the kitchen window so this was the best flying bird of the day that I could manage.

flying chaffinch

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