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Posts Tagged ‘Timpen’

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She was delighted to spot a squirrel in her garden.  She points out that it was so cold that the squirrel was using its tail to keep its ears warm.

venetia's squirrel

It rained heavily here over night but it had stopped by the morning and we got a relatively calm day.  Along with the gentler winds, the temperature had dropped too and it was just over 3 degrees C at breakfast time.

My back had decided to sulk and it took me some time to get it loosened up but this did give me a moment to watch the birds.

The robin auditioned for the Christmas card spot…

robin on stalk

…and chaffinches approached the feeder with great concentration…

angel flying chaffinch

…and sometimes even with suspicion.

sloped flying chaffinch

The goldfinches were eating elsewhere today and we got a siskin instead.

siskin and other bird

A blue tit proved to be less sunflower seed orientated than the other birds and tried the fat balls and the peanuts as well as the seed.

blue tit on nuts and balls

By midday I had eased off my back enough to go out for a gentle stroll.

Our new minister was going to be inducted to the parish in the evening and the church heating was on as I went by.  I could only just restrain myself from saying, “Holy smoke!” as I passed.

holy smoke

In spite of the heavy overnight rain, the river was not high when I got to it, although there was enough water going down to make a decent ripple….

water in esk

…and the line of debris on the far bank suggested that it might have been quite high earlier on.

I walked down the river and came to my favourite piece of fencing at Land’s End.  The fence itself is unremarkable but it is home to a beautiful lichen which is really enjoying the present weather.  This little patch, about an inch across, was on the edge of a  bottom bar…

fence lichen land's end

…and a few yards further on, I found a bigger patch covering the whole width of a top bar.

fence lichen land's end 2

I approached Skippers Bridge from the north…

skippers in December

…and when I had crossed over and begun my walk back up the opposite side of the river. the sun came fully out and lit up Timpen Hill.

timpen from murtholm

Everything looked more cheerful in the sunshine and I marvelled at the intricate tracery of oak branches on one side of the track….

oak banches

…and the intricate tracery of the iron gates of the farmhouse on the other side.

murtholm gate

The sunshine even made a big puddle in the field look quite beautiful…

murtholm puddle with fence

…and the bare trees at the far end of the Murtholm looked delightful too.

trees at end of murtholm

As I came into the wood, a pigeon stood frozen under the trees.  It was quite happy to sit still and let me take its picture so I suspect that it may not have been very well.

pigeon in wood

I had a quick lunch when I got home and after checking that the temperature was still safely above freezing (it was 3.8°C), I went out for a short cycle ride.

I had originally planned to go a bit further but the late start to my walk and the brief afternoon light kept me down to 11 miles.  The light was still good for a while and gave the bulls at Wauchope Schoolhouse a golden gleam.

bullocks in golden sunshine

It began to cloud over though and as I passed Westwater, only a patch of larches was getting any sun.

larches at Westwater

I didn’t hang about as it was pretty cold with the sun behind the clouds and I was satisfied that I had least got some stretch into my legs.

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had pruned the roots of the Christmas tree and put it into its pot.  We will let it rest in the garage now until Christmas Eve.

christmas tree in pot

When I went inside, I spent about quarter of an hour on my bike to nowhere in the garage to make up for my short outdoor excursion.  To be honest, I could quite easily have done the extra quarter of an hour outside if I had wanted to as Mrs Tootlepedal went out and cycled about the town quite happily for a bit of exercise after we had had a cup of tea.

In the evening we went to church for the service of induction for our new minister.  The small church choir of nine, enhanced by four members of Langholm Sings, sang the Hallelujah Chorus as a processional to start the service off and all things considered, it went pretty well.

The induction service itself was a serious business and a lot of ministers from other churches in in the presbytery had come along to lend their support.  I had never been to such an event before and didn’t realise that both the minister and the congregation had to make solemn promises about belief and good behaviour before the minister could start work.  I hope that everybody sticks to their word.

We are keeping our fingers crossed that the weatehr and train services will let us go to Edinburgh tomorrow and visit Matilda.  Neither are very reliable at the moment.  There is even talk of snow.

