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Posts Tagged ‘trees’

Today’s guest picture is another from my brother Andrew’s recent encounter with the terrifying invaders of Derby.

derby militia

We had a really good sunny day today and with nothing on our calendar, I tried to make good use of it.

The down side of a bright and sunny morning at this time of year is that it tends to be pretty chilly and that was the case today.  Although it wasn’t freezing, it was only just above zero so I decided that a morning walk was a better bet than a cycle ride.  Having hit the deck last winter after meeting unexpected ice on a ride on a cold but sunny day, I am going to be more cautious this time round.

The moss on the wall at the park was gently sighing as I went past on my way to the top of Warbla.

breathing moss

The Stubholm track had delights of various kinds.

fungus and robin stubholm track

When I got out on to the open hill, I could look across the Wauchope valley towards the recently felled Becks wood.  The plastic tubes show that they are planting deciduous trees there rather than replanting the conifers.   I shall be interested to see what sprouts out of the tubes in the course of time.

new planting in becks wood

You don’t have to go far up the track to the modest summit of Warbla (275m) before you are rewarded with splendid views. (A ‘click on the pic’ should bring up a larger version)

panorama from Warbla

I cut up hill off the track and was taking the direct route to the summit when I was halted by this obstruction.

warbla web

I carefully made my way round it and was soon beside the mast looking down towards England where the mist was rolling along one of the river valleys.

mist in Engalnd

It was altogether more cheerful to look towards Whita and the town and I tested out my new phone on the bigger picture.

dav

Looking down at the New Town with the Lumix in hand again, I could see the Kirk Wynd heading uphill from the centre of the town.  This was the route that I had taken on our last sunny day.

View of kirk wynd from Warbla

I rang Mrs Tootlepedal to tell her, “I made it,  top of the world, Ma” but it was no good waving as our house is in the part of town that is tucked under the hill out of view.

View of town from Warbla

I took the track on my way back down…

track down warbla

…and was surprised to find that it was still reasonably firm under foot in spite of the rain.  It was slippery in places though and once again, I was glad that I had taken my walking poles with me.   They are helpful going up hill but indispensable when going down wet grass.

track down warbla with tree

Once again, I looked across the valley to the Becks Wood and could see a major operation in progress as a digger was lifting up great chunks of cleared brashings and dropping them into a large chipper from which they were being taken up a conveyor belt and fed into a lorry.  It was a noisy business.

jenkinson timber lorry

I decided to come home  by a different route and left the track and dropped down onto the Wauchope road where I was hailed by a passing cyclist who stopped for a chat.  It turned out to be my old friend and ex colleague Nigel, who was also enjoying the good weather.  He was on an electric bike and told me that it was going to let him go up hilly routes which he couldn’t have managed under his own steam as he has not been in the best of health lately.

He thought that I might rather scoff at an e-bike but I am totally in favour of them as they extend people’s cycling life and range.  Which is better: getting a little help or sitting at home wishing that you were out on a bike?   It is as they say, a no brainer.  I wished him well and he went off to climb the steepest hill that he could find.

Nigel

I walked home past Pool Corner where an elegant set of catkins caught my eye.

catkins pool cornee

Nigel and I were not the only ones enjoying the sunshine.

two sunny goldfinches

greenfinch in plum tree

The temperature was not exactly climbing to the heights as it was still a meagre 4°C when I got back from my walk but as there had been no sign of ice anywhere, i decided to have lunch and go for a bicycle ride in the afternoon.

It took a bit of time for my legs to throw off the morning walk (going downhill really tests them) and to get used to the chill but after a few miles I began to enjoy myself and cycled happily round my standard 20 mile Canonbie circuit.

I had already taken 50 pictures while on my walk so I didn’t stop too often to add to the total as I pedalled along but these two belted Galloways were irresistible.

belted galloways

Shortly after I passed the cows, I encountered Nigel on his way home from his hilly ride,  Considering that he had been out for well over two hours, he looked very cheerful.

I was so pleased to be out on  a familiar route that I took a picture of my old friends at Grainstonehead…

three trees grainstonehead

…and the Hollows Tower was tempting too.

