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Posts Tagged ‘Potholm Hill’

Today’s guest picture(s) shows the wonderful flowers organised by Valeria, Joe’s sister-in-law, for Joe and Annie’s recent ceremony …..

cake

….some of which turned out to be entirely edible, pot and all.  There were made by the Botanical Baker.

cake cut

We had another fine day here and we are in danger of getting so used to good weather that it will come as a nasty shock when it starts raining again.

In the meantime, we are enjoying it.

We spent the morning in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal working, and I wandering  about.  It was she who spotted the visitors though.

We usually have to wait until next month before we see a small tortoiseshell or….

small totoiseshell butterfly on chionodoxa

…a peacock butterfly…

peacock butterfly on chionodoxa

…so I don’t think that I can have ever taken a picture of a butterfly visiting scillas before.

And although the sight of a small tortoiseshell butterfly warming its wings in the sun on a paving stone is quite familiar…

small totoiseshell butterfly sunning

…I am pretty sure that this is my first ever shot of a peacock on a daffodil.

peacock butterfly on daff

To add to the garden of delights, a little flock of blue tits passed through and one sat one enough to get its picture taken.

bue tit in garden

At different times I took my pocket camera out to admire the flowers….

pulmonaria, buttercup, fritillary, scilla

…and my bird camera to do the same, though on this occasion my shot of the scillas was photobombed by a butterfly.

daffs, primrose and tortoiseshell

I spent some fruitless time trying to catch any of the many bees that were buzzing about but they would visit the hellebores and disappear into the down facing flowers.

The tidying up bug was in evidence again today, and we added a second shelf to our library of logs…

log library

…I finished the transfer of Bin B to Bin C (and an overflow to Bin D)…

compost in progress

…and Mrs Tootlepedal tidied up the greenhouse sufficiently to give her somewhere to have a rest after all the activity.

Mrs T resting

For the first time this year, it was positively warm in the garden and there was no need for a coat.

Once again, birds didn’t come to the feeder but the garden wasn’t entirely birdless by any means.  We have resident blackbirds and dunnocks.

blackbird and dunnock on fence

I made some brown lentil soup for lunch.  This was a triumph because to make brown lentil soup you both have to remember to soak the lentils over night, and then crucially, to remember that you have got soaked lentils ready for soup making the next day.

After lunch and a bit of a rest, I went out for my permitted exercise of the day.  (Mrs Tootlepedal is taking her exercise in the garden.)

As I had cycled yesterday, I walked today, and was quite happy to do so as by this time, the wind had got up and, coming from the north as it was, there was a distinct nip in the air at times.

Still, in sheltered spots, it was warm and I chose a few sheltered spots to pass through on my way.

Walk 2 Duchess Bridge

I was following the route of Walk 2 of the Langholm Walks, though in the ‘wrong’ direction.

wood at Breckonwrae

When I got out of the woods and onto the road to Potholm, the views of the woods…

Potholm hill ridge

…and hills on the far side of the river…

Potholm Hill

…..were quite good enough to make me ignore the breeze.

And if I got bored with the views, the famous two headed lambs of Milnholm were always a distraction.

milnholm lambs

I crossed the river by Potholm Bridge and and walked up the hill to the track back to Langholm,

This seat came in handy after the climb up the hill from the river and I rested there for a moment.

bench above potholm

There were plenty of clumps of wild primroses beside the track…

primroses Langfauld

…and views back towards the road that I had walked along earlier…

Looking back over Milnholm

…and I got back to the Castleholm in good order.  I spent some time there trying to see if I could spot the nuthatch that I saw the other day, but it wasn’t playing today so I went home.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy while I was out and had made another shelf for the log library.  We will fill it up tomorrow.

We had baked potatoes for tea followed by the forced rhubarb, glazed and roasted and served with custard for afters.

Once again a standing bird is standing in for the flying bird of the day.  In saw this lone oyster catcher as I came along the Esk  at the end of my afternoon exercise.

evening oyster catcher

 

 

 

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Today’s picture, taken by Mrs Tootlepedal, shows how much emphasis I place on my role as style icon when I visit the gym.  She apologises for any slight blurring in the picture but says that she was laughing while she took it for some reason that she wouldn’t tell me about.

style icon

I visited the gym under pressure from Dropscone who actually arrived at the house and picked me up to take me there.  I was very grateful really because the temperature was standing at -5° at the time.  I found a fairly comfortable recumbent cycle trainer and pedalled a notional 16 miles in an hour at about 80 rpm for the whole hour on a 50% resistance.  This is a faster cadence than I could manage on the bike but of course there is no wind in your face when you are in the gym.  I was also able to check my heart rate and I was pleasantly surprised at how low it stayed (max 144) as I felt that I was trying quite hard.