The flying bird of the day is a curious chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from that inveterate traveller Bruce.  He looked in on a tea dance at the famous Tower Ballroom in Blackpool but did not venture onto the floor himself.  Doubtless things will be a bit more lurid on 16th November when Strictly comes to town.

tower ballroom

Finally our spell of mild autumn weather came to an end today and we woke up to a frosty garden.

first frosts

It wasn’t very frosty though and things warmed up gently through the morning. I wondered if the frost would have encouraged some autumn colour, so after breakfast I went out for a short three bridges walk.

I was waved off by a hosta positively glowing in the sunshine.

golden hosta

Sadly, the autumn colour was mainly on the river bank…

leaves on ground

…though it was still a glorious morning for a walk.

meeting of the waters late october

The ducks seemed to think that it was good weather for them too…

female mallard

…as they cruised up and down the Ewes Water, occasionally ducking.

male mallard

I fear that autumn colour is not going to figure this year and the trees behind the Sawmill Brig have lost interest in the whole thing.

sawmill brig autumn

The old Episcopalian Church on the Lodge Walks was looking attractive.  It is a pity that no use can be found for this building.

episcopla church october

The trees across the Castleholm were rather dull….

trees on castleholm

…but the sunny day made for good views.  I was interested to see the hill cattle had chosen to graze near the top of the hill where I would have thought that it would be chillier.  Perhaps they got more sun up there.

cattle on Timpen

With two months still to go until the shortest day, it is slightly depressing to find the sun so low in the sky even at this time of year but it does provide some Hitchcock like shots on a walk.

low shadows n walk

When I got back, I settled down and while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to demount her embroiderers’ group exhibition in the Welcome to Langholm hub, I did the crossword, made coffee and bread and followed that up with another tarte tatin.   We have quite a few apples in hand and the making (and eating) of tarte tatin is my approved way of dealing with them at the moment.

After lunch, with the thermometer showing 7°C, I wrapped up well and went out for a pedal.  The larches are doing their best to provide some autumn colour.  These ones are at Pool Corner.larches pool corner

I was a few miles up the road when I met a cyclist coming the other way.  He drew to a halt and it turned out to be Sandy out for a spin on his e-bike.  He was doing an adventurous circuit with quite a few hills in it.

sandy cycling

After some chat, he set off to pedal home to Langholm…

sandy cycling off

…and I cycled on up to the top of Callister.

Rather annoyingly, after a brilliantly sunny morning, a few stray clouds had turned up to hide the sun…
clouds from callister

…but out to the west, the sea was glistening where the clouds had cleared.

shining sea from callister

It didn’t take long for them to clear where I was and I cycled home in golden splendour.

golden wauchopedale

I was going to cycle through the town and out of the other side but I came upon a man with a tractor cutting the roadside hedge.  As this often involves covering the road with sharp hawthorn fragments, I turned back and did two circuits of the New Town to make up my twenty miles.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and after I had had a shower, my flute pupil Luke turned up.  Thanks to some improved teaching and some home practice, he is really getting a grip on the counting.  We are also both working on approaching high notes with confidence rather than terror, and that is showing improvement too.

The weather looks set fair for the next few days so I am hoping to be able to add a few more miles to my October total before the end of the month.  Since the clocks have gone back, I will have to make an effort to get started sooner as the evenings are really drawing in now and I don’t have good enough equipment (or the courage) to cycle in the dark.

We have put the bird feeder out and I hope that normal service will be resumed as soon as the birds notice that food is now available.  In the meantime, I didn’t see a flying bird today, so a reflective Mr Grumpy, spotted from the Town Bridge on my cycle ride, will have to do.

reflective heron

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Today’s guest picture from son Tony in East Wemyss goes to prove that you can find grumpy herons all over the place.

wemyss heron

It was a beautiful morning with a delicate sunrise but it was chilly enough at 4°C after breakfast to keep me from getting my bike out.  Instead, I walked up to the town where I did a bit of archive group business.  I asked Nancy, who was mining data in our new premises, for a suggestion for an interesting walk but she was unable to come up with one that hadn’t already figured in the blog.

Scratching my head, I went out into to the street and bumped into Mike Tinker.  He is a stalwart of the Langholm Walks group and suggested that I try Walk 5.  As this involves walking up steep rough ground and I hadn’t got either walking boots or my walking poles with me, Nancy and I hadn’t considered this.

However, nothing ventured, nothing gained so I resolved to take up Mike’s suggestion, trust to the ground being firm and the boggy bits few and far between and hope that I didn’t fall over on a slippery bit.