Hollows tower

The sun gets low really early now so I couldn’t hang around and pressed on home, feeling the chill when I entered the shaded road along the banks of the river Esk as I headed back into town.

A cup of tea and a slice of toast were just the thing to revive me and after a shower, I sat down at my computer and checked out a set of pictures which I am showing at a lunch in the Buccleuch Centre tomorrow.

I finished that just in time to welcome Luke for our weekly flute session.  Once again, we had an entertaining time playing duets and we worked at getting a little more speed into our playing.  I don’t know if it is helping Luke but all this work is certainly helping me.

The usual Monday evening trio playing was on hold this week and while I always enjoying playing with Mike and Isabel, I was quite pleased to have a quiet evening in as after having had the whole of November off, I am finding that walking and cycling are harder work than they used to be.

I tried to find a flying gold or green finch of the day but I couldn’t get anything nearly as satisfactory as this chaffinch so once again a chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

It is going to freeze hard tonight they say so I am glad that I got a tootle and a pedal in today.

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Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who is a railway enthusiast and was present at the unveiling of a plaque by Captain Chris Smith at the spot where the Hawick railway station would be if it was still here, which it isn’t.

The Jellicoe Express ran between Euston and Thurso.  Hawick on the old Waverley Line.  Hawick was a station where the Express called in one direction for coal and water and now is the only location that no longer has trains. The Express was the longest rail journey in Britain and ran during both world wars transporting mail and navy personnel

Many local people cherish the hope that the station will reopen in the not too distant future.

Jellicoe Express

The weather here was a lot better today as I could judge for myself when I crossed the Esk by the suspension bridge…

dav

…on my way to meet Dropscone at the now ex-archive centre where we read the electricity meter and I passed over the door key.  On my way home, I popped into the garage to pay my bill and then went into the Welcome to Langholm office where our local art club was holding an exhibition and bought a painting.

When I crossed the suspension bridge on my return home, I enjoyed the view  downstream.

sdr

I didn’t have long to wait once I had got in before I was re-joined by Dropscone who had been cooking some of his traditional Friday treacle scones while I had been busy.  They were excellent as usual and added to the general cheerfulness of the day.

When the scone eating ceremony was completed,  Dropscone cycled home and I walked back up to the town to collect my art purchase.  Coming out of the Welcome to Langholm office, I couldn’t help noticing that workmen were well up to the job of putting the decorations on the enormous Christmas tree outside the Town Hall.  Rather them than me.

dig

Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been out having coffee with friends, came home just after I got back and I was able to present her with the painting.  I had bought it as a secondary birthday present for her to go with the light bulb.

The painting is by a local artist, Margaret Walty who does the most beautiful and detailed work.  The panel below shows the whole painting and a section of it enlarged.

Margaret Walty

To give an idea of the scale at which Margaret works, the breast of the robin is less than 1 cm across….and she works in acrylics without using a magnifying glass.

I turned from art to nature and watched the birds for a while.  Two goldfinches were enjoying the seed today without being battered by the rain.

bookend goldfinches

A dunnock hopped about on a chair beside the feeders.

dunnock on chair

I made some vegetable soup for lunch.  We still have plenty of potatoes left from the garden but after I used one of our onions, there are now only two left.  Still to get to December with our own onions is not too bad.

It was pretty windy in spite of the sunshine so I decided to go for a walk after lunch instead of a cycle ride and this turned out to be a good decision as I had a most satisfying stroll.  I have declared my leg officially cured so I ventured up the Kirk Wynd and on to the open hill.

I had a look round the garden before I left.

strawberry and sweet rocket November

Ornamental strawberry and sweet rocket.

As I passed the golf club, I couldn’t help noticing these very bright yellowy orange flowers on a shrub beside the track.   It might be a pyracantha or cotoneaster but whatever it is, I was surprised to see it flowering.

november flowers kirk wynd

As I got further up the track beside the golf course, the hills came into view.

