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Posts Tagged ‘Langholm Walks’

Today’s guest picture comes from Matilda.  She is off school but obviously getting good art lessons at home.

matilda's wolf

Here, we had another dry day with a lot of thin cloud again.  It did get slightly warmer in the afternoon and may well have got into double figures at last.

We are limited in what we can do and where we can go so my first activity was to walk round the garden and admire the primroses.

primorses garden

We are allowed a shopping trip so I cycled round to the corner shop and passed the oyster catchers on my way home.  This one likes standing on one leg a lot.

oyster catcher one leg

Then I did a little compost sieving and followed that by making some potato soup for lunch, using chives from the garden for added flavour.

After lunch, it was time for garden action again.  Mrs Tootlepedal was clearing out the old strawberry bed.  We have decided that it makes more sense to buy the excellent strawberries produced by a local grower than use up a lot of space for a not very bountiful or tasty crop of our own.

I finished sieving the compost in Bin C and started turning out the contents of Bin B into Bin C.  I am taking this in gentle stages and did about a third of the pile before hanging up my fork and going for a walk,

Apart from shopping, we are allowed one excursion for exercise each day, and as it was far too windy for comfortable cycling, a walk was the choice for today.

In decided to visit the top of Warbla and as I walked up the track from the park to the Stubholm, a ray of sunshine brightened the day…

sun on trees stubholm track

…but it didn’t cut through the haze and the rest of the walk was pleasant enough but didn’t offer anything in the way of sunny views.

I saw horses…

two horses stubholm

…and the bench that my neighbour Liz likes to sit on when she takes her dog for a walk in the morning.

bench on warbla

As I got near the top of Warbla, a gap in the cloud let the sun pick out this blasted tree…

tree on warbla

…and when I got to the summit, I was able to take a quick shot over the town before the clouds  began to close again.

town and ewes cloudy day from warbla

I couldn’t stop on the summit as the wind threatened to blow me over the edge so I began to walk down the other side of the hill towards the cattle sheds which you can see below.

view down from warbla summit

This was an adventurous route for an old man with dodgy knees, crossing rough ground and finding gaps in old walls…

warbla wall

…but fortunately there was a reassuring sign telling me that I was going in the right direction.

walks sign warbla

Just as I was getting towards the bottom of the hill, I saw a cloud of sheep ready to head upwards…

sheep gathering below warbla

…so I had to make a diversion and was able to watch them heading uphill as I passed below them.sheep at skipperscleuch

I came to Skippers Bridge and the water was low enough to let me take a picture from the upstream side….

skippers March

…where I could enjoy the clear water splashing over the rocks…

esk at skipeprs

…and get a good view of the old distillery building.

distillery March

I walked home along the Murtholm.  There are not a great many hazel catkins this year but one bush is doing very well and when I looked more closely, I could see that it also had a lot of female flowers on it.  I have never seen three flowers together like this before.

three hazel flowers

The sheep were safely grazing…

sheep eating

…and I rounded off my walk by seeing a garden escape adding a little colour to the river bank above the Park Bridge.

colour at the park bridge

When I got home, I saw the familiar pair of piebald jackdaws on the path beside the dam. It  seems amazing that that prominent white feather has not fallen off.

piebald jackdaws

I passed a family party of four on the hill and a lone dog walker on the flat during my walk so I reckon that it was isolated enough to be fine.  If the weather stays good, I hope to have a cycle ride for my permitted excursion tomorrow.

Mrs Tootlepedal is crocheting a blanket to keep herself occupied during the shut in and I am waging a losing battle against my computer security suppliers which may well take me the rest of my life.  We are both keeping busy.

The flying bird of the day is not flying.  It is a jackdaw perching on the park wall.

jackdaw on park wall

For some not very clear reason, no birds are coming to the feeder at all at the moment so flying birds will be at a premium.

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Northumbrian holiday.  It shows his daughter and granddaughter on their way to visit the castle on Holy island.

holy island

It was sunny here, the wind had dropped, the cattle had been taken off Meikleholm Hill, and it was a perfect day for a walk up a hill.  So I went for a walk up a hill.