And, plucking up my courage, I headed out to try Walk 5

It starts with a stroll along the river out of the town and this led me past one of favourite bits of lichen which can be found on a fence just on the very edge of Langholm.  It is a grey and black lichen and so a black and white shot seemed like a good idea.

fungus on fence lands end

I crossed Skippers Bridge without taking a photograph and was soon walking up the track towards the hill.  I could see the mast on the top of Warbla (275m) in the distance and it seemed to be a good day to be up beside it so I pressed on.

distant view of mast on warbla

My hopes about the dry ground and lack of boggy bits were fully realised and though the hill is quite steep in places, I was able to stop and admire the view from time to time and get my breath back.

view from above skipperscleuch tarck

There was even some more lichen on a rock to detain me.

fungus on warbla

It wasn’t too long before I was able to look back down on the town, snugly tucked into its nest at the bottom of the hills.

langholm from walk 5

And then I was high enough to be able to look around at the neighbouring summits…

timpen from warbla

…and to look ahead to my immediate target.

approaching the mast warbla

When I got there, I was amply rewarded for the slog uphill across rough ground with superb views of hills streaked with sunshine and shadows…

view from warbla summit

…which I shared with a man and a dog who had reached the trig point from the opposite side of the hill.  We agreed that a better place to be on such a fine day would be hard to find.

man and dog on warbla

From the summit, I could look across the valley and stretching the zoom on the Lumix to its full extent, I could just make out the stile over the wall on Whita that I had crossed on a walk almost a week ago on another fine day.  It was about a mile away.

stile on whita from warbla

The hills looked just as good on the way down from the top as they had on the way up…

view from warbla

…and the track to the town was at its best.

green road on warbla

However, without my walking poles, I had to keep my head well down as I went along since there were plenty of opportunities to slip and slide on wet grass or slippery stones and I took no more views and only got the camera out to note this tree growing out of the top of a wall in a rather unlikely fashion….

tree on wall

…and got home safely with dry feet and no unexpected encounters between my backside and mother earth.

By coincidence, I met Nancy just as I got back.  She had been dropping off some of the results of her data mining for me to enter into the Archive Group’s newspaper database.  I’ll have to hope for some wet and windy weather which makes entering data a sensible thing to be doing.

I made some vegetable soup for lunch and found some bright eyed birds at the garden feeder.

bright eyed birds

After lunch, the temperature had risen enough to make cycling a possibility so I got into my cycling gear, got my bike and set off.  In an exciting fashion I rode round the block and was home again in about three minutes.  It had started to rain heavily much to my surprise and annoyance.  There had been no sign of this sort of thing while I was out walking.

However, I kept my cycling gear on and after only a few minutes, the rain had disappeared as suddenly as it had come, and I set off again.

It was a lovely day for a pedal!

cleuchfoot road

The days are still short though and I only had time for 23 miles before it began to get gloomy.  Because I was pushed for time, I  took just that one picture on my ride which was of the scenically dull ‘up and down the road’ variety.  It was enjoyable pedalling though and my legs only reminded me of my morning walk once or twice.

I got home in time for a cup of tea and some Garibaldi biscuits which we had bought in Carlisle yesterday.  While eating the biscuits, I was able to reflect that too much of my life has been wasted not eating Garibaldi biscuits, an omission which I will try to correct in the years to come.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been out doing some useful gardening while I had been pedalling so we were both quite satisfied with our afternoon’s work.

After the tea and biscuits it was time for my flute pupil Luke to come and we played a sonata by Godfrey Finger and worked on a bit of one by J J Quantz.

After Luke went, there was time to enjoy a second helping of Mrs Tootlepedal’s tasty puy lentil, leek and feta bake for tea before I went off to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  Here we played Mozart, Boismortier and Schickhardt so that rounded off a very good all round sort of day.

I even found a satisfactory flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch wings closed

 

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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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To make a change from endless pictures of moss, my guest picture of the day is a moose The picture came from Venetia, who saw the moose in Grand Teton National Park.

moose, in Grand Teton National Park

The wind is in the east at the moment, which often means sunnier days for us and this was the case today.

It also means cold mornings.

The frogs disappeared because of the cold morning but a daffodil appeared.

daffodil

And we did have wall to wall sunshine so after the frosty start, the temperature went up to a pleasing 7°C and this combined with a very light wind, opened the day to many possibilities.