View from Kirk Wynd

As the brisk and chilly wind was coming from behind me, there was just enough heat from the sun to keep me comfortable and I could enjoy the play of light on Castle Hill with the dark clouds behind.

castle hill November

Luckily the clouds were being driven up the valley and although the sun was low in the sky, the views were delightful.

sunshine and shadow ewes

I had taken Mrs Tootlepedal’s advice and had my walking poles with me.  They are a great help when going up hill and I soon got to the top of the golf course where a good crop of British Soldier lichens can be found…

soldier lichen

…and headed out onto the open hillside.

I didn’t go any higher up the hill but walked along the contour….

two trees abive Hillhead

…until I came to the road to Newcastleton.

Up ewes

There has been a lot of tree felling on the far side of the road and I could now see the sheep pens and buildings which have been hidden by the trees for many years.

sheep pens

The sun dropped below some low clouds behind Warbla at this point…

warbla late november

….but the road down the hill is well sheltered…

 

copshaw road

…and my walk back to the town was no problem.

I took the little path along the Lamb Hill and was greeted by some gorse in flower.

november gorse

I reached home after just under two and a half miles in harmony with nature and enjoyed a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from a visit to the hairdresser.  Everything was good.

Mike and Alison are busy babysitting their daughter’s dogs at the moment so there was no Friday night tootling but I employed the time in practising singing for Sunday’s choirs so it wasn’t time wasted.

The flying bird of the day is roughly the 120th chaffinch to have had that honour this year.  I will have to try to get out more.

flying chaffinch

 

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Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Gavin who is making friends with a cactus out in Spain while we shiver here.

cactus

We had some equivalent sunshine at the start of the day….

chaffinch and goldfinch

…but it couldn’t disguise the fact that it was jolly chilly again and I had to put a coat on as I cycled to church to sing in the choir.   As the other two choirs that I sing with are on holiday this week, it was doubly enjoyable to get the chance of a good sing today.

The sun was still out when I got home and I had a wander round the garden to see if there were any developments.

A scilla or two had come out to join the chionodoxa in the very small blue flower department…

chionodoxa and scilla

…and a resilient primrose is producing more flowers…

primrose

…not far from where a fancy daffodil that Mrs Tootlepedal recently purchased is doing its best to defy the cold.

daffodil

But on the whole, we are still waiting for spring, although there are signs.

potential flowers

I went in to make some soup, using some parsnip which Mrs Tootlepedal recently dug up from the vegetable garden.  It has got through the winter well and with the addition of WETILA*, it made for a tasty soup.

I noticed a few greenfinch about as I cooked.

greenfinch

After lunch, I considered my options.  It was still cold, with a sharp but fairly light north easterly wind and the sun had gone in.  It seemed to be dry enough for a cycle ride so I wrapped up well, got the  slow bike and a banana out and went off heading north into the wind and up the main road.

The holiday traffic was light, with very few lorries and a glimpse of sunshine ahead up the Ewes Valley…

Ewes valley

…made the trip look well chosen.

However, although there were fine trees to admire on my way up the valley…

Ewes valley tree

…the combination of the sun going in quite quickly and the arrival of a short but crisp hail shower made me look at things in a different light.

It was a fairly gloomy light, with a covering of snow on the higher hills…

Ewes valley

…and patches still left beside the road.

Mosspaul road

So when I got to the top of the hill at Mosspaul, I didn’t go down the other side as I had vaguely planned to do but instead, turned when I got to this little cottage tucked into a sheltered spot…

P1080565

…and headed back down the road to Langholm and warmth.

Mosspaul road

The eleven miles home, downhill and with the wind behind me, were a pleasure.

Because my ride had been shorter than planned, I still had time for a walk but the afternoon got greyer as it went on and I decided to watch the birds for a bit before deciding what to do.

A chaffinch rudely turned its back on me but at least it gave me a good shot of its colourful wing feathers.

chaffinch

I noticed a small group of jackdaws poking around in a flower bed at the top of the lawn.

jackdaw

Obviously, in spite of the cold weather, nest building was on their minds.

One of them broke away to visit the fat ball feeder and warned the others off with an imperious gesture of the wing…

jackdaw

But it was only a gesture and it was soon seen off by a fiercer bird with a piercing eye.

jackdaw

The jackdaws didn’t stop for long and I gave up the idea of a walk and went out to do some preliminary work on the second of the four new raised beds.