It was cold but not ridiculously so and with the sun being high enough in the sky by now to impart a little heat, walking was very pleasant.  My walking poles are a great benefit for hilly terrain, both going up and going back down again.  They help push me up and stop me falling down.

As I went up Meikleholm Hill, I passed this old hawthorn.  At first sight, you might think that it has been blown over but it is still growing and just keeping itself as low to the ground and out of the wind as it can.

old hawthorn

From the top of Meikleholm Hill at 262m (859ft) I paused for a breather and to admire the view along the ridge from Castle Hill to Potholm Hill on the other side of the Esk…

castle hill ridge

…and the green fields beside the river below.

milnholm valley

Two views that never fail to please.

Looking up to my left, I saw a very unusual sight indeed these days.  As you can see, the blades of the turbines were absolutely stationary for once.

craig windfarm still

I dropped down from the top of Meikleholm Hill and then began the walk up Timpen, the next hill along the ridge.  In spite of all the recent rain, the going underfoot was not too bad, and although I was only wearing walking shoes and not boots, my feet stayed dry.

climb to timpenb

Once again I was glad of an excuse to stop for a breather when I got to the top of the hill.  The trig point there has a bench mark, showing that I had reached 1024ft (312m) above sea level.

trig point timpen

To be fair, I had started at 269ft (82m) in the town so I hadn’t actually climbed a thousand feet.

There is a good view to reward the walker at this point.  Sadly, although it was a sunny day, it wasn’t a clear day and the hills in the distance were slightly obscured by haze.

view from timpen

Still, I wasn’t complaining, as the lack of wind made the 5°C temperature feel quite spring like as I walked on along the ridge to the north.

descent from timpen

I didn’t go far along the ridge and gently slid off the top of the hill making my way down to the road below by easy stages, using the contours as my friend.

Looking down below me, I could see Craigcleuch, built in 1874 for one of our local mill owners.

craigcleuch

Looking beyond the house, I could see the road running through the Gates of Eden in the foreground and the hills of the Ewes valley beyond.

view through gates of eden

As I dropped down the hill, I came to a little gully where the steep banks had discouraged the sheep from eating the trees before they could grow.  I was stopped in my tracks when I saw a monster waiting to attack me…

monster green sike

…but it turned out to be harmless.

I liked this  old tree which had managed to survive even though it was on the flat above the gully.

tree green sike

The little gully that I was walking  along was joined by another…

green ske junction

…and together they made quite a dent in the hillside down which the Green Sike ran…

green sike

…and provided some picturesque corners where a picnic on a sunny day would be quite in order.

delightful spot green sik

I arrived at the road, and set off back to town.  After coming down the hill from the quarry, I chose to take one of the Langholm Walks paths instead of continuing along the road…

…and there could not have been a greater contrast to my open hilly route on the way out.

walk 2

I passed an elegant fern on my way and I could easily tell you what sort it is if only I could remember what Mike Tinker had told me when we walked here a year or two ago.  He is a fern fancier and knows them all by name.

fern on walk 2

A little stream chattering down the hill…

cascade near Duchess bridge

…and a newly broken branch…

fallen tree near Duchess Bridge

….were a reminder of last week’s wet and windy weather.

I got home just in time for lunch, having had a four mile walk of which not one single second had been boring.

After lunch, I watched the birds for a while.  There weren’t many about and some of those that visited the feeder wished to remain anonymous.

chaffinch hiding

…though others were keen to make sure that I had noticed them.

chaffinches checking

I didn’t watch the birds for long though and I greatly surprised myself by getting ready to go out for a cycle ride.  The day was just to good to waste.

All the same, the weather gods had to have their little joke and as soon as I put my cycle helmet on, it started to rain quite heavily.  Luckily, it was only a little joke, and a few minutes later I set off in dry conditions which lasted for the rest of my ride.

The lack of wind couldn’t last and there was enough wind for me to notice but not enough to make cycling a chore.

I had already taken far too many pictures and I didn’t stop for any more until a red traffic light at Irvine House forced me to apply the brakes.