After breakfast, the light was good enough to encourage bird shooting through the kitchen window.  Not all my efforts were entirely successful…

flying chaffinch

…but some were better than others…

flying chaffinch

…and some were quite action packed.

_DSC1501

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal turned to gardening and I took my walking poles in hand and went to the top of a hill and came down a again.

I had my camera with me for once.

I liked the contrasting colours as I walked up Meikleholm Hill…

View from Meikleholm Hill

…and I was surprised to see how much of the ground that I trod on was made up of mosses.

moss on Meikleholm Hill

You may think that the green hill on the right of the fence is grassy but in fact the pale grey patches are grass and almost all the green is moss.  Far from walking up a grassy hill, I was climbing a moss covered boulder.

moss on Meikleholm Hill

There was even a patch of moss clinging to the side of the concrete trig point on the top of Timpen Hill at 326m.

moss on timpen trig point

The view from the top was good.  That is the River Esk curling up the valley.

Esk from Timpen

On the far side of the Esk, I could see another example of tree felling followed by some very neat tidying up.

tree felling Longfauld

To the north, the Ettrick hills still had a little snow on their tops.

Ettrick Hills in background

Coming back down the hill, I stopped to admire the moss in one of the boggy patches.

bog moss

And of course, it is illegal to be out on the hill on a fine day and not take a picture of the town.

Langholm from Meikleholm

It is a very rewarding route for a walk of well under three miles.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal in delving mode when I got back and while we were chatting, we noticed a bird singing away in a very forceful manner.  We followed its flight on to the silver pear and I was very surprised to see it was a dunnock.

dunnock on pear tree

I usually see these creeping about silently in a very unobtrusive manner under the bottom of hedges so I can only assume that love must be in the air already and either mates are being attracted or rivals discouraged…..or both.

On my way round the garden, looking for exciting mosses, I saw these instead…

liverwort

…and Mrs Tootlepedal told that they are liverworts.

After a pause for recovery and lunch, I got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to see where my legs would take me.

They took me to the top of Callister Hill (223m) and back down again.  I was going to put some additional miles in when I was waved down by a passing motorist who turned out to be a friend who wanted my opinion on the reprehensible behaviour of our local landowner.

This led to an interesting and lively discussion, conducted while aeroplanes overhead combine to drag clouds across the sky….

con trails and cloud

…and left me with just time to get home as the sun went down and the shadows lengthened.

cycling shadow

Secretly, I was not at all upset to lose a mile or two from my trip as the morning’s hill walk had taken a little stuffing out of my legs.

I found Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden again when I got back and we went out to admire the work on the dam bridge repair.

dam bridge repairs
It is looking very neat and tidy with a waterproof membrane now stuck on top of the concrete beams and the sides of the bridge completed.   We are waiting for the pavement edge to be re-installed, a bit of fill to be added to each edge of the bridge and then the final tarmac can be laid.

I still haven’t heard from the Queen regarding the Grand Opening.

In the evening, I took my third trip of the day.

Sandy arrived and he drove us down to Canonbie, where he and I delivered an illustrated talk on the work of the Langholm Archive Group to the Canonbie Tractor Club in the Cross Keys Hotel.   We followed the talk by a showing of the Langholm Heritage DVD on the mills and railway in Langholm which members of the group made a few years ago.

This must have gone down quite well as I sold six copies of the DVD (all I had brought with me) to members of the audience after the showing.

Everything went very smoothly.  This was by no means a given considering that we were using a laptop, a projector, a screen, a sound bar and the visitors’ wi-fi connection of the Cross Keys Hotel, any of which might have been in a contrary mood.

It was a day which has been firmly entered on the credit side of the great ledger of life.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was rather surprised to find a police box figuring in the entrance to the distillery at Annan.

Annan distillery

As it was Sunday and the main roads are lorry free, I thought that the traditional pedal down to Newtown on the line of Hadrians Wall and back would be just the thing.  The forecast held a slight possibility of light rain and the certainty of a noticeable wind so I wrapped up well and set off not long after Mrs Tootlepedal had gone off to sing with the church choir.

Newtown is twenty miles from home and Longtown is about halfway there so I broke up the forty miles with a  stop at Longtown on the way out…..

Longtown

The archways in the buildings gave access for a cart to allotments behind the houses when they were first built.