20180401_171148

It is now more or less in position and the new, wider path between the beds is beginning to become obvious.

While I was out in the garden, I was visited by some young friends who were hoping to see frogs in our pond.  Alas, the frogs are gone to wherever it is that our frogs go to.  They had just come back from a holiday in Portugal and their father told me that the whole family was feeling the cold back in Scotland.  That’s the trouble with sunshine holidays in winter.  You have to come home again.

We are forecast a very cold day tomorrow with the possibility of snow but after that things should warm up a little at least.  It can’t come soon enough.

The flying bird of the day is one of the ever reliable chaffinches.

chaffinch

*WETILA:  Whatever Else There Is Lying About,  a very common ingredient in soups.

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Thanks to all those who have sent guest pictures.  I start with these two exotic encoutnered by Jim and Sandra who certainly haven’t been on holiday in Blackpool.

jim and sandra

Hamilton Island                                         Komodo Island

After a sub zero night, it warmed up briskly and there was no hint of frost to be seen.  The temperature didn’t get above itself though and remained safely in single figures all day, not wanting us to get too optimistic about spring.

The fact that it was the vernal equinox today was neither here nor there apparently.

The better weather meant a very much worse attendance at the feeders today but this gave the dunnocks some space to shine.

dunnock

_DSC2436

There were several about, intent on giving each other a hard time.

Other visitors appeared from time to time.

dove, robin and greenfinch

The round robin shows that it was still pretty chilly.

I was pleased to see two blue tits but they too were intent on chasing each other off so I only got a fleeting glimpse of them.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a dentist’s appointment in the afternoon and kept her mind off it by indulging in a whirlwind round of household tasks in the morning and I had to look pretty sharp to avoid being tidied away into a cupboard under the stairs.

At midday, she went off to help at the Buccleuch Centre coffee shop and I had a very early lunch and got the slow (currently my only) bike out and went for a pedal.

The snow has almost all disappeared but in the shade of a wall here and there, the remains of drifts can still be seen.

snowy wall

The temperature was about 7°C and the wind was chilly but luckily the sun stayed out for the duration of the ride and I was well wrapped up so it was a good day to be pedalling.

I stopped near Waterbeck to admire the handsome bridge over the Kirtle Water…

kirtle water bridge

….its good looks are slightly spoiled by a fallen tree branch and a tatty sheep catcher.

I looked around while I was there and got three trees for the price of one…

Trees at Waterbeck

…and noticed an extensive stretch of white race track fences which indicate a horsey establishment.

Albie stud

I have cycled over the bridge many time without ever noticing them before.

The slow bike lived up to its name and for the first ten miles, which are quite hilly and into the wind, I needed an hour and three minutes.  The next two sets of ten miles took 50 and 51 minutes respectively, helped by some down hill and a bit of wafting from the now favouring breeze.

I enjoyed the views as I went.   Some were extensive like this one over the fields to Gretna with  the English hills beyond…

view of english hills

…and some more intimate like this little valley near Chapelknowe where two stream meet.

view near chapelknowe

The marks in the field in the foreground were made by a tractor spreading fertiliser and I was able to see him homeward plodding his weary way.

tractor leaving

As I got near to Canonbie, I passed this inviting farm sign

Mouldyhills

You might think that it would need a very optimistic farmer to take on this place but of course the  “mould” of mouldyhills has nothing to do with being mouldy, but is instead an ancient English word for loose earth or turned-over soil.

As I went along the old road to Canonbie, I passed Canonbie’s Caledonian coos again

canonbie cows

I showed the picture of the one with the fetching fringe from the blog of a week ago  at the camera club last night and a member piped up, “That’s one of my sister-in-law’s cows.”  It turned out that she had been given a Highland cow for a Christmas present after saying that she particularly liked Highland cattle.  She found it in the garage tied up with a pink ribbon on Christmas Day.

I should perhaps mention that I particularly like Ferraris.

One can live in hope.