I had another look at the landslip there…

landslide irvine house

Looking at it, it seems fortunate that some of the road didn’t go down the hill too. The fallen tree had taken quite a lot of masonry with it.

landslide irvine house tree

In contrast to the still morning, smoke from a neighbour’s chimney when I got home showed that the wind was back in the afternoon.

imd

I had had ideas of a longer ride in the benign conditions, but my legs were quite adamant that the 20 miles of my familiar Canonbie circuit would be quite enough, thank you.  So that’s what I did.  It doesn’t pay to take up arms against your legs.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy in the morning but she had done some useful gardening in the afternoon so we had both been able to make good use of a rare calm day.

After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to another meeting.  The proposed land purchase is keeping her and the rest of the group very busy.

For the second day running, before I got to work on the blog I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database, using the program which our son Alistair kindly repaired for us.  There is quite a backlog arising from the time when the page was unavailable so the data miners are on hold at the moment.

The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch looking positively stately.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: I am sorry about the large number of pictures but I did throw out a lot more,  It was a good day.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was taking some refreshment in Russell Square when she noticed that she was being watched.

Susan's owl

We had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and light winds, ideal for pottering about the garden so this is what I did.  I thought of going for a bike ride from time to time as it was also a perfect day for cycling but by the time that I had pottered about the garden all morning and a bit of the afternoon too, the heat of the day had rendered me too melted to pull myself together enough to go cycling.

Through the day, flowers caught the eye, both singly…

four bright flowers

…and in clumps…

four bright clumps

…and they caught the eyes of insects too and the garden was loud with buzzing.

bee and hoverfly on poppy

In the face of hot competition, this was my favourite single flower of the day…

calendula

…though for a knock ’em dead effect, it was hard to ignore the phlox…

phlox phlurry

…which is phlourishing greatly.

another phlox phlurry

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I was picking beans and digging potatoes in the morning.

We had a good selection today:

A red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…a peacock…

peacock butterfly

…a painted lady…

painted lady butterfly

…and a small tortoiseshell…

small tortoisesgell butterfly

…and lots of plainer butterflies too.

white butterfly

There were several of each variety and it was hard to miss the butterflies as they flew about the garden.

It was pretty warm in the sun so I had to go inside from time to time just to cool down.  Not being able to stand the heat outside at one point, I went into the kitchen and made some soup for lunch using potatoes, beans and an onion from the garden.

Later, I spent some time inside watching the birds and was pleased to see a few goldfinches about.

goldfinch sparrow siskin

The number of siskins has decreased lately so they must be moving on but the goldfinches still had to wait for a free perch…

goldfinch perching

…. because there are a great number of sparrows about and they are very boisterous…

sparring sparrows

…very boisterous indeed.

squabbling sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a series of meetings in the morning but she buckled down to some serious gardening in the afternoon and only paused when these three wise men appeared at our gate.

three old men

Gavin, Mike and Charlie had been out on the hills checking on one of the Langholm Walks routes and replacing marker discs on the guideposts where necessary.  Their voluntary work is valuable as the walks bring many visitors into the town.

I mowed the front lawn and then I did some compost sieving.

As I found that I had emptied Bin D when I had finished, I shifted the compost that hadn’t gone through the sieve and which had been resting in Bin C back into Bin D and then, after a short sit down, I shifted the contents of Bin B into Bin C.

This is exciting work but I needed another sit down after it so I took a camera in hand and sat on a chair beside the front lawn.  I was greatly entertained as I rested by the persistent demands of a young blackbird to be fed by its long suffering parent.  One worm was never enough.

blackbird feeding young

Then I went in and made incessant demands of my own until Mrs Tootlepedal made our evening meal.

I haven’t done much walking lately, as I am trying not to make my feet worse but it was such a lovely evening after tea, that it seemed a crime not to go for a short walk, so I went.

A reflection in the dam caught my attention as I crossed the bridge when I left the house.

dam reflection

The park and the river beside it were full of children swimming in the river and cycling round the park so in Langholm at least, the idea that all children these days spend their time sitting inside staring at their screens is obviously not true.

The park was looking at its best.

 

Buccleuch Park

Several of the poplar trees along the river bank had to be cut down in recent years but the ones that remain look good on a day like today.