…for a drink of water and a bite of a guava energy bar.  Then I stopped at Newtown for a banana with a second stop at Longtown on the way back  (it looked just the same so I didn’t take another picture).

My only other stops were to admire the orchids on the Canonbie by-pass on the way out….

by-pass orchids

They were not hard to spot

…and again on the other side of the road on the way back.

by-pass orchids

If orchids are what you like, the Canonbie by-pass is the place to be.

While I was taking the pictures of the orchids on the way back, I saw a lot of fluttering going on.  There were several brown butterflies flitting about.

ringlet butterflies

These are ringlet butterflies and I read that the white trim round the wings of the one on the right means that it is newly emerged.

It did try to rain on me once or twice in a half hearted way on the return journey but it got bored and stopped after a mile or so I got home dry.

The vigorous wind turned out not to be a big problem as it was mostly coming from the side and the road south of Longtown has good hedges to hide behind.  Taking my cue from Geraint Thomas in the Tour de France time trial yesterday, I achieved a negative split and came back slightly faster than I went out.  All in all, it was a very satisfactory ride as I managed an average speed above 15 mph, a very rare thing for me these days.

Alaric the Goth gardener was hard at work in the garden when I got home.  (The gardener tells me that she feels more spiritually in tune with Alaric than Attila these days and who am I to argue.)

She took a break from heaping up piles of material for the shredder and we had a walk round.

The roses are looking wonderful….

Mundi, Crown Princess Margareta and Moss roses

Crown Princess Margareta in the middle of the panel is Alaric’s current favourite.

Rosa Wren

This is Rosa Wren, my current choice…

rambler roses

…though the rambler roses may take over soon

The palest of the astrantias is looking better every day and is now taking over as the chief bee magnet.

astrantia with bee

I think that the bee must be an old friend of the blog from the way he is waving at me.

Below the astrantia, a mass of campanula is also looking attractive.

campanula

There is a clematis on the metal fence next to the vegetable garden.  I took shots from both sides of the fence.

clematis

It raises a question.  Is this two flowers from the same plant but with different numbers of petals or are there in fact two identically coloured plants growing in the same space?  Mrs Tootlepedal has no answer to the question.

I love complex flowers so I took another picture of the spirea.

spirea

After lunch, we sat down to watch the second stage of the Tour de France but as there were still 84 km to go and the broadcast is often interrupted by advertisements, we decided to record it and come back to watch it again when we could skip through the ads at lightening speed, thanks to the wonders of technology.

In the meantime, I went for a walk up Meikleholm Hill to see if there were orchids there too.

There are no sheep or cattle on the hill at the moment and the result is that the hillside is a carpet of wild flowers…

Meikleholm Hill

…of many different sorts.

Meikleholm wild flowers

The hill was carpeted with tormentil, lady’s bedstraw (?) and hawkbit, in various different places…

Meikleholm hill wild flowers

…and the orchids which were there in good numbers were a bit of a sideshow.

meikleholm orchids

The spotted leaves tell me that these are marsh orchids.

I followed the flowery path round the side of the hill….

Meikleholm Hill

…meeting various objects of interest…

meikleholm fungus

…along the way.

Horse and rider meikleholm Hill

The horsewoman kindly paused to let me take her picture.

When I got to the gate at the col between Meikleholm and Timpen, I weighed up the weather, decided that it was friendly and struck out for the summit of Timpen with its fine views….

View from Timpen

The lightest fields are ones where the grass has been cut for silage.

…and obsolete trigonometrical point.

Timpen trig point

This part of the hill hill did have sheep on it so instead of wild flowers I saw bog cotton, sphagnum moss and reed tussocks.

bog cotton, moss, reed

It started to look as though it might rain so I didn’t linger and popped back down the hill as fast as good sense and a stout pair of walking poles would let me.

The Tour de France stage was worth waiting for and turned out to be more exciting than expected.

I rounded off the day with a visit to the shops where I was ambushed by a pot of clotted cream (Mrs Tootlepedal had been making scones.  It wasn’t my fault)  followed by a visit to the front lawn where I applied a generous measure of buck-u-uppo.   It has been a a generally cool summer and the grass is not growing fast enough to discourage the moss..  It was well under 60 degrees F when I was cycling in the morning.  We need a bit of heat.