Nearer Langholm, I stopped for a look at the fishermen’s steps at Broomholm.

fishermen's steps at Broomholm

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at the dentist so I parked the bike and took a picture of two of the best things in life, a bicycle and and a large heap of manure.  Who could ask for anything more?

bike and manure

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from the dentist in a very good mood, having had some painless treatment.  Meanwhile I had taken a short walk round the garden.

The crocuses had appreciated the better day….

crocus

…and other promising signs were to be seen.

spring flowers

I failed to take a sharp picture of an opening blackcurrant bud but quite liked the result which I thought summed up our hesitant approach to spring quite well.

blackcurrant leaf

A honeysuckle had a rabbit hiding behind its leaves.

honeysuckle leaf

The low sun and a blue sky overhead made for an interesting frog picture.

blue frog

At least the days will be longer than the nights now and that always lifts the spirits which considering the news in general certainly need a little lifting.

The flying bird of the day is like spring, rather elusive.

flying blue tit

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I have run out of new guest pictures so I am returning to my Somerset correspondent Ventetia’s trip to America.  She was driven along some beautiful  but slightly scary roads.

Venetia

While we didn’t go quite as far as the guest picture, we were visited by some very unwelcome snow here and the temperature only just crept above zero all day.

flying chaffinch

The snow was mostly very light but as it was accompanied by a brisk and bitter wind, we viewed it largely through our windows.

I did go out to take two views of our completed bridge.

P1080230

P1080230

Severe critics have complained that  the gap below the railings on both the right and left sides are big enough to let a small child through but these are people who have no bridge of their own and are jealous of ours.  A child needs a little adventure in its life.

Marching bands, acrobats, peers of the realm and assorted reality TV celebrities are being lined up for the official opening.

While I was out, I admired the winter aconites which are looking promising…

winter aconites

..but even winter aconites need a bit of help from the elements to come into full flower.

The birds were grateful for some food on a chilly day…

flying chaffinch

…and chaffinches in particular turned up in large numbers.

flying chaffinch

But the odd greenfinch….

green finch

…and goldfinch was to be seen too.

flying goldfinch

Over lunchtime, I watched Scotland making very hard work of beating a good Italian side  in their final match of the Six nations rugby tournament and then, as the sun had come out, I went for a walk to recover from the excitement of a tense finish to the game.

It looked like a wonderful day…

Esk view of George Street

…but in the brisk wind the “feels like” factor was well below freezing.  I was hoping to see some waterside birds but they obviously didn’t care much for the cold either and I had to settle for some gently paddling mallards…

mallards

…and a herring gull on a rock in the river.

herring gull in river

Among dozens of black headed gulls, we seem to have only two resident herring gulls.  They like standing in the middle of the rivers.

You can see why I often like to walk along the Kilngreen….

Sawmill Brig

… and over the Sawmill Brig and up the Lodge Walks…

Lodge walks

…but even in when the sun was out, it was a bit of a penance today.  I only met one other walker and that was our friend Gavin.  He was also recovering from the stress of watching Scotland play.

Some cheerful moss on a tree stump…

moss on tree stump

…and a large and aged bracket fungus on a dead branch…

fungus

…gave me some thing to look at as I went round.

And I took a good look at a large tree on the other side of the playing field…

licheny tree

…which at first sight might look as though it had started to have some early spring foliage on it.

A closer look showed that any vibrancy in the colouring didn’t come from the tree but from its guests.

licheny tree

It is covered from head…

mossytree

to toe in lichen and moss and has so much vegetation on it that it should be declared a national park in its own right.

An onrushing blizzard of light snow hurried me home but it stopped as I got to the house and the sun came out again.

This pattern continued for the rest of day with enough snow to start lying as the evening got colder.

It is due to keep snowing on and off through the night and tomorrow is going to be close to zero again (it is -2C as I write this) but with luck, there will be no travel problems when we want to go to our choir in the afternoon.

It doesn’t feel very much like four days before the vernal equinox though.

The flying bird of the day is one of the black headed gulls from the Kilngreen.

black headed gull

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s Irish holiday.  As well as an interesting wall, he found an interesting house.

irish house

After more snow overnight, the first task of the day was to clear the path along our drive and go to the shops for some milk.  The path was cleared but the milk hadn’t got through to the shop so we just have to hope that there will be some there tomorrow.