Poplars in Buccleuch Park

I walked nervously past two monsters…

two monsters Buccleuch Park

…and through the wood until I got to the Murtholm.

murtholm

It was such a lovely warm night that I was tempted to walk along the river bank to Skippers Bridge and back on the far side of the river but good sense prevailed and I turned back and walked home along the track on the top of the bank above the river.

easton's walk

This is the last post for some time in which birds on the feeder will appear, as the warm wet weather and the tendency of siskins to spill seeds when they eat has made the feeder area too smelly for comfort and I am pausing the feeding for a while.  There is plenty of other food for the birds about.

So the flying bird of the day today is a farewell sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who started the new year by visiting the strangely named Locko Park where he met a fine lake.

Locko Park

Our year here started with a brilliantly sunny but rather chilly day.  I would have liked to have taken part in the eight mile walk/run event that starts the Langholm year off but a combination of stiff muscles and sore feet persuaded me that a bike ride would be a better bet.

After a late breakfast, a little cooking and dawdling my way to coffee, I saw that the thermometer had climbed to 5°C so I got my cycling clothes on, got out my bike, leaned it against the car while I filled my water bottle and then looked at the car windscreen.

It was still covered with ice.

I put the bike back in, took my cycling clothes off and went for a walk.  The roads may well have been 99% clear of ice but it is that other 1% that I am hoping not to meet this year.

My idea was to walk to the top of a 1000ft hill and admire the views and so I headed up Meikleholm Hill (859ft), intending to go along the ridge and onto the next hill, Timpen (1069ft), and get my views there.

I passed some fine fungus…

Meikleholm track fungus

…and was soon looking at views from about 656ft…

Esk valley from Meikleholm

…but not long afterwards, I found myself looking at the enquiring heads of cattle peeking over the skyline and looking back at me.

For the second time today, I changed my plan. I retreated.

I lost about 100 feet and found a cattle free but steep route to the top of Timpen.  There were a number of views available and the air was remarkably clear for once.

I looked north along the ridge….

view from top of timpen 4

…and down into the Esk valley curling among the hills.

view from top of timpen 3

Nearer to me I could see the river running through the fields of Milnholm.

view from top of timpen 2

Going further round, I could see Castle and Potholm Hills making a barrier between the Esk and the Ewes Water on the far side.

view from top of timpen 1

And going round further still, I could look back down on the town, 800 feet below.

view of langholm from top of timpen

It was warm enough in the sunshine for me to unbutton my jacket, put my gloves in my pocket and still feel rather hot after the climb.

Coming back down the hill, I chose a cow dodging route using a mountain biking trail through the woods on the shady side of the hill.

bike track down Meikleholm Hill

The track was well maintained and although it was much colder out of the sun, it was a pleasure to walk along a track that I had never used before. I ended up down on the road about a mile out of town and took the path above the river that leads to the Duchess bridge (part of Walk 2 of the Langholm Walks).

Trees had fallen across the track but some kind person had come along with a chain saw and cut a Tootlepedal sized hole in the trunk…

walk 2 path

…so I was able to arrive safely on the flat of the Castleholm and walk along the tree lined Lodge walks in the sunshine.

lines across Lodge walks

I crossed the Sawmill Bridge and strolled along the Kilngreen.  There were many gulls on the fence posts but as I got near, they flew off and only one remained.

gull on post

I feel fairly sure that if I had had my flying bird camera with me, they would all have stayed glued to the posts.

Looking back up the river, I could see the sun  tipping the hill with gold where I had stood an hour earlier taking in those views.

Esk and Timpen

One of the really good things about our hills to my mind, is the ease with which one can get up and down them without requiring a mass of time and special walking kit.  I did find my two walking poles very useful though as the grass on the shady side of the hill was still frosty and slippery in places.

I tried to catch a flying bird in the garden when I got home but they were nowhere to be seen and this shy character was the only bird available.

chaffinch hiding

I collected Mrs Tootlepedal who was at work on her rocking horse restoration project and we went off to see Mike and Alison Tinker and wish them and their daughter and her family who were visiting, a happy new year.