The flying bird of the day is a very strange creature which Mrs Tootlepedal spotted.  It looked like a cross when it settled on a leaf but it flew all round the borders of the middle lawn before finally giving me an opportunity to shoot it.  I have no idea what it is and would welcome enlightenment.

curious creature

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture, sent to me by Irving, shows the Black Esk reservoir which provides us with our drinking water.  I have often meant to visit it but never have so perhaps this will spur me into action.

Black Esk reservoir

We had another frosty morning heralding another beautifully calm and sunny day and we tried to make good use of it.   For some mysterious reason, I was feeling a little tired in the morning so I needed a leisurely breakfast which morphed into a leisurely cup of coffee and a look out of the window…

Black Esk reservoir

…before I went off for a little walk while Mrs Tootlepedal put a second coat of paint on the bathroom door.  (It is looking very smart.)

There are no new flowers on the go as the frosty mornings are delaying things a bit but the drumstick primulas are looking finer every day.

drumstick primulas

Taking my walking poles in hand, I left the garden and  walked up onto Meikleholm Hill and then, having found that my legs were in working order, I went through the gate at the top of the hill…

Meikleholm gate

… and  continued to the top of Timpen at which at 326m offers fine views.

Timpen trig point

I was in windmill country and I could see not only the long established Craig turbines but some of the new ones on the Ewe Hill wind farm peeping over the horizon behind.

windmills

To the north I could see the Ettrick Hills….

Ettrick Hills

…and to the south, the same Lake District hills that I had enjoyed on my bike ride yesterday.

Lake District Hills

I was shooting into hazy sun and I liked the resulting interpretation of the scene by my camera.

Down below, on one side of the hill, the Esk river wound through the valley.

Esk at Milnholm

…and on the other, the town lay peacefully in the sun.

Langholm

As I stood there, I was delighted to be serenaded by the constant singing of larks.  It was a privilege to be alive.

On my way down, I noticed a tree which was doing its best to get a little shelter in the lee of a slope….

Meikleholm tree

…and a bright dandelion beside the track into the town.

dandelion

When I got back home, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished her painting and was going three rounds with a overgrown rose that needed pruning.

We retired indoors for lunch and then put her fairly speedy bike and my slow bike into the back of the car and drove off to Longtown.

Our aim was an eleven mile circular drive up the hill behind the town and then back down again.

We hoped for quiet cycling and great views and got both……as a nice little bridge too.

Easton road bridge

We had a bit of work to do to get our views….

Easton road

…but it was worth it.

My camera has many virtues but taking pictures of extensive views is not among them so you will have to take my word for it.  This is the view looking back towards Langholm.

Easton panorama

You can click on this if you want to get the bigger picture.

The view towards the Lake District and the Pennines was magnificent to the eye but rather hazy from a camera’s point of view…

Lake District

…but the prospect to the south and west was enough to take the breath away  (though cycling up the hill may have contributed to this).

Once we had enjoyed the views, we were able to scoot back down to Longtown in a very relaxed way.

We were cycling along without gloves and an indication of just how pleasant the day was can be gained from the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal suddenly exclaimed, “I can smell coconut.”

As we don’t have any palm trees around, it meant that the sunshine was warm enough to get the gorse to release its very coconutty aroma.  Sure enough, there was the gorse in the hedge beside the road.

gorse

It was almost like a summer day by this time and the temperature was in the mid teens.

We thoroughly enjoyed our outing and  and I hope that we get many more cycle rides together as the year goes on.  The cup of tea and a biscuit when we got home went down very well too.

I had enough energy left to do a little lawn mowing  (or moss pressing as we call it at this time of the year) and some compost sieving.   Mrs Tootlepedal’s gardening had left the stock of sieved compost rather low so I will need to get some more done soon.

During the day we had two less common bird visitors, a greenfinch in the bright morning and a coal tit as the light went down in the evening.

greenfinch and coal tit

In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to the local operatic society’s performance of Sweet Charity and I had a quiet sit down.

Rather annoyingly, instead of the clear blue sky which we should have enjoyed, the atmospheric conditions revealed just how many aeroplanes fly over us and the the sky was full of drifting con trails all day.  At least the passing pilots had the good manners to sign off in style as the sun went down.

St Andrew's Cross in the sky

I took a closer look.

St Andrew's Cross in the sky

The flower of the day is a daffodil…

daffodil

…and the flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying caffinch

 

 

 

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