The path clearing had the unhappy effect of bringing on the snow again and it then snowed on and off for the rest of the day, leaving us with nine inches by the evening.

As there was a brisk wind blowing and the snow is light and fluffy, it was sometimes hard to tell whether we were seeing snow falling or just blowing past the window.  Either way, it wasn’t a good day for watching the birds as the kitchen window was often covered with snowflakes.

Dropscone and Sandy braved the snow to come for coffee and as Dropscone brought some of his excellent treacle scones with him, we were all greatly cheered up.

After coffee, I cleared the path again and spotted a robin on the feeder…

robin

…before making some soup for lunch.

There was a promise of occasional sunny spells in the afternoon so I was mentally prepared for a walk after lunch and when things lightened up, I put on my coat and shot out.

I sneaked across the unfinished dam bridge and saw that the dam itself was pretty well snowed up.

dam filled with snow

I had to run the gauntlet of some dangerous looking icicles on a gutter in Caroline Street…

icicles in caroline Street

…but after I passed, a resident was doing his best to knock them off with some well aimed snowballs.

There has not been a lot of driving about lately and you can see why.

snow covered car

Although the main roads are reasonably clear, the advice is not to drive unless it is absolutely necessary.  Because we get so little snow, it is hard to be prepared for it when it comes and also unreasonably expensive to get all the gear suitable for snow and ice which you might then use for perhaps only three days over two years.

Fifty years ago, lots of people, including us,  had chains for their car tyres because it snowed a lot more and cars were trickier to drive but I doubt if anyone still has them now.  Many of the problems on our roads come from the fact that so many businesses operate on a ‘just in time’ basis and in effect have mobile storage depots on motorways.  It only takes one sliding articulated lorry to block a road. Mind you, optimistic and inexperienced car drivers don’t help either.

It was reasonably clear when I started my walk….

Langholm bridge

…but by the time that I had crossed the bridge, far from the sun coming out, it had started to snow again.

Langholm bridge

I plodded on, making heavy weather of the deep snow but not tempted to to take a rest on this bench.

kilngreen bench

When I needed a breather, there was always something to look at.

kilngreen trees

It was a lot easier when I had some car tracks to walk in along the Lodge walks.

Lodge walks in snow

gate

When the snow stopped and the tops of the hills came into view, I was interested to see that the wind was so strong  that it looked as though the higher up the hill you went, the less snow there was.  I could see a hint of green on the summit of Timpen.

Timpen in snow

The trees were very neatly outlined.

snowy bare tree

The gas canisters were the only spot of colour on my walk but there were many good patterns.

snow shots

There is a lot of ice on the edges of the river but it doesn’t look as though it will be anywhere near cold enough for the whole river to ice up.

esk with ice

I certainly hope so.

I crossed the Duchess Bridge which looked quite handsome in the snow…

duchess bridge

…and this was more than could be said of the view from the middle of the bridge as it had started snowing heavily again as soon as I stepped onto it.

view from duchess bridge

As it was mostly buried under the snow, there had not been much in the way of lichens or moss to look at on my walk but the wall at the Scholars’ Field had small piece of iced moss on display.

moss

Once again, I was interested to see how different the moss looks from a distance and in close up.

When I got home, I cleared the snow from on top of and around our car which is parked up the road a bit during the bridge repair works.  As a kind passer by noted, this may have been a bit of a Sisyphean task and it started snowing again not long after I had finished.  I also cleared the path along our drive and that was soon covered up again.

snowy path

With a forecast of more snow showers tomorrow, a continual 25 mile per hour wind and the temperature at or about freezing all day,  I may have a busy drive clearing day in front of me.  Still, it keeps me occupied which must be a good thing.  And on the plus side, the snow is the easiest shovelling snow that I can ever remember meeting.

As the alert reader will have realised, we didn’t go to Edinburgh to see Matilda today, even though it was a Thursday.   Honestly, as superior newspaper columnists tend to ask on these occasions, what is wrong with us?  Two flakes of snow and the whole country shuts down.  Get a grip Britain!  But we are old and cautious these days.