We had a sociable new year drink and some good conversation and Mike and his daughter Liz, who is a professional horticulturalist, pointed out that two days ago, the blog had wrongly called this shrub, which we encountered on a walk, a pernettya…

pernettya bush

…whereas Mike actually has a pernettya in his garden and it looks like this…

pernettya

…and what we had seen two days ago…

pernettya berries

…was a Symphoricarpos or snowberry.  I apologise deeply for the error which must have appalled many readers who were too polite to point it out.

I was slightly envious when I saw a steady stream of birds visiting Alison’s feeder as we sipped and chatted.   Liz presented Mrs Tootlepedal with a bowl of hyacinths as a new year’s gift and I hope this will appear in future posts when they burst into flower.

I had made a beef and mushroom stew in the slow cooker in the morning so we were well supplied for our evening meal when the time came.

In the absence of any flying birds, I can offer an echelon of gulls who returned to their posts as soon as I had got too far away to photograph one individually.

zig zag gulls

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was out and about and saw skaters on the temporary ice rink at Somerset House.  It always looks a rather staid way of having fun to me.

Somerset house skating

We had a second sunny day today but the weather gods had another trick up their sleeve and kept the temperature between 0 and 2 degrees all day so when it came to cycling, the best that I could do was forty minutes on the bike to nowhere in the garage, a dull way to start the day.

Before I pedalled, I had a quick look round the garden to admire Jack Frost’s handiwork.

jack frost in garden

The blue pineapple is on the end of the vegetable garden railings and I think the the dangling flower head must be one of the last calendulas.

When I had finished the indoor pedal, Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the bird hide at the Moorland Project feeders and while Mrs Tootlepedal sat in the car scanning the hillside for raptors, I sat in the hide watching smaller birds.  I got the best bargain I think because she saw one distant bird and I saw dozens.

There were some blue tits…

blue tit at laverock

..and great tits…

great tit at leaverock

…but there were more coal tits than the others put together.  I only saw this one siskin sharing the peanuts with the coal tits.

busy feeder at laverock

Two chaffinches made a charming tableau on the tree stump outside the hide…

two chaffinches at laverock

…and I was very happy to see a greater spotted woodpecker on the peanuts.

woodpecker at hide

When we got home, I made some lentil soup and looked out of the window from time to time.

A blackbird paused on the edge of the tray under the feeders for a peaceful portrait…

FEMALE BLACKBIRD

…while up above, it was all go for the sparrows with a goldfinch hoping to resist the invasion.

sparrows at feeder

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on a shopping mission and I went for a walk.

I went over the Town Bridge and checked on a pair of black headed gulls who were deep in conversation at the Meeting of the Waters..

two gulls

…passed Santa who is making ends meet by doing a little bus driving until the busy period comes round….

santa busman

…crossed the Sawmill Brig, my second bridge and walked up the track past the Estate offices.

There is a fine row of trees across a field which I think looks like a hedge that got away some time ago.

overgrown hedge

I wasn’t wearing very suitable footwear but I took a chance and set off along a muddy track towards the High Mill Brig.

There were many puddles but luckily, there was enough frost in the ground to make it firm enough for me to make progress and keep my feet dry.

pathead track

And there was plenty of interest along the way.  Looking down, I saw frozen moss and three sorts of lichen within a few feet of each other on a wall,,,,

moss and lichen on wall

…and looking up,  saw about a hundred birds flying overhead.  From their formation, I thought at first that they might be geese…

birds in fligth

…but a closer look makes me think they were gulls….but I am not certain.

possible ducks

At the end of the track, I came to one of the useful gates that the Langholm Walks group have organised for the convenience of walkers following their marked routes.

langholm walks gate

Following the track along the edge of the field, I came down to my third bridge of the day, the High Mill Brig…

high mill bridge

…so called because of the mill which stood nearby for many years.  The mill has gone now but the bridge carries the main road north out of the town and is still busy.

I crossed the bridge and followed the road back towards the town, crossing the Sawmill Brig again and then walking round the Castleholm and crossing the Jubilee Bridge, my fourth and last of the excursion.

There was more interest as I went along.

berry fence laurel and moss

The circular pattern in the top right frame, is the sawn top of a fence post covered with ice.  It was cold but as the day was very still, it was a pleasure to be out and about even if the sun had been overtaken by some low cloud.