I haven’t taken my pulse while cycling for the last four years and the same amount of exercise when I last used a gym before I started cycling a lot would have had my rate up to about 160 or more so obviously four years of steady pedalling have done me some good.

Since the forecast is for freezing conditions for most of the next week, I will certainly go back to the gym again now Dropscone has given me the taste for it.  He was much more adventurous than I was and did rowing and sit ups as well a vigorous work out on a bike.  We had coffee and scones afterwards but felt that our appetites had not be quite as honed as they would have been if we had been out in the fresh air.  Mrs Tootlepedal joined us for coffee after singing in the church choir.

After coffee, I spent some time trying to catch another brambling or a chaffinch taking off from the plum tree.  It all went to show just how lucky I had been yesterday because it was a complete failure.  I did take a few pictures while I was trying.  Chaffinches are our earliest birds each day.

chaffinches at feeder

Chaffinches landing on the feeder in the chilly shadow

plum tree sunbathing

Chaffinches in the sun failing to fly off in the right direction at the right time.

Towards lunchtime, the greenfinches arrived.

DSC_0584

A greenfinch puts a spell on a chaffinch

DSC_0539 (2)

A greenfinch approaching the feeder in the manner of a Dickensian villain.

DSC_0536

A greenfinch with a very bad haircut stares down a chaffinch

In the afternoon Mrs Tootlepedal went to help with making costumes for the pantomime so I packed the big camera up, put sandycam in my pocket and set out to walk up the last of Langholm’s four hills.  When I walked up Warbla on Thursday, I had no intention of walking up any of the other three hills.  Even on Friday, when I walked up Timpen, I thought that two days in a row would be more than enough for my knees but the still, sunny and freezing weather had made the idea of walking up all four very tempting and after yesterday’s visit to the summit of Whita, it felt as though it would be a crime not to use the opportunity to round off the lot.

The conditions underfoot were rather icy in places so I put on my Yaktrax and strode out with confidence.  I say ‘strode’ but plod would would be more accurate.  My track up to Castle Hill, led through me one of the few scrubby woods on our surrounding hills.

Castle hill

I was able to look over at Timpen as I started the climb.

Timpen

We are looking at its steep side from this direction.

The climb to the top of Castle Hill is short but fairly steep and it was my intention to pause for a moment on the top and then  return home. However, when I got to the top, the views were so good and the going underfoot so easy that I decided to walk along the ridge to Potholm Hill.  I looked back at the town first…

Langholm

…and then set off along the ridge.

The freezing conditions paradoxically made the walking much easier as the boggy bits were quite solid and walking along the ridge was most enjoyable.

Eskdale

To my left I had the view of Eskdale

Ewes valley

To my right I could look into the Ewes valley

I stopped at the highest point to look back along the ridge towards Langholm

ridge

The tussocky grass makes the walk look less snowy than it actually was underfoot but the track was firm and the Yaktrax comfortably dealt with icy puddles and slippery rocks.

The conditions were so good for someone with suspect knees that I decided to go right along the ridge before descending to the track home.

ridge

It looked very inviting

It was steeper than it looked going down to the little col at Wrae Hass.

Potholm Hill

Looking back at the top of the hill

But it was manageable and I was soon looking down towards Potholm Farm with the Esk beyond.

Esk at Potholm

Once down to Potholm, my way back lay along the Longfauld track.

Longfauld

And this led me gently downhill until I arrived on the Castleholm.  I was on the side that has been in perpetual shadow and here things looked a lot more wintery than they had on top of the ridge 700 feet higher.

Winter on Castleholm

It didn’t take me long to get home and Mrs Tootlepedal soon joined me after her costume party.   I may have given the impression that the whole trip was a breeze but looking at my watch when I got home showed me that I had taken well over two hours to do the five mile walk.  I certainly could not have gone any further or any faster.  It has taken me four days in all to climb the hills but one day, soon after I came to Langholm, I ran up all four in one go in eighty minutes.  Those were the days.

In a sign of the times, the only other person I met while I was out on the hill was talking on a mobile phone as he passed me.

I was looking forward to a restful time for the rest of the day, tucked up in my comfy chair against the radiator in the sitting room after a hot bath.  Sadly before I could have the bath,  a terrible noise signalled the terminal malfunctioning of our central heating boiler.  As a result I am writing this while warming my hands from time to time on a guttering candle* and hoping that the promised engineer does indeed turn up tomorrow morning.  This was a bit of a downer after four such good days.

The views from the walk are not as good as they should be as the little camera’s battery ran out early on and the big camera didn’t take too kindly to the sub zero temperatures.  It didn’t help that my glasses misted up as soon as I looked through the viewfinder.

I found a chaffinch looking rather surprised to receive the nomination as flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

*the guttering candle was exaggeration for literary effect.  I actually had a nice coal fire at my back.

 

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