The individual flying bird was not easily found in the whirling snow and poor light and strong winds make them unwilling to hover if they can avoid it so an ensemble piece will have to do.

busy feeder

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an interesting wall which Dropscone encountered on his Irish holiday.

irish wall

Our spell of calm, dry and chilly weather continued today with a bright, sunny morning making it possible to overlook the 2°C temperature.

It looks as though this pattern will stay with us for several days with the only difference being that it will be well below freezing every morning.

Under these circumstances, I thought it would be best to get a walk in today while the going was still good.  On the same basis, Mrs Tootlepedal did a little gardening.

I started my walk by passing the mouth of the dam, just where it joins the River Esk.  After flowing under the bridge and then past the back of our house, the dam disappears under roads and into a factory, where it supplies water, before it comes back into daylight here:

dam

I was hoping to see interesting riverside birds while I was there but the cold weather has discouraged them and I had to make do with one of the resident ducks when I got the Kilngreen.

mallard

There were plenty of black headed gulls about but they stuck to the fence posts on the far bank of the river…

black headed gull

….where any flying action was largely confined to playing a game of musical posts.

black headed gull

They did occasionally rise high enough in the air to be described as flying….

_DSC1527

…but nor often.

I got fed up in the end and walked on to find somewhere where more reliable subjects could be found.

Surprise, surprise, it was a wall.

It had a  wealth of interest on it.  I am getting more confused every day but there seems to be moss, liverwort and lichen all in a heap here.

moss liverwort

 

My favourite patch was this one.

moss lichen

As I may have remarked before, it is amazing what you can see when you look.   I should acknowledge my debts both to Sandy, who showed me how to use a camera, and the New Hampshire Gardener, who consonantly inspires me  to look closely at the things I see.

I found another wall and met two very contrasting ferns on it.

ferns

I walked along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks and once again admired the skill of the tree fellers who can leave a selection of trees standing while felling all around if they wish.

trees

On my way, I was inspected by the locals…

sheep

…and was intrigued by this tree.

tree with moss

Would that little window open and a gnome pop out and ask me to buy a ticket for my journey?   (I think that the political situation may be destroying my mind.)

I walked down through the snowdrops at Holmhead.  They are just about at their best.

snowdrops

When I got down to the flat, I could see the ridge that I walked along yesterday.

Timpen

I have to say that it seemed a lot steeper when I was walking up to the summit on the right yesterday than it did when I was looking at it today.

Further on, I saw more moss…

moss on wood

…which was not too difficult as there is moss everywhere at the moment after some very wet years.

I got home in time for a cup of coffee, fairly swiftly followed by lunch and the traditional Thursday trip to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents.

We always leave in plenty of time as there is a bumpy and winding road on the way to Lockerbie but this leaves me with time to stand on the platform and look around.  I love the tower of Lockerbie Town Hall.

Lockerbie Town Hall

I like the fact the clocks show slightly different times and often wonder if anyone has ever stood on the balcony and addressed the crowds below or perhaps blown a fanfare.

I didn’t have as long on the platform as I usually have as incredibly the train was on time today.  Not only that, it actually arrived in Edinburgh a little ahead of schedule and there was a bus at the bus stop to take us down to Matilda’s almost as soon as we had stepped out of the station.

We were punctual to the dot so it was no great surprise to get a text from Alistair to say that they hadn’t got home yet.

Still, the great thing about cities is that they have shops there so we were able to kill a little time without any difficulty.

We had a most enjoyable visit, being thoroughly entertained by Matilda and well fed by her parents.  And Mrs Tootlepedal had bought one of her sticky toffee puddings with her.

The journey home went as well as the  journey up and we arrived back to find that not only had the builder finished installing the pavement kerb on the bridge but the gaps had all been filled up and things look as though they are now ready for tarmac.

dam bridge repair

The state of play when we left in the afternoon and when we got back in the evening.

I did find one sympathetic gull this morning and it is the flying bird of the day.

black headed gull

 

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