On my way back through the New Town, I stopped off at Mike and Alison’s house to enquire about the state of Alison’s recently dislocated shoulder.  This was not entirely a disinterested call as she is my Friday night orchestra and I am hoping that she won’t be out of action too long as I miss the playing.  She was remarkably cheerful and made a cup of tea while I chatted to Mike.  As the tea came with a delicious ginger biscuit, it was doubly welcome.

Alison has tried a little piano playing which is good news.

I didn’t stay long as they told me that Mrs Tootlepedal had called in when she had finished shopping but had not stopped because she didn’t want me not to find her in when I came back from my walk and worry about where she was.

When I got back to the garden, I found evidence that her shopping trip had been successful.  She had bought our Christmas tree for the next four or five years.

CHRISTMAS TREE

My flute pupil Luke sent me a message to say that he couldn’t come for the usual session because of a meeting in Dumfries so I had time for a quiet sit before making the tea and going out to play trios with Mike and Isabel.

The playing would have gone better if I had brought the right bag with my flute, music stand and music in it instead of quite a different bag with none of these essentials.  However, Mike and Isabel played some Vivaldi duets while I went off and got the right bag and then we played Quantz, Mozart and Telemann trios so we were all happy.

The flying bird of the day is a black headed gull above the Ewes Water at the Kilngreen.

flying gull

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony’s walk round the Wemyss Estate.  As well as a parakeet in a tree, he came across a curious deer which was looking a bit lost.

wemyss deer

We were visited by storm Diana today.  I must say that the practice of giving passing weather fronts a name is obviously a bad idea.  They are getting ideas above their station and we got a lot of rain and some stiff winds in the afternoon.

It wasn’t too bad in the morning when Dropscone came round for coffee.  Sandy dropped in to pick up some keys for the new archive centre but he was busy and didn’t stay for coffee.  This meant that Dropscone and I could eat all the scones which was a stroke of luck as the scones were particularly tasty today.

Although it was raining lightly as Dropscone left, the forecast said that it would stop raining by twelve o’clock and then start again by one.  As it did actually stop raining at three minutes to twelve, I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was detained for a moment by some cheerful calendulas in the garden before I left.

calendulas end of november

The clouds had lifted on the hills and I could almost see the monument.

misty monument

There was a touch of colour in the last willows which are fading away beside the town bridge.

last willow

And some of our resident ducks had found a calm spot for a paddle above the bridge.

floating ducks

I was very impressed by the amount of hay being transported by a single driver from the arable east coast to the pastoral west.

big hay

I passed more evidence of the activity of the Langholm Walks volunteers who have been putting new discs onto the walks signposts.

Langholm Walks signs

Walkers are spoiled for choice

The group is trying hard to encourage walkers to come to the town and sample the many delights of walking in our woods and hills.

As I went along the Lodge Walks, I discovered that the forecast had only said that it would have started raining by one o’clock.  It didn’t say when it would actually start and that turned out to be at about ten past twelve so I didn’t get very far on my walk before the rain came down.  Luckily I was well armed (or legged) with welly boots and a large golf umbrella.  As I was sheltered from the worst of the wind and there was plenty to look at, I still had a good walk.

I saw berries by a wall…

lodge walks berries

…and lichen on a tree…

lodge walks lichen

…as I went up the Lodge Walks.

Then as I crossed the Castleholm, I saw a tree with many, many branches…

castleholm bare tree

…a soggy gate…

soggy castleholm gate

…and a tree stump with a mixture of fungus and fallen leaves which were so well matched for colour that it was hard to tell them apart.

castleholm fungi and leaves

Round the back of the stump, there were more clear cut fungi.

castleholm fungi

As I walked back along the path to the Jubilee Bridge, I could see many hazel catkins…

castleholm catkin

…but by the time that I got to the bridge, the rain was coming down so steadily that I put my camera back in my pocket and concentrated all my energies on not letting my brolly get blown away by the wind.

By the time that I got home, it was a thoroughly miserable day and so dark and gloomy that I didn’t bother to get my bird watching camera out at all.

After lunch, I put a week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database and practised some singing for my various choirs.

Mrs Tootlepedal made another delicious evening meal and fortified by that, I ventured out into the wind and the rain to go to a Langholm Sings choir practice.  Some of the work that I had done in the afternoon turned out to be quite useful.

It had stopped raining by the time that we came out of the practice and this was just as well as the river was high and flowing fast as I crossed the suspension bridge.  We are promised more heavy rain tomorrow so riverside dwellers may be getting a bit nervous.

I didn’t try for a flying bird of the day today and a rather fuzzy perching gull is standing in for the position instead.

perching gull

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Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony.   He must live in a sunny place now he has moved to his new house because the locals have turned their wellies into a garden.

Welly Boot garden

It was a crisp and bright morning with the thermometer in the car showing 5°C as I took the car to the garage after breakfast to get an intermittent squeal checked.  Intermittent squeals and squeaks are hard to fix so I drove ten miles before dropping the car off to see if I could make the squeal appear.  Of course it didn’t but nevertheless the garage managed to find the root of the problem and sort it out before the day was over.

My next visit was to the health centre to get a blood test to see if taking iron tablets has done me any good.  A visit to the doctor next week will supply the answer to that question.

The next business of the day was to photograph the Lilian Austin rose which had reacted to two days of sunshine by coming out….

Lilan Austin rose

…quite beautifully.

I mowed the greenhouse grass with my second best push mower, one without a roller.

And then diagnosis and cure continued when the telly aerial man arrived to find out why our guest bedroom television was not receiving a signal.  Because the cables from our dish had been run under the roof when our end wall was being rebuilt, diagnosis was fairly easy – the cable under the roof is faulty – but the reason for the fault and the way to cure it was obscure to say the least.  A ‘work round’ was put in place and the television is now receiving a signal and as the job took a lot longer than expected, we have received a bill.  Such is life.

I had soup for lunch and went for my customary 20 mile short pedal down to Canonbie and back.  I had an a appointment later on so I didn’t dilly dally on the way, though I did see a cow which was outstanding in its own field…

cow in field

…as they say in the obituary of eminent scientists.

And I gave three cheers for these hips in a hedge.

three hips

For the second day running Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy painting the new garage doors so she was resting when I got back.

I looked round the garden briefly…

japanese anemone clumphelenium clump

…and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal picked up the car from the garage and went shopping for plants, I went for a walk with Sandy.

We drove a mile out of town and took a triangular walk, up through a birch wood…

birch wood

….along a track…

Walk in the woods

…with helpful signposts…

Langholm Walks pole

Jenny Noble's sign

….through an oak wood….

oak wood

…and back down the hill to where we started.

the hill to the railway

We were hoping to see some fungi as we went along and got quite excited when we saw these just after we had set off from the car….

dark fungus

We have walked this walk before and seen very few fungi but today, we saw more as walked along…

two fungi

…and then more….

four fungi

…and then even more.

dix fungi

We have never seen anything like it.  Conditions must have been perfect this year.

I thought that this one deserved to stand alone.

tall fungus

We looked at other things too.

The horse chestnuts are always the earliest to change colour these days.

horse chestnut

I quote from the Woodland Trust website: The horse chestnut leaf miner can occur on trees in huge numbers, causing the foliage to turn brown and fall early. There is no evidence to suggest this harms the trees, as most of the damage occurs late in the season.

The oaks appear to be in good health.

three acorns

Ferns are always interesting.  This one seemed to have been decorated  by a careful embroiderer.

sporangi on fern

It was a delightful walk, warm and pleasant in the shelter of the wood and with far too many photo opportunities for us to make full use of them all.

Mrs Tootlepedal had arrived back by the time that I got home and while she prepared a plum crumble and a giant courgette fritter, I mowed the drying green with our hover mower.  I like to have the right mower for the job.

All this took up so much of my time, that iIdidn’t have the opportunity to take a flying bird picture today and as the flower of the day has already appeared, there is no more to say.

Oh alright, here is the fungus of the day.

fungus cluster

You can see Sandy’s excellent pictures from our walk by visiting his blog here